Jalen Brunson and Jevon Carter are gonna burn it down.
Villanova 22, West Virginia 20, 10:30 1H:
The Wildcats are breaking the WVU press, but are having trouble finishing at the rim. Things are close for now.
Kansas 31, Clemson 22, 3:43 1H:
Devonte’ Graham is here!
Kansas 25, Clemson 22, 7:00 1H
Kansas 11, Clemson 8, 13:12 1H
The first game of the night is here, and we are extremely here for Devonte’ Graham to Sviatoslav Mykhalliuk alley oops:
The best matchup of the Sweet 16 — and maybe even the entire 2018 NCAA tournament — takes place Friday night. That’s when Villanova and West Virginia go to war in a battle between the nation’s top point guards.
All-Americans Jalen Brunson and Jevon Carter will square off with a berth in the Elite Eight on the line. Brunson, the Wildcat dynamo, will attempt to keep his high-efficiency offense rolling against one of the nation’s best defenders in the Mountaineers’ Carter. West Virginia’s senior guard — the 2018 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year — has wrought havoc in this year’s tournament. Through two games, he’s got 11 steals.
Carter isn’t just a defensive whiz, however. He upped his scoring to a career-high 17.4 points per game this winter while adding 6.6 assists to power a 15th-ranked West Virginia squad. He lit up Murray State with 21 points in his NCAA tournament opener, then punished in-state rival Marshall with 29 more in a rout to push the Mountaineers to the Sweet 16.
He’ll need all that firepower to keep pace with Brunson. The Villanova junior was the Big East Player of the Year after scoring 19.4 points per game on a blazing 52.5 percent shooting. He’ll team up with Mikal Bridges to give the bracket arguably its most potent 1-2 scoring punch.
West Virginia-Villanova isn’t the only game worth your attention Friday night. Syracuse will fight to drag Duke into the muck with it in a showdown between hardwood royalty. The Orange were a surprise addition to this year’s bracket, but three straight victories have Jim Boeheim’s team in position for another unlikely Final Four run. Standing in their way is ACC Player of the Year and surefire 2018 NBA Draft lottery pick Marvin Bagley, a player so good he almost makes you like Duke.
Clemson will kick off the night’s action when it searches for its first Elite Eight berth since 1980 against a talented but vulnerable Kansas team. The Jayhawks earned the Big 12 title and a No. 1 seed, but have seven losses on the season — including double-digit blowouts to NIT teams Baylor and Oklahoma State. The Tigers could capitalize on that inconsistency, especially after blowing Auburn’s doors off in the Round of 32.
The night’s action concludes when Texas Tech takes on Purdue. The Boilermakers will have to overcome the loss of 7’2 center Isaac Haas — or maybe they won’t, as the senior could still find a way to play despite a broken elbow. Tech’s solid defense could make this one a low-scoring affair — the Red Raiders held Florida to just 39 percent shooting in a 69-66 win last Saturday.
Here’s the full schedule for the second day of the Sweet 16.
Friday’s Sweet 16 games
All times Eastern
No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 1 Kansas, 7:07 p.m.
No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 1 Villanova, 7:27 p.m.
No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Duke, 9:37 p.m.
No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Purdue, 9:57 p.m.