The NCAA men’s basketball tournament officially has a Sweet 16 and the overall top seed Florida leads the field.
Following a weekend of expected outcomes, close games, and upsets, three top seeds remain in the tournament. Florida, Arizona, and Virginia each won their third-round matchups by at least 15 points to advance.
While most teams would express jubilation after making it to the Sweet Sixteen, Florida senior Patric Young said his team has a long way to go.
“I enjoy that we’re here, that we have the opportunity to be able to play but I’m not going to be happy or satisfied until we reach our goal,” Young said after Florida routed Pittsburgh on Saturday. “And I’m not going to say it’s a failure if we fall short but there’s just so much potential in this team and greatness within us - if we go out and play like we did against Albany and allow a team to take it from us then we’re cutting ourselves short.”
The only No. 1 seed that failed to advance was Wichita State, losing to No. 8 seed Kentucky 78-76. Fred Van Vleet missed the go-ahead three-pointer over Willie Cauley-Stein that would have given the Shockers the lead.
Also in the Midwest Region, the No. 11 Tennessee Volunteers had no problem taking care of No. 14 Mercer with an 83-63 blowout win. The Vols will have their hands full as they’ll battle No. 2 Michigan in the next round.
Michigan head coach John Beilein gave his thoughts on Tennessee on ESPN’s Mike & Mike on Monday morning.
“This is a team we see quite often and it’s a difficult match for us because they have great quickness on the perimeter and they play with classic two big guys on the blocks,” said Beilein. “When we lost Mitch McGary earlier in the year, (to play with two bigs) no longer became an option for us and we’ve just been playing with one so it’s going to be difficult. They (Tennessee) will probably win the rebounding battle – we’ve got to win the possession battle.”
All three SEC teams in the tournament advanced while only two schools from the Big 12 advanced (Iowa State and Baylor). Virginia was the lone school to advance from the ACC.
The Kansas Jayhawks, along with freshman sensation Andrew Wiggins will not move on in the tournament after getting stunned by 10th seeded Stanford. Wiggins had only four points (1-for-6 shooting) and four turnovers in the Kansas loss.
Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins said he was proud of the way his team shut down Wiggins.
“He’s not a guy you can guard with just one player. I thought the rest of our team was always aware of where he was,” said Dawkins. “We just tried to make it as difficult as we could for him to score.”
Stanford will play No. 11 seed Dayton in the Sweet Sixteen but the Flyers have shown to be a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The Flyers have managed to squeeze past No. 6 Ohio State by a single point in the round of 64 and then upsetting No. 3 Syracuse with a 55-53 victory in the round of 32.
In another close game, DeAndre Kane’s layup with 1.6 seconds remaining was enough for No. 3 Iowa State to get past No. 6 North Carolina 85-83. The Cyclones won without key player Georges Niang who is out for the remainder of the season after sustaining a broken foot in their opening game.
After battling a talented guard in North Carolina’s Marcus Paige, the Cyclones will play against another top guard in Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier. The Huskies upset two seed Villanova 77-65 win behind Napier’s 25 points.
In the West region, No 6. Baylor shut down No. 3 Creighton 85-55. The Bears shot 63.8% (30-for-47) from the floor including 61.1% (11-for-18) from behind the arc. Creighton’s Doug McDermott was held to 15 points on 7-for-14 shooting.
The other teams advancing in the Sweet Sixteen are Wisconsin, Louisville, Michigan State, UCLA, and San Diego State.
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