2020 NCAA Tournament Sim: East Region, Elite 8
There is plenty on the line for the remaining for four teams in the East Region, mostly a trip to Atlanta.
The East region is complete and we have our regional champion.
The Sweet Sixteen is in the books of our NCAA Tournament simulation and in the East Region we were provided with a fan favorite this season in the Dayton Flyers the number one seed in the region, going up against a blue chip juggernaut in the Duke Blue Devils. Both vying for a trip down south to Atlanta, Georgia and a Final Four appearance.
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.
New York, NY–This one was a ratings booster as fans all around the country tuned in to watch an overtime thriller featuring the Flyers and Blue Devils in Madison Square Garden.
The game was hard-fought by both sides, as Duke took the lead going into half-time 43-36. But a half-time speech by Dayton head coach Anthony Grant fired the Flyers up as they retook the lead in the second half, outscoring Duke 43-36 to ultimately send this one into overtime.
A match up everyone was on the lookout for was in the post, as two potential future lottery picks in sophomore Obi Toppin and freshman Vernon Carey Jr. battled it out. On paper this battle was won by Carey Jr. junior who used a slight size advantage effectively all night, ending the game with 23 points, 13 rebounds and one block. But games are won by teams not individual players and Dayton outplayed Duke in overtime, outscoring them 14-9 to seal the victory.
It was a team effort by the Flyers who had four starters score 18-points or more on the night. Including two double-doubles, one by junior guard Jalen Crutcher who finished with 18-points and 11 assists. And the other by senior guard Trey Landers who finished the night with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Ultimately taking advantage of continuous Toppin double-teams to scoop up offensive boards and make second-chance baskets.
The Flyers advance to their first Final Four appearance since 1967 when Dayton beat North Carolina 76-62 to advance to the national champion. They would lose 64-79 to a legendary UCLA Bruins team that featured one of the best coaches to ever coach the game in John Wooden and one of the best to ever play the game Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.