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Everything you need to know about Sunday’s NCAA tournament Elite Eight games

USA TODAY Sports
Published 2:14 a.m. ET March 31, 2019



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With North Carolina’s loss to Auburn and Kentucky holding on to beat Houston, two SEC teams will square off with a chance to go to the Final 4.
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The NCAA men’s basketball tournament Elite Eight ends Sunday. By the end of the day, the 2019 Final Four will be set.

Here is everything you need to know regarding coverage, along with must-watch story lines as we fill out the Final Four of March Madness.

Take a look at the updated bracket

MUST-READ STORIES:

— Virginia is back in the Final Four for the first time since 1984 after surviving a wild overtime thriller against Purdue.

— Carsen Edwards put on a show for the Boilermakers, but his heroics couldn’t save them from cruel heartbreak.

— Virginia vs. Purdue was an overtime classic full of thrilling moments, including one Cavaliers guard Ty Jerome called the “play of the century.”

— Texas Tech is soaking up history after toppling top-seeded Gonzaga for the first Final Four berth in school history.

— Josh Perkins’ “bonehead play” on a late inbound pass helped sink Gonzaga.

— The Red Raiders head to Minneapolis with a legitimate shot to win the national title, and not just because of their smothering defense.

— Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish have gotten plenty of attention, but Duke’s forgotten five-star will be key against Michigan State.

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— Michigan State’s date with Duke is a long-awaited showdown with a spot in the Final Four at stake.

— Kentucky has already beaten Auburn twice this season, and the Wildcats hope they’re still charmed for the third time.

— Auburn hopes it has a good-luck charm of its own in the form of a favorite pre-game meal.

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Midwest Regional

Kansas City, Mo.

No. 2 Kentucky (30-6) vs. No. 5 Auburn (29-9)

Time, TV: 2:20 p.m., CBS

Why Kentucky will win: The bounce-back effect. While Tyler Herro had 19 points against Houston, the rest of Kentucky’s starters — Ashton Hagans, Keldon Johnson, Reid Travis and E.J. Montgomery — had 19 points combined. Granted, PJ Washington skewed that stat by coming off the bench with his sprained foot, but no way the Wildcats’ starters have that kind of production two games in a row.

Why Auburn will win: Emotion. The loss of Chuma Okeke, who will have surgery Tuesday for a torn ACL, is a huge blow, no question. But the Tigers said it also will give them even more motivation to win. Auburn is already fired up by its 11-game winning streak, and keeping this run going for Okeke only adds to that. 



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SportsPulse: It went down to the buzzer again for Duke, but the Blue Devils survive and advance. USA TODAY’s Jeff Zillgitt breaks down how they did it and looks ahead to their Elite Eight matchup with Michigan State.
USA TODAY

No. 1 Duke (32-5) vs. No. 2 Michigan State (31-6)

East Region

Washington, D.C.

Time, TV: 5:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Why Duke will win: Zion Williamson always provides a huge advantage, but it helps that point guard Tre Jones is coming off arguably his best game of the season (22 pts). The Blue Devils are also the rare team that can match Michigan State’s rebounding ability. They actually average almost one more rebound a game.

Why Michigan State will win: Cassius Winston, Kenny Goins and Matt McQuaid have the type of veteran leadership that is so vital this time of year. They won’t be daunted by Williamson, and they’ll be able to withstand runs — as they did Friday against LSU.

Contributing: Nancy Armour, Tom Schad

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