NCAA March Madness: Sweet 16 scores, what teams are the final 8, bracket and dates
March Madness’ Sweet 16 is now in the bag and with that it’s time for a look at the teams who will be playing in the Elite Eight, a step away from the Final Four.
With just eight teams left in the 2023 men’s NCAA tournament, we’ve got a completely open field with all of the No. 1 seeds having been eliminated. Truth be told, it’s anyone’s guess at this point as to who will be crowned the kings of college basketball when the curtain comes down.
What were the scores in Sweet 16?
On Friday the Sweet 16 concluded with a number of surprising results. With each and every one of the No. 1 seeds out, it’s truly anybody’s tournament to win at this point. Here’s the breakdown of all of the scores from the round:
Thursday, March 23rd
Friday, March 24th
Who’s in the Elite 8?
San Diego State Aztecs
On the back of one of the best defenses in the country, the Aztecs came into the Sweet 16 facing a mammoth opponent in the Alabama Crimson Tide - the best team in the nation - and they won. Limiting the tide to just 32.4% shooting from the floor, and a woeful 3-for-27 — just 11.4% — from three-point land, the Aztecs were something to behold. Even No. 1 prospect Brandon Miller could only muster nine points on 3-for-19 from the field, and just 1-for-10 from three point land. Where offense is concerned, it was guard Darrion Trammell who led the way with 21 points, while Jaedon LeDee chipped in for the Aztecs with another 12 points.
Florida Atlantic Owls
It’s got to be said that the Owls are a team that is built on the pillars of dedication and consistency. It’s also interesting to note that the team is largely made up of sophomores with only Michael Forrest being a senior. Indeed, Forrest has mostly come off the bench for the Owls, but was one of the stand out players in their Sweet 16 win against Tennessee. They’ll be counting on him again no doubt as they look to show once again that their March Madness run isn’t based on luck. Truth be told, this team has been consistently above .500 for years and that is finally paying dividends. It would be a mistake to continue to consider them as a Cinderella team.
The Blue Jays are in a word, adaptable. There are a myriad of players who can star at any given time including the 7′1″ Ryan Kalkbrenner who scored 31 points against NC State, Ryan Nembhard who put 30 on the board against Baylor and Baylor Scheierman whose 21 against Princeton was impressive. This is a team that exudes confidence in a calm and collected way and now they stand knocking on the door of the Final Four. If there is a weak point, it’s the number of turnovers that they concede. Indeed, they have given up more than all of their opponents, which is something they will need to watch against a San Diego team that forced nine turnovers out of Alabama.
Kansas State Wildcats
If we’re going to talk about the Wildcats, we’ve got to mention Marquis Nowell who has quite frankly become one of the stars of March Madness. At 5′8″ the diminutive guard has proven himself to be one of the best floor generals in college basketball. Against Michigan State, his passing ability was on full display as he finished with a record 19 assists on the back of an impressive 20 points. Where the team itself is concerned, their regular season record of 26-9 didn’t exactly position them as favorites, but they’ve more than made up for that since. The last time this team made the Final Four was back in 1964, but by the looks of things, there’s a good chance that’s about to change.
There have been doubts about this Gonzaga team when compared with past versions. Yet, that in itself is testament to the rich history of the school, when we consider that the Bulldogs are arguably the best offensive team in the country. A major part of that is the generational talent of star player, Drew Timme, who put 36 points on the board in the game against UCLA. The problem for Gonzaga is its defense which is average at best. On the other hand, as a team that can essentially outscore anyone they play, it’s hard not to consider them as potential winners of the whole ‘shabang.’
While they don’t have a star-studded offense, the Hurricanes are a defensive juggernaut. Mind you, that’s not to say their offense isn’t playing well, they very much are. Against the supposed tournament favorites, Houston, in the Sweet 16, the Hurricanes were the better team by a distance. With 11-of-25 three pointers and numerous baskets in transition, Houston’s highly touted defense was nowhere to be seen. To date, no team has had an answer for Miami and Nijel Pack is a major reason for that. His seven three-pointers against Houston definitely evidenced that. Now standing one win away from their first Final Four, this is a team to watch.
Easily one of the most efficient offensive teams out there, the Huskies took apart Arkansas in the Sweet 16. Having come into the tournament ranked third according to some reports, Connecticut shot 57.4% from the floor, and 45% from three-point land in the last round. Interestingly, they were also extremely dominant on the boards with 43 rebounds compared to Arkansas’ 31. Offensively, sophomore guard Jordan Hawkins led the way with 24 points, while junior forward Adama Sanogo added a further 18 points and eight rebounds. It’s worth noting, that the last time the Huskies went to the Elite Eight was in 2014, when they went on to win the title.
When you think of the Longhorns, the first thing that probably comes to mind is their brutal defense. Consider for a moment, that Texas limited Colgate - the best three-point team in the nation - to just 20% from beyond the arc in what turned out to be a blowout win for the team. Then came Xavier, who they held to one of their lowest scoring games for the entire season. What’s really fascinating about the Longhorns is that it isn’t just defensive strategy, but rather their dogged ‘never say die’ attitude when it comes to stifling the offense of opponents.
What’s the schedule for Elite 8?
Saturday, March 25
Sunday, March 26
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