The Sweet 16 was full of some of the most exciting basketball from the some best remaining teams. Of course, some moved on as expected, but some were sent home. Here is a full recap of the games that took place over the weekend.
#1 Gonzaga vs. #5 Creighton
Gonzaga came out and showed why there the favorite to win the tournament. The Bulldogs led wire to wire fueled by a well-balanced offensive attack. Drew Timme led all scorers with 22 points and four assists. Andrew Nembhard also scored 17 points and eight assists. For Creighton, Marcus Negarowski finished with 19 points, but it wasn’t enough. Gonzaga won 83-65 as they advance to the Elite Eight.
#8 Loyola Chicago vs. #12 Oregon State
Two teams that have upset their previous matchups in the tournament faced off in Oregon St. and Loyola Chicago, but this game, Loyola was the heavy favorite. The Ducks made life hard for the Ramblers, jumping out to as big as a 13 point lead. Loyola battled back to cut it to a three-point possession, but the Ducks held on to win 65-58. Oregon St. G Ethan Thompson led the ducks with 22 points and four assists to continue their amazing run to the Elite Eight.
#1 Baylor vs. #5 Villanova
The Baylor Bears keep finding ways to win games throughout the season and tournament, and this game showed why they were so dominant all season. The Bears only shot 44% from the field and only shot 3-19 (15%) from three, but their defense held off a well-coached Villanova team. Adam Flagler led the Bears with 16 points off of the bench. Baylor also held Villanova’s top scorer to just eight points. The final score was 62-51.
#3 Arkansas vs. #15 Oral Roberts
The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles have had one of the most impressive runs this tournament behind dynamite scoring from Kevin Obanor and Max Abmas. The Arkansas Razorbacks had their handsful in their Sweet 16 game against Oral Roberts. Arkansas trailed by seven points with nine minutes left in the second half, but Jalen Tate put the team on his back and scored or assisted on 15 points down the stretch for Arkansas. Tate finished with 22 points and six assists, including the game-winning assist to Devante Davis. Max Abmas tried to win the game with a fading three from the right-wing on the final possession, but it fell short, and Arkansas advanced to the Elite Eight with a 72-70 victory.
#1 Michigan vs. #4 Florida State
The Michigan Wolverines dominated Florida State in their Sweet 16 matchup. Franz Wagner had a well-balanced game with 13 points, ten rebounds, and five assists for the Wolverines. The Wolverines were solid as well defensively, holding the versatile Florida State offense to just 21 points in the first half. Michigan took the victory 76-58, and they punch their ticket to the Elite Eight.
#2 Alabama vs. #11 UCLA
UCLA initially punched their ticket to the big dance when they beat Michigan State in the First Four In Play in game. Since then, the Bruins have been on an upset tour, and it continued vs. Alabama. UCLA stormed out to an 11 point lead at halftime, but Alabama battled back in the second to force overtime. But in the overtime period, UCLA outscored Alabama 23-13. The Bruins had six players score 10+ points. Jahvon Quinerly went down swinging for Alabama, scoring 20 points and three assists. The final score was 88-78 as UCLA becomes just the second team First Four team to advance to the Elite Eight since VCU in 2011.
#6 USC vs. #7 Oregon
Two great Pac-12 teams faced off in the Sweet 16 in Oregon and USC, but only one could move on. Isaiah White led the Trojans with 22 points, and Tahj Eaddy chipped in 20 as well, respectively. But Evan Mobley, who may be the #1 or #2 prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft, showed his versatility with 10 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and a pair of blocks. Eugene Omoruyi and Chris Duarte combined for 49 points for the Ducks, but it wasn’t enough as the Trojans steamrolled to an 82-68 victory.
#2 Houston vs. #11 Syracuse
In the last four games, Syracuse forward Buddy Boeheim has been averaging 28.5 points per game. He’s also been shooting 55% from three with over 6 made over those last four games. But the Houston Cougars and their defense had something to say about that. Houston only allowed 12 points from Boeheim, as he shot just 3-13 from the field and 1-9 from three. They held Syracuse as a team to just 28% from the field. Their dominant defense helped propel them to a 62-46 win as they advance to the Sweet 16.