What happened in the NCAA Tournament: Duke, Houston advance to Elite 8

March 25, 2022 at 8:45 AM EDT

‘Touch the floor, right now’: The sights and sounds as Duke beat Texas Tech in the Sweet 16

SAN FRANCISCO — Wait a second. Mike Krzyzewski thought of one more thing.

It was the thick of a timeout, Krzyzewski’s Duke team clinging to a 69-68 lead over Texas Tech with 2:54 to play, and the 75-year-old head coach had mostly finished talking. He’d already implored his players, his bigs especially, to explode with every movement. “Be strong with the ball!” he barked, pumping his fist for extra emphasis. Then the players started shifting in their seats, standing up, ready to spring back onto the court inside Chase Center… until Krzyzewski called them all back to attention. He was mostly done. Not totally.

“Listen!” he called out, pausing to make eye contact with seemingly every player. They hung on his every word. And then, a coach’s command, for confidence and cohesion and clarity all at once:

“Touch the floor, right now.”

Brendan Marks

Brendan Marks·

Staff Writer, CBB

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‘Touch the floor, right now’: The sights and sounds as Duke beat Texas Tech in the Sweet 16

March 25, 2022 at 12:50 AM EDT

The Michigan-beating, Elite Eight-making cyborgs of Villanova are a throwback to 2009

SAN ANTONIO — The game was winding down and the celebration was on, except it wasn’t. Villanova’s players exchanged high-fives, then lined up for handshakes with Michigan. That’s it. Another Elite Eight. Ho-hum. This is what winning looks like on the Main Line now. Those national championships in 2016 and ’18 normalized success to absurd levels.

Take Dwayne Anderson’s word for it. A member of the Cats’ 2009 Final Four team, the now-Nova assistant said 24 hours before Thursday’s matchup with Michigan: “It’s amazing watching them at the end of a game. You don’t know if we’re up or if we’re down.”

Brendan Quinn

Brendan Quinn·

Senior Writer, CBB

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The Michigan-beating, Elite Eight-making cyborgs of Villanova are a throwback to 2009

March 25, 2022 at 12:49 AM EDT

Hog heaven: Eric Musselman’s flawless game plan short-circuits Gonzaga

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years ago, Eric Musselman took the ride of his basketball life and never once enjoyed the view. His Nevada Wolf Pack rolled all the way to No. 5 in the country, parked in the top 25 for 17 weeks and rolled into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed. But Musselman pretty much Pepto-Bismoled his way through the whole thing, grumbling even after Nevada won a game that the margin of victory wasn’t big enough. He vowed not to do that to himself again, that the next time college basketball took him on a joy ride, he would actually embrace it.

Hence a Twitter feed that looks more like a March family vacation photo album, Musselman and his Arkansas team hanging out with the Buffalo Bills last weekend, and Steph Curry this week. The Razorbacks even went touring around San Francisco the other day, hopping a cable car to see the sights. It was proposed that this was a rather different approach, that most teams, especially when they get this deep in the NCAA Tournament, squire themselves on their hotel floor, seeing the light of day only from bus to arena and back. “If anybody thinks that they sit up here and say it’s a business trip and that they think they’re preparing more than us, watching more film than us or having a more intense practice session than us, then they’re fooling themselves,’’ Musselman responded.

Dana O'Neil

Dana O’Neil·

Senior Writer, CBB

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Hog heaven: Eric Musselman’s flawless game plan short-circuits Gonzaga

March 25, 2022 at 12:40 AM EDT

Houston fans roll deep

Brendan Quinn

Brendan Quinn·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 25, 2022 at 12:31 AM EDT

Five top-two seeds already out

Through half of the Sweet 16, here’s the carnage so far: No. 1 seeds Gonzaga, Arizona and Baylor are out. No. 2 seeds Kentucky and Auburn are toast. No. 3 seeds Tennessee, Texas Tech and Wisconsin are done.

This all ends with Coach K walking off with a sixth national title, doesn’t it?

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 25, 2022 at 12:25 AM EDT

Take a bow, Kelvin Sampson.

Final: Houston 72, Arizona 60. In the twilight of his career, the 66-year-old Sampson, once an outcast for (how cute now, right?) making too many phone calls (!!!), is headed to a second straight Elite Eight with Houston. The Cougars hadn’t been to one since 1984. So yeah, this dude can really coach ball.

Neither Jamal Shead (21 points, six assists, four rebounds) nor Kyler Edwards (19 points, five rebounds, three assists) were major factors on Houston’s Final Four team last season. Edwards wasn’t even on the roster. Sampson found new stars and did it again. His team just led No. 1-seed Arizona for 39 minutes and completely wrecked the Wildcats’ potent offense. Wow.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 25, 2022 at 12:15 AM EDT

Duke took a helluva punch, but dances on

That was a dazzling half of basketball by the Blue Devils. After trailing by as many as eight in the first half and facing the No. 1 defense in the country, Duke shot 70.8 percent in the second half. The Devils hit eight consecutive shots to end the game and extend Mike Krzyzewski’s career on the 32nd anniversary of the Christian Laettner shot against Kentucky. Up next: Not the rematch with No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga we expected, rather an Elite Eight date with Arkansas.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 25, 2022 at 12:10 AM EDT

Adonis Arms, clutch

Arms cut the deficit to two.

