If you are looking for surprises and upsets at this time in the tournament, you really won’t see many. On the first night of play in the Sweet 16, the buzz was about a number 11 seed, Xavier, knocking off a 2 seed in Arizona. Was this really an upset. The AP Preseason poll had Xavier ranked 7th and Arizona 10th while the USA Today Coaches poll had them 8 and 11. Did Xavier live up to expectations during the season.
Absolutely not, they finished completely out of the polls in the AP and 30th in the Coaches poll. Xavier, for all intensive purposes was not an 11 seed. They were one of those teams that clearly was much better than they played. An 11 seed for Xavier was, to say the least absurd. Xavier handled a good Maryland team in the opening round before completely dismantling 3 seed Florida St. before moving on to their “upset” of Arizona. Xavier will now face a tough Gonzaga team for a chance to go to the Final Four.
In other action on the first night of the Sweet 16, Michigan’s dream season came to an end with a 69-68 loss to Oregon. The game went back and for the entire contest and Michigan had several attempts to win it, but it wasn’t meant to be. Game two saw a hot Kansas totally dismantle Purdue 98-66 after they turned a 7 point halftime lead into a 32 point blowout. Kansas outscored the Boilermakers by 25 points in the 2nd half. The final game of the night had Gonzaga squeaking out a 61-58 win over West Virginia after WV failed to get off good shots to tie the game. WVU had no time outs and looked very confused trying to take the winning shot.
Tonight’s games features 3 teams all expected early on to make the Final Four. UK Wildcats always a favorite, along with other blue bloods Kansas and North Carolina, will try to move on with a chance to punch their ticket to the Final Four. UK, which appears to have the toughest route to the Final Four, plays UCLA, then possibly North Carolina and then Kansas for a shot at title number 9. Should be fun tonight for fans of these great programs.