Elite 8 2024 Men’s Summery

Written by on April 17, 2024

The Final Four of the 2024 men’s NCAA tournament is set. No. 1 seed Connecticut going against No. 4 seed Alabama, and No. 1 seed Purdue taking on No.11 seed North Carolina State.

How did it happen?

Uconn dominated against Illinois University with a score of 77-52. Uconn continues to show to the world why they’re the most complete and dominant college basketball team. This is their 11th consecutive double digit win in the NCAA tournament. It was a close game
between Uconn and Illinois after a made basket by Illinois to tie the game at 23 a piece at 1:50 second left in the first.
The Huskies went on a 30-0 run to extend their lead to double digits, and the Fighting Illini could get a basket for almost one hour of game time.

The Huskies had five different players in double figures, and sophomore center Donovan Clingin who had one of the best games of his career, putting up 22 points, 10 rebounds and 5 blocks. Terrence Shannon Jr. didn’t put up his best performance against the defending champs, and had eight points. Uconn are now heading back to the final four for the seventh time in their teams history. An elite eight matchup that no one saw coming unless you predicted it. No.4 seed Alabama, and No. 6 seed Clemson. Both teams were looking to seek their first final four appearance in their history. With an early 16-4 run, which included six straight from RJ Godfrey, Clemson opened up the
scoring to take a 26-13 lead. Alabama ended the first half up 35–32 after responding to Clemson’s surge with a 22–6 run,
including 11 in a row. It was a back and forth fair. The unsung heroes for the Crimson Tides, senior guard Marc Spears who had seven three pointers against the Tigers, and led the Tides with 23 points. His 23 points earned him the title of West Region Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. Nick Pringle had a double double for the Tides recording 16 points and 11 rebounds. In the first half, Jarin Stevenson, a freshman, missed two 3-pointers as Alabama missed its first 13 attempts from long range. In the end, he scored 19 points off the bench and made a career-high five 3-pointers.

Ian Schieffelin had 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Joseph Girard III led Clemson with 19 points. In the second half, the Tide crushed the Tigers with ten 3-pointers in a row to gain the upper hand. Sears pressed a three, turned, and pursed his lips. Sears sprinted up the court, gleefully sticking out his tongue and nodding his head after he scored the Tide’s ninth three-pointer of the half. Alabama prevails and beats Clemson, 89-82, Marc Spears and the tides are headed to their first final four in the program’s history. No. 1 Purdue took on against No. 2 Tennessee. Big man Zach Edey of the Boilermakers scored a career-high 40 points, and notched 16 rebounds to lead Purdue to within two victories of the championship for the first time since 1980. Knecht and his unwavering Tennessee teammates lost 72–66. The 7-foot-4 center All-American, after the game, didn’t need a ladder to cut down the net after beating Knecht, another All-American who finished with 37 points, and made six three pointers for Tennessee. Knecht, and Edy, two of the best players in the tournament, battling against each other causing eight lead changes and six ties. Both players had scored 31 points on 12 field goals with five minutes remaining in the game, and the score tied at 58. For the first time in an NCAA Tournament game, opponents’ players scored more
than half of their team’s points.

Towards the end of the game the Boilermakers made three 3-pointers that changed the outcome of this game. The Volunteers were down by three at 3:09 and again went down by six on the following possession, Knecht missed two easy wide-open shots that could’ve helped the Volunteers get back into the game. Tennessee would try and carve right back into the game only down by five, 69-64. Edey, who played
forty minutes, slid across and swatted the shot as Knecht drove down the lane and went up. Purdue went from getting out in the first round last year against Fairleigh Dickinson University to now heading to the Final Four. Cinderella No. 11 seed North Carolina State took on No. 4 Duke, and the man who stole the show the 6-foot-9, 275 pound DJ Burns Jr. Who scored a season-high 29 points on 13-of-19 shooting.

But the Wolfpacks almost didn’t even make the NCAA tournament. Following four straight losses in the regular season, as well as seven out of nine. Just to make it into the 68-team NCAA Tournament field, they had to win five games in five days in the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack were the 10th seed in the ACC tournament meaning they had to win the whole thing to even get into it. including a victory against Duke in the quarterfinals. The Wolfpack beated North Carolina State the Tar Heels 84-76 with both of the DJ’s having a career game. That would be more of the same in this game against Duke in the elite eight matchup. DJ Burns would dominate in the game and show everyone who he’s about. On the Wolfpack’s opening two shots of the game, Burns, who finished with just four points in the regional semifinal
against Marquette, made two jumpers, and Burns had eight points in the first nine minutes of the game. After halftime, he shot nine out of eleven. The Wolfpack made more of a lead thanks to a Ben Middlebrooks steal that lead to a three point fast break by Michael O’Connell. Off a foul called while the ball was in the air, Burns made another spinning basket to bring the lead to 53-42. O’Connell had six points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Over on the Blue Devil side, Jared McCain led the team with 32 points hitting 8 of 20 shooting, making all 11 free throw attempts. When Filipowski, a sophomore center, fouled out with 4:52 remaining and the Blue Devils trailed by eight points, Jeremy Roach had scored 13 points and brought down nine rebounds.

North Carolina State would maintain their lead and beat Duke for the second time this season
finishing the game 76-64, heading to their first Final Four since 1983.