USC and UCLA could be joining the Big Ten Conference as soon as 2024 after league officials voted Thursday to approve the schools’ application for membership.  

The move is just the latest in a wave of realignment among college football powers, moving away from the strictly regional model that had organized the sport for more than a century.  

In two years, the Big Ten will stretch from coast to coast with campuses from California to New Jersey.  

USC athletic director Mike Bohn called the conference "the best home for USC" in a statement on Thursday night. 

"Ultimately, the Big Ten is the best home for USC and Trojan athletics as we move into the new world of collegiate sports," he said. "We also will benefit from the stability and strength of the conference." 

UCLA chancellor Gene D. Block and AD Martin Jarmond also released a combined statement Thursday, announcing the move.  

"Each school faces its own unique challenges and circumstances, and we believe this is the best move for UCLA at this time," they said. "For us, this move offers greater certainty in rapidly changing times and ensures that we remain a leader in college athletics for generations to come."  

With Oklahoma and Texas scheduled to join the SEC and both L.A. rivals headed to the Big Ten, many pundits have predicted continued movement until two giant leagues contain all the sport’s traditional powers.  

According to multiple reports, USC and UCLA initiated conversations with the Big Ten. The sides first met on Wednesday, with the unanimous membership vote coming just 24 hours later.  

The Pac-12 loses two charter members while negotiating a new media rights deal and leaving the conference scrambling to keep up in the realignment arms race.  

Since receiving news that Oklahoma and Texas were leaving, the Big 12 has arranged for new members in Cincinnati, UCF, Houston and BYU.  

The Pac-12 will now likely look for new members of its own in order to keep up.  

"While we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in athletics, academics and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we're confident will continue to thrive and grow into the future," the Pac-12 said in a statement. 

The Big Ten is currently negotiating its own media rights deal that is expected to exceed $1 billion annually.

With the top three picks of the NBA Draft appearing to be Jabari Smith, Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero – likely in that order – the real fun begins with the Sacramento Kings at pick four.

The heavy favourite to be selected fourth overall is Purdue's Jaden Ivey, who projects as the top guard prospect in this year's class.

At 6ft 4in with tremendous athleticism, Ivey is a point guard that plays in a similar fashion to John Wall, although he is not the natural facilitator Wall is, leaning on his scoring and driving ability for his primary value.

Ivey was considered part of the top tier through early portions of the college basketball season until the three bigs elevated themselves further into their own conversation, but Ivey has been gaining so much steam throughout the pre-draft process that teams including the New York Knicks have reportedly been enquiring about trading up to the Kings' pick to select him.

 

Keegan Murray

After Ivey, the draft really opens up, although Iowa wing Keegan Murray will likely not fall outside of the top seven.

Murray is a 6ft 8in, highly skilled scorer who will be able to fill both forward spots in the NBA, and figures to be a player who will be able to create his own baskets in isolation situations.

He averaged 23.5 points and 8.7 rebounds per game during his sophomore season, and shot a terrific 55 per cent from the field and 39.8 per cent from three-point range on 4.7 attempts per game.

Defense is the question with Murray, but he has the size and athleticism to contribute on that end, while the team that drafts him will hope he can fill a similar role to Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton as a low-maintenance scorer who does not need to be the centrepiece of every play to stack up points, but can also take over if needed.

 

Shaedon Sharpe

The mystery man of this year's class is 6ft 5in wing Shaedon Sharpe, who did not play a single game this past season at the college level.

Sharpe was viewed as a potential top-five pick in next year's draft, but opted to expedite his process to turn professional as soon as possible, and he will be rewarded with a top-10 pick barring any unforeseen red flags.

Strongly built, athletic, long-armed wings with the ability to aggressively hit pull-up three-pointers and defend multiple positions are probably the most valuable archetype in the game right now, and Sharpe fits the billing.

With a game that resembles Paul George, Sharpe arguably has a ceiling as high as anybody in the class, but a lot of future NBA wings look like Paul George when their only footage is against high school kids.

