Here's what you need to know in college hoops for Friday, March 10. Get Morning Madness delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.
Oh man. The weekend is practically here. And with it ... well, with it comes one of the best Sundays of the year. Until then, we'll have to settle for:
UNC-Duke: the rubber match
Because the college basketball gods are feeling generous, tonight we are blessed with the third UNC-Duke matchup in just over a month. The No. 6 Tar Heels — the top seed in the ACC tournament — evicerated Miami in their quarterfinal matchup 78-53, while No. 14 Duke made an impressive comeback to take down No. 10 Louisville 81-77. The win was Mike Krzyzewski's 59th ACC tournament victory, breaking the tie for first place with Dean Smith.
After the Tobacco Road rivals split their regular season matchups, they meet again in the ACC semifinals, the first conference tournament matchup for the two squads since the 2011 championship, which the Blue Devils won. The ceiling truly is the roof for this showdown. You don't want to miss this matchup (7 ET, ESPN).
Speaking of missing matchups
You probably figured there was no need to tune in for Kansas' first game in the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday night. After all, the Jayhawks had lost their first appearance in the conference tourney only once. And they are the No. 1 team in the nation. And they do have Frank Mason III, the Big 12 Player of the Year, averaging 20.5 points a game. And it was against No. 9 TCU.
Fun bit of trivia for you (unless you're a Kansas fan): In the last 25 years, no team has lost in its conference tournament quarterfinal and won the national championship.
How much do conference tournaments matter?
For a decent amount of schools, winning a conference championship is the only way to earn a ticket to the Big Dance. For others, it's a chance to pick up momentum heading into a guaranteed spot in the NCAA tournament.
But is what a team does in its conference tournament a good indicator of what will happen in the NCAA tournament? We looked at how the last 25 national champions fared in their conference tournaments to find out.
Behind the scenes of an emotional two days for Michigan
What the basketball coach for Michigan remembered 24 hours later, thinking back on the terrifying moment his team had to flee a shattered jet, was the noise of the escape.
“The engine is still running, there’s gas fumes coming in on everybody,” John Beilein was saying Thursday. “When the engine finally shut down, there was a big pop. I said, 'Oh, my goodness.’ But everybody was away from the plane. We were good.”
A whole region with no upsets?
In the very first 64-team NCAA tournament in 1985, the East region had absolutely zero upsets.Every lower-seeded team won its matchup, and No. 1 seed Georgetown beat No. 2 seed Georgia Tech to head to the Final Four. That has never happened since. In the 127 other regions that have come and gone since the 1985 East, none has gone without an upset. Use that knowledge wisely when you fill out your bracket in our Bracket Challenge Game.
Mark your calendar
Selection Sunday: March 12
First Four in Dayton: March 14, 15
First Thursday of the NCAA tournament: March 16
Final Four in Phoenix: April 1-3