Sweet 16 cuts acc reps in half heading into elite eight wralsportsfan.com university of kansas kansas

Syracuse proved much tougher the second time around for the duke blue devils. The orange led much of the first half, the last advantage at 27-24. Duke finished the first half with 10 straight points to lead 34-27 at the break. But, the blue devils practically gave it all back to start the second half. Mike krzyzewski stood up, removed his coat with authority and called time out. Krzyzewski would later say duke “played young” much of the night in omaha, in sharp contrast to the devils’ performances in pittsburgh.

Among other things, duke got into second half foul trouble, putting syracuse into the double bonus late in the game. The blue devils allowed the orange to shoot 49 percent from the floor AND rebound 45 percent of their missed shots.

On offense, duke largely attacked the syracuse zone in the second half by putting up threes, missing 16 of 18.Blue devils we did also see a couple of spectacular lobs over the zone to marvin bagley, and to be sure, duke made enough shots to win. But the blue devils flung up 21 misses in the second half versus just 13 in the more patient first half. One or two of those missed shots helped energize the syracuse transition game and keep the orange in contention.

Syracuse is also young. The orange counts just two juniors among its top seven players. All the others are freshmen and sophomores. If they all come back next year? Youth and inexperience probably hurt syracuse as much as duke. The ‘cuse committed 10 fouls in the first half, leading to 16 duke free throws, 11 of which the blue devils made. Jim boeheim had to play chunks of the game without the wondrous slovakian marek dolezaj. Ditto for big man paschal chukwu. Throw in 16 turnovers and syracuse dug a hole it could never quite climb out of.Second half

Syracuse kept the game uncomfortably close for duke even after the coach K jacket-flinging time out. In fact, a slick transition basket by dolezaj brought the orange within three at 42-39, but every time syracuse challenged, duke answered. The devils responded to the dolezaj basket with a transition three from gary trent jr., and a half court three by grayson allen. Soon the blue devils’ lead grew to nine at 62-53. Syracuse, though, kept making shots and rebounding some of the misses. Oshae brissett made a very well-defended jumper that barely beat the shot clock to bring the orange down just three, 63-60. The response? Trent sailed through the lane hitting a magnificent floater, restoring the blue devils’ margin to five. That might just have been the most important basket scored by a duke player this season.Second half allen and trent both added pressure free throws (though allen also missed one), and duke escaped 69-65. Krzyzewski said after the game he hopes the clutch plays duke made in the second half will set the tone for a more confident performance in the regional final.

Duke will now meet kansas, which built a 20 point lead early in the second half against clemson, then held on to win 80-76. Sunday night’s duke-KU matchup in omaha, the only meeting of no. 1 and no. 2 seeds in this entire NCAA tournament, should be played at a faster pace than we saw friday night. Kansas normally plays man-to-man defense, so duke should be able to run its normal offense, with grayson allen and trevon duval attacking the basket, kicking to three-point shooters, and dishing to the big men inside. The blue devils’ size, with marvin bagley and wendell carter inside, presents a matchup problem for kansas, which typically plays just one big man, udoka azubuike, and four perimeter players.Blue devils

At the same time, KU’s offense poses problems for duke. Devonte graham and the jayhawks move the ball well, and they can really hit from beyond the arc. Kansas made 10 of 22 (45 percent) friday against clemson, which boasts one of the ACC’s better defenses. Clemson, of course, plays man to man, so the defense duke throws at kansas sunday will require adjustments. How KU reacts to duke’s 2-3 zone will be fascinating to watch. Even teams with experience running a zone offense can find the flow of the offense and the rhythm of shooters changes against a defense like duke’s. Those long threes kansas rained on clemson might be flying bricks against the duke zone. Or KU might find open shots that duke can’t stop.

Kansas certainly won’t lack motivation. This will mark the third time in the devonte graham era that the jayhawks have reached the elite eight.Blue devils kansas has not reached the final four since 2012. Graham, the raleigh senior, hopes the third time will be the charm. And it seems graham never has been a fan of the duke blue devils. In his high school days at raleigh broughton, graham told reporters in omaha that he always pulled for UNC and actually grew up hating duke.

Perimeter is not KU’s only strength. Azubuike and silvio de sousa, going against clemson’s big elijah thomas, made 10 of 14 from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Duke, which allowed syracuse way too many second chance opportunities, will have to manage its box outs better against kansas, and that can be tricky in a zone. With this game in omaha, before a partisan kansas crowd, the only way the blue devils can take the crowd out of the game is to get stops and then secure the defensive rebound.Florida state

The outcome, I think, depends on KU’s shooting. If the jayhawks shoot 50 percent, make a bunch of threes and avoid foul trouble, duke faces an uphill climb. But if bill self’s team struggles from the field, those missed shots in an up tempo game could lead to some run outs for duke. The blue devils’ transition game is lethal. Few schools in america can win an up and down game with duke. Either way, this should be the best game of the tourney to date. Mike krzyzewski said on selection sunday he thought the big XII proved to be the best conference top to bottom during the regular season. So, now we’ll see one of the top teams in the ACC against the school that won the big XII for the 14th straight year. Clemson bows out

A quick word about clemson. This tiger team was fun to watch, something I can’t say about some of brad brownell’s other defensive minded squads in the past.Blue devils gabe devoe finished with a flurry. Devoe became the first clemson player since elden campbell to score 20 or more points in consecutive NCAA tournament games. And devoe actually capped his three-game scoring binge by going for 31 against the jayhawks. But he did not get enough help.