 

Bennedict Mathurin

Arizona wing Bennedict Mathurin also appears to be a lock for the top 10 after a dominant March Madness run that included a 30-point outburst in an overtime win in the Sweet 16, profiling as a high-level traditional shooting guard.

Clearly a score-first player, Mathurin – 6ft 6in with a 6ft 9in wingspan – will be able to defend opposing ones, twos and threes while his well-rounded offensive game should comfortably translate to an off-ball role at the next level.

Through his two seasons at Arizona, Mathurin shot 38 per cent from three on five attempts per game, including difficult, contested looks, while he also showed he can score at all three levels, and even dished seven assists with his 27 points in a key tournament win.

Maybe the safest pick outside of the top three, Mathurin will comfortably score in the teens as a rookie if he lands in a situation with minutes available. Think of him as a more athletic C.J. McCollum.

Dyson Daniels

Arguably the most unique guard in the class is Australian Dyson Daniels, who played with the G-League Ignite, and he also seems unlikely to fall out of the top 10.

Daniels was viewed as a decent prospect as a 6ft 5in combo guard who specialised in defense and lacked a jump shot – then he grew another three inches, cleaned up his jump shot and began assuming point guard responsibilities.

At 6ft 8in now with guard skills and elite defensive upside, Daniels is perhaps the hardest player in the class to find an NBA comparison for. He is so unselfish and pass-first that his play style resembles pure point guards like Tyus Jones or Monte Morris, but he is at least six inches taller and can realistically guard four positions.

Unlikely to ever become a true first option, Daniels is best served playing next to a primary scorer, making him an ideal fit with Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers if they decide to use pick seven instead of trade it.

 

Ousmane Dieng

Speaking of late risers in the draft process, teams seem to be deciding that someone with the tools of France's Ousmane Dieng may have no business falling outside of the top 10.

Dieng, a massive wing measuring at 6ft 10in, showed some extremely interesting flashes of skill this past season as an 18-year-old playing with the New Zealand Breakers in the NBL.

Playing for a professional team, he was not given nearly the kind of leash as college prospects to show what they can do, averaging 15 minutes and three points through his first nine games.

But once he found his footing, it was clear he was a serious prospect, showing off sharp ball-handling and the ability to attack off the bounce in an 11-game stretch where he averaged 24 minutes and 14 points per game, scoring at least 17 points in five contests and shooting 20-of-56 from long range (35 per cent).

A.J. Griffin

The son of former NBA player and current Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin, the only thing that can force A.J. Griffin to slide down draft boards is his injury history.

With essentially the perfect body for an NBA wing at 6ft 6in and 220 pounds with a seven-foot wingspan, Griffin is yet to turn 19 years old, and shot a blistering 44 per cent from long range on 4.4 attempts per game in his sole collegiate season.

If he can stay healthy, Griffin will be a solid starting wing at the bare minimum, with similar offensive upside to Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby and the defensive tools to guard at least three positions.

Teams will take a look at his medicals and decide if he is worth the risk, with multiple serious injuries during his high school career and more injury concerns during his one year at Duke.

Darius Lee, a highly rated Houston Baptist University basketball player, has died of a gunshot wound aged 21, the school announced on Monday. 

Lee was shot overnight while at a gathering in his hometown of Harlem, New York.

HBU director of athletics Steve Moniaci said: "This is unfortunately, yet again, another example of the senseless gun violence that seems to be plaguing our country right now and we all pray it will cease."

Lee was on track to graduate in December, having led the Huskies with 18.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the 2021-22 season. He was also sixth in steals per game (2.4) across the whole of Division I.

Head coach Ron Cottrell said: "We are devastated. Darius was a remarkable young man who loved the Lord, his mum, his family, his team-mates, his friends and his entire HBU family.

"We are in shock and cannot wrap our heads around this news. My heart breaks for his mum, his sister and his entire family, and for our basketball team. The only thing we find comfort in right now is knowing where Darius is. He is in the arms of Jesus… we know that as fact. And we will see him again some day.

