2020 NCAA Tournament Sim: East Region, Sweet Sixteen
There is plenty on the line for the remaining for four teams in the East Region, mostly an Elite Eight appearance.
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The Elite Eight waits for two teams as four battle it out in New York City.
The second round is in the books of our NCAA Tournament simulation and in the East Region, we have our four teams playing in New York City in the Sweet Sixteen.
As a reminder, we are simulating these games over at What If Sports and are doing just like the NCAA Tournament, one loss and you’re out.
Final Score: No. 1 Dayton 102, No. 5 Auburn 77
New York, NY–Obi Toppin was named an AP first team All-American this past week, and rightfully so. The high flying sophomore has helped lead the Dayton Flyers to one of their greatest seasons in program history, but he’s not alone. And as most would tell you, success in the big dance doesn’t come from just one guy scoring the basketball.
Toppin had an amazing performance last round against Colorado as he finished with 26 points and 12 rebounds. But that has been his only standout game as the Flyers took on the Auburn Tigers, it was the team’s second leading scorer guard Jalen Crutcher who sent Bruce Pearl and company home early with 32 points on 11-16 shooting from the field.
The Tigers looked to double-team the sophomore sensation all night and though a fifteen-point performance is nothing to ignore, it was an effective strategy. The one thing Auburn forgot was that basketball is a team sport and you don’t receive a No. 1 seed or top-five ranking nationally for having just one good player.
Big performances for Crutcher and fellow junior guard and former Michigan Wolverine Ibi Watson (18 points and 5 rebounds) was the dagger in Auburn’s tournament run. And as the Flyers advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since the 2013-2014 season where they fell 52-62 to the Florida Gators who went all the way to the Final Four that year. It will truly take a team effort to get past a hot handed Duke Blue Devil’s team who looks as in sync as they have all season. It shouldn’t be too tough if they can knock down fifteen three pointers again and shoot 61% from the field, just saying.
Final Score: No. 3 Duke 99, No. 10 Arizona State 89
New York, NY–If there is one lesson teams have learned on a consistent basis playing basketball in March, it is that everything comes to an end. It’s a little tougher when you gain some momentum and knock off two teams in less than five days. It’s apart of March Madness and though the Sun Devil’s looked like this region’s Cinderella the Blue Devil’s (no relation) come out on top in this one with a ten-point win and some confidence heading into the Elite Eight.
Duke is playing their best basketball of the season and received double-digit scoring from six different players but were led by a double-double from freshman post Vernon Carey with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Carey dominated on both ends in the paint also chipping in 3 blocks and a steal.
Arizona State once again played through leader Remy Martin who led the way with 23 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. And even though they kept it close with only a two-point deficit going into halftime, their efforts in the second half weren’t enough. As an offensive run to start the second half by the Blue Devils gave them just enough cushion to hold off later Arizona State advances to seal the win.
Duke advances on, and unlike their next opponents the Dayton Flyers this isn’t exactly new to them. It’s not new to Dayton either as they have enjoyed several deep tournament runs in their history, two Elite Eight appearances in the last forty years and even more success prior. But to have come this far as a mid-major team there is still plenty to celebrate, but will the Blue Devil’s let them?