Half of the remaining field in the men’s NCAA Tournament clinched berths in the Elite Eight, with Kansas State, Connecticut, Florida Atlantic and Gonzaga each winning their respective Sweet 16 games Thursday night.
That left four more Sweet 16 games Friday in the men’s field, with a pair of top seeds vying for trips to the Elite Eight. Both fell short.
No. 1 Alabama was knocked out in the first game of the night, losing 71-64 to No. 5 San Diego State. In the second game, No. 1 Houston was soundly defeated, 89-75, by No. 5 Miami (Florida). They join Purdue, which was shocked by No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round, and Kansas, which lost to Arkansas in the second round, on the sidelines. This will be the first Elite Eight ever without a No. 1 seed.
No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 15 Princeton and No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Xavier rounded out Friday night’s slate.
In particular, Friday was notable for fans of the Hurricanes, as the women’s team also booked its first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1992.
Follow the madness: Latest Men’s NCAA Tournament College Basketball Scores and Schedules
MEN’S TOURNAMENT: Complete scores and schedule
Follow the madness: Latest Men’s NCAA Tournament College Basketball Scores and Schedules
THURSDAY’S PLAY: Catch up on all the men’s action from the first leg of the Sweet 16
Follow along for live updates throughout the night.
The Longhorns suffered a big blow in the opening minutes. Dylan Disu has been ruled out for the remainder of the game with a bone bruise in his left foot.
Disu attempted to play through the injury and started for Texas, but he headed back to locker room in discomfort after only registering one rebound and no shot attempts. Disu returned to the bench with a walking boot on his left foot.
He was averaging 22.5 points and 10 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament, including an electric 28-point, 10 rebound double-double against Penn State in the second round.
“We’ve had a next man mentality all year,” Texas coach Rodney Terry said. “They are going to play for their brother tonight.”
In what’s been a topsy-turvy NCAA Tournament, Princeton is aiming to become just the second No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight. The Tigers are hanging, trailing No. 6 Creighton 47-43 at halftime.
Both teams are shooting well from the field – an impressive 62.1% for Creighton (18-for-29) to Princeton’s 51.4% (19-for-37) – and are fairly evenly matched in other major categories. Princeton big man Tosan Evbuomwan leads all scorers with 15 points. Three Creighton players are in double-figures, led by Baylor Scheierman’s 13 points. Scheierman is 3-for-3 from deep, part of a 6-for-12 effort from beyond the arc for the Bluejays.
Saint Peter’s is the only other No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight, accomplishing the feat last season.
It’s March sadness for Mattress Mack.
The pockets belonging to Jim McIngvale, the Houston furniture chain owner known as Mattress Mack, are millions of dollars lighter after the Houston Cougars’ 89-75 loss to the Miami Hurricanes.
He placed multiple bets totaling about $4 million for the No. 1 seed to win the national championship. If Houston won the NCAA Tournament, McIngvale would have won $35 million.
Down goes another No. 1 seed.
The Hurricanes knocked out the Cougars with an 89-75 victory to advance to the Elite Eight for the second straight year. And the men’s basketball team is in good company – Miami’s women’s basketball team also advanced.
For Houston, its dream of playing in the Final Four in its hometown is over.
Miami shot lights out the entire game, finishing 51.7% from the field and 11-for-25 from beyond the arc. Seven of those made threes came from Nijel Pack, who led the pack with a game-high 26 points. Norchad Omier recorded a double-double, (12 points and 13 rebounds) and Isaiah Wong added 20 points.
Miami led 42-36 at the half, and that lead continued to swell. The Hurricanes led by double digits for most of the second half and by as much as 17 points.
Wooga Poplar put an exclamation point on the 14-point win with a slam dunk with 1:07 left in the game. This will be the first ever Elite Eight without a No. 1 seed after No. 5 San Diego State took down No. 1 overall seed Alabama.
Contributing: Josh Peter
Oh, how the mighty fell on Friday.
Top-seeded Alabama buckled late in a 71-64 loss to fifth-seeded San Diego State and were eliminated in the Sweet 16.
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.
San Diego State was simply too much playing aggressive defense that stifled the Crimson Tide’s potent offense and hitting several clutch shots in turning its second-half deficit into a lead in the final minutes.
Alabama went up 48-39 on Nick Pringle’s dunk with 11:39 left to play. But San Diego State stormed back thanks to a 12-0 run that was started by eight consecutive points by Darrion Trammell. The lead grew to nine on Jaedon LeDee’s jumper with 3:45 remaining.