"As great of a basketball player as he was, he was an even better person. I can't even think of basketball right now. I can only think of what a light Darius was during his short time on Earth. He was a joy to coach and we loved him so much.

"Please keep his mum, sister and family in your prayers, as well as our HBU basketball family, during this very difficult time."

A clear top tier has emerged ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft, comprised of Auburn wing Jabari Smith, Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren and Duke forward Paolo Banchero.

The Orlando Magic hold the keys to the draft with the first overall pick, and ever since they won the lottery the buzz has been about their affinity for the six-foot-10, smooth-shooting Smith.

Smith, who only turned 19 in May, is one of the youngest prospects in the draft and seems to tick a number of high-value boxes that are usually required to become a star in the NBA.

His premier skill is his shooting, boasting arguably the prettiest jump shot in the whole class, and he converted a scorching 42 per cent of his three-pointers while getting up a healthy 5.5 attempts per game.

Playing at Auburn with a cast of guards, who at times appeared to have no idea they were playing with an NBA player, meant Smith was primarily used in an off-ball role, getting shots up quickly off the catch or at the end of plays, as opposed to getting an opportunity to create with the ball in his hands.

This role and his ability to stylishly rise up and hit long jumpers at his size with hands in his face have caused many to compare him to former Magic power forward and two-time All-Star Rashard Lewis.

Lewis appears to be Smith's 'floor' – which would be a pretty handy worst possible outcome if it is the case – but his athleticism, seven-foot-one wingspan with defensive upside, and well-reported elite work ethic as a son of a former NBA player puts him on a similar trajectory to Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who also had questions raised about his playmaking and ball-handling coming out of Duke.

The Magic will be selecting between Smith and Holmgren, with the Gonzaga big-man clearly the most unique prospect in the class.

Holmgren has been on NBA radars since his high school days when he was carrying the United States to junior gold medals – winning Tournament MVP at the 2021 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup.

As the number-one recruit in the country coming into the 2021-22 college basketball season, Holmgren chose to shun traditional 'one-and-done' schools to go play for respected coach Mark Few at Gonzaga, where he would buy into a pro-style team system instead of playing for a program that would allow him to average 20 points per game.

Out of more than 3000 Division One college players, Holmgren was fourth in blocks per game (3.7) and eighth in block percentage, blocking 12.6 per cent of opponent shots while he was on the court.

He was also number one in two-point field goal percentage, converting almost 74 per cent of his chances as he routinely finished off lobs and alley-oops both in the half-court and in transition, and his seven-foot-six wingspan made it impossible to block his shot when he was allowed to catch with two feet in the paint.

Add to the equation that he shot a terrific 39 per cent from long range on 3.3 attempts per game, and that he has displayed for more ball-handling and open-court playmaking in the international game than he was allowed to in college, and he is a near-flawless prospect.

As such a unique prospect, there are very few comparisons that can be made. Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis seems the only obvious choice, but Holmgren plays a less ball-dominant style, like a bigger Andrei Kirilenko.

His one major flaw scouts point to is his body – he is seven feet tall and weighs less than 200lbs – and does not appear to have a frame that will allow him to blow up physically the way Giannis Antetokounmpo and other skinny rookies have.

But how many players in the NBA right now are actually too skinny? It is hard to think of a single player who is truly unplayable because of not being physically stout enough.

Oklahoma City Thunder wing Aleksej Pokusevski is a similar build, but he does not play center, and does not show close to the defensive chops Holmgren does. 

Admittedly, against hulking behemoths like Joel Embiid – who are exceedingly rare – he may need to play next to a true, bruising center, to take the pressure off; but those match-ups are few and far between.

The third player in the top tier is Banchero, and although the Magic are reportedly not considering him with the top pick, some respected draft analysts rate him as this year's best prospect.

It is easy to see why, especially given the modern NBA.

Banchero projects as the most likely of the top trio to become a lead initiator early in his career, flashing terrific feel for the game with ball in hand, and an ability to attack the rim and create off the dribble.

