There was plenty of thought among NCAA basketball teams and their fans that there was going to be parity in the NCAA Tournament. However, nobody could have predicted bracket March Madness being flipped on upside down like this year’s event has. Here the best March Madness Sweet 16 Recap.
For the first time in tournament history, No. 1 seed advanced to the Elite Eight. That included losing the tournament’s top seed in the Alabama Crimson Tide, who rolled through the NCAAB schedule and were atop the college basketball standings all year. The Houston Cougars were also losers in the Sweet 16.
The March Madness Sweet 16 recap taught fans several things. One is that having the best college basketball players does not mean winning, and the other is that having an experienced team is still king.
That experience allows teams to be more physical, play with fewer fouls and turnovers, fight through the college basketball injury report, and have the ability to flip March Madness odds in their favor.
For instance, the South and East regions will send two of these teams to the Final Four: No. 5 seed San Diego State, No. 6 seed Creighton, No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic, and No. 3 seed Kansas State. There likely were not many March Madness bets on these teams at the start of the tournament.
The other side of the bracket is a little chalkier. The highest seed remaining is No. 2 Texas, which will play No. 5 Miami, and then No. 3 Gonzaga will play No. 4 UConn in half of a doubleheader of NCAA basketball games today.
Here are the top moments of the March Madness Sweet 16 recap.
No. 1’s fall
The presumptive national player of the year, Alabama’s Brandon Miller, closed with nine points on 3-of-19 shooting and 1 of 10 on 3-pointers with 11 rebounds, three assists, and six turnovers. When Alabama needed its hero, he faded.
San Diego State’s defense, size inside, and physicality was plenty of a handful after it trailed by nine with a little more than 12 minutes to go. Four game minutes later and the Aztecs had reclaimed the lead for good in a 71-64 victory.
Houston has long been one of the best defensive programs since Kelvin Sampson took over.
His Cougars allowed Miami to shoot 51.7% from the field and make 11 of 25 3-pointers (44.0%), and go to the free-throw line 19 times for 16 makes (84.2%). Meanwhile, the Cougars shot 37.5% and were 9 for 31 (29.0%) on 3-pointers in the 89-75 loss.
Florida Atlantic entered its second NCAA Tournament in program history and now sits one win away from the Final Four. The Owls (34-3) overcame a second-half deficit to beat Tennessee, 62-55, in an upset of college basketball picks.
The new NCAAB odds don’t favor the Owls, who overcame the No. 1 rated defense according to Ken Pomeroy’s metrics. That did not matter as Michael Forest broke through with four straight 3-pointers and a personal 8-0 run to give the Owls the lead in the second half. Johnell Davis had a team-high 15 points for a “scrappy group” freshman Nick Boyd said.
Game of the tournament
Thursday night produced some of the best theater live sports could dream of. Michigan State and Kansas State traded great shot after great shot all the way through overtime until Markquis Nowell threw a no-look backdoor lob to Keyontae Johnson for an alley-oop.
But Nowell – who finished with a tournament record 19 assists to go with 20 points – appeared to be arguing with coach Jerome Tang on which play to run, yet caught a glimpse of Johnson. It was effective, as the Wildcats won 98-93. Kansas State shot 55.9% from the field and 45.8% on 3-pointers, while Michigan State made 49.2% of its shots and 52.0% of its 3-pointers.
But the March Madness Sweet 16 recap had one more great game.
Gonzaga and All-American Drew Timme had just seen Amari Bailey make a 3-pointer to take the lead. After a defensive timeout by UCLA, Gonzaga ran “Villanova” to get guard Julian Strawther an open 3 in a 79-76 win.