Gonzaga and OR punch their tickets to the Final Four

27 March, 2017, 00:51 | Author: Jacqueline Ellis

If you can't win on the biggest stage, if you don't have that level of success when all eyes turn to college basketball, then everything you did during the previous four months is written off.

The Elite Eight, unlike the three rounds prior, only has one game played and televised at each interval. Tying the Mack vs. Miller series, after Sean Miller's Arizona won round one in 2015.

The Gamecocks (25-10) were in control from the middle of the first half on, mixing defenses and hustling all over the Madison Square Garden court to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

"He goes 2-for-8 from the free-throw line and in general when a guy's not a great free-throw shooter, doesn't make his free throws, he's not a great 3-point shooter, and we wanted him to stay away from the basket, ' Mack said".

Gonzaga, which almost went unbeaten this season before dropping its February 25 regular-season finale to BYU, won both the West Coast Conference's regular season and tournament titles on their way to earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Point guard Nigel Williams-Goss arrived from Washington, forward Johnathan Williams from Missouri and guard Jordan Mathews from California. As an 11 seed, they'll face the no. 1 seed in the West region on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (36-1) reached the Final Four for the first time in the history of the program by dominating the lowest-seeded team remaining in the tournament. "My body was stiff and I thought I couldn't do anything", said Hachimura, who is understood to be the first player with Japanese citizenship to play in the NCAA Tournament.

With their first Elite Eight berth since 2008, the Musketeers became this year's NCAA Tournament Cinderella story. However, most probably weren't shocked to see Middle Tennessee win in the first round. "It basically won us all four games in the tournament". However, an underachieving performance in the tournament last year followed by an underachieving season this year could have definitely slowed their roll heading into this spring's evaluation periods. The Bulldogs were given arguably their best ever draw in an NCAA tournament and they haven't faced a Wichita State or a Davidson or a Duke either thus far.

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Tonight is possibly the biggest game in the history of Xavier basketball.

In the end, it was the Bulldogs' size that proved to be the biggest difference that sent Xavier to its third loss in as many trips to the Elite Eight.

A NEW SEC TOURNAMENT: The Southeastern Conference enters the regional finals standing alone among leagues.

SUMNER'S ABSENCE: No one expected Xavier to be here, especially after losing point guard Edmund Sumner to a season-ending knee injury in January.

It was a thrilling day one in the Sweet 16 with Xavier beating 2 seed Arizona, Gonzaga barely hanging on to beat West (press) Virginia to advance, Kansas asserted their dominance on the field with a thrashing of Purdue, and OR gutted out a hard fought win over a very good MI team. Florida and Kentucky both made the Final Four in 2014. "Absolutely. I mean, it is".

"I'm disappointed for them more than I am for me", Self said afterward of his players.

We hear the same hype every year.

The Zags have been atop Ken Pomeroy's rankings for the last two months, as they finished the regular season 29-1.


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