Alabama would close within two in the final minute, but San Diego State hit its free throws late to clinch the victory.
– Josh Peter
Miami looks to follow in the footsteps of the women’s basketball team, which advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time ever early Friday. And the Hurricanes got off to a good start, shooting 46.9% from the field and 6-for-14 from beyond the arc (Nijel Pack has four of those 3s). Miami has two players in double digits – Pack (14 points) and Isaiah Wong (12 points) – and it only turned the ball over one time in the entire half.
Marcus Sasser leads the Cougars with 11 points. Jarace Walker added seven points and seven rebounds. But Houston needs to take better care of the ball – it registered six turnovers.
The No. 1 overall seed trails the Aztecs by five heading into halftime. Nothing seemed to go right for Alabama in the first half. The Crimson Tide shot 27.6% from the field and went 1-for-11 from three. Brandon Miller was limited to four points after picking up two quick fouls in the first five minutes of the game.
The Aztecs fared slightly better, shooting 32.4% from the field and 2-for-8 from three. Darrion Trammell has a game-high nine points. San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said the pace of the game has favored the Aztecs, who have limited Alabama’s second-chance points with 10 offensive rebounds.
Brandon Miller got off to a rough start. He headed to the bench just five minutes into Alabama’s Sweet 16 matchup after picking up two quick fouls. He wasn’t able to get it done on the other end of the floor either, shooting 0-for-4 from the field and turning the ball over twice.
Miller entered the game halfway through the first half. Coach Nate Oats said they were taking the risk because “we got to win or go home.” He added, “We’re playing him.”
The men’s Sweet 16 round resumes Friday night, with action in Louisville, Kentucky, and Kansas City, Missouri.
►No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 5 San Diego State
Time/TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, TBS
►No. 1 Houston vs. No. 5 Miami-Florida
Time/TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, CBS
►No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 15 Princeton
Time/TV: 9 p.m. ET, TBS
►No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Xavier
Time/TV: 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS
Alabama football coach Nick Saban says he wasn’t referencing the school’s basketball program when he remarked, “there’s no such thing as being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
And Crimson Tide men’s basketball coach Nate Oats didn’t take it that way, either.
Oats had used the phrase “wrong spot at the wrong time” when describing why he wasn’t suspending Alabama star Brandon Miller after police testified that he transported the gun that had been used in a shooting that killed Jamea Harris.
— Mike Brehm
After Princeton’s men’s basketball team picked apart Missouri in the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32, becoming just the fourth No. 15 seed ever to advance to the Sweet 16, the Tigers drew accolades from across the hardwood universe.
“I’m very pleased with how they’re doing,” Bill Bradley said via phone Monday morning. “They boxed out on rebounds, hit open shots, spaced the floor very well, played good defense. They played with a purpose.”
Bradley is the gold standard for New Jersey college basketball – a three-time All-American who in 1965 led Princeton to the Final Four and was named national player of the year. He also led the United States to the gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and went on to help the New York Knicks win NBA titles in 1970 and 1973 before becoming a three-term U.S. senator representing the Garden State.
— Jerry Carino, Asbury Park Press
Lauren Sampson remembers riding on the team bus in frigid winters as a preschooler during her father’s first head coaching job at Montana Tech, athletic tape affixed around the windows in a losing effort to stave off the cold.
Her family told her the team’s games were her parties and let the little girl run the show.
“They gave me a mic and I’d say: ‘Welcome,’” she recalled. “And then they would sew bells into my game dresses so they could hear me as I was wandering around.”
Her younger brother, Kellen, remembers using Washington State facilities as his personal playground when dad ended up there a few years later. He once slipped into the UCLA locker room when the Bruins came to town — he was no older than 5 — and wasn’t discovered until coach Jim Herrick was midway through his pregame speech.
“He looked at me and said: ‘Hey, little fella’s got to go,’” he said.
Decades later, the siblings are at their father’s side and both play key roles on coach Kelvin Sampson’s staff as Houston makes a run at its first championship.
— Associated Press
As the second weekend of the men’s and women’s NCAA Tournament begin, we enter one of the most recognizable rounds in sports – the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight.
But how did the the regional semifinals and finals get their names?
The men’s NCAA Tournament began in 1939, when it had just eight teams compared to the 68 teams now, but it hasn’t used the Sweet 16 or Elite Eight phrasing for the entirety of the tournament’s history, and it wasn’t until recently the NCAA began to market the third and fourth rounds as the phrases.
— Jordan Mendoza