Yesterday, the final 8 spots of the Sweet 16 were filled out in the East, South and Midwest Regions (the West was already accounted for on Saturday night). The Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC each have 3 teams remaining, the Big East has 2 teams remaining, and the ACC and West Coast Conference each have 1 team remaining.
Recap – Indianapolis
The magical postseason ride for Michigan continues thanks to their come-from-behind 73-69 victory over Louisville. For Louisville, it may not be as surprising when you consider that almost all of their wins of note came at home this season. Michigan also started slowly in terms of winning noteworthy games outside of Crisler Arena, but their winning streak is now at 7 games going back to the Big 10 Tournament and their regular season finale at Nebraska. They will play Oregon in the Midwest Regional in Kansas City on Thursday.
Kentucky and Wichita State went back and forth for most of their game yesterday, but a pair of blocked 3-point shots on back-to-back possessions by the Shockers allowed Kentucky to escape with a 65-62 victory. They will advance to play UCLA in the South Regional in Memphis in a regular season rematch where UCLA came out victorious in Lexington.
Recap – Tulsa
Kansas and Michigan State have had occasional matchups early in the season as part of the State Farm Champions Classic, and yesterday’s game was competitive for the first 25 minutes. Kansas blew it open midway through the 2nd half and coasted to a 90-70 victory. They will meet Purdue in a de facto home game in Kansas City in the Midwest Region on Thursday night.
In the nightcap, things were setting up for a typical USC comeback – Baylor jumped out to a 10-point lead and USC was able to take the lead in the 2nd half with about 5 minutes left to play. However, a back-breaking 4-point play by Manu Lecomte put the Bears up for good at the 4:30 mark and they would never trail again en route to an 82-78 victory. Thanks to chaos in the East Region, the Bears are the highest remaining seed and will play South Carolina in the East Region at Madison Square Garden Friday night.
Recap – Greenville
North Carolina looked like they might breeze in this game early on after jumping out to a 30-13 lead late in the 1st half, but Arkansas was able to gradually chip away at the lead and actually led 65-60 with 3:30 remaining in the game. The Tar Heels didn’t panic and closed out the game with a 12-0 run in the final 3:30. North Carolina will move on to the South Region in Memphis and will play Butler on Friday.
While North Carolina survived an upset bid in Greenville, Duke was not so lucky against South Carolina. They led 30-23 at the half, but the Gamecocks scored a whopping 65 points in the 2nd half and they advanced to their first-ever Sweet 16 with an 88-81 victory over the Blue Devils. Sindarius Thornwell showed why he was the SEC Player of the Year with a game-high 24 points last night. South Carolina will play Baylor Friday night in the East Regional in New York.
Recap – Sacramento
While Rhode Island was able to jump out to a 49-38 lead at the beginning of the 2nd half, Oregon also gradually chipped away at the Rams’s lead and Tyler Dorsey hit a pair of clutch 3s late in the game – one to tie the game at the 1:40 mark and another to take the lead for good with under a minute to play. With a 75-72 win in hand, the Ducks move on to Kansas City and will play a red-hot Michigan team in the Midwest Region in Kansas City.
The last ticket to the Sweet 16 was punched by UCLA – the first 26 minutes of the game were relatively even until the Bruins took the lead for good with back-to-back 3-point shots by Lonzo Ball at the 13-minute mark. The Bearcats never got closer than a 5-point deficit the rest of the way and UCLA won 79-67. They will play Kentucky in the South Region in Memphis on Friday night.