The Latest: Auburn’s Okeke has torn ACL, will have surgery
The Latest on the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
Auburn forward Chuma Okeke will miss the remainder of the NCAA Tournament after tearing the ACL in his left knee late in the fifth-seeded Tigers’ regional semifinal victory over North Carolina.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore had already scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds when his knee buckled on the way to the basket Friday night. Okeke immediately grabbed it and rolled around on the floor, and his team and several Tar Heels players gathered around him.
Tigers coach Bruce Pearl said Okeke will have surgery Tuesday.
Auburn torched the Tar Heels with 17 3-pointers in its 97-80 semifinal victory. Now, the Tigers face second-seeded Kentucky on Sunday for a spot in their first Final Four.
Freshman forward Cam Reddish will be a game-time decision for Duke’s Elite Eight NCAA Tournament game Sunday against Michigan State because of a knee injury.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski updated Reddish’s status Saturday before the Blue Devils’ practice, saying there was no structural damage. Reddish was a late scratch for the Sweet 16 victory against Virginia Tech.
Reddish said his left knee has been bothering him for some time and that he tweaked it before the game. Reddish said he considers himself hour to hour as he gets treatment for the injury.
Top-seeded Duke beat Virginia Tech without Reddish thanks in large part to Alex O’Connell filling his spot. Reddish is Duke’s third-leading scorer behind stars RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, averaging 13.6 points this season.
Strength on strength will determine the first two spots in the Final Four on Saturday night.
Gonzaga and the best offense in Division I will face Texas Tech and the nation’s best defense in the West regional final.
The South Region will have a similar vibe with high-scoring guard Carsen Edwards and Purdue playing Virginia and its stingy defense.
No. 1 seed Gonzaga (33-3) whips the ball around, five players often touching the ball in a matter of seconds to set up the best shot possible. They have the most efficient offense, according to KenPom.com.
Texas Tech (29-6) turned its Sweet 16 game against Michigan into a stomping. Texas Tech closed up the middle, contested jumpers and turned away nearly everything the Wolverines attempted at the rim.
In the South, top-seeded Virginia has made its calling card defense under coach Tony Bennett.
Virginia has yet to allow more 54 points in this NCAA Tournament.
Now Virginia has the challenge of guarding Edwards. The junior guard averages 23.8 points per game despite constant attention from opposing defenses. He and can be nearly unstoppable when he gets hot.
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