A few quick notes about the Elite Eight. First, Duke has played everyone left in the field except for Purdue and Michigan State and beaten everyone they’ve played except Gonzaga (that was a two point loss in November in Hawaii).
Second, Auburn, Kentucky and Texas Tech are really not the same teams at all. Against UNC, Auburn was incredibly loose, fast and willing to fire up threes with no fear whatsoever. The team we saw in Maui was much more restrained. No more.
As much as we admire what they did, without Chuma Okeke, we’re not sure they can beat Kentucky. The Wildcats showed huge resolve against Houston. That was not an easy team to put down. On the other hand, who’s more rested than Auburn? And it’s just one game.
That’s Sunday though.
As far as Saturday’s games go though, wow. What do you do with Gonzaga vs. Texas Tech? The Zags are legitimately great on offense but the Red Raiders no less so on defense. We love what Chris Beard has done and it won’t surprise us if they win, but we’ll have to stick with the Zags here. They’re a very, very gifted offensive team.
And as far as Purdue-Virginia, goes, let’s talk Auburn.
Stick with us here.
Auburn had a freak performance against UNC. It was almost like that legendary Dennis Scott play back in the ‘90s when Georgia Tech was on the break vs. LSU and rather than go for an open layup he stopped and stepped back for a three. That’s where Auburn was last night.
Unfortunately you don’t generally stay at a level like that for long. They’ll have to slog it out against Kentucky and UK has scores to settle with that team.
Which leads us back to Virginia and a startling stat: Kyle Guy is 3-26 from three point range in the NCAA tournament - 11.5 percent.
We say that changes tonight against Purdue. Guy is too good a shooter to not break out of this slump and he’s too much a gamer to stay in a slump with the Final Four on the line.
Consider also that he’s from Indianapolis and probably looking forward to playing the Boilermakers.
So reversing our principle that you don't generally get two bad games in a row, we’ll take Virginia in the nightcap, at least partly because we expect to see Guy go off.