March Madness: Sweet 16 recap NCAA tournament

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22: The Michigan Wolverines bench celebrates their teams lead over the Texas A
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22: The Michigan Wolverines bench celebrates their teams lead over the Texas A /

Cinderella teams are still dancing.

Thursday games showed that Cinderella is alive in the South and West sides of the bracket. #9 Florida State, #9 Kansas State, #11 Loyola-Chicago are all advancing into the elite eight. However, #3 Michigan has proven they can be immune to team avoiding midnight.

So how did those higher seeds get into the section of elite teams? FSU would defeat #4 Gonzaga. In a game where Gonzaga should have dominated, the Seminoles did them in. FSU sprinted out to a16-6 lead and would never look back.

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FSU continued to roll in the second half with a nine-point lead. Gonzaga would rally and limit the lead to just four with nine minutes remaining. Just three minutes later the Seminoles would extend that lead to 11 and would finish off the “Zags” by 15 (75-60).

Just like FSU, Kansas State busted it open early (13-1) before Kentucky would rally and pull within two. However, the Wildcats of Kansas State would distance their lead (33-29) by the end of half.

Kentucky would eventually tie the score early in the second portion (33-33) with just over 18 minutes left., eventually taking the lead (36-35). Kansas State would not be denied and retake the lead with just under 15 minutes. They would widen their lead by eight at one point, and finish off Kentucky with a 61-58 victory.

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In the biggest blow out of the day, the Michigan Wolverines destroyed Texas A&M Aggies 99-72. From the start, Michigan showed that their victory the week before would not go down the same way. They struggled against #6 Houston. A last second three-point play would win the game and save their season.

From the opening bucket with just over 19 minutes remaining, until the end of the game, Aggies were behind. Wolverines punished Texas A&M in the opening half, outscoring them 52-28.

Early in the second half, Michigan nearly had a 30-point lead (60-32). As time marched on and more subs came in for the Wolverines, the Aggies would eventually make the second half somewhat enjoyable.

The best game of the day was between #7 Nevada Wolfpack and #11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. Both teams traded punches all game. The Wolfpack found themselves down by double-digits in each game they played. Again, they found themselves down again against Loyola-Chicago by 12 with just under 17 minutes.

As displayed, Nevada fought back and with just over four minutes left to tie the game at 59. At 1:32 and the Ramblers winning by four, Caleb Martin’s three-pointer would pull them within one. Marques Townes for Loyola-Chicago would hit a key three-point play in response with six seconds left. Ramblers would go on to victory 69-68.

Friday games

The Midwest and East brackets were not experiencing the same Cinderella stories. Only #11 Syracuse was above the five seed. In the early games, #1 Kansas and #5 Clemson went head-to-head while the other #1 seed Villanova took-on #5 West Virginia.

Clemson and Kansas was a tale of two halves. The Jayhawks of Kansas would go into halftime with a 40-27 lead. At the 6:50 mark was where Kansas took off. They would go on a 13-5 run to close it out. At 18:20 of the second half, Kansas would put themselves up by 20 (49-29).

At 4:03 remaining and the Tigers down by 13, they would make a strong run to get back into the game. Unfortunately, there was just not enough time to allow the full comeback. The closest they would get is four points. Kansas winning (80-76).

West Virginia and Villanova battled down to the last few minutes of the game. The game was close throughout. Villanova took an early lead by six, which was the largest in the first half. In the last eight minutes, the lead changed five times.

The two teams traded blows, and at one point (11:08 remaining), the Mountaineers of West Virginia held a six-point lead. The game swung when Virginia’s Mikhal Bridges hit a three-pointer to put Villanova up by three with just over nine minutes to play. The Wildcats maintained the lead for the rest of the game. Outscoring the Mountaineers 27-18 and winning 90-78.

The first half was close throughout between #2 Duke Blue Devils and #11 Syracuse Orange. Blue Devils led for most of it, but the game never got out of control. No team led by more than three, until Duke went on a ten-point run to go into halftime (34-27).

The second half was much the same. Duke didn’t relinquish their lead and at one point led by nine; their biggest of the game. Syracuse would claw their way back, with Orange keeping the game within five. The Blue Devils would keep the lead and finish Syracuse season with a 69-65 victory.

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The last game of the day between #2 Purdue Boilermakers and #3 Texas Tech Red Raiders proved to be just as good as the other three. even though the score proved otherwise. Purdue jumped out to a seven-point lead early (15-8), but Texas Tech would prove that their defense is why they are there. Holding until the Red Raiders would tie the game with 11 minutes remaining. Purdue extended their lead to five, but Texas Tech went on a 10-point run to end the half (30-25).

Red Raiders didn’t relinquish their lead, even though Purdue would keep it close for most of the second half. Texas Tech kept the distance and the game finally got out of hand late. With 5:27 remaining the Red Raiders took a five-point lead (60-55) and hold the Boilermakers to just 10 points the rest of the game while Texas Tech scored 18 and winning 78-65.

March Madness continues on Saturday and Sunday on CBS.