March Madness HEADS INTO THE FINAL FOUR WITH SOME SURPRISES

Reuters

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SATURDAY – MARCH 24TH:

#9 Florida State vs. #3 Michigan – Michigan advances (58 - 54)

#11 Loyola (Chi) vs. #9 Kansas State – Loyola (Chi) advances (78 - 62)

SUNDAY – MARCH 25TH:

#3 Texas Tech vs. #1 Villanova – Villanova advances (71 - 59)

#1 Kansas vs. #2 Duke – Kansas advances (85 - 81 OT)

ELITE 8 HIGHLIGHTS:

#11 Loyola (Chi) vs #9 Kansas State – FINAL -  Loyola (Chi) advances (78 - 62)

One of the most unpredictable tournaments in recent history continues as the Ramblers of Loyola continue on as they down the Kansas State Wildcats to make their first Final Four appearance since 1963. In their most dominating win of the tournament, senior guard Ben Richardson scored a career high 23 points in the 16 point win over nine seed K-State. The Ramblers matched the record for the lowest seeded team to ever reach the Final Four joining the 1986 LSU Tigers, 2006 George Mason Patriots, and the 2011 VCU Rams. Loyola will play the #3 Michigan Wolverines in the Final Foul.

FRIDAY – MARCH 23RD:

#5 Clemson vs. #1 Kansas – Kansas advances (80 - 76)

#5 West Virginia vs. #1 Villanova – Villanova advances (90 - 78)

#11 Syracuse vs. #2 Duke – Duke advances (69 - 65)

#3 Texas Tech vs. #2 Purdue – Texas Tech advances (78 - 65)

THURSDAY – MARCH 22ND:

#11 Loyola (Chi) vs. #7 Nevada – Loyola (Chi) advances (69 - 68)

#7 Texas A&M vs. #3 Michigan – Michigan advances (99 - 72)

#9 Kansas State vs. #5 Kentucky – Kansas State advances (61 - 58)

#9 Florida State vs. #4 Gonzaga – Florida State advances (75 - 60)

SWEET 16 HIGHLIGHTS:

#11 Loyola (Chi) vs #7 Nevada – FINAL -  Loyola (Chi) advances (69 - 68)

The dream continues for Sister Jean and the Loyola Ramblers as they defeated #7 seed Nevada last night in a Sweet 16 opening thriller. Marques Townes led the way for Loyola with 18 points and 5 assist. The final three coming with just eight seconds left to put the Ramblers lead out of touch. 

 

The Ramblers have now won their three tournament games by a combined four points. They advance to take on another surprise elite eight participant in Kansas State on Saturday.  

#9 Kansas State vs #5 Kentucky – FINAL -  Kansas State advances (61 - 58)

Kansas State kept the upset trend going as they sent home #5 seed Kentucky in another thriller. Kentucky had been the hands down favorite to advance to the Final Four from the region, but Kansas State's forward Xavier Sneed had other ideas. The sophomore netted 22 points with 15 coming from behind the arc. Kentucky was not able to overcome a poor shooting game as they could never recover into dominant form once they fell behind 13-1 early.

 

K-State advances to play tournament darling Loyola-Chicago on Saturday with a trip to the Final Four in San Antonio on the line.  If the Wildcats continue their winning ways, it will be their first final four appearance since 1964.    

SUNDAY – MARCH 18TH:

#9 Florida State vs. #1 Xavier  – Florida State advances (75 – 70)

#11 Syracuse vs. #3 Michigan State  – Syracuse advances (55 – 53)

#7 Nevada vs. #2 Cincinnati  – Nevada advances (75 – 73)

#7 Texas A&M vs. #2 North Carolina  – Texas A&M advances (86 – 65)

#13 Marshall vs. #5 West Virginia  – West Virginia advances (94 – 71)

#5 Clemson vs. #4 Auburn  – Clemson advances (84 – 53)

#10 Butler vs. #2 Purdue  – Purdue advances (76 – 73)

#16 UMBC vs. #9 Kansas State  – Kansas State advances (50 – 43)

SUNDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

#9 Florida State vs #1 Xavier – FINAL -  Florida State advances (75 - 70)

The opening weekend upset train has no stops as yet another one seed goes home early. Xavier found themselves in complete control over Florida State leading by 12 with 10:42 left. The Seminoles outscored the Musketeers 31-14 down the stretch including the final seven of the game. Florida State earns its first trip to the sweet 16 since 2011 and its second trip with head coach Leonard Hamilton. 

