Three Teams Advance to Elite Eight
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Mar 25, 2018,
Mar 25, 2018, 9:19
One was bounced in the regional semifinals (2013), and another was Ali Farokhmanesh'd in the second round (2010), but for the most part, Self's teams have fared well before and after the Elite Eight: They hold an 8-2 record in the Sweet 16 and moved on to the national title game both times they reached the Final Four. A heavyweight prizefight of programs that combined have produced 30 Final Four appearances and eight national titles.
One of Kansas' primary strengths is its ability to shoot 3-pointers consistently at a high level. And on Friday night, KU's bottom line was better than Clemson's from start to finish. "Let it go. If you play to try to protect something tomorrow, we'll go home sad". After scoring the first bucket of the game on a strong post move, Azubuike continued to assert himself inside all night.
Aside from reserve big man Mark Donnal and red-hot guard Gabe Devoe, the Tigers went 3-of-17 from the field before halftime.
"We could have executed a lot better", Graham said. "But he got angles today".
Clemson probably needed to play its best game to beat Kansas on Friday night. They played pretty well against the Tigers as they allowed them to hit just 43.1% of their shots from the field overall, including 30.0% of their shots from long range. The senior guard scored a career-high 31 points in a four-point loss to Kansas in the 2018 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.
Malik Newman had a team-high 17 points for Kansas, which is in the regional finals as a No. 1 seed for the third straight year.
"I just like to see him succeed".
Duke ranks 40th in steals per game (7.4) while Kansas ranks 105th (6.6).
"I think of all the teams that we've had here", Self said, "this would be the team that everyone would have thought would not be in this game". "Fortunately, it never got to one possession".
The regional champions will advance to next week's Final Four at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Graham played just 34 minutes because of foul trouble as KU improved to 13-2 against ACC teams in the 15-year Bill Self era. They each sat, at different times, for a few minutes and wound up staying on the bench for exactly 3:03 while re-entering at different times, as well.
A couple months before the Madness of March overtook most of his waking hours, Duke freshman guard Trevon Duval stumbled across a Kansas game on television, while flipping through the channels.
Villanova trailed by 6 before scoring 11 straight points to take a 65-60 lead with 9:03 remaining.
Foul problems also limited Graham to 35 minutes, matching his least playing time in 30 games. "But we pulled it off".
De Sousa made the free throws and Lagerald Vick followed with a 3-pointer to put the Jayhawks up 13 at the break.
The victory, which looked like it was going to be easy (KU led by 20 early in the second half), turned out to be hard as the Tigers cut the gap to six points with 2:27 left and four with 14.5 to play.
Duval (10.0 points per game, 5.6 assists), while surprised DeSousa joined Kansas months ahead of schedule, wasn't almost as stunned to see him become a productive sub for top-seeded Kansas (30-7). The Jayhawk defense was active early as well, forcing five Clemson turnovers within the opening eight minutes of the game.
No. 3 MI is the highest seed remaining in that half of the bracket and will face No. 9 seed Florida State in the West Region final on Saturday. He's also the most fearless.
"It's been a great year". Duke is a solid team, but I just feel that they will not have enough in this one to take down a very good Kansas team that should not be a dog in this game. And I think, in order to do that at Kansas, you've got to go to a Final Four. "I honestly believe that". "But he said, 'Yeah, they were, Duke, they were too good'". "I wouldn't do it with any group of guys but this group of guys".
Clemson would pull to within four twice, but would fall 80-76.