The 2nd seeded Duke Blue Devils will take on the 1st seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the Elite Eight for the Midwest region on Sunday. Both teams are coming off impressive 4-point wins against good teams to earn their chance to play for a spot in the Final Four. Kansas defeated the 5th seeded Clemson Tigers by a score of 80 to 76. This game should not have been this close as Kansas had a 20 point lead with 12 minutes remaining. This is the third straight year the Jayhawks have made the Elite Eight and have lost in this round the prior two years. The Blue Devils hung on for a 69 to 65 victory over the 11the seeded Syracuse Orangemen. If Duke can advance coach Mike Krzyzewski would pass John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances ever by a coach with 13.

All five starters for Kansas scored at least 9 points against Clemson. They were lead by guard Malik Newman who had 17 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Devonte Graham also had a nice game with 16 points and 5 rebounds. They were outrebounded by the Tigers 39 to 38 and committed 13 turnovers but only forced 12. They shot 46 percent from the filed including 10 of 22 from behind the arc. They struggled from the free throw line making just 14 of their 22 attempts. Defensively, they had 4 steals and 5 blocks while limiting Clemson to 43 percent shooting including 6 of 20 from three point range. They committed 22 fouls resulting in 19 free throws.

Duke dominated the turnover battle against Syracuse and it made all the difference. They had 8 steals and 2 blocks on their way to forcing the Orangemen to commit 16 turnovers while only having 7 themselves. Syracuse shot well finishing with 49 percent but duke Defended the three well as they made just 4 of 13 attempts. Offensively, Marvin Bagley III led four Duke players in double digits with 22 to go along with 7 rebounds. The team did not shoot well finishing with a 39 percent shooting percentage including just 5 of 26 from behind the arc. They played aggressively however and made 20 of their 28 free throw attempts. The 69 points scored is 19 lower than their average in this tournament as they scored 89 and 87 points in the first two rounds.

Despite being the higher seed the Blue Devils are actually favored by 3 points in this game. Duke’s offense was ranked 8th in the nation this season with 84.4 points per game rand 12th in shooting percentage at 49.4. Kansas’s offense has also been clicking as they have scored at least 80 points in 5 of their past 6 games. The Jayhawks have only been underdogs 4 times this season and have gone 3-1 against the spread. With a win, Duke will earn its 17th trip to the Final Four in school history.

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