The ACC, with three teams (Duke, Louisville, Notre Dame) leads the conferences in Elite Eight representation, followed by the Big Ten (Michigan State, Wisconsin) with two. The SEC (with Kentucky), Pac-12 (Arizona) and WCC (Gonzaga) have just one team each left in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
For the fifth time in the six seasons John Calipari has been coaching Kentucky, the Wildcats are in the Elite Eight, making it all the way to the final last time (last year) they made it this far. Kentucky are undefeated this season (37-0) and have been just as dominant in the NCAA Tournament, beating Hampton by 26 points, Cincinnati by 13 points and West Virginia by 39 points, a new Sweet Sixteen record. Trey Lyles with 11.7 points per game is their leading scorer in the tournament, facing Notre Dame next. Kentucky haven’t won a game by less than 10 points since March 3, beating Georgia by 8.
Duke Blue Devils
For only the second time since winning the NCAA Tournament in 2010, Duke are in the Elite Eight. After rather comfortable games against Robert Morris and San Diego State, Utah provided a much more difficult challenge, beating the Utes 63-57 in the Sweet Sixteen behind 21 points from Justise Winslow. Their next opponents are Gonzaga.
The Badgers are in the Elite Eight for the second year in a row, something that has never happened in the Bo Ryan era, hoping to make it into a second consecutive Final Four as well. Things have been gradually getting more difficult for them in the tournament (as it should be), beating Coastal Carolina by 14, Oregon by 7 and then North Carolina by 7, although it was much closer for most of the game. Next up are Arizona, hoping that Frank Kaminsky keeps up his form, averaging 20.7 points per game in the tournament.
One of the two remaining number two seeds, Arizona are in the Elite Eight for a second straight year and third overall since Sean Miller became the head coach in 2009. They’ve won their last 14 games, including dominant wins over Texas Southern and Ohio State to start off the tournament, followed by an 8-point win over Xavier. They’re facing Wisconsin, a number one seed, next. T.J. McConnell is leading them in scoring with 16 a game in the tournament.
For only the second time in program history, Gonzaga are in the Elite Eight. The number 2 seed began the tournament with a 10-point win over North Dakota State and since then have done very well against power conference teams, beating Iowa by 19 points and UCLA by 12 points. Next up for them are Duke, a number one seed. Kyle Wiltjer is leading the scoring with 18.3 points per game, although he had just 8 in the win over the Bruins.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The only number three seed in the tournament, Notre Dame are getting better with every passing game, making it to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1979. They’ve beaten Northeastern by 4 points, Butler (in overtime) by just 3 points but the Wichita State win was a lot smoother, winning by 11 points in a fantastic offensive performance, setting themselves with a game against Kentucky. Zach Auguste, averaging 15.7 points per game in the tournament, is their leading scorer.
This hasn’t been the most dominant of season for Louisville in the ACC, but they’re in the Elite Eight for a sixth time under Rick Pitino. The Cardinals beat UCI by just two points and things have picked up from there, beating Northern Iowa by 13 points and their conference rivals North Carolina State by 10 points. They’re facing Michigan State next. Terry Rozier is leading them with 18 points a game in the tournament.
Michigan State Spartans
The lowest remaining seed (#7), but not a surprise to see them here, making the Elite Eight for a ninth time under Tom Izzo. It hasn’t been easy in 2015, but it’s never easy for the Spartans, beating Georgia, Virginia and Oklahoma by a combined 17 points, setting themselves up with a clash against Louisville. Travis Trice, averaging 20.7 points per game, is their leading tournament scorer.