The first two games of the Elite 8 couldn't have been more different.
9-seed Florida Atlantic and 3-seed Kansas State battled it out in the first game of the evening. The teams were pretty even statistically in terms of shooting throughout the slugfest, but FAU dominated on the glass (44-22) while Kansas State won the turnover margin by ten. KSU guard Keyontae Johnson fouled out with just under three minutes to go in the game, and despite 30 points and 12 rebounds for Markquis Nowell, the Owls managed to get a stop on the game's final possession to advance to their first Final Four in school history.
The other game of the night was made completely uninteresting for anyone who's not a Connecticut fan. After building a comfortable seven-point lead at the half, (4) UConn poured it onto (3) Gonzaga in the game's final 20 minutes. They jumped out on a 21-5 run to open the second half and never looked back, seemingly unable to miss as they scored nearly every time down the court. With Drew Timme dealing with foul trouble for most of the night, the Bulldogs ended the game shooting just 33.3% from the field on 2-20 (10%) from three. After their 28-point win last night, the Huskies have now outscored their four opponents in the NCAA Tournament by a staggering 90 points combined. UConn has looked better than everyone else in the field all tournament, and they'll have a chance to make it back to the championship game next weekend against either (5) Miami or (2) Texas.
Speaking of tonight's matchup in the West region, the winner of that game could potentially decide the winner of the 2nd Annual Bucket Squad Sports Reports (Your #1 Source for All Things Sports) Mega March Madness Matchup Monstrosity. The only teams anyone has remaining are Miami and Texas, and those teams face off against each other today at 5:05pm EST.
Our current leader of the pack picked Miami to win it all, and if the Hurricanes advance to the Final Four, winning bracket will live up to its name and be crowned champion by default. If, however, Texas avoids the upset, then one more win from the Longhorns would make Swatson the champion. According to my calculations, those are the only two possible winners with just five games to play in this year's NCAA Tournament.
Here's the full leaderboard as we head into a pivotal day of basketball for the BSSRMMMMM.
1. winning bracket (620 points)
2. Trizzy Tre (510 points)
3. Drew (500 points)
4. Back2Back (460 points)
5. Swatson (450 points)
6. Disappointing (400 points)
7. Micah's Bracket (340 points)
Check back tomorrow for potentially the final update on the challenge, depending on the outcome of tonight's Miami-Texas matchup.
Written by Nick Swatson