Sweet 16 Set After Wild Opening Weekend
The Sweet 16 is set following a roller coaster ride of an opening weekend in the NCAA Tournament.
Fifth-seeded West Virginia rounded out the field with a 94-71 rout of Marshall in an East Region game San Diego on Sunday night. The Mountaineers will play top-seeded Villanova in the East semifinals, with second-seeded Purdue and third-seeded Texas Tech meeting in the other game.
In the Midwest, No. 1 seed Kansas will face No. 5 seed Clemson, while No. 2 seed Duke will take on No. 11 seed Syracuse. The Orange beat third-seeded Michigan State in Detroit to advance.
In the West Region, the highest-remaining seed is Michigan. The third-seeded Wolverines will face seventh-seeded Texas A&M in one semifinal, with fourth-seeded Gonzaga facing ninth-seeded Florida State in the other game.
The bracket is an even bigger mess in the South. Fifth-seeded Kentucky will face ninth-seeded Kansas State in the Sweet 16, while seventh-seeded Nevada will take on 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago.
The NCAA says that it's the first time in tournament history that a region's top four seeds failed to advance out of the opening weekend.
This is also the first tourney since 2004 that two top seeds have been eliminated in the first weekend. Virginia in the South was ousted in a historic upset by No. 16 seed UMBC. In the West, Xavier lost to Florida State.
Coach Bob Huggins and the West Virginia Mountaineers are headed back to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season and fourth time since 2010 after routing the Marshall Thundering Herd 94-71 in a renewal of their rivalry more than 2,000 miles from the Mountain State.
Jevon Carter scored 28 points and Lamont West had 18 to lead No. 5 seed West Virginia in San Diego in the final game of the Round of 32.
The bigger, stronger Mountaineers overtook No. 13 seed Marshall midway through the first half and will move on to face No. 1 seed Villanova in the East Region semifinal on Friday in Boston.
This was the first meeting between the in-state rivals since December 2015 when the series abruptly came to an end. The two had played every year since 1977.
Marshall heads home at least having picked up its first-ever NCAA Tournament win, an 81-75 upset of No. 4 seed Wichita State on Friday.
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice was in his element Sunday night while watching the West Virginia Mountaineers take on the Marshall Thundering Herd in a Mountain State showdown more than 2,000 miles from home.
Justice arrived in San Diego a few hours before tip-off of the East Region game that will send the winner to the Sweet 16 against No. 1 seed Villanova.
"I wish we could play closer, that's for sure," Justice said. "But at the same time, this is a tremendous honor for our state. That's all there is to it."
Justice wore a sport coat that was half blue and half green to honor each school.
Before the game, he held a coin toss with the schools' athletic directors to see whose rooting section he would sit in first. West Virginia won. At halftime, Justice walked around the arena to sit with Thundering Herd fans.
West Virginia raced out to a 42-25 halftime lead and kept control in the second half, leading by 24 points with about 11 minutes left.
"It's a wonderful, wonderful, night. Can't lose tonight. Everybody wins," Justice said.
Justice is a current high school girls basketball coach, and formerly coached Marshall junior guard Rondale Watson.
Xavier is the second No. 1 seed to bow out of the NCAA Tournament.
Florida State beat the Musketeers 75-70 to move on to the Sweet 16, where the Seminoles will face Gonzaga.
The Seminoles ended the game with an 18-4 run. They took their first lead of the night at 71-70 with about 1:08 left on PJ Savoy's transition 3.
Xavier's Kerem Kanter shot an airball from 3-point range after getting an open look with 7 seconds left with his team trailing by three. Florida State closed things out by making their foul shots.
It's a nail-biter in Nashville between No. 1 seed Xavier and ninth-seeded Florida State.
Florida State came back from a 12-point deficit to take a 1-point lead with about 30 seconds left. The winner goes to the Sweet 16.
Xavier guard, J.P. Macura, one of the team's best players, has fouled out with 17 points.
Trevon Bluiett's first bucket of the game has helped top-seeded Xavier match its biggest lead against Florida State.
Bluiett, the three-time All Big East player and a candidate for national player of the year, missed his first four shots. But the senior stole the ball and went to the other end where he hit a 3-pointer. That gave the Musketeers a 51-40 lead with about 13 minutes left.
The ninth-seeded Seminoles have struggled to shoot in the second half, knocking down just 2 of 5 attempts.
The top-seeded Xavier Musketeers have opened the second half in a big way.
Xavier has outscored Florida State 10-3 and now leads 44-35 with 15:44 left. Quentin Goodin has been leading the way for Xavier with a couple free throws and a steal and a fast-break layup. The sophomore guard from Campbellsville, Kentucky, just tossed an alley-oop pass from mid-court to J.P. Macura who laid it up.
Xavier forward Kerem Kanter urged on fans to yell louder as the Musketeers went to the bench for the first media timeout of the second half.
The party's over for UMBC.
