College Hoops

What to know about the Elite 8 teams

What to know about the Elite 8 teams

With no more UNC in the NCAA Tournament, I don’t blame you if you don’t want to watch any more games.

It’s weird watching arguably the most-followed postseason tournament across all sports, only to not see your favorite team in it.

North Carolina faltered down the stretch on Thursday, March 28, allowing Grant Nelson to take over and lead Alabama to an 89-87 upset win. RJ Davis shot 4-of-20 from the field, the Tar Heels’ defense played horribly and Jae’Lyn Withers took a questionable shot late – with UNC having a 1-point lead and plenty of time on the shot clock.

The Elite 8 is all set now: UConn-Illinois, Purdue-Tennessee, Alabama-Clemson and Duke-NC State.

You read that right – THREE ACC teams.

If you’re still interested in watching the Big Dance (I know I will be), but are wondering who to cheer for, we have a couple recommendations for you. Our top one – ANYONE BUT DUKE.

UConn, which is looking to be the first repeat champion since Florida in 2006-2007, has a super-deep, talented roster led by Tristen Newton, Donovan Clingen and Cam Spencer. I like the Huskies a lot, who’ve blown out their first three opponents by an average of 29 points.

Illinois has made fairly easy work of its opponents, but barely squeaked by 2-seed Iowa State (72-69) in the Sweet 16.

If you don’t know about Purdue, they have Zach Edey clogging the paint. Unlike last year, when the Boilermakers suffered complete embarrassment by becoming the second 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed, they have more pieces around Edey.

Tennessee is one of the most exciting offenses to watch, led by SEC Player of the Year Dalton Knecht. The Vols can beat you with their deep guard rotation, then kick it down low to Jonas Aidoo (who can also make threes).

I will not be cheering for Alabama, but the Crimson Tide advancing further would mean beating UNC is no joke. Alabama also has Mark Sears, Aaron Estrada and Rylan Griffen scoring in double-digits.

This Clemson team reminds me a LOT of last year’s UConn squad – started out the year hot, hit a rough patch, then playing its best basketball in the NCAA Tournament. If the Tigers don’t beat you down low with PJ Hall or Ian Schieffelin, they’ll make you pay from outside with Joe Girard or Chase Hunter.

I know I’m not supposed to cheer for NC State, but how can you not love DJ Burns? The big man is leading the Wolfpack’s torrid stretch of eight consecutive victories – which started in the ACC Tournament and included the…

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