Duke leads 75-73 with 12.9 seconds remaining.

Hunter Patterson

Hunter Patterson

March 25, 2022 at 12:09 AM EDT

Buckle up, Coach K

Duke has led by five twice in the final 30 seconds, but an Adonis Arms dunk and 3-pointer in quick-strike fashion have it down to 75-73 for Texas Tech with 13.2 ticks remaining. Whew, hold onto your butts!

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 25, 2022 at 12:01 AM EDT

Chet? Jabari? They forgot about Paolo.

Paolo Banchero reminding us that he’s a pretty, pretty, pretty damn good freshman too. He’s got 21 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals tonight. Duke is finally pulling away. Banchero has been a force of nature in the second half.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 24, 2022 at 11:59 PM EDT

Duke continues to fight

The Blue Devils are leaving it all on the line for Coach K.

Hunter Patterson

Hunter Patterson

March 24, 2022 at 11:58 PM EDT

Instant classic, anybody?

Duke 69, Texas Tech 68, 2:54 to go. We have a first-year head coach trying to ruin Coach K’s final season. There have been 17 ties or lead changes over the last 10 minutes. Anyone object to, like, five overtimes?

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 24, 2022 at 11:55 PM EDT

Houston’s defense is dismantling Arizona

The No. 1-seeded Wildcats led the Pac-12 in scoring at 86 points per game. They rank seventh nationally in offensive efficiency and eighth in effective field-goal percentage. So it’s astounding, then, what the Cougars are doing on defense tonight.

With nine minutes to go, Houston leads 54-44 and has held Arizona to 32.4 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats have as many turnovers (9) as assists and are averaging less than a point per possession. The Cougars have led for every single minute of this game.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 24, 2022 at 11:54 PM EDT

Mark Williams, cleared for takeoff

Banchero bullied his way into the lane, dished it off and Williams took care of the rest.

Duke leads 66-65 with 3:29 remaining.

Hunter Patterson

Hunter Patterson

March 24, 2022 at 11:39 PM EDT

Arizona chipping away

The Wildcats came out of halftime on a 7-3 run to trim the deficit to just two. Houston leads 37-35 on a balanced approach. Each Cougars player to log minutes is on the scoreboard, but no one is in double-figures just yet.

Christian Koloko is the lone double-figure scorer in the game with just 10 points.

15:55 remains in the second half.

Hunter Patterson

Hunter Patterson

March 24, 2022 at 11:35 PM EDT

How’s that transfer portal treating you?

Can you really build a contender with transfers? And especially mid-major transfers? There’s a lot of debate on that, but Texas Tech and Arkansas sure think so. Take a look at the Razorbacks and Red Raiders’ top guys (by minutes played) and where they came from.

Texas Tech

  1. Kevin Obanor (Oral Roberts)
  2. Adonis Arms (Winthrop)
  3. Bryson Williams (UTEP)
  4. Davion Warren (Hampton)

7. Marcus Santos-Silva (VCU)

Arkansas

  1. JD Notae (Jacksonville)

3. Au’Diese Toney (Pitt)

4. Stanley Umude (South Dakota)

6. Chris Lykes (Miami)

7. Trey Wade (Wichita State)

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 24, 2022 at 11:32 PM EDT

Here comes Duke

Down as many as eight points, the Blue Devils have come roaring back with a 7-1 run for the 49-47 lead with 11:33 to go against Texas Tech. Duke has made 9 of 14 shots since the final seconds of the first half and, after switching to a zone defense, forced five straight misses by the Red Raiders. Coach K’s guys are fighting for him, to keep his career and the dream of a storybook ending alive.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 24, 2022 at 11:05 PM EDT

Kelvin Sampson is unreal, man.

Lost four of his top five guys from a Final Four team (at Houston, mind you, the Cougars’ first Final Four in 37 years). Wrecked by injuries this season. And yet, here they are again. Ken Pomeroy’s No. 2 team in the country, 31-5 record, up 34-28 on No. 1 seed Arizona at halftime.

This is a top-10 defense delivering a masterclass on that end against the Wildcats, who shot just 26.9 percent in the half with as many turnovers (6) as assists. Sampson just plugs in a guy like Jamal Shead, who averaged 3.3 points and 1.5 assists last season, and he averages 9.8 and 5.9 this year. It’s ridiculously impressive.

Kyle Tucker

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

March 24, 2022 at 11:04 PM EDT

Collin Gillespie update

Brendan Quinn

Brendan Quinn·

Senior Writer
, CBB

March 24, 2022 at 11:00 PM EDT

Texas Tech 33, Duke 29 (half)

Paolo Banchero leads all scorers with 11 points, but the Blue Devils find themselves down four at the break. It’s been another rough shooting night for both teams. The Red Raiders and Blue Devils are a combined 5-of-20 from 3-point range.

Hunter Patterson

Hunter Patterson

By Harriet