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Summarizing the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 Action & Looking Ahead to More Madness

My media thoughts about the tournament will have to wait. The upsets came fast and furious Thursday. I run a sweet 16 pool. It’s not pretty. Nobody went better than 2-2 on the first night. Only Michigan held serve. Since their bracket has opened up, Michigan could be headed to another title game. Of course, that’s what people said about Kentucky. So much for that theory.

Kansas State knocked off John Calipari’s boys in a physical game. Kentucky can only blame themselves. They missed a number of free throws. PJ Washington went 8-20 at the charity stripe. Kentucky failed to take advantage of what I thought were some favorable calls.

Live Footage of Kentucky’s Season Going Up In Flames:

Loyola-Chicago was only a slight underdog, but they pulled off another upset. Their three tournament victories have been by a total of four points. Even Sister Jean didn’t see this one coming. She picked her school to lose in the sweet 16, although she did say they make the title game in her dream bracket. I don’t think anyone had Loyola-Chicago against Kansas State in the elite eight ten days ago. 9 against 11. It has never happened before. Only one person had it in my sweet 16 pool. He doesn’t know anything about college basketball and has Loyola-Chicago winning it all. That person was in sole possession of first place after night one.

This was a wild game. Nevada jumped ahead by a dozen but fell behind before rallying from double digits down for a third straight game. In the end, Nevada fell 69-68 after choosing not to foul when down one with seconds remaining. Loyola-Chicago clinched it with a three, and Nevada’s meaningless answer was not enough. Florida State knocked off Gonzaga in the night’s biggest surprise. Two 9s made the elite eight in a matter of minutes. That had only happened four times before last night. The Seminoles are stunning opponents and prognosticators. FSU has had better expectations and seeding before with disappointing results. They seem to be embracing an us against the world mentality. However, they are not the only ones.

 

Friday’s action was basically chalk. Kansas went up by 20 and held on to win by 4. That disappointed some gamblers. People liked Clemson. Maybe they were overly impressed with their destruction of Auburn. Villanova trailed by six before hitting West Virginia with a big spurt. The Wildcats pulled away late and won 90-78. Syracuse hung tough but came up short against Duke. Missed free throws hurt the Orange. They had two chances to tie on a foul shot in the second half. Both were missed, as was a late foul shot in the final seconds. Texas Tech defeated Purdue in a minor upset. The Red Raiders have advanced past sweet 16 action for the first time in their basketball program’s 93-year history.

As the games wind down, I start to get sad. You know this wonderful event is almost over. We’ll see who can continue their magic carpet ride all the way to San Antonio. It’s Loyola-Chicago against Kansas State and Michigan facing FSU. Then Villanova takes on Texas Tech in Sunday action. Finally, we get a heavyweight battle between Kansas and Duke in the marquee Sunday evening window as Jim Nantz gets his familiar spot leading into 60 Minutes. Enjoy the remaining games.

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