Friday’s Sweet 16 Recap: UNC goes down, Tre Jones shines, Tyler Herro’s the hero

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PLAYER OF THE DAY: Tre Jones, Duke

It was just five days ago that we watched Duke nearly get beaten by UCF on a night where the Knights just did not even bother to guard Tre Jones. That was surely an embarrassing moment for the Duke freshman, and it should surprise no one that the next time out, on Friday night, Jones caught five. He made five threes in the win over Virginia Tech. He didn’t make five threes in the month of December or January.

TEAM OF THE DAY: Auburn Tigers

The Tigers reached the Elite Eight for just the second time in the history of the program on Friday night, and if they can get past Kentucky in the next round they will be heading to the Final Four. After a sluggish start to the night, the Tigers shot 12-for-18 from three in the second half, using a 14-0 run that spanned both halves to take home the win.

ONIONS OF THE DAY: Tyler Herro, Kentucky

Tyler Hero, amirite?

The freshman from Wisconsin buried a three with less than 30 seconds left in the game that snapped a Houston comeback and put Kentucky ahead for good in a 62-58 win that the Wildcats landed to get back to the Elite Eight.

WTF OF THE DAY: Gabe Brown, Michigan State

Gabe Brown entered Friday night having made 12 threes in his college basketball career. He left the arena in Washington D.C. have hit four threes in an 80-63 win over LSU in the Sweet 16. Who saw that coming?

FINAL THOUGHT

I don’t want to play armchair surgeon, but I think that it is pretty obvious based on the reaction of his teammates and coaches — and, frankly, by the way the injury looked on TV — that Chuma Okeke’s knee injury is a bad one.

This is a devastating injury to Okeke. He’s a kid that had been playing his way into the NBA draft’s first round, but with this injury hanging over his head, it will be hard to find a suitor is he opts to go pro this year. It’s also going to be tough to find a suitor if he waits to declare for the draft until next year. There’s no guarantee that he would be healthy and ready to play by the start of next season.

And I bring this all up because these unpaid college athletes, who are putting their professional career on the line when they take the court in the NCAA tournament, all face this same risk. But they don’t get a cut of the profits, even when consider that they cannot drink Powerade or Gatorade on the bench during NCAA tournamant because Drink BodyArmor had an exclusive rights deal.