NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite 8 tournament update
If any person’s bracket was not completely busted after the first weekend of action, then surely the second weekend put the dagger into it. For the first time in NCAA Tournament history, there were zero No. 1 seeds in the Elite 8 and the madness of this year’s tournament did not stop there.
The top overall seed Alabama Crimson Tide fell to a San Diego State team that is ranked as the No. 4 defense in the country.
Alabama’s star player Brandon Miller only scored nine points in his 31 minutes while shooting 3/19 from the field and 1/10 from beyond the arc. Senior Darrion Trammell stepped up big for San Diego State as he scored 21 points to help propel his team to the Elite 8.
The last remaining No. 1 seed was the Houston Cougars. The Cougars were the favorites to win it all coming into the tournament and they were able to stay alive after the first weekend.
However, in the Sweet 16, they got matched up against the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes.
Propelled by a strong run near the beginning of the second half, Miami rolled over Houston in a game where all five of the Hurricanes starters finished in double figures.
They were led by Sophomore guard Nijel Pack who had 26 points and shot 7/10 from three-point range.
The East region saw a thriller between the No. 7 Michigan State Spartans and No. 3 Kansas State Wildcats.
Kansas State’s star-studded duo of Keyontae Johnshon and Markquis Nowell would not be denied in this matchup as they scored a combined 42 points and went on to win by a score of 98-93 in overtime.
In addition to his 20 points, Nowell set an NCAA Tournament record with 19 assists in a game against the Spartans.
However, the team that made it to the Final Four from this region was the No. 9 Florida Atlantic Owls.
The Owls were first matched up against a very physical Tennessee Volunteers team in the Sweet 16.
Florida Atlantic was able to overcome the stout Tennessee defense as the Owls won by a score of 62-55. It was then Owls against Wildcats in the Elite 8 and in a very back-and-forth battle the Florida Atlantic Owls advanced to the Final Four which is something only .7% of brackets predicted.
In the West, the No. 4 UConn Huskies continued to dominate as they beat No. 8 Arkansas by 23 points and then No. 3 Gonzaga by 28.
The Huskies are looking very strong headed into the Final Four as they have won each of their NCAA Tournament games by at least 15 points and they are playing as they did early in the season when they reached as high as No. 2 in the AP Poll.
In the Midwest region, the No. 2 Texas Longhorns were matched up with the No. 3 Xavier Musketeers.
The Longhorns rolled over Xavier and were then matched up with the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes.
Texas had itself a comfortable eight-point lead at the half, but that didn’t last long as Jordan Miller was the star of the show this time for Miami.
Miller did not miss a shot in his 27-point effort as he went 7/7 from the field and 13/13 from the free-throw line.
Finally, in the South Region the No. 6 Creighton Bluejays faced off against the No. 15 Princeton Tigers. In the first-ever meeting between a 6-seed and a 15-seed, it was the Bluejays who came out on top led by Ryan Kalkbrenner who scored 22 points.
In the South Regional Final the No. 6 Creighton Bluejays took on the No. 5 San Diego State Aztecs.
This was a rematch of an opening-round game from the 2022 NCAA Tournament where Creighton advanced.
This year however, The Aztecs got their revenge as Darrion Trammell was fouled with 1.2 seconds left and he knocked down one of the two free throws to give the Aztecs a one-point lead.
Baylor Scheierman tried to throw the ball down the court to score a quick game-winning bucket but time expired and the Aztecs were onto the final four.
The Final Four has been set. It features a No. 5 Seed from the ACC, a No. 5 seed from the Mountain West, a No. 4 Seed from the Big East and a No. 9 Seed from Conference USA.
Just like everyonel predicted, right?
Lucas McDowell is a first-year majoring in accounting. To contact him, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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