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The 2024 Elite Eight Is Set And We’ll Know Half Of The Final Four Saturday Night

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-Duke vs Houston
Mar 29, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Jared McCain (0) celebrates after defeating the Houston Cougars in the semifinals of the South Regional of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at American Airlines Center.  | Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Getting down to brass tacks now

It’s going to take awhile to decompress from Duke’s intense win over Houston. Nothing but respect for the Cougars. That’s one tough, gutty team. They had an insane amount to overcome with all their injuries, and then one to Jamal Shead, but they never quit. That might be the most competitive team in the field. It’s unfortunate how things worked out for them this year, but it happens sometimes. Just the luck of the draw.

Duke plays a red hot NC State team and if you remember, they were not expected to beat Shaka Smart’s Marquette.

They smoked them, leading from wire to wire. Marquette did hold DJ Burns to four points but he had seven assists. DJ Horne and Casey Morsell had 19 and 15 for the Pack.

Mohamed Diarra had another monstrous rebounding game with 15.

State has now won eight games since the end of the season, including the 74-69 win in the ACC Tournament.

Since then they’ve beaten #6 seed Texas Tech (80-67), #14 Oakland (79-73 in overtime) and #2 seed Marquette (67-58).

They came into the ACC Tournament 17-14 and are now 23-14. That’s pretty freaking impressive.

So was Purdue.

We thought that Gonzaga might be able to run past them and it more or less worked for the first half, but Zach Edey got them in the second. The big guy finished with 27 points, hitting 10-15 and 14 rebounds. He was just too much and Purdue outshot the Zags 9-6 from the bonusphere.

It was a very impressive performance by the Boilermakers.

They’ll see Tennessee on Sunday after the Volunteers dismissed Creighton 82-75. Tennessee went on a big run in the second half, going from a 39-39 tie game to a 57-42 lead. Creighton was game but that was a bridge too far.

Saturday will see UConn and Illinois play in the early game, followed by Clemson vs. Alabama in the nightcap.

UConn certainly appears to be the favorite to win again this year but Illinois is not bad. Clemson and Alabama is a rematch from earlier this season in a game that the Tigers won at Alabama.

It’s foolish to pick against UConn right now but the night cap?

We’ll go with Clemson again, largely because the Tigers are playing great defense.

Not good - great.

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