The big upset of the Elite Eight was #1 Michigan falling to the Play-in #11 UCLA by 2 points. In one of the tightest games of the Tournament. UCLA gave Michigan a work out on the court.
11th-seeded U.C.L.A., which stunned top-seeded Michigan, 51-49, to become the second team to reach the Final Four while coming out of the First Four as one of the last at-large selections in the 68-team field.
The Bruins got 28 points from Johnny Juzang, and held Michigan without a basket for the final 5 minutes, 22 seconds, including a 3-pointer by Franz Wagner that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
As it did, the Bruins poured off the bench and onto the floor, celebrating a wild finish to an untidy game that put them in the Final Four for the first time in 13 years and kept alive a chase for a 12th national title.
In the second game of the night #1 Gonzaga beat #6 USC by its usual double digit final score.
U.S.C. is one of the tallest teams in the country with the Mobley brothers, Evan and Isaiah, standing 7-foot and 6-foot-10 being flanked by 6-foot-8 Drew Peterson and 6-foot-7 Isaiah White. The Trojans’ zone defense all but forms a picket fence around the basket. But for all their height, the Trojans do not handle the basketball particularly well and Gonzaga repeatedly doubled Evan Mobley and stripped other Trojans of the ball.
Those steals, six in the first half, sent the Zags off and running, leaving U.S.C. Coach Andy Enfield fuming at his players and then the referees, wondering what became of the team that had routed Drake, Kansas and Oregon on its way to a regional final for the first time in 20 years. Gonzaga led 49-30 at halftime.
The second half was spent largely running out the clock, which expired just as fans on the West Coast were sitting down to eat dinner.
I suspect the Gonzaga – USC game will have the same results. The game to watch, though, is #1 Baylor and #2 Houston. Houston has held its own from the start easily defeating #12 Oregon St. in the Elite Eight. Both teams are evenly matched
After its 81-72 win against Arkansas, Baylor (28-3) made it to its first Final Four since 1950 and the Bears look as ready as ever. The Bears, the top seed in the South region, are a strong defensive team that is going to give Houston its most challenging matchup in the tournament. The Bears also have great 3-point shooting — the best in the men’s game at 41 percent.
Baylor is led by three skilled guards — Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell — who combine to score 46.5 of the team’s 83 average points per game.
The important thing for Baylor is to take advantage of its shooting strengths. Houston’s defense is a hard one to get past, but Baylor has the shooters to do it. They just have to make the shots. [..]
Defense, defense, defense — No. 2-seeded Houston (28-3) out of the Midwest region is great at it. The Cougars are making their first Final Four appearance since 1984 and looking like a team ready and able to stop any offense in its path. Houston is able to close in quick and force turnovers, making it the second best defense in men’s Division I, holding opponents to just 57.6 points per game.
Houston is led by Quentin Grimes, a transfer from Kansas who has found much success with the Cougars. Grimes averages 18 points and 5.8 rebounds and is key to the team’s offensive strategy.
The Cougars are also a great rebounding team, which will be particularly important against Baylor’s 3-point shooting to take those second-chance points away from the Bears.
|12||Oregon St.||17 – 12||67||2||Houston*||24 – 3||81||Midwest|
|3||Arkansas||22 – 6||72||1||Baylor*||22 – 2||81||South|
|6||USC||22 – 7||66||1||Gonzaga*||26 – 0||89||West|
|11||UCLA*||17 – 9||51||1||Michigan||20 – 4||49||East|
These are the four teams playing in the Final Four. The winners play for the championship on April 5. I’ll post the scores as the games conclude.
|5:14||CBS||2||Houston||34 – 3||Midwest||59||1||Baylor*||22 – 2||78||South|
|8:34||CBS||11||UCLA||17 – 9||East||90 OT||1||Gonzaga*||26 – 0||93 OT||West|
TMC for ek hornbeck