In his one season, he had 24 games with at least three assists, while Smith had 11 games with at least three assists, and Holmgren had six.

The ability to create shots for yourself and others is thought of as the most valuable skill-set in basketball, with LeBron James clearly the standard-bearer, but with less explosive athleticism Banchero more closely mimics Jimmy Butler on the offensive end, without the Heat star's unrelenting defensive motor.

To be clear, Banchero is significantly bigger than both James and Butler, reportedly measuring in at over six-foot-10 without shoes, with a grown man's body at 250lbs. Given his size, his lack of true first-step explosion – or 'wiggle' off the bounce – should not greatly hinder his ability as a match-up nightmare from day one.

Banchero is too big for traditional wing defenders who will have a speed advantage on him, and he will be too quick for guys his own size.

He has shown he can run pick-and-roll and operate in a pass-first role, and jumbo playmakers like Luka Doncic and Cade Cunningham are showing that elite quickness is not mandatory at that size if you are savvy enough and understand how to use power instead of speed.

The Houston Rockets are the overwhelming favourites to select Banchero with the third selection, pairing him with one of the best athletes in the entire league in last year's number-two pick, Jalen Green.

Kansas pulled off the biggest comeback in the history of NCAA National Championship games, recovering from a 16-point deficit to defeat North Carolina 72-69.

Kansas last won the National Championship in 2008, finishing runners-up in 2012 and making the Final Four again in 2018, while it was North Carolina's fourth title game appearance since 2008, winning titles in 2009 and 2017 and finishing runners-up in 2016.

Despite being considered two of college basketball's premier programs, Kansas was the much better side this season, entering March Madness as a one seed while North Carolina was an eight seed.

However, the Tar Heels were not interested in the script, and after a back-and-forth start, the first half belonged to North Carolina as cult hero Brady Manek splashed three triples on the way to a 40-25 half-time advantage.

But the Jayhawks had faced adversity earlier in the tournament and stuck to the task, storming back to begin the second half as Christian Braun and Jalen Wilson ignited a 20-6 Kansas run to pull the margin back to one at 46-45.

Remy Martin was a crucial spark off the bench for Kansas, chipping in with 14 points on five-of-nine shooting, but it was center David McCormack who rose to the occasion down the stretch.

Trailing 68-69 with less than 90 seconds to play, McCormack hit two consecutive contested hook-shots out of the post to deliver the final winning margin.

Mike Krzyzewski deflected attention away from the final game of his 42-year Duke career and thanked his players for reminding him why he will miss basketball despite a Final Four defeat to rivals North Carolina.

'Coach K' was bidding for a sixth NCAA Tournament championship in the last season of his legendary career but fell at the penultimate hurdle.

UNC had beaten Duke in Krzyzewski's final home game and repeated the feat on Saturday in an 81-77 upset of the second seeds.

Remarkably, it was the Tar Heels' 50th win against Krzyzewski's Duke, levelling the 100-game series in its final edition.

Krzyzewski was understandably the centre of attention after the game but sought to instead put his players in the spotlight, insisting: "I'm not thinking about my career right now."

He said: "It's not about me, especially right now. As a coach, I'm just concerned about these guys. I mean, they're already crying on the court, and that's the only thing you can think about.

"Then going into the locker room, I've said my entire career – or when I knew what the hell I was doing – that I wanted my seasons to end where my team was either crying tears of joy or tears of sorrow because then you knew that they gave everything.

"And I had a locker room filled with guys who were crying, and it's a beautiful sight. It's not the sight that I would want – I'd want the other – but it's a sight that I really respect and makes me understand just how good this group was."

It was Duke's seventh loss of the season, all against unranked teams, making the Blue Devils the first top-10 team to lose to seven unranked opponents in a season since the poll was expanded to 25 teams in 1989-90.

But Krzyzewski added: "They did not win tonight, but they came through in an unbelievable fashion."

