Elite Eight Recap

#2 Houston vs. #12 Oregon State

The Houston Cougars have been one of the best overall defensive teams, but the best defender on that team is 6’5 Senior G Dejon Jarreau. Jarreau was the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and he’s been proving why all tournament. In their previous vs. Syracuse, he locked up Syracuse F Buddy Boeheim and held him to just 3-13 shooting. In this game, Jarreau was tasked with guarding Oregon State G Ethan Thompson, who has been on a tear in this tournament. Thompson was just 3-12 from the field, scoring 11 points. For Houston, they dominated, especially in the first half, jumping out to a 17 point lead. The Cougars snagged down 41 total rebounds, including 19 offensive rebounds in comparison to just 29 total from Oregon St. In the end, the Cougars won 67-61 and advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 1984 when Hakeem Olajuwon led the Cougars.

#1 Baylor vs. #3 Arkansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks were coming off an emotional game that went down shot vs. Oral Roberts. They tried to channel some of that same emotion and energy against the Baylor Bears, but it wasn’t enough. Baylor has consistently been one of the top 3 teams in the country this year, balanced, equal opportunity offense and lockdown defense. This time around, Macio Teague led the charge for Baylor, with 22 points. Baylor won the game 81-72 and advance to the Final Four for the third time in school history. The last Final Four appearance for Baylor came in 1950.

#1 Gonzaga vs. #6 USC

Gonzaga has been the best team all season, and in this tournament leading up to USC, Gonzaga has been beating teams by an average of 22 points. Unfortunately for USC, this game turned out to be no different. The three-headed snake of Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, and Jalen Suggs combined for 59 points for Gonzaga. Suggs almost had a near triple-double with 18 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists himself. For the Trojans, though, the duo of Isaiah and Evan Mobley combined for 36 points and 12 rebounds, but it just wasn’t enough. Gonzaga won 85-66, but this win made history. Gonzaga is the first team in NCAA history with five consecutive 30 win seasons. The Zags stay undefeated entering the Final Four, as they make their second final four appearances in school history. The first came in 2017 when they lost in the National Championship vs. UNC.

#1 Michigan vs. #11 UCLA

The Bruins have been one of the craziest stories this tournament. They first had to beat Michigan State just to get in, and now they had to face the top-seeded Michigan Wolverines to get into the Final Four. In a low-scoring battle, one played shined the brightest, and that was sophomore G Johnny Juzang. Juzang has been lighting teams up, and Michigan was no different than the others. Juzang finished with a game-high 28 points and helped lead the Bruins past Michigan. The Wolverines failed to convert late in the game to tie and take the lead, and UCLA won 51-49. The Bruins make their 18th Final Four appearance in school history and their first since 2008.