A look at what’s happening in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday:
GAME OF THE DAY
MICHIGAN STATE VS. DUKE
Tom Izzo vs. Coach K — the Hall of Fame matchup nearly everyone expected when the bracket was unveiled. It’s almost too bad it comes so early in the tournament.
Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski have been the faces of March for decades, and this will be the sixth time they’ve met in the tournament, making it the most common coaching matchup in event history. Coach K and Duke are 3-2 in those games and 12-3 overall against Izzo and his Spartans.
“I like the game,” Izzo said. “I just don’t like the record in that matchup over the years.”
Will the 67-year-old Izzo send his longtime friend into retirement and take seventh-seeded Michigan State back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019?
Or will the farewell tour for 75-year-old Coach K continue on to San Francisco, site of the West Region semifinals?
No. 2 seed Duke barely broke a sweat in its 78-61 first-round win over Cal State Fullerton. The Spartans were pushed to the limit beforewinning 74-73 over Davidson.
And now the meeting of titans in Greenville, South Carolina.
Coach K’s 98 NCAA Tournament wins are most in history, as are his 36 tournament appearances. His 12 Final Four appearances are tied with John Wooden for most, his five national titles are second to the Wizard of Westwood’s 10 and his .766 tournament win percentage is best among active coaches.
Izzo’s 54 tournament wins and eight Final Four appearances rank fifth all-time and his .707 tournament win percentage is third behind Krzyzewski and Kentucky’s John Calipari.
Auburn reserve power forward Jaylin Williams, who exited Friday’s game against Jacksonville State in the first half after colliding with teammate Walker Kessler, practiced Saturday and should play against Miami.
The accident left Williams with a couple of chipped teeth.
“He had some dental repair work done yesterday afternoon,” coach Bruce Pearl said. “He was evaluated last night and this morning with the concussion protocol. He passed. Doctors let him move around, and he wasn’t bothered by it today in practice.”
Pearl said Williams wouldn’t get the green light to play until he’s re-checked Sunday morning. Williams averages 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game.
Villanova assistant Dwayne Anderson, injured during Friday’s win over Delawarewhile trying to keep Jermaine Samuels from crashing out of bounds, is expected to be back on the bench for the Wildcats’ game against Ohio State.
Samuels’ elbow hit Anderson’s nose, and the coach had to be helped off the court. The team’s medical staff was monitoring Anderson for concussion symptoms.
“We’re checking him, but we think he’s pretty good,” coach Jay Wright said, adding that Anderson’s nose “does not look good.”
Wildcats star Collin Gillespie and the team’s director of basketball operations, Joey Flannery, tended to Anderson, who had a bloody nose. Anderson played on the 2009 ‘Nova team that reached the Final Four.
“He’s a tough dude,” Gillespie said. “He said he played in the old Big East, so he’s fine.”
CYCLONES WHISK AWAY
Connections to the Dairy State run deep for Iowa State, which takes on Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Freshman Tyrese Hunter, who had 23 points and five steals against LSU, grew up a half-hour south of Milwaukee, in Racine.
Coach T.J. Otzelberger’s hometown is Milwaukee, he played college ball an hour away at Wisconsin-Whitewater and his first head coaching job was 45 minutes away at Burlington Catholic High.
Assistant JR Blount is from Milwaukee, the 2005 Wisconsin high school player of the year and a former graduate assistant at Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Assistant Kyle Green was head coach at Wisconsin-Eau Claire and former assistant at Marquette.
I-RISH YOU’D PLAY HERE
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was content to bide his time with Cormac Ryan, who picked Stanford over the Irish when he was coming out of high school in New York City in 2018.
Ryan left Stanford after his freshman season, and Brey was glad to offer him another chance to join the Irish.
Ryan has been a 9 points-per-game scorer for two years, but he goes into Notre Dame’s game with Texas Tech off a career-best performance of 29 points and seven 3-pointersagainst Alabama.
Brey said he never begrudged Ryan passing on his first offer.
“If the dude can help us win, man, my feelings aren’t hurt. I’ll date you again. And I’ll pay for everything, baby,” Brey said. “Even if you break up with me, I may still come back.”
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