What a crazy day in college basketball. The four games provided us with some close finishes, one blowout, and one huge upset. If you weren’t able to watch all of the games just keep on scrolling because we are going to recap them for you right here.
#11 Xavier over #2 Arizona
Final Score: 73-71
Headline: Who is Ed Sumner?
MVP: Trevon Bluiett 25 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Let’s start it off with a bang. The team that seemed to be done after losing star point guard Ed Sumner to a season ending injury is going to the Elite 8. Chris Mack has done a tremendous job and getting past the red hot Wildcats was no easy task. Bluiett might be the MVP on the offensive side but Kaiser Gates and Sean O’Mara were the studs on the defensive end holding star freshman Lauri Markkanen to only 9 points. Bluiett was huge for Xavier handling the ball and providing the team with a third of its points. He needs to continue to play like this if Xavier has aspirations of advancing farther. The Musketeers will face Gonzaga for the chance to go to the Final Four. It would be a phenomenal story if Xavier can pull off another upset.
#1 Kansas over #4 Purdue
Final Score: 98-66
Headline: The Kansas guards are good at basketball
MVP: Frank Mason 26 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists
I am an IU fan but I felt bad for Purdue. IU went through the same thing last year with a UNC team that was clearly on their way to the championship game. Kansas has that feeling to them this year. Those guards they have a pretty good at basketball with both Mason and Graham scoring 26 points a piece. Bill Self is a great coach and drew up a defense to slow down Caleb Swanigan. Landen Lucas, Dwight Coleby, and Carlton Bragg all helped the cause guarding Swanigan in the post. Kansas was too much for the Boilermakers to handle on defense. The dynamic duo of point guards scored and distributed while Josh Jackson crashed the glass and ran in transition. Kansas will play Oregon on Saturday and these teams matchup perfectly together.
#3 Oregon Beats #7 Michigan
Final Score: 69-68 (nice)
Headline: Michigan’s Magical Run Comes to an End.
MVP: Jordan Bell 16 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks
Michigan’s magical run from the Big Ten Tourney ends in Kansas City with a loss in the Sweet 16. Derrick Walton had an open jumper in the last possession but could not get it to fall. Oregon’s three point defense is the reason they won this game as they held Michigan to 35% from deep. Jordan Bell was massive in this game for the Ducks. He had 16 points and 13 rebounds, including two big offensive rebounds down the stretch. Bell has stepped up big time to replace Chris Boucher and did so honorably tonight. His offense was great but his defense was even better as he held Mo Wagner to only 7 points. I stated that Bell’s defense on Wagner would be the difference and it was crucial. I cannot talk about this game without mentioning Tyler Dorsey who poured in 20 points. While all eyes were on All-American Dillon Brooks, Dorsey had open looks and easy driving lanes. Dorsey has played his way to being Brooks’s sidekick in this tournament.
#1 Gonzaga over #4 West Virginia
Final Score: 61-58
Headline: Late Game Offense Costs West Virginia
MVP: Jordan Matthews 13 points, 3 rebounds
West Virginia had Gonzaga right where they wanted them until they needed to score in their half court offense. West Virginia held Gonzaga to 61 points and turned them over 16 times. That was exactly how Bob Huggins drew it up…except for the end. One disastrous possession costed them a shot at the Elite 8 and possibly the Final Four. Gonzaga endured the pain that is Press Virginia and used a balance scoring attack to overcome it. The Zags had 3 players score 13 points and that was the team high. Jordan Matthews is the MVP because he made 3 of Gonzaga’s 4 made deep shots. His shooting was crucial to stretch the floor and provide some scoring in such a low scoring game. The Bulldogs survived and advanced and will play Cinderella Xavier in the Elite 8. Hopefully that game will be a little bit more up and down pace.
Check back tomorrow for game recaps for the rest of the Sweet 16 games.