March Madness, indeed! The men’s NCAA Tournament has included all the mayhem expected during this time of year – with bracket-busting commonplace.
“The No. 1 overall seed doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said on the TBS broadcast after his team was upset.
After Friday’s action, the Elite Eight was officially set, and it didn’t feature a No. 1 seed for the first time in history, the Sweet 16 seeing No. 1 overall Alabama and No.1 Houston fall to No. 5 San Diego State and No. 5 Miami (Florida), respectively. Additionally, No. 6 Creighton and No. 2 Texas clinched spots into the weekend.
The Elite Eight began Saturday with No. 9 Florida Atlantic’s victory over No. 3 Kansas State.
No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 4 Connecticut will complete the day’s slate with a scheduled 8:49 p.m. (TBS) tip.
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Here’s everything you need to know to be ready for the action:
The Florida Atlantic Owls are soaring high after beating the Kansas State Wildcats to earn their first Final Four berth.
Players jumped around elated after the team was handed the trophy. Still in uniform as his teammates donned their championship T-shirts, sophomore center Vladislav Goldin let out a yell. He recorded a double-double en route to the victory.
The Owls cut down the net with joy beaming from their faces at Madison Square Garden, one of basketball’s most hallowed grounds.
– Victoria Hernandez
The Florida Atlantic Owls continued their fairy-tale run, earning a spot in the Final Four with a 79-76 victory over Kansas State Saturday in the East Regional final.
Florida Atlantic senior Michael Forrest made four clutch free throws in the final 18 seconds to help lift the ninth-seeded Owls past the third-seeded Wildcats.
Vladislav Golden, Florida Atlantic’s 7-foot-1 center, had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Markquis Nowell, Kansas State’s dynamic point guard, had 30 points and 12 assists.
Florida Atlantic trailed 63-57 when Nowell made a 3-pointer with 8:39 left to play. Then the Owls staged their comeback.
Florida Atlantic (35-3) will play the San Diego State-Creighton winner in a semifinal game at the Final Four in Houston.
The ninth-seeded Owls are making just their second appearance in the NCAA Tournament and had not won a Tournament game until this year. But they have been unstoppable, beating No. 8 Memphis, No. 15 Fairleigh Dickinson and then No. 4 Tennessee before upsetting Kansas State.
For Kansas State (26-10), the loss ended an unexpectedly stellar season. The Wildcats were picked last in the Big 12 preseason poll but finished third in the regular season before embarking on their postseason run.
In the Tournament, the Wildcats beat No. 14 Montana State, No. 6 Kentucky No. 7 Michigan State before falling one game shy of reaching the Final Four for the first time since 1964.
Florida Atlantic made its first Tournament appearance in 2002. The Owls, seeded No. 15 that year, lost to No. 2 seed Alabama, 86-78.
– Josh Peter
Despite turning the ball over a dozen times, Florida Atlantic entered halftime with a four-point lead on Kansas State. The Owls maintained a slight lead by controlling the glass, outrebounding the Wildcats 22-9.
Vladislav Goldin is closing in on a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds, including four offensive rebounds. Alijah Martin added nine points.
Markquis Nowell leads Kansas State with 15 points and seven assists.
Half of the Elite Eight is set after a series of regional semifinals highlighted by perhaps the best game of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
That would be No. 3 Kansas State’s 98-93 overtime win against Michigan State that included a historic performance by senior point guard Markquis Nowell, who dished out a tournament-record 19 assists.
Also on Thursday, No. 4 Connecticut ran all over No. 8 Arkansas to reach the Elite Eight for the first time since winning the 2014 national championship; No. 9 Florida Atlantic pulled away from No. 4 Tennessee by leaning into the Volunteers’ physical style; and No. 3 Gonzaga traded late buckets with No. 2 UCLA and pulled out a last-second win.
– Paul Myerberg
In a span of mere minutes Friday night, two programs that have had lots of good seasons but rarely seemed like they’re on the cusp of anything significant, evicted the last two No. 1 seeds left, from this NCAA men’s tournament.
And with those back-to-back results, this is officially the maddest March of them all.
For the first time in the history of the tournament, we don’t have a No. 1 seed in the Elite Eight.
— Dan Wolken
Oh, how the mighty fell on Friday.
Alabama, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA men’s tournament, buckled late in a 71-64 loss to fifth-seeded San Diego State and were eliminated in the Sweet 16 of the South Regional.
The Crimson Tide squandered a nine-point lead in the second half as its quest for the first national championship in school history came to an abrupt end.
— Josh Peter
Fifth-seeded Miami did more than upset top-seeded Houston in a Sweet 16 matchup Friday.
The Hurricanes walloped the Cougars 89-75 in the men’s NCAA Tournament that ended Houston’s hopes of playing for the school’s first national championship in its hometown.
And it means there will be no No. 1 seed in the Elite Eight for the first time.
— Josh Peter