 

#11 Syracuse vs #2 Michigan State – FINAL -  Michigan State advances (55 - 53)

Initially, Syracuse was written off even after becoming the last team into the tournament by claiming the 68th and final spot before defeating  Arizona State. The Orangemen then upset TCU in the opening round to set up the match up with widely considered favorite Michigan State. The tested Jim Boeheim zone defense suffocated the Spartan offense and forced them into 3-point attempts all afternoon. The Spartans shot 8-37 from beyond the arc and were held to just 25.8% shooting overall. Tyus Battle led the Orangemen with 17 points and Oshae Brissett added 15. Syracuse will face another tournament favorite in the Duke Blue Devils in the next round.

SATURDAY – MARCH 17TH:

#9 Alabama vs. #1 Villanova  – Villanova advances (81 – 58)

#6 Houston vs. #3 Michigan  – Michigan advances (64 – 63)

#4 Gonzaga vs. #5 Ohio State  – Gonzaga advances (90 – 84)

#6 Florida vs. #3 Texas Tech  – Texas Tech advances (69 – 66)

#7 Rhode Island vs. #2 Duke  – Duke advances (87 – 62)

#11 Loyola (Chi) vs. #3 Tennessee  – Loyola (Chi) advances (63 – 62)

#1 Kansas vs. #8 Seton Hall  – Kansas advances (83 – 79)

SATURDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

#11 Loyola (Chi) vs #3 Tennessee – FINAL - Loyola (Chi) advances (63 - 62)

The Ramblers of Chicago will keep on rambling for at least one more round as Loyola shocked three seed Tennessee with another late winner. Just two days after Donte Ingram's 3-pointer to eliminate the Miami Hurricanes, Clayton Custer's jumper rattled in to secure the sweet 16 birth for Loyola. It's the Ramblers first trip to the sweet 16 since 1985 which is also the last time Loyola made the NCAA tournament.

 

#6 Houston vs #3 Michigan – FINAL -  Michigan advances (64 - 63)

Just in case the tournament hadn't delivered enough drama for you, another instant classic unfolded between Houston and Michigan late on Saturday.  In the end, 23 points and 10 rebounds from Houston's senior guard Rob Gray was not enough as freshman guard Jordan Poole pulled up to sink the game winning 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. It is Michigan's 11th straight win and secures them their fourth trip to the sweet 16 in the last six years.

FRIDAY – MARCH 16TH:

#10 Providence vs. #7 Texas A&M – Texas A&M advances (73 – 69)

#15 CS Fullerton vs. #2 Purdue – Purdue advances (74 – 48)

#13 Marshall vs #4 Wichita State – Marshall advances (81 – 75)

#15 Georiga State vs #2 Cincinnati – Cincinnati advances (68 - 53)

#2 North Carolina vs #15 Lipscomb – North Carolina advances (84 - 66)

#10 Butler vs #7 Arkansas – Butler advances (79 - 62)

#12 Murray State vs. #5 West Virginia – West Virginia advances (85 - 68)

#10 Texas vs. #7 Nevada – Nevada advances (87 - 83 OT)

#8 Creighton vs. #9 Kansas State – Kansas State advances (69 - 59) 

#3 Michigan State vs. #14 Bucknell – Michigan State advances (82 - 78)

#1 Xavier vs. #16 Texas Southern – Xavier advances (102 - 83)

#4 Auburn vs. #13 Charleston – Auburn advances (62 - 58)

#1 Virginia vs #16 UMBC – UMBC advances (74 - 54)

#6 TCU vs. #11 Syracuse – Syracuse advances (57 - 52)

#8 Missouri vs. #9 Florida State – Florida State advances (67 - 54)

