While two Number one seeds, Duke and Wisconsin, kept the chains moving and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, two number two seeds said goodbye to the tournament rather early, as Wichita State upset in-state rivals Kansas and Michigan State, for a second straight year, stood in the way of Virginia.
#7 Wichita State beat #2 Kansas 78-65: Another early exit for Bill Self and the Jayhawks in what shouldn’t be such an upset considering how well the Shockers have done in recent years. A 25-6 run that began late in the first half turned this game on its head, and Kansas shooting poorly the rest of the way (35.1% from the field). Tekele Cotton scored 19 points, helped out by Fred VanVleet with 17 points.
#7 Michigan State beat #2 Virginia 60-54: For a second straight season the defense of Virginia isn’t enough to beat the Spartans, led by Travis Trice and his 23 points. Trice scored 13 of his team’s opening 15 points to take a 15-4 lead early on, from which the Cavaliers simply aren’t built to recover from.
#1 Wisconsin beat #8 Oregon 72-65: Joseph Young had a huge game with 30 points, but the depth on the Badgers’ side and their size made the difference, going often to the line, outscoring Oregon by 16 points in free throws. Sam Dekker with 17 points led four players in double figures, including 16 by Frank Kaminsky.
#1 Duke beat #8 San Diego State 68-49: One of those games in which the talent and size superiority the Blue Devils have takes over the encounter. Jahlil Okafor was unstoppable with 26 points while he and Justise Winslow swatted shots like pesky flies on the other end.
#3 Oklahoma beat #11 Dayton 72-66: Excellent defense in the second half playing in a hostile environment in Columbus helped Oklahoma players make their head coach Lon Kruger the second man to take four different schools to the Sweet 16. Jordan Woodward had four steals and led his team with 16 points, followed by Buddy Hield with 15, turning a seven-point deficit with ten minutes remaining into a win.
#2 Gonzaga beat #7 Iowa 87-68: Maybe the rumors were true and this is truly the best Gonzaga team ever assembled, walking all over the Hawkeyes, shooting 61.5% from the field and 62.5% from beyond the arc. Kyle Wiltjer scored 24 points and Domantas Sabonis added 18 points off the bench to set up a West coast meeting with UCLA in the Sweet 16.
#5 West Virginia beat #4 Maryland 69-59: Excellent full court pressing confused Maryland against a stingy West Virginia team, forcing 23 turnovers. Gary Browne had five steals and 14 points; Javon Carter finished with six steals. The team fueled by feeling slighted more than anyone else in college basketball is moving forward.
#4 Louisville beat #5 Northern Iowa 66-53: Some things don’t change, and one of them is the Cardinals under Rick Pitino making the Final Four. Terry Rozier scored 25 points against the Panthers, whose defense in the MVC didn’t translate all that well against a good ACC team.