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Big 12 MBB Elite Eight Preview

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-North Carolina vs Notre Dame Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

#9 Kansas State vs. #11 Loyola Chicago

Saturday, March 24th 5:09 PM CT, TBS

Definitely the most improbable of the Elite Eight match ups, either 9 seed Kansas State (25-11) or 11 seed Loyola Chicago (31-5) will be heading to the final four. Loyola defeated 6 seed Miami, 3 seed Tennessee, and 7 seed Nevada to reach this point and all of these games have been decided by absolutely clutch late game shots by Loyola. Kansas State beat eight seed Creighton, 16 seed UMBC, and 5 seed Kentucky to make it to this game. They showed a lot of resilience, beating Kentucky with multiple players fouled out and star Dean Wade benched due to injury for the second half. With his status still questionable, this game could see a lot of small ball from both teams. Both have been great and its hard to pick a winner at this point, but Kansas State was able to take out a better opponent in Kentucky than Loyola has, even with injuries and foul trouble, so I’ll take the Wildcats.

73-72 Kansas State.

#3 Texas Tech vs. #1 Villanova

Sunday, March 25th 1:20 PM CT, CBS

3 seed Texas Tech (27-9) is running headlong into the best team left in the field, 1 seed Villanova (33-4). The Red Raiders beat 14 seed SFA, 6 seed Florida, and dominated 2 seed Purdue (who was missing their star player). Villanova hasn’t had a game closer than 12 points, with dominating wins over 16 seed Radford, 9 seed Alabama, and 5 seed West Virginia. Villanova’s offense has been unstoppable, and if West Virginia couldn’t slow them down I’m not convinced Texas Tech will either. The Red Raiders also don’t have nearly as much offensive fire power to keep up.

84-76 Villanova.

#1 Kansas vs. #2 Duke

Sunday, March 25th 4:05 PM CT, CBS

A clash of blue-bloods as 1 seed Kansas (30-7) takes on 2 seed Duke (29-7) for a spot in the Final Four. Kansas beat 16 seed Penn, 8 seed Seton Hall, and 5 seed Clemson with the last two games ending in a close final score that wasn’t as close as it appears. Duke took out 15 seed Iona, 7 seed Rhode Island, and 11 seed Syracuse, with the last game being the closest of the bunch. Both are really great teams, with some flaws that get covered up by most opponents. Ultimately, I think guard play will decide this one, with Duke’s Marvin Bagley III slightly edging Kansas’ Devonte Graham in my mind.

78-77 Duke.