Tonight’s NCAA tournament action saw huge upsets, commanding victories, and fantastic individual performances. Luckily, everyone’s favorite writer JaysFan is here to give you the lowdown on the Elite Eight results and what they mean for the Final Four.
Shockers Defeat Terrapins 92-89
This game was perhaps the tightest of the round. Going into the game, the Shockers were heavy favorites, but after years of success it is hard to doubt a Terrapins team led by Ollie Ven. Star player Othello Hawkins came to play for the Terps, putting up 33 points with 10 rebounds in an attempt to put the team on his shoulders. Ed Murder provided support with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Master Splinter’s 6 steals gave the team an edge in possession. These standout performances weren’t enough to beat out the spread out scoring of the Shockers. A late Shockers run led by Sam Gray turned around a halftime deficit, and along with him, Marriott, Judy and Shingles put up very solid supporting performances and held the fort late to keep the lead. The Shockers clearly have what it takes to be a championship team, but I think to do that Judy will have to steal the spotlight.
Bearcats Defeat Bulldogs 104-98
After securing a solid halftime lead that stretched a bit into the 2nd half, the Bulldogs looked like they would hold on and cruise to an Elite Four appearance. However, the Bearcats came out of nowhere, going on a huge scoring run to even up the game, and pulling ahead late with a gigantic Christopher Young three pointer. Young was the key for the Bearcats, putting up 28 points, and Stoian supported him with 23 more. Dajiro Tajima was an underrated contributor as well, nailing 9 free throws, making for 9 of his 11 points on the night. The Bulldogs surely have to be disappointed that nobody stepped up to lead the squad, with nobody on the team really having a standout performance at all. The Bearcats are an interesting team, and beating a number two seed certainly means they will be viewed as more of a threat going forward.
Cardinals Defeat Hoyas 111-100
If they didn’t dig themselves into too deep of a hole in the first half, the Hoyas may have had a shot here. Tyler Barabash put up what was probably his best performance of the season, scoring 26, grabbing 3 steals and 7 boards. The 17 point deficit at half time was too large to overcome despite the Hoyas winning the 2nd half. On the Cardinals side, it was a story of star players. If ADs weren’t scared of Una Momento, they are now. The third year centre put up her best performance of her career, shooting a solid 65% from the field and scoring 39 points. Matt Damon’s 27 points also can’t go unmentioned, and Lesnar did what Lesnar does, only shooting the ball once (a made three pointer however) and racking up 11 assists. The Cardinals were the best team in the regular season by a large margin, and remain the team to beat in March Madness.
Jayhawks Defeat Blue Devils 94-81
If you had predicted the Jayhawks to win this matchup pre-game, you would definitely have gotten some weird looks. Not only did the Jayhawks win the game, they did so by a 13 point margin, the largest in the Elite Eight. An aggressive offensive style targeted star player Hercules Hoyle, and despite a near-heroic performance by Mea Po’okela (30 points), Duke couldn’t pull themselves together after Hoyle got into foul trouble. The dynamic forward duo of Acker and Tentoes teamed up once again, this time for a combined 59 points, with Tentoes adding 4 steals and Acker 7 assists to round out their big games. Alik Wood went under the radar and put up a surprisingly good performance as well, with 12 points, 9 assists, 9 rebounds and 2 steals. Kansas now faces a tough matchup vs Louisville, but it is one they can come out on top in if they do to Momento what they did to Hoyle.