The team that made history for being the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament lost to ninth-seeded Kansas State 50-43.
Xavier Sneed had a couple big buckets late to help the Wildcats hold on for the win and move on to the Sweet 16.
UMBC will still remember this tournament for a while following its stunning 20-point win over No. 1 overall Virginia in the first round.
The history-making UMBC Retrievers are in a close game in the second round against Kansas State.
The ninth-seeded Wildcats have a five-point lead with about 4 minutes left in the game. UMBC is shooting just 29 percent from the field.
The Retrievers are in the second round after becoming the first No. 16 seed in the NCAA men's tournament to beat a No. 1 seed, defeating Virginia on Friday night.
The final game of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament has tipped off.
The Mountain State showdown way out in San Diego is underway between No. 5 seed West Virginia and 13th-seeded Marshall. It's the first meeting between the in-state rivals since December 2015 when the series between the schools abruptly came to an end. The two had played every year since 1977.
Marshall upset No. 4 seed Wichita State in the first round for the school's first NCAA Tournament victory. Jon Elmore was the star with 27 points. But he'll face a difficult challenge in West Virginia's pressure defense that overwhelmed Murray State in a 17-point first-round victory.
The winner will get No. 1 seed Villanova in the regional semifinals.
Xavier ran away from the Florida State Seminoles in the second round a year ago. Florida State's not letting the Musketeers go anywhere in their rematch.
The Musketeers lead 34-32 at halftime after going more than 9 minutes without a field goal before senior guard J.P. Macura hit a 3 from the top of the key with 16 seconds left in the half. That tied it up at 32, and Trevon Bluiett hit a pair of free throws just before the buzzer to give Xavier the lead.
Those free throws were Bluiett's first points of the game, not that he threw up many shots with only two attempts before going to the line.
Xavier led 24-15 on a dunk by Tyrique Jones before going cold, and only a big edge at the free throw line kept the Muskeeters in the game.
Braian Angola led Florida State with 11 points, and his 3 with 2:02 to go capped a 17-4 spurt for the Seminoles and gave them a 32-29 lead.
Xavier blew out Florida State 91-66 in the second round last year on its way to the Elite Eight.
The winner plays Gonzaga on Thursday night in Los Angeles in the West Region semifinal.
No. 5 seed Clemson is headed to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1997 after blowing out No. 4 seed Auburn 84-53 in the Midwest Region second round.
Gabe DeVoe led Clemson with 22 points, Elijah Thomas had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Marcquise Reed added 16 as Clemson used a huge first half run to cruise past its foe from the SEC.
Clemson shot nearly 48 percent, but was above 50 percent for most of the game. Clemson dominated every facet, outscoring Auburn 34-14 in the paint and allowed just two fastbreak points.
Clemson led by as many as 41 and will face top-seed Kansas.
Bryce Brown and Mustapha Heron led Auburn with 12 points each, but Auburn shot just 26 percent for the game and was 7 of 32 on 3-point attempts.
Top-seeded Xavier is starting to put some space between the Musketeers and Florida State.
After swapping the lead six times, Xavier took the lead on a 3-pointer by Paul Scruggs. That was the first of 8 straight points by the top-seeded Musketeers, and Scruggs capped the spurt with a layup giving Xavier the biggest lead of the first half with 10:20 left.
Scruggs' layup put Xavier up 22-15.
Xavier routed Florida State in the second round a year ago, also in the West Region, with a 91-66 victory.
Call them the Fallen Four.
The top four seeds in the South Region — No. 1 Virginia, No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Arizona — have all been eliminated on the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA says that it is the first time in tourney history that none of a region's top four seeds will make the Sweet 16.
Fifth-seeded Kentucky, seventh-seeded Nevada and 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago are already on their way to Atlanta for the South Region semifinals. That trio will be joined by either ninth-seeded Kansas State or UMBC. The Retrievers made history as the first No. 16 seed to beat a top seed.
Top-seeded Xavier and ninth-seeded Florida State have the challenge of trying to follow up one of the biggest comebacks in NCAA Tournament history.
If the opening minutes are any indication, they appear up to the task.
Florida State opened the game scoring the first five points and jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Xavier, a No. 1 seed for the first time in program history, quickly answered with eight straight points. Kerem Kanter has seven point helping Xavier take a 12-11 lead with 15:06 left in the first half.
Xavier is trying to reach the Sweet 16 for a second straight year and seventh in the past 11 years.
Florida State hasn't been there since 2011.
The winner plays Gonzaga in Los Angeles in the West Region semifinal.
Nevada's comeback win against Cincinnati is going into the record book.
The seventh-seeded Wolf Pack rallied from 22 points down to beat No. 2 seed Cincinnati 75-73 to advance to the Sweet 16. The NCAA says that it ties the second-biggest comeback in tournament history, behind BYU's rally from 25 down to beat Iona in the 2012 First Four.
Duke also won after trailing by 22 after beating Maryland in the 2001 Final Four.