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Top players from the Elite 8 teams — March Madness

Clemson lost to Kansas, 80-76, in the NCAA Tournament Friday night, but the Tigers made a brilliant rally in a Sweet 16 game, and senior Gabe DeVoe had a memorable game on a big stage.

Down 40-27 at half and by 20 points in the second half, Clemson battled back and was down just 74-68 after its full-court press produced a turnover and a dunk by Shelton Mitchell with 2:27 left.

"We didn't have our best game". I think we'll be as loose as we can be and still you've got to make shots.

The operative cliché here is that Kansas survived and advanced. Matt Norlander and I spent this entire episode of the Eye On College Basketball Podcast discussing what just happened and what's to come.

Kansas faced Penn and Seton Hall in the first two rounds, the latter game of which was won by only four points.

Kansas secured a victory against Clemson on Friday, winning by 4 points, 80-76. Graham is now averaging 17.4 points per game along with 4.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

Even before that, there was the injury-plagued freshman year at Mississippi State, the entering and pulling out of the National Basketball Association draft and finally the transfer to Kansas.

Final, South Regional, Atlanta, today, approximately 6:09 p.m.

"In an unforgettable NCAA tournament that has delivered unprecedented upsets (UMBC stole our hearts) and unbelievable last-shot drama (Loyola-Chicago has kept them beating), we finally have a main event", Trotter wrote.

Although Friday's final five minutes saw a once-comfortable double-digit lead disappear faster than free tickets to Allen Fieldhouse, the Jayhawks, as they seemingly have done for most of the season, found a way to hold it together, refusing to let their razor-thin margin for error do them in. "Just his presence alone", Graham said of Azubuike, "you can't duplicate it". In five of the seven defeats, he was coaching the No. 1 seed. When we're able to throw it in and the defense collapses on him, he is able to kick it out and find an open shooter. "I just told the guys in the locker room. this year, we've got to get over the hump", said senior Devonte' Graham, who had 16 points. "It just goes against the grain from the teams that we've had in the past, but these guys have figured it out". Kansas ranks fifth in the country in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted offensive efficiency in large part because of the ease with which it generates points from beyond the three-point arc.

In total, that trio combined to shoot 238-of-566 on three-pointers: 42 percent.

Sophomore guard Malik Newman, who scored 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, agreed that having Azubuike healthy makes all the difference for KU's offense. It doesn't have enough proven contributors behind him to advance deep in this tourney if he's not.

Freshman Silvio De Sousa contributed nine points and six rebounds in 13 minutes in relief of Azubuike. Lightfoot is best suited as a reserve with a limited workload.

But once the clock ticked down inside the one-minute mark, Gary Trent Jr. gave Duke some separation with a needed floater, the team's last field goal of the game. At multiple points this season, Kansas looked dangerously close to snapping the conference championship streak that has become synonymous with his glorious run in Lawrence. The Jayhawks were not considered a threat to win the title this season, but like so many other teams still dancing, here they are. "It is special", Graham said.


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