NCAA Latest: Duke gets Va Tech again, this time with Zion
The Latest on the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
Duke is facing a familiar foe in the Sweet 16 — one of the only four teams to win against the Blue Devils this year.
Five days after escaping Central Florida and 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall, the Blue Devils play fellow ACC team Virginia Tech on Friday.
The Hokies have won a game against the Blue Devils in each of the past three seasons. They know what to expect and will not be intimidated by the bracket’s No. 1 overall seed.
Virginia Tech point guard Justin Robinson says it’s just another game for his team, and they’ll be ready for whatever comes toward the end.
Robinson didn’t play in the teams’ lone meeting this season. Neither did Duke’s flying freshman Zion Williamson. R.J. Barrett played sick.
The Hokies won the Feb. 26 game in Blacksburg 77-72 after Ty Outlaw hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with less than two minutes left.
The NCAA Tournament had a superb point guard duel in the opening round between Murray State’s Ja Morant and Marquette’s Markus Howard.
Another one comes Friday in the East Region, when LSU’s Tremont Waters squares off against Michigan State’s Cassius Winston City.
Winston was the Big Ten player of the year, averages 18.9 points per game and was third nationally with 7.5 assists.
Waters was the SEC co-defensive player of the year after finishing third nationally with 2.97 steals per game. He averages 15 points and 5.9 assists per game. He also hit the winning shot with 1.6 seconds left to lift the Tigers over Maryland in their NCAA opener.
Winston says the teams play to go against the best, but he can’t get caught up in an individual matchup.
Friday’s South Region game between top-seeded North Carolina and No. 5 Auburn should be the polar opposite of the low-scoring games Thursday night.
The Tar Heels (29-6) and Tigers (28-9) like to play fast. As in look away from your TV and you might miss a basket — or three.
North Carolina averages 14.6 seconds per offensive position, fifth-fewest nationally, and is third in Division I with 86 points per game.
Fast and effective.
Auburn has hit the fourth-most 3-pointers in Division I history with 421 and uses its pressure defense to create waves of baskets in transition. Kansas found out the hard way how quickly the Tigers can get rolling, falling behind 17 points before the first half was halfway over.
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