FILE - In this March 20, 2021, file photo the March Madness logo is shown on the court during the first half of a men's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. A Supreme Court case being argued this week amid March Madness could erode the difference between elite college athletes and professional sports stars. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Duke, Texas Tech Set to Clash in Sweet 16

Thursday night, the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils are set to play the third-seeded Texas Tech Red Raiders in a Sweet 16 matchup of the 2022 NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Duke is coming off a nine-point win against seven-seed Michigan St., while Texas Tech is coming off a six-point win over eleven-seed Notre Dame.

The winner of Duke and Texas Tech will take on the winner of one-seed Gonzaga and four-seed Arkansas in the Elite 8.

Stars Shine Bright for Duke

At first glance, this matchup favors the team from Durham. They’ve got the historic prestige, the eminent coach and the esteemed roster of talent. They’ve got the higher seed, a better record and several top NBA prospects including freshman Paolo Banchero and AJ Griffin.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski directs players during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The Blue Devils went 30-6, bouncing back in a big way from last year’s disappointment of a season’s end.

Duke head coach, Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, is looking to lead his Devils to their sixth national championship during his tenure.

In fact, in addition to five NCAA titles, Coach K has garnered 12 Final Four appearances, 15 ACC tournament championships and 13 ACC regular-season titles in 42 seasons coaching at Duke. He also has three Olympic gold medals and holds the record for the most wins by men’s basketball coach in Division 1.

Coach K’s head coaching tenure has undoubtedly been legendary. The program he’s built is undoubtedly historic. However, that isn’t to say that season is and has been any less crucial to him than any other.

While he has announced it to officially be his last, it is yet to be over. There truly is no sweeter way to end a career like his, in a sport like this, than with that of which all covet most: the cutting of the nets and hoisting of a national championship.

Texas Tech is no easy feat, though. It’s going to continue to take everything his guys got in order to move on and give Coach K a shot at the perfect conclusion to one of the most illustrious sport careers of all time.

https://twitter.com/DukeMBB/status/1506798772193427458?cxt=HHwWhICsyf_fnOkpAAAA

Texas Tech Looks to Play Spoiler

The Red Raiders have put together a very nice season, having gone 27-9. Unlike star-studded Duke, they’re bolstered by a more balanced effort. They’ve got a solid core of six guys who put in their fair share of contributions on a nightly basis. Forward Bryson Williams leads the team at just under 14 points per game.

Texas Tech head coach, Mark Adams, is in his first season as a major college coach – truly making this a battle between the rookie and the vet.

First-year or not, though, coach Adams is doing his thing. He has his guys playing hard and playing well.

The Red Raiders are eyeing an upset Thursday evening – not just to the bracket seed-wise, but to the entire Duke men’s basketball organization.

They have no sympathy for this being Coach K’s final season. It’s going to be a dog fight.

Injury Report

Duke forward AJ Griffin had to exit the second-round win over Michigan State with a sprained ankle.

Fortunately for the Blue Devils and their faithful, he was able to practice Tuesday.

Additionally, he was reported to have just minimal soreness Wednesday.

Coach K was sure to let his status for the Sweet 16 be known, removing any question marks surrounding the first-year three-point sniper.

“He’ll be ready to go” – Coach Krzyzewski

This news is absolutely huge for the two-seed in their aspirations to advance.

Duke forward Paolo Banchero (5) celebrates with forward AJ Griffin (21) after scoring against Syracuse during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

Elite 8 Lookahead

As aforementioned, the winner will move on to play whoever comes out of the Gonzaga vs. Arkansas game.

In that matchup, a trip to the Final Four will be on the line.

About Zackary Weiss

Zackary is currently studying Sports Journalism at the University of Florida. He has years of experience providing online content for various news outlets in every form, as well as experience running multiple sports-related social media accounts with high followings. He does work for WRUF / ESPN Gainesville by producing the radio broadcasts in addition to writing online content. Zackary's planned graduation is May 2024. Please feel free to contact via email at zackweiss48@icloud.com. Links to Zackary's social medias are directly below:

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