NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Day 1 Recap: Kansas Routs Purdue 98-66, No. 11-Seed Xavier Edges No. 2-Seed Arizona
The first half of the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA men’s basketball Tournament on Thursday night included both much-expected outcomes and surprises, as No.1-seed Kansas trounced fourth-seeded Purdue 98-66, while 11th-seeded Xavier just barely upset thesecond-seeded Arizona Wildcats with a 73-71 victory in San Jose, California.
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Day 1: Oregon Edges Michigan 69-68, Gonzaga beats West Virginia 61-58
Xavier junior guard Trevon Bluiett scored 25 points on 9 for 17 shooting, passing the 20-point mark for the third straight game in the tournament. Bluiett also assisted center Sean O’Mara for the game-winning layup with 44 seconds left.
The Musketeers (24-13) will now make their third trip to the Elite Eight, the first since Arizona coach Sean Miller led Xavier’s 2008 team before leaving to coach the Wildcats (32-5) that offseason.
Xavier will now face top-seeded Gonzaga (35-1) on Saturday. The winner will earn its first-ever trip to the Final Four.
“I cannot say enough good things about Xavier,” Miller said. “It’s not because I used to be there. I think their coach (Chris Mack) is awesome. He had his way with us tonight. He got his players some great shots. I knew going into the game it was going to be a challenge.”
Xavier scored the final nine points, five by Malcolm Bernard. Arizona missed their last six field-goal attempts.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga defeated the fourth-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers (28-9) 61-58 on Thursday.
Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who led the Bulldogs with 16.7 points per game on average on 50.4 percent shooting this season, struggled on Thursday, shooting 2 for 10 from the floor. Williams-Goss is now 12 for 42 (1 for 8 from three) in the first three games of this tournament.
The Mountaineers shot 16 for 60 from the floor in the loss. West Virginia also shot 16 for 60 in a one-point victory over Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament two weeks ago.
The third-seeded Oregon Ducks (32-5) just edged past the seventh-seeded Michigan Wolverines (26-12) 69-68 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Oregon sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey is proving to be one of the top offensive players in the NCAA Tournament, (23.7 points per game on 66% shooting in three games), but it was junior forward Jordan Bell who had a stand-out night for the Ducks on Thursday. Bell finished with 16 points, 13 rebounds (four offensive) and two blocks. Defensively, he held Michigan’s Moritz Wagner, who scored 26 points in the Wolverines’ win over Louisville, to seven points on 3 for 10 shooting.
The Ducks will next face Kansas (31-4) on Saturday. The Jayhawks crushed the Purdue Boilermakers (27-8) on Thursday. Kansas shot 15 for 28 as a team, and over the last 27 minutes, the Jayhawks outscored Purdue 73-33. Kansas has scored more than 90 points in every NCAA Tournament game thus far.
In total, 21.5 percent of brackets predicted Kansas would face Oregon, while 15 percent of brackets both correctly called that matchup and predict the Jayhawks will beat the Ducks.
Kansas was also chosen to reach the Elite Eight in 71 percent of all brackets, with the remaining 29 percent picking Oregon.
Furthermore, 49 percent of brackets believe Kansas will reach the Final Four, and 23 percent predict they will reach the championship game.
Oregon isn’t receiving as much support, with only 11 percent of brackets predicting the Ducks will reach the Final Four and 3.5 percent believing they could reach the championship game.
The second day of Sweet 16 play on Friday night features the following four matchups:
-Butler vs. North Carolina at 7:09 pm EST on CBS.
-South Carolina vs. Baylor at 7:29 pm EST on TBS.
-UCLA vs. Kentucky at 9:39 pm EST on CBS.
-Wisconsin vs. Florida at 9:59 pm EST on TBS.
KANSAS CITY, MO – MARCH 23: Tyler Dorsey #5 of the Oregon Ducks dribbles the ball in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 23, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!