Indeed, reflection on his feelings after the game was the closest Krzyzewski came to considering the end of his career in front of the media.

"I'll be fine. I've been blessed to be in the arena," he said. "And when you're in the arena, you're either going to come out feeling great or you're going to feel agony, but you always will feel great about being in the arena.

"And I'm sure that that's the thing when I'll look back that I'll miss. I won't be in the arena anymore. But, damn, I was in the arena for a long time. And these kids made my last time in the arena an amazing one."

Predicted lottery pick Paolo Banchero tried his best to extend his coach's career, scoring 20 points and claiming 10 rebounds.

"Being able to go to war with Coach and the team for the whole season, he was so committed to us all year," Banchero said.

"He never made it about him. And you're just proud that we were able to go out and fight, be in a fight with Coach every game.

"You don't get time to think about it right now, but I'm sure, when we look back on it, we're going to be proud that we got to play for him. And he had our back the whole year, had our back every game, put a lot of trust in us, always believed in us."

Mike Krzyzewski's extraordinary 42-year run as Duke head coach came to an end on Saturday, as North Carolina emerged 81-77 victors in the Final Four.

Of all teams, the arch rival Tar Heels were the team to deny Coach K a fairytale finish, just a month after they spoiled the party for his final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Meanwhile, UNC head coach Hubert Davis became the fifth head coach to make the national title game in his first year.

The closing exchanges made for a thrilling finish, with North Carolina and Duke trading three-pointers and scoring runs in the final five minutes of the game.

Caleb Love's clutch three and conversion of three free-throws gave North Carolina the ultimate breathing room, and he finished with 28 points. Meanwhile, Brady Manek's timely buckets for 14 points and Armando Bacot's 21 rebounds were critical.

Despite the clutch baskets at the end and Paolo Banchero's double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, Duke were ice cold from beyond the arc, going five-of-22.

UNC will meet Kansas in the national title game on Sunday, after they rolled to an 81-65 victory over Villanova earlier on Saturday.

David McCormack and Ochai Agbaji were pivotal for the Jayhawks, with David McCormack putting up 25 points and nine rebounds, while Agbaji drained six-three pointers to score 21 points.

Playing without injured guard Justin Moore, the Wildcats were not able to find an early rhythm as Kansas shot out the gate, scoring the opening 10 points of the game and building a 19-point buffer at one stage in the first half.

It was an eerie role reversal of the 2018 national semi-final, where Villanova raced to a 22-4 opening lead on their way to a 95-79 win over Kansas and eventually their third national title.

Kansas were shooting far too well to let it happen a second time, however, making 29 of 54 total field goals and going 13-of-24 from the perimeter.

Mike Krzyzewski's extraordinary 42-year run as Duke head coach came to an end on Saturday, as North Carolina emerged 81-77 victors in the Final Four.

Of all teams, the arch rival Tar Heels were the team to deny Coach K a fairytale finish, just a month after they spoiled the party for his final home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Meanwhile, UNC head coach Hubert Davis became the fifth head coach to make the national title game in his first year.

The closing exchanges made for a thrilling finish, with North Carolina and Duke trading three-pointers and scoring runs in the final five minutes of the game.

Caleb Love's clutch three and conversion of three free-throws gave North Carolina the ultimate breathing room, and he finished with 28 points. Meanwhile, Brady Manek's timely buckets for 14 points and Armando Bacot's 21 rebounds were critical.

Despite the clutch baskets at the end and Paolo Banchero's double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, Duke were ice cold from beyond the arc, going five-of-22.

UNC will meet Kansas in the national title game on Sunday, after they rolled to an 81-65 victory over Villanova earlier on Saturday.

David McCormack and Ochai Agbaji were pivotal for the Jayhawks, with David McCormack putting up 25 points and nine rebounds, while Agbaji drained six-three pointers to score 21 points.

Playing without injured guard Justin Moore, the Wildcats were not able to find an early rhythm as Kansas shot out the gate, scoring the opening 10 points of the game and building a 19-point buffer at one stage in the first half.

It was an eerie role reversal of the 2018 national semi-final, where Villanova raced to a 22-4 opening lead on their way to a 95-79 win over Kansas and eventually their third national title.

Kansas were shooting far too well to let it happen a second time, however, making 29 of 54 total field goals and going 13-of-24 from the perimeter.

North Carolina have set up a tantalising Final Four matchup with historic rivals Duke after ending the 'Cinderella' run of the 15-seed Saint Peter's Peacocks.

The Peacocks assumed the role of this year's loveable underdogs of March Madness when they became the first 15 seed to make it through to the Elite Eight, but they were no match for North Carolina, going down 69-49 in a game that was never close.

Armando Bacot was the star of the show for the Tar Heels, finishing with 20 points on eight-of-15 shooting to go with a monstrous 22 rebounds.

With the win, North Carolina booked their spot against Duke in the Final Four as Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski searches for his sixth national title in his 42nd and final year in charge.

One of the fiercest rivalries in American sports, North Carolina and Duke have played 256 times since their first meeting in 1920, but incredibly have never met in the NCAA Tournament.

Earlier in the day, it was a tale of two halves as one-seed Kansas took on 10-seed Miami, with the higher-ranked Jayhawks struggling out of the gate to trail 35-29 at half-time.

Kansas shot zero-for-five from long range and three-for-nine from the free throw line in the first half but flipped a switch in the second half, showing why they are considered one of the favourites to win the tournament.

The second half was total domination, out-scoring the Hurricanes 47-15 in the 20 minutes to pull away for an easy 76-50 win.

The top performance in the game came from the top NBA prospect, Kansas' Ochai Agbaji, who finished with 18 points on eight-of-12 shooting, including two-from-two from long range. He also registered five rebounds, four assists and four steals as he continues to build his case as a potential lottery pick in this year's NBA Draft.

The fairytale ending for legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski is still alive after a stylish 78-69 win against Arkansas in Saturday night's Elite Eight.

Krzyzewski – affectionately known as 'Coach K' – is in his 42nd and final season in Duke's top job, and is in search of his sixth National Championship.

While his strategy and coaching style has seen Coach K earn stints as the head coach of USA's national team, he is buoyed this season by the presence of three likely first round picks in this year's NBA Draft. All three came to play on the big stage against Arkansas.

Number one pick candidate Paolo Banchero was strong, finishing with 16 points (four-of-11 shooting, seven-of-eight free throws), seven rebounds and a team-high three assists, top-10 pick A.J. Griffin scored an efficient 18 points on seven-of-nine shooting (two-of-three from long range), and late-first round center Mark Williams was a perfect six-of-six from the field to finish with 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

Duke will play the winner of the clash between Saint Peter's and North Carolina, with the former trying to become the first 15 seed to ever make it to the Final Four.

The Saint Peter's dream run continued on Friday, after they defeated third-seeded Purdue 67-64 on Friday.

The Peacocks thrived off a home-court advantage at the Wells Fargo Center to become the first 15th seed to reach the Elite Eight, despite the late efforts of NBA lottery prospect Jaden Ivey.

Despite hitting on none of his opening five attempts from the perimeter, Ivey connected on an NBA-range triple with eight seconds left to bring Purdue within a point. Doug Edert calmly made his free-throws to ice the game, and put Saint Peter's on the brink of the Final Four.

They will face North Carolina who defeated UCLA 73-66, led by 30 points from Caleb Love.

Despite shooting 10-of-31 from the three-point line for the night, the six-time national champions overcame a three-point deficit to put up 45 points in the second half.

Elsewhere, Remy Martin scored a season-high 23 points as Kansas hung on for a 66-61 win over Providence, securing their passage to the Elite Eight.

The Jayhawks are the only first seed left in the tournament, after both Gonzaga and Arizona were defeated in the Sweet 16 on Thursday, and Baylor's title defence was ended in the second round.

Kansas will face the Miami Hurricanes, who progressed with their comfortable 70-56 win over Iowa State.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski's fairytale ending is alive and well after Duke came from behind to knock Texas Tech out of March Madness 78-73 and move on to the Elite Eight.

Krzyzewski – affectionately known as 'Coach K' – is in the last season of his 42-year run as Duke's head coach, and is searching for his sixth national championship.

It was far from easy for the Blue Devils against a Red Raider side in their third Sweet 16 from the past four tournaments, trailing 33-29 at half-time.

In the final 15 minutes, neither team was able to build a lead of more than five points as it seesawed back-and-forth before two clutch Jeremy Roach jump shots gave Duke a 73-68 buffer with 1:33 remaining.

Duke's top NBA Draft prospect Paolo Banchero showed exactly why he is going to make plenty of money at the next level, scoring a team-high 21 points on seven-of-12 shooting to go with four assists and three steals as the best player on the court.

Legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is through to the Sweet 16 at his last March Madness before he retires.

'Coach K' is in his 42nd season in charge at the school, and is searching for his sixth national championship.

His Blue Devils took on Michigan State and fellow Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo in the second round on Sunday, pulling away late to win 85-76.

Duke boasts three likely first round picks in this year's NBA Draft, and they showed exactly why, headlined by potential number one overall Paolo Banchero.

Banchero, who stands at six-foot-10, showed his all-round game, hitting tough pull-up jump shots, flashing an advanced interior passing game and defensive mobility to finish with a team-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 2-of-5 from long range, and an equal team-high four assists.

Last year's NCAA Tournament champion Baylor Bears have been eliminated in spectacular circumstances in their March Madness matchup against North Carolina.

Baylor, which boasts two likely first round picks in this year's NBA draft in Jeremy Sochan and Kendall Brown, looked dead in the water with 10 minutes to play, trailing 67-42.

From that point on it was like a scene from a movie, as the Bears could not miss, while the Tar Heels committed silly mistakes as the pressure mounted.

Trailing by six points with 35 seconds on the clock, Baylor's Sochan hit a three, before North Carolina missed both free throws, allowing James Akinjo to tie the game with a three-point play to force overtime.

Against all momentum, North Carolina steadied in the overtime period, winning it 13-6 to ultimately prevail 93-86.

The next date of Mike Krzyzewski's Duke farewell tour sees him face a familiar foe in Michigan State coach Tom Izzo on Sunday.

A record-breaking sixth NCAA Tournament encounter between the pair was secured after both Duke and Michigan State won their first-round matchups on Friday – Krzyzewski's second seed beating Cal State Fullerton 78-61 while Izzo's number seven outfit scraped past Davidson 74-73.

It is fitting that the final March Madness of Krzyzewski's 42-year Duke career should see him again take on Izzo, with their sixth coaching clash passing the previous benchmark of five.

Until now, that record was held jointly with two other coaching duos: Roy Williams and Bill Self, and Eddie Sutton and Denny Crum.

'Coach K' and the Blue Devils are 12-3 against Izzo's Spartans and 3-2 in the NCAA Tournament, with Duke's most recent March Madness victory in the series coming en route to the 2015 championship.

However, another win for Izzo – himself 27 years in at Michigan State – would conclude both Krzyzewski's bid for a sixth national title and his career, stopping him just short of 100 NCAA Tournament wins; his 98 as of Friday are already a record.

Either way, Izzo is delighted just to get the chance to test himself against one of basketball's greatest names one last time.

"I like the game, I just don't like the record in that matchup over the years," Izzo said. "I've got to be his favourite coach because he's beaten us like a drum.

"I didn't want to look ahead and dream of the matchup, because you get a chance, one more time, to play against maybe the all-time great, as they say about LeBron [James] or they say about Michael [Jordan].

"In the coaching world, the 'GOAT' is the team we'll play, and it's been earned. It's not been given. It's been earned.

"And you know, I'm going to try my hardest to see if we can get one more on the positive side of that thing, but every time we've played it's been a game I looked forward to."

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