The tournament might have gotten off to a slow start on Thursday, however, by Saturday it was safe to say that everyone’s bracket got busted. Villanova, Louisville, and Duke all saw their seasons end abruptly. All of the teams have been cut from 64 down to the Sweet 16. Here is a look at some of the biggest moments from this past weekend.
Villanova vs. Wisconsin
This game was unfair to begin. Wisconsin should never have been given an eight seed as they were one of the better teams for the majority of the season. Nigel Hayes is one of the best players in the tournament and let the be known by dropping 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds against the reigning champions. Hayes put his team up by three after making a layup with 11 seconds remaining. There was no magic this year as Nova could not get up a game tying shot to even extend their season for an additional few minutes. Nova never truly looked comfortable in the game with senior Kris Jenkins struggling. Last tournament’s hero only contributed six points while fellow senior Josh Hart led the team with 19. Both Jenkins and Hart will be leaving this year, but Nova will likely be back in the tournament with the remaining guys. Wisconsin pulls off what will probably be the biggest upset of the tournament and head to New York City to play in the Sweet 16.
WVU vs. Notre Dame
West Virginia is one of the more underrated teams in the tournament. That was the case until their big win over Notre Dame. With just five minutes remaining the Mountaineers had a ten point lead, but Notre Dame was not going down that easily. They were able to cut the lead to six with three minutes remaining, but West Virginia was able to maintain their lead. West Virginia is a team definitely worth paying attention to going forward in the tournament. They play great defense and can flat out score. Jevon Carter dropped 24 points and the Mountaineers will need him to continue to play at a high level as they try and advance in the tournament. WVU forced ten Notre Dame turnovers in the first half alone, something they are known to do. They face Gonzaga, a number one seed, this weekend who is a touch matchup for anyone because of their size.
Louisville vs. Michigan
This game is proof that anything can happen in the tournament. Michigan was one of the hottest teams coming into the tournament despite their moderate seeding. Their win against Oklahoma State was impressive, but no one gave them much of a chance against Louisville. The Cardinals had a 36-28 lead at halftime, but the Wolverines were not intimidated. With just over a minute remaining, Michigan was up by six. The Wolverines are a team that no one should take lightly. This team has something to prove and it will fight until the end.
Duke vs. South Carolina
After Villanova went down it seemed like Duke would cruise to a spot in the Final Four. South Carolina clearly had other plans. The Blue Devils became a tournament favorite after defeating UNC for the ACC title. All of their star players were finally healthy and meshing well on the court. Unfortunately, Duke just didn’t play good basketball. They had 18 turnovers and lost the rebound battle, 37-34. South Carolina played a perfect game against Duke. They were able to get to the free throw line 32 times, the most shots Duke has allowed all season. The Gamecocks scored 65 points in the second half after a terrible offensive first half. It was the most an opposing team has ever scored against a Mike Krzyzewski coached Duke team. It was an up and down season for the Blue Devils so this loss isn’t completely surprising, however, with their late surge in the ACC tournament it looked like they had finally figured it out.