March Madness Sweet 16 and Elite 8
Timeline staffers Dave Long and Taylor Schuster give their opinions and recaps of the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games.
Graphic by: Dr. C. Allin Means
The Sweet 16 of this year’s March Madness Tournament turned out to be quite predictable actually.
Now, this does not mean the games were not entertaining or hard fought, but the higher seeded teams came out just as victorious as they were expected to.
One of my favorite games of the Sweet 16 was the Wisconsin vs. North Carolina game.
North Carolina had the steam to take down the towering Badgers but unfortunately fell short as time ran out, losing 79-72.
This helps my bracket, but being from North Carolina, I am also a Tar Heels fan, so I am a bit pulled between emotions.
Arizona took down Xavier in the round of 16, 68-60.
Arizona finished the game strong, out-shooting the Musketeers, 15-7, in the final five minutes.
There really were not too many exciting possessions in that game.
The game that left almost all March Madness fans with their mouths open was the Kentucky vs. West Virginia game. Wow.
This win was much more significant than just a top-seeded team taking down a lower ranking opponent. It was a team asserting pure dominance over another good basketball team.
WVU played their hearts out against Maryland in the round of 32, so I thought for sure they would be able to put up a good fight against Kentucky.
Boy was I wrong.
The Wildcats asserted themselves as the dominant team by out hustling, out manning and out shooting the Mountaineers, taking the win by a demanding 39 points, 78-39.
They showed the country what Kentucky basketball is all about.
Let’s move on to the Elite Eight now.
We will start with the less-exciting game, Wisconsin vs. Arizona.
Wisconsin took the win by seven points, taking care of the basketball for the last minute until time ran out.
The Badgers finished off the Wildcats with a shooting percentage of 55.6 going 12 for 18 from behind the arc.
Wisconsin, which seemed to be in control of the game the entire second half, will be taking on the winner of the Kentucky vs. Notre Dame game.
Speaking of the Notre Dame vs. Kentucky game, I can not believe how good a game that ended up being.
The lead swayed back and forth the entire game.
This was not a game that you switched back to during the commercial of another game.
This match had your attention through all breaks and stoppage.
My Fighting Irish almost pulled out the monstrous upset. They came within arms reach of defeating the seemingly unbeatable Kentucky Wildcats.
The final score of the game was 68-66, Kentucky.
I do not think that Notre Dame was outplayed in this game.
To be honest, I think they outplayed Kentucky but caught a bit of bad luck in the last couple minutes of the game, losing the game by only one bucket.
That comment may be a bit biased. … Actually, it’s totally biased.
I am always behind my Fighting Irish, win or lose.
Notre Dame has nothing to hang their heads about after that game.
I hope they see this as an accomplishment and use it as fuel going into next season.
Kentucky will face their toughest opponent yet on Saturday, April 4, at 8:49 p.m. in the Final Four game, the Wisconsin Badgers.
I am anxiously awaiting for this game to be played.
The dance continued on March 26 through March 29.
From the East region there were match-ups that no one was truly expecting.
No ones bracket was anywhere close to perfect from how many different upsets happened in the last round.
It was the No. 8 seed vs. No. 4 seed and the No.3 seed vs No.7 seed.
These were the games everyone had their eye on to see which Cinderella story continued in the dance.
Even though North Carolina State took down the No.1 seed in their region, it did not stop the Cardinals from Louisville from beating them by ten points.
Louisville showed their dominance and looked on while No. 7 Michigan State took on No. 3 Oklahoma.
Michigan State took center stage and presented that they will be the team to watch for the Cinderella story as they took control at the end of the game and finishing the Sooners.
From the South region there were three teams that were kind of predictable but there was one that was still one of the lowest seeds to continue in the tournament, No. 11 UCLA.
The first game of the day was No. 1 Duke vs No. 5 Utah, which ended up like most games Duke plays in, they win.
Even with the great 3-point shooting from Utah’s guards they could not handle the Blue Devils.
On the other hand, No. 11 UCLA vs No. 2 Gonzaga was a pretty close game within the first half.
Then the Gonzaga Bulldogs took it away in the last five minutes of the game and ending up winning by twelve points.
The Elite Eight was a great couple of games with one ending in a thrilling over time.
The big thing for any basketball team to have is pretty good or above average free throw shooting.
Rick Pitino wishes he made this more clear to his athletes, as they missed crucial points when it counted against a very strong Michigan State team.
Even though the game made it to overtime, as a viewer you could tell the the Spartans had control over the rest of the game.
Michigan State rolled on and will be headed to the Final Four for the ninth time. Who will they face off against, Duke or Gonzaga?
The Blue Devils find a way every time they play to pull out another win with their freshmen duo.
The Final Four are some of the biggest games of the year, with the teams so close that they can almost taste that National Championship.
With Duke taking on Michigan State, a No.1 taking on a No. 7, one is left wondering if the underdog Spartans who have shown that they take over late into games will prevail?
Or is it going to be the Blue Devils and their great freshmen leading the way?
The game will be this weekend on April 4, at 6:09 p.m. ET.
Stay tuned in to see how these weekend games turn out to be who will be in the big game on April 6.