basketball-men-d1 flag

Joe Boozell | | March 31, 2019

Elite Eight results: Instant analysis from Auburn's OT win, Michigan State's takedown of Duke to set up Final Four

See Auburn and Michigan State earn their way to the Final Four

Texas Tech, Virginia, Auburn and Michigan State are headed to the Final Four.

Here are instant reactions from the two Sunday games, where Kentucky and Duke each went home.

THE BRACKET: Print the official 2019 March Madness bracket

Auburn 77, Kentucky 71 (OT)

Say it with us: guards and defense. Guards and defense. Auburn has a phenomenal backcourt and a hungry, aggressive defensive scheme. Both were on display in the Tigers' overtime win over Kentucky.

Jared Harper and Bryce Brown combined for 50 points on Sunday afternoon. Harper went 11-for-11 from the free-throw line, and his speed just continues to be a game-changer for Auburn. Ashton Hagans couldn't stay in front of Harper, and spoiler alert: no one can. Hagans is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country. Harper gave North Carolina similar trouble.

Watch the ending of Auburn vs Kentucky

Auburn also forced 14 Kentucky turnovers, which is pretty standard for the Tigers. They force turnovers on almost 25 percent of opponents' possessions, which leads the country. It has to be so fun to play for Auburn, by the way. Fast pace, a ton of 3s, offensive freedom, and aggressive defense. These guys are a blast to watch.

Kentucky just didn't have much going for it besides P.J. Washington and his 28 points. The Wildcats' guards simply weren't as dynamic as the Tigers' guards, and that was the difference in the game.

Michigan State 68, Duke 67

Michigan State takes down Duke, 68-67 to advance to Final Four

It's safe to say this one lived up to the hype.

Zion Williamson went for 24, 14 and three blocks, but Xavier Tillman and the Spartans actually did a nice job of containing him. Turnovers were the difference in this one. Duke committed 17 while Michigan State only coughed it up seven times.

The Spartans just don't screw up very often in general. That's not sexy, but it's an underrated trait in a basketball team. Michigan State makes the right pass almost every time, is on point with its defensive rotations, and knows when to switch and when to fight through screens.

The point guard position was also a huge difference here. Cassius Winston went for 20 points and 10 assists, while Tre Jones was essentially a non-factor. Tillman, who we mentioned earlier, was awesome. He scored 19 points and grabbed nine boards while guarding Williamson most of the afternoon.

BRACKETS: Check your bracket picks now

He certainly didn't shut Williamson down, but he provided enough resistance that Michigan State didn't have to send constant double and triple teams to help him. That's part of the reason Duke's supporting cast struggled.

What a coaching job Tom Izzo has done this season.

2023 SEC Championship Game: Date, time, history

Here's the quick guide to the 2023 SEC Championship Game, which will have the SEC East and SEC West champions face off.

9 historic football powers still waiting for their first CFP bid

Only 14 teams have ever qualified for the College Football Playoff. Mike Lopresti takes a look at nine traditional football powers still waiting on their first playoff appearance.

Ranking the top college cross country performances after one month

We're just one month into the DI cross country season and we've already seen some of the nation's best runners put on a show. Let's rank the top performances so far, for both the men and women.

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners