NCAA Basketball: Duke’s dismal defense, bubble beatdowns and other takeaways

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Mar 10, 2022; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oklahoma Sooners forward Jacob Groves (34) makes a three point shot against the Baylor Bears in the second half at T-Mobile Center. Mandatory Credit: Amy Kontras-USA TODAY Sports

The first couple of days in “Championship Week” was about the mid-major conferences of NCAA Basketball and the autobids. We saw teams such as Gonzaga, South Dakota State, Murray State, Colgate cash their tickets to the NCAA Tournament, along with Jacksonville State, who thanks to unique rules that didn’t allow ASUN Tournament winner Bellarmine to be eligible, to get in even after losing in the semis this week.

But starting on Wednesday was when the big boys came to play, with the opening rounds of the power conferences starting up. Most of the teams participating knew they needed to win the whole thing and steal a bid to go dancing, with most falling to superior competition.

However, there were some upsets that occurred, which made the bubble very interesting to watch. And Thursday only exacerbated that, with several upsets in the second round and quarterfinals of respective conference tournaments happening. And that’s before conferences such as the AAC and Atlantic 10 really get going.

When it comes to the top of the projected brackets, some results that may have flown under the radar include Arizona holding on to a win over Stanford, while Baylor lost to Oklahoma. That creates opportunities for the likes of Kansas, Kentucky, and Auburn to claim their spots on the 1 seed line. The winner of Kentucky vs Auburn potentially in the SEC Tournament finals on Sunday could decide who gets that last No. 1 seed.

This article will focus on the results on Thursday, looking at what it means for Friday’s slate, as well as Bracketology overall. Here are my five biggest takeaways to consider.

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