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Four takeaways from Sweet Sixteen games on Friday

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Best Photos of the NCAA Tournament

Best Photos of the NCAA Tournament


Classics in NCAA tournament’s second week due us with two rounds of unexciting games held last weekend.

However, we saw championship on Friday contender lose besides two close games in addition to highlight plays of Zion Williamson.

CBS Sports on Twitter

Grant Hill was doing Zion dunks before Zion was even born https://t.co/sUR8MbGjpg

The nature of early rounds set up fabulous showdowns in Sweet Sixteen with stunning games that create ripple effects which will be felt until crowning a champion in April.

  • Defense has been king

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The best defensive teams in America have risen to occasion with games slowing in crunch time down this March.

It attracts finding a commonality with complete Elite Eight between those remaining.

Eight teams are great defensive units.

Six of eight remaining teams per KenPom rank in top twelve in defensive efficiency.

Purdue ranked 28th. Auburn remains at 43rd in nation.

However, it doesn’t mean every game will be a rock fight in tournament like Texas Tech & Michigan played on Thursday.

Duke, Gonzaga & Auburn will attack at a fast pace. Kentucky & Virginia take things slower.

Defensive end will decide result regardless possessions happen in each game.

  • Duke survives again

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Virginia Tech suffered the same fate five days after UCF missed two shots barely a trim to defeat Duke.

On final possession of Hokies, a beautiful baseline out-of-bounds drew by Buzz Williams up play leading to a lob pass to Ahmed Hill.

CBS Sports on Twitter

DUKE SURVIVES AT THE BUZZER AGAIN! https://t.co/253jPlS1Vo

Hill misfired on alley-oop layup as final second of regulation ticked away that have extended game into overtime.

Blue Devils faces Michigan State again two razor-thin victories.

Michigan & Tom Izzo will have a leg-up on Final Four bid of East Region if Duke plays with the same performance on Sunday.

  • Auburn moves on without Chuma Okeke

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The winning of Auburn was accompanied with an injury scare like Michigan State.

Chuma Okeke scored 20 points besides grabbing 11 rebounds midway by second half.

The foot of Okeke slipped & his knee buckled on a drive to rim. North Carolina players helped Okeke off court.

Bruce Pearl was discussing injury Okeke after the game indicating seriousness of  the matter.

gifdsports on Twitter

Bruce Pearl tears up and gets emotional when talking about Chuma Okeke’s injury. Heartbreaking. https://t.co/90uVR7xlpe

Plenty of hurdles barriers way of Auburn despite tough test of North Carolina.

Without Okeke, advancing will be a challenge as he provided a perfect mix of outside & inside scoring in high-speed offense of Bruce Pearl.

  • Injury of Nick Ward is something to watch

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Nick Ward was missed in paint when junior center broke his hand. Nick missed five games before returning for limited minutes in NCAA & Big Ten Tournaments.

Ward health is key to title hopes of Michigan State.

Nick had X-rays that confirmed the absence of any additional injury. Officials of Michigan State declared that left hand of Ward had been hurt indeed. However, had not re-broken same bone.

Nick ’d bruised a different part of his hand which was good news for fans of Sparta yet it will hamper Nick moving forward.

X-rays negative after Nick Ward suffers latest hand injury

Michigan State big man Nick Ward suffered another hand injury during Friday night’s Sweet 16 game against LSU. Michigan State was cruising against the Tigers in their East Regional semifinal game. Ward had four points, five rebounds and three blocked shots before getting hurt with around seven mi

 

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