The NCAA Tournament Elite 8 tips off tonight, and a couple of Cinderella teams are still alive, looking at a chance to stamp their ticket into the Final Four. Just how crazy has the tournament been?
A 15 seeded Oral Roberts beat both Ohio St and Florida to be one of only two 15 seeds to ever make the Sweet 16. The Pac-12 had four of the 16 teams in the Sweet 16 and now three of them remain to fight for a shot at the Final Four. Two of them are looking to continue their run as double-digit seeds, #12 Oregon St and #11 UCLA.
NCAA Tournament Elite 8 Match-ups
Monday March 29th:
#12 Oregon St vs #2 Houston- 6:15 CDT
#3 Arkansas vs #1 Baylor- 8:57 CDT
Tuesday March 30th:
#6 USC vs #1 Gonzaga- 6:15 CDT
#11 UCLA vs #1 Michigan- 8:57 PM CDT
#12 Oregon St vs #2 Houston
Oregon St comes into their Elite 8 game tonight with some very impressive wins in the first three rounds of the tournament. Took care of Tennessee in the first round in the 12/5 upset.
The Beavers moved into the second round and beat a very young, but talented Oklahoma State squad. This win would turn the narrative of the Beavers as they moved into the Sweet 16. Being very composed, they beat a great defensive team in Loyola-Chicago. Ethan Thompson and the crew have a lot of confidence going up against Houston.
Houston comes into the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 as a two seed. The Cougars are led by guard Quentin Grimes who creates for himself and his teammates. The Houston defense can create live-ball turnovers and create them into points. Excellent game to start the night.
#3 Arkansas vs #1 Baylor
The NCAA Tournament Elite 8 field brings in some of the country’s best teams and a couple of surprises. Both Arkansas and Baylor are no surprises out of the South region. Razorbacks were a team that could make this type of run before the tournament even started. Arkansas will have to play more efficiently on both ends of the floor if they want to keep up with a Baylor team that likes to feast off turnovers.
Baylor is one of the top three teams in the country, and they have shown it throughout their match-ups in the tournament. The trio of Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, and Davion Mitchell has played some of the best basketball by guards in the tournament. The tough defense that the Bears play on the perimeter will be a key to this game.
#6 USC vs #1 Gonzaga
This could be the best game out of all the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 games. USC has a length from their front-court that can really make the night for Drew Timme tough. Some excellent basketball has been played by the Trojans and could be the only team left in the tournament that could beat the Bulldogs besides the one seeds. The Mobley brothers have clicked through the first three rounds and look to do it against the country’s best team.
Gonzaga has been looked at as a freight train that can not be stopped. Jalen Suggs, Joel Ayayi, Andrew Nembhard, Corey Kispert, and Drew Timme. A lineup that is a nightmare for any team the Bulldogs cross paths with. Gonzaga is so efficient on offense that most teams can not keep up for a full 40 minutes. Bulldogs have covered the spread in all three games so far in their undefeated season run.
#11 UCLA vs #1 Michigan
This is a very intriguing game to end the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 slate. Michigan has used its defense to limit some very good offensive teams. The Wolverines have shown their toughness without Isiah Livers in the line-up throughout this tournament. They can take a punch and answer back with enthusiasm. Chaundee Brown has been coming off the bench for Juwan Howard and has brought energy. Wolverines are tough to beat, Mick Cronin needs a 40-minute game plan.
UCLA showed in the overtime period with Alabama that they can score points in quick spurts. The Bruins will not want to play in the half-court with Michigan. UCLA will have to get out and run to get ahead of a really talented defensive team if they want a chance in this game.
The NCAA Tournament may be coming to an end, but some teams are looking to create fireworks. Oregon State and UCLA are the only double-digit teams left in the tournament and are both playing well enough to march their way into the Final Four. I hope you all enjoy the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 slate for the next two days.
If you want all the coverage on the NCAA Tournament, make sure to follow me on my Twitter @worldofcollege1.
Main Image Credit