#5 Clemson vs #12 New Mexico State – Clemson advances (79 - 68)

FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

#1 Virginia vs #16 UMBC – FINAL - UMBC advances (74 - 54)

A number one seed had never lost to a 16th seed in NCAA tournament history until Friday night. The University of Maryland - Baltimore County Retrievers pulled off the biggest upset in tournament history as they dismissed the number one seeded Cavaliers with a dominating performance outscoring the current ACC champions by 20 in the second half. The historic loss is only the third loss of the year for the Cavaliers who finished the regular season with 30 wins. It ends a season that saw them go 20-1 in ACC play and enter the tournament as the number one overall seed. Number one seeds were 135 - 0 against 16 seeds prior to the UMBC miracle. 

 

The Retrievers advance to play the ninth seeded Kansas State Wildcats in the round of 32.

#13 Marshall vs #4 Wichita State – FINAL - Marshall advances (81 – 75)

Another big upset in the first round of the tournament sees Conference USA’s Marshall down four seed Wichita State on the back of senior guard Jon Elmore. Elmore scored 27 points and added four assists in the win.

The win is the first in NCAA tournament history for the Thunder Herd.

THURSDAY – MARCH 15TH:

#10 Oklahoma vs. #7 Rhode Island – Rhode Island advances (83 - 78 OT)

#14 Wright State vs. #3 Tennessee – Tennessee advances (73 – 47)

#15 IONA vs. #2 Duke – Duke advances (89 – 67)

#13 UNC Greensboro vs. #4 Gonzaga – Gonzaga advances (68 – 64)

#16 Pennsylvania vs. #1 Kansas – Kansas advances (76 – 60)

#12 South Dakota State vs. #5 Ohio State – Ohio State advances (81 – 73)

#12 Davidson vs. #5 Kentucky – Kentucky advances (78 - 73)

#16 Radford vs. #1 Villanova – Villanova advances (87 - 61)

#14 Stephen F. Austin vs. #3 Texas Tech – Texas Tech advances (70 – 60)

#11 Loyola (Chi) vs. #6 Miami (FL) – Loyola (Chi) advances (64 -62)

#8 Seton Hall vs. #9 NC State – Seton Hall advances (94 - 83)

#9 Alabama vs. #8 Virginia Tech – Alabama advances (86 – 83)

#11 San Diego State vs. #6 Houston – Houston advances (67 – 65)

#13 Buffalo vs #4 Arizona – Buffalo advances (89 – 68)

#11 St. Bonaventure vs #6 Florida – Florida advances (77 – 62)

#14 Montana vs #3 Michigan – Michigan advances (61 – 47)

THURSDAY HIGHLIGHTS:

#7 Rhode Island vs. #10 Oklahoma - FINAL -  RHODE ISLAND ADVANCES (83-78 OT)

Trae Young's 28 points was not enough for Oklahoma to push past the University of Rhode Island Rams as the Sooners go down in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Young also added five rebounds and seven assists to his 28 points but only one other Sooner found themselves with double-digit scoring in the losing effort. 

The Rams shared the scoring duties. Four players scored in double digits in the overtime victory with senior guard E.C. Williams leading the way with 16. Three of the 16 on this dagger with 31 seconds left in overtime:

 

The Rams move on to play second seed Duke in the round of 32 after the Blue Devils made short work of Iona 89-67.

#3 Tennessee vs. #14 Wright State – FINAL - TENNESSEE ADVANCES (73-47)

Wright State couldn't get right as they were easily dismissed by the Volunteers in a rout. Tennessee sophomore guard Lamonte Turner led all scorers with 19.  Tennessee next takes on Loyola who upset the Miami Hurricanes 64-62 with this last second Donte Ingram 3-pointer:

 

#4 Gonzaga vs. #13 UNC Greensboro – FINAL – GONZAGA ADVANCES (68-64)

UNC Greensboro gave the Bulldogs of Gonzaga quite the scare as the Spartans held the lead with under two minutes to play. But in the end UNC Greensboro zigged when they should have zagged and the Bulldogs took the lead with Zach Norvell Jr. three with 21 seconds to play.