Men’s basketball: Sweet Sixteen’s first four games full of excitement


Buckle up, guys. If the second half of the Sweet Sixteen looks anything like last night, tonight’s matches could be bumpy.

In the first four games of the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA tournament, we didn’t see a No. 1 seed fall, but two. And with one of them being Arizona, TCU fans everywhere couldn’t help but be a little excited that the Wildcats didn’t make it to the Elite Eight or further. Houston fans in San Antonio surely gave kisses to Kerr Kriisa some kisses for his outstanding performance (three points, exact total he got against the Frogs on Sunday; Kriisa, on numerous occasions, gave kisses to the bench and the TCU fan throughout the second round game.) .

Gonzaga, the number one seed overall, was also sent packing. Playing in the Marquis game of the night, Texas Tech was embroiled in a back-and-forth affair with several lead changes. Tech made a brave effort, but Duke took the win, extending Coach Mike at Krzyzewski retirement tour.

Here’s a look at Thursday’s matches:

(4) Arkansas (28-8) vs. (1) Gonzaga (28-4) – West Region

Arkansas wins 74-68

Woo Pig Sooie! In an upset no one outside of Fayetteville saw coming, Arkansas ended the offensive juggernaut that Gonzaga has been all year. They slowed down the game and made the Zags play at their own pace. And it worked. Arkansas played a great game on both ends of the court. It was a flashback to Arkansas from years ago – “40 minutes of hell”.

J.D. Notes led the way for Arkansas with 21 points. He was joined by Trey Wade and Jaylin Williams, who both added 15 points. For the Zags, Drew Timme was the top scorer with 25 points. Julien Strawther added 12, and Chet Holmgren was 11.

(11) Michigan (19-15) vs. (2) Villanova (29-7) – South Region

Villanova wins 63-55

This game didn’t get all the attention like the other three games of the night. No. 2 seed Villanova, Big East champion Nova tried to pull out in the second half, but Michigan kept matching the 3-pointers and trailed far longer than the Wildcats wanted. In the end, they were able to opt out and move on to the Elite Eight.

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Villanova had three starters with a double-digit score – jermaine samuels (22), justin-moore (15), and Collin Gillespie (12). For Michigan, their turbulent roller coaster season has come to an end. Hunter Dickinson led the way with 15 points, and Eli Brooks added 14 more.

(3) Texas Tech (27-10) vs. (2) Duke (31-6) – West Region

Duke wins 78-73

This game was epic if you didn’t have a dog in the chase. Tech came out for an early lead; then Duke came back. Tech had a four-point halftime lead. The second half was a tighter game and had several deuces and lead changes. All it took was a few free throws late in the game to extend Duke’s lead and give them the win. Coach K won his 100and NCAA tournament game, and his retirement tour has been extended for at least one more game.

All five Blue Devils starters ended in double digits – Paolo Banchero (22), Mark Williams (16), Jeremy Roach (15), Wendell Moore Jr. (12), and AJ Griffin (11). Four of Texas Tech’s starters also finished in double digits – Bryson Williams (21), Kevin McCullar (17), Weapons of Adonis (13), and Kevin Obanor (ten).

(5) Houston (32-5) vs. (1) Arizona (33-4) – South Region

Houston wins 72-60

Sweet Hallelujah! It was the battle of the big cats – Cougars versus Wildcats. TCU fans know that should have been their game. Miles was fouled at the end of regulation and if the call had been made, Frogs fans would have filled the banks of the Riverwalk purple. But the referees missed it, sending Arizona to Alamo City. Houston had an incredible season and showed everyone not to be underestimated.

For the Cougars, they had three double-digit players – Jamal Shead (21), Kyler Edwards (19), and Josh Carlton (ten). For the Wildcats, they also had three double-digit players – Dalen Terry (17), Benoit Mathurin (15), and Christian Koloko (10) But again, let’s not forget Kriisa and her very disappointing three points for the second game in a row.

Next : Houston takes on Villanova in the South Region Finals Saturday at 5:09 p.m. on TBS. The West Region Finals will then follow that game with Arkansas and Duke at 7:49 p.m., also on TBS.

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