NCAA Tournament: Preview & Predictions For Saturday's Elite 8 Games

Mar 26, 2017, 00:35

Two of the best offenses in college basketball will go head-to-head with the last Final Four spot on the line.

Instead, Kansas has found a new way to win: By overwhelming opponents, then annihilating them. However, it hasn't been as easy as those numbers indicate.

OR reached the Elite Eight by narrowly escaping a fiesty MI squad, after a close contest with Rhode Island and a dominant win over Iona in the first-round. For a third straight game, the Jayhawks got off to a relatively slow start before using late first-half spurt to gain separation. It took a heart-stopping final few minutes to put away Rhode Island last weekend, and a missed 3-pointer by MI at the buzzer to survive Thursday night. That is when Kansas pulled away. The Badgers proved the selection committee it was better than a No. 8 seed - something that ended up being a bigger problem for Villanova than it was for Wisconsin, obviously - with the two veterans of those back-to-back Final Four runs, Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig, powering the upset.

Malik Monk scored 47 points in the Wildcats' 103-100 win over the Tar Heels three months ago.

MI is a 1-point favorite tonight as it faces the No. 3 seeded Oregon Ducks.

OR forward Dillon Brooks celebrates at the end of a regional semifinal against MI in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Thursday, March 23, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo.

We've been there as OR has practiced this week and have seen their athleticism firsthand. Fellow junior Jordan Bell said Brooks also is no longer too hard on freshmen players when they make a mistake. The Ducks are 4-3 against teams ranked in the RPI top-25 beating Arizona and UCLA once apiece.

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Dorsey, a high-prized recruit out of Los Angeles in the 2015 class, was sought after by Self and took an official visit to Kansas before ultimately deciding on the Ducks. The 6-4 guard poured in 20 points, including the go-ahead layup with 1:08 left, in the win over MI. "Mr. March" has now scored 20-plus points in a career-best six straight games...

Caleb Swanigan had 18 points and seven boards for the Boilermakers (27-8), but the 6-foot-9, 250-pound All-America candidate had to work for all of it. Last year, the second-seeded Terps were upset by Washington in the second round of the tournament.

Mason III is the catalyst for the Jayhawks. Guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored four early points capitalized with a great steal to cut the lead to 8, and Maryland's press forced OR into turning the ball over. Five minutes into the second half, Ryan Cline's 3-pointer pulled Purdue within 58-54.

Dorsey-Mason is not the only key matchup for the Ducks. But whoever gets the best of the other when Brooks and Jackson battle, that'll decide the victor.

Only three games in the Sweet Sixteen feature Big Ten teams, but you probably want picks from the other five, right?

In Kansas' overpowering Sweet 16 performance, their three leading scorers combined for 67 (68.4%) of their team's 98 points on 56.4% shooting from the floor. He also contributed, two assists, four steals, and a blocked shot.

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