While clemson played a near perfect game in blowing out auburn — sports information director tim bourret tweeted that in 40-plus years this was the best basketball he had ever seen from a clemson team — the tigers’ season ends with the sweet sixteen. Still, only one clemson team has ever made a deeper NCAA tournament run, bill foster’s 1980 team that reached the elite eight. 1972 FSU flashback

And speaking of days long ago — the year was 1972. Florida state won its way to the final four, the only one in school history. Games were played in los angeles.Blue devils the seminoles shocked north carolina in the tournament’s semifinals.

Leonard hamilton’s team paid homage thursday night to the ’72 noles, including ron king, otto petty, rowland garrett and reggie royals (who was from whiteville, by the way). Florida state again played giant killer in los angeles. The 2018 seminoles have reached the elite eight for the first time since 1993, after upsetting gonzaga, which had the nation’s longest winning streak at 16 games.

To fully appreciate this FSU win, look at the team’s record in late january and february. This group, which started the ACC 5-4, had to defeat boston college at home in early march just to finish 9-9. The ‘noles then went one and done in brooklyn, getting unceremoniously bounced from the ACC tournament by louisville, which had to settle for an NIT bid and then decided to replace interim coach david padgett.Florida state so florida state goes into NCAA play, having won only nine of 19 games against teams in its own conference. The ‘noles had put together a quality non-conference resume, so their invitation to the NCAA tournament was never in doubt, but who gave any thought to FSU escaping the first week of play in nashville? Who even thought FSU would win one game?

The ‘noles will play on the weekend because this 11 man thing has really begun to click. During the season, the FSU offense seemed to stagnate at times, like on feb. 25 at NC state. It can be hard for players to get into the flow offensively when minutes are limited. But by spreading playing time to 11 players, leonard hamilton now sees a team that is fresher than anyone else playing college basketball right now. Hamilton said after the win over gonzaga that his guys “have really bought in” to what they are trying to do.Blue devils and when you have guys that can come in off the bench and block shots like ike obiagu or mfiondu kabengale, or get in the passing lanes and create transition offense like C.J. Walker or M.J. Walker, or come in cold and stick a 10-foot jumper just before halftime like brandon allen, you’ve got something special.

What florida state has is size: two seven footers and five 6-foot-8 guys, all of whom play taller. What florida state has is athleticism: all 11 players can attack and defend. Against gonzaga, florida state blocked nine shots and made off with eight steals.

Leonard hamilton’s FSU teams are known for defense. This is his best shooting team. The seminoles shoot 47 percent from the field, the third best in the ACC. Like team leader terance mann, the ‘noles are better at driving to the basket or pulling up from 10 feet than they are at shooting three pointers.Second half FSU makes some threes (they hit six of 20 against gonzaga), but in most games this team is not dangerous shooting beyond the arc. For the season FSU shoots 35 percent from three, just 12th best in the ACC. Biggest weaknesses vs michigan

Having shocked gonzaga, the last western hope, florida state now plays an excellent michigan team, one of the last survivors from the great midwest. I know michigan’s fight song “hail to the victors” uses the words “champions of the west,” but those words are, I believe, more than a century old. Anyway, michigan’s offense is as hot as any still playing in the NCAA tournament, and FSU definitely has a few weaknesses the wolverines can exploit.

The wolverines’ sharpshooters must be positively salivating. Michigan shot 57 percent from beyond the arc against texas A&M.Blue devils michigan did a great job of getting in the passing lanes, intercepting passes and making steals against the aggies. UM made 12 steals. Michigan did not get many offensive rebounds against texas A&M, but the aggies are huge, plus michigan missed only 20 shots and one free throw. Michigan did not need to foul in the A&M game, but should the wolverines need to put FSU on the line, the ‘noles may not make them pay. I would not be shocked if offensive rebounding and fouls/free throws played a part in the outcome of the west’s regional championship.

Michigan definitely comes in as the favorite. For reasons listed above. But be sure, michigan must make a lot of adjustments playing florida state after playing texas A&M. FSU is deeper and applies much more pressure defensively. The ‘noles don’t rebound as well as A&M, but they block shots as well as the aggies, and that’s a high bar.Second half the big question is can florida state defend the three-point line? If FSU can make michigan’s long range bombers uncomfortable and get them to move in closer for many of their shots where the seminoles’ shot blockers can get their hands on the basketball, this game gets very interesting. Certainly florida state’s offense should cause more problems for the maize and blue than A&M’s did.

Michigan is hot, but florida state should not lack for confidence. The seminoles beat north carolina, which of course beat michigan in the ACC-big ten challenge. The transitive property of basketball guarantees nothing but suggests florida state at least has a chance. And that’s more than anyone was saying about FSU’s possibilities against xavier or even missouri last week in nashville.