NCAA Tournament Recap: Sweet Sixteen & Elite Eight

NCAA Tournament Recap: Sweet Sixteen & Elite Eight

After an unforgettable second weekend of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, the field is set for the Final Four. Most of the favorites survived the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday and Friday, other than UNC, but the Elite Eight on Saturday and Sunday was full of surprises. Three of the four No. 1 seeds are going home, and two teams made the Final Four for the first time ever, after a quad of absolute nail -biters.

Here’s everything you need to know about what went down over the second weekend.

Sweet Sixteen

No. 3 Texas Tech 63, No. 2 Michigan 44: Texas Tech’s famously tough defense did its job against Michigan, holding the Wolverines to just 44 points (16 in the first half). Red Raiders star forward Jarrett Culver saw his NBA draft stock continue to rise, leading the way with 22 points to back up the team’s strong defensive performance.

No. 3 Purdue 99, No. 2 Tennessee 94: Carsen Edwards’ 29 points powered Purdue to its first Elite Eight berth since 2000. Those points included making two of three free throws at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime, where the Boilermakers ultimately outlasted the Volunteers in what was potentially the best game of the season.

No. 1 Gonzaga 72, No. 5 Florida State 58: The top-ranked Bulldogs’ two stars led the way—reigning WCC Player of the Year Rui Hachimura led all scorers with 17 points, while big man Brandon Clarke poured on 15 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in a dominant defensive performance.

No. 1 Virginia 53, No. 12 Oregon 49: The only double-digit seed left in the tournament saw its run come to an end on Thursday as the Ducks fell to the top-ranked Cavaliers in a very close game. For Virginia, it was a typical balanced affair, as four of their five starters scored in double figures, led by Ty Jerome’s 13 points and Kihei Clark’s 12. Oregon’s Louis King led all scorers with 16 points in the loss.

No. 2 Kentucky 62, No. 3 Houston 58: A three-pointer from Tyler Herro with 25 seconds remaining in the game was enough to help the Wildcats advance to their seventh Elite Eight in 10 years. Herro led the way for Kentucky with 16 points, and big man P.J. Washington returned from a foot injury to contribute 16 points off the bench.

No. 2 Michigan State 80, No. 3 LSU 63: Much has been made of the incident earlier in the tournament in which Michigan State coach Tom Izzo lost his temper and had to be restrained from yelling at one of his players, Aaron Henry. Question the tactics, but not the results: Henry showed up in a big way for the Spartans in the Sweet Sixteen, finishing with 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the decisive win over LSU.

No. 5 Auburn 97, No. 1 North Carolina 80: To this point in the tournament, the results more or less went chalk. That went out the window on Friday as the Tar Heels became the first of the four No. 1 seeds to fall. Auburn’s dominant 17-point win over North Carolina was bittersweet, as leading scorer Chuma Okeke (20 points, 11 rebounds) suffered a horrific knee injury that will sideline him for the remainder of the tournament.

No. 1 Duke 75, No. 4 Virginia Tech 73: With forward Cam Reddish sidelined with a knee injury, Duke relied on 23 points from Zion Williamson along with 22 from Tre Jones and 18 from R.J. Barrett to survive their second consecutive close call, overcoming the Hokies and advancing to the Elite Eight by the skin of their teeth.

Elite Eight

No. 1 Virginia 80, No. 3 Purdue 75: Purdue guard Carsen Edwards continued his spectacular tournament run, pouring on 42 points on 14-of-25 shooting including 10-of-19 from three-point range. However, he didn’t get much help — no other Boilermakers player scored in double figures–and Purdue came up just short. Virginia’s Mamadi Diakite saved the day with a buzzer beater to send the game to overtime and Kyle Guy led the way with 25 points, as the Cavaliers became the only No. 1 seed to reach the Final Four.

No. 3 Texas Tech 75, No. 1 Gonzaga 69: Great performances from Rui Hachimura (22 points) and Brandon Clarke (18 points, 12 rebounds) weren’t enough for the Bulldogs to outlast the Red Raiders, who are headed to the Final Four for the first time in school history. Jarrett Culver led the way for Texas Tech with 19 points while Matt Mooney added 17 in a convincing victory.

No. 5 Auburn 77, No. 2 Kentucky 71: Joining Texas Tech in the first-timers club is Auburn, who earned their first Final Four trip in program history. They followed up their stunning upset of top-ranked North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen with a victory over Kentucky in the Elite Eight, led by Jared Harper’s 26 points and Bryce Brown’s 24. Injured Chuma Okeke showed up at halftime to give the Tigers a little extra motivation. His team returned the favor.

No. 2 Michigan State 68, No. 1 Duke 67: After surviving nail-biters in the round of 32 and the Sweet Sixteen, the Blue Devils’ finally luck ran out in the Elite Eight. Against Duke’s superstar trio of Williamson, Reddish, and Barrett, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston was the best player on the floor on Sunday. His 20 points and 10 assists paced the Spartans to a surprising victory and a trip to Minneapolis for the Final Four.

Final Four Schedule

Saturday, April 6

No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 1 Virginia (Minneapolis, MN) | 6:09pm on CBS, stream on

No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Michigan State (Minneapolis, MN) | 8:49pm on CBS, stream on

Monday, April 8

National Championship (Minneapolis, MN) | 9:00pm on CBS, stream on

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