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2022 Sweet Sixteen: Freaky Friday

Texas Tech v Duke
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 24: Cheerleaders of the Duke Blue Devils perform during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Chase Center on March 24, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Okay freaky is an overstatement. But what a night of basketball.

First the obvious: with two teams (so far) in the Elite Eight, Planet Basketball owes the ACC an apology.

The annual infatuation with the over-rated Big Ten, followed by a flameout, has occurred and concluded. Michigan fell on Thursday and Purdue fell to a more determined bunch of Peacocks from Saint Peter’s.

Big Ten? Gone.

PAC-12? Gone.

Big 12? One. The usual suspect.

SEC? One.

ACC? Try three.

We said all year it was a really competitive league even if it was supposedly down. The play of Duke, UNC and Miami tell the true tale.

But who is playing better than Saint Peter’s? That team has knocked out a #2, an outstanding #7 and now #3 Purdue.

Everyone wondered if they could play with the real (as opposed to, say, Kentucky) power teams how would they do?

Well now we know. And if they can take out Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue, they can probably take out UNC too, or anyone else they may play.

If you think about it, they may remind you a lot of 2010 Butler.

The Heels showed a lot of toughness to take down UCLA. You have to to beat that team. Mick Cronin has quickly built a very strong culture in Westwood. We’ve said before that Caleb Love has a clutch gene. He showed it again Friday.

UNC will prove a tough order for Saint Peter’s but no one will underestimate them again.

Miami rolled again, handling Iowa State with relative ease and setting up a meeting with Kansas. A lot of KU fans might think it’s an easy win but Miami is so quick and so good. They have improved in March as much as anyone. They’re just crushing teams right now and playing beautiful basketball. Seriously. It’s pretty what they’re doing. Miami’s offense, right now, is more fun to watch than anyone else’s.

When you look at the games now, you see one quality above all: toughness. Tomorrow we’ll see Houston and Villanova play followed by Duke and Arkansas. On Sunday it’s Miami and Kansas and then UNC and Saint Peter’s.

No matter who emerges, those are all gauntlets. Saturday and Sunday should be incredible basketball.