March Madness Bracket Elite 8 Updates: FAU Reaches Final Four
March madness indeed! The men’s NCAA tournament has brought all the chaos expected this time of year – with staple busting the order of the day.
“Being No. 1 overall doesn’t guarantee you’re going to win,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said on the TBS show after his team was upset.
Following Friday’s action, the Elite Eight was officially settled and for the first time in history did not have a No. 1 seed, the Sweet 16 saw No. 1 overall, Alabama, and the No. 1 Houston fell to No. 5 San Diego State and No. 5 Miami (Florida). Additionally, No. 6 Creighton and No. 2 Texas secured spots over the weekend.
The Elite Eight began Saturday with No. 9 Florida Atlantic’s win over No. 3 Kansas State.
No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 4 Connecticut complete the day’s list with a scheduled tip at 8:49 p.m. (TBS).
Follow the madness: Latest NCAA tournament men’s college basketball scores and schedule
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Here’s everything you need to know to get ready for the action:
UConn leads Gonzaga after fierce first half
The No. 4 UConn Huskies lead the No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs 39-32 in the half of their Elite Eight game in Las Vegas.
After the Huskies took an early 9-2 lead, the Bulldogs crawled back and took a 25-14 lead at 5:24 on the clock. But UConn used a balanced offense and took advantage of Gonzaga’s poor backcourt performance (just a 3-point shot) to regain the lead.
Juniors Andre Jackson Jr. and Adama Sonogo teamed up for a couple of games, including an exciting dunk the former is becoming known for. Sonogo already has a career-high five assists.
Freshman forward Alex Karaban leads the Huskies by 10 points. For the Bulldogs, senior forward Drew Timme and junior guard Julian Strawther each have nine points.
Florida Atlantic celebrates its first appearance in the Final Four
The Florida Atlantic Owls soar after beating the Kansas State Wildcats to secure their first-place finish in the Final Four.
The players jumped around enthusiastically after the team was presented with the trophy. Still in uniform as his teammates donned their championship T-shirts, center sophomore Vladislav Goldin let out a yell. He recorded a double-double on his way to victory.
The Owls hit the net with beaming faces at Madison Square Garden, one of basketball’s most sacred spots.
– Victoria Hernandez
No. 9 Florida Atlantic defeats No. 3 Kansas State to advance to Final Four
The Florida Atlantic Owls continued their fairytale run and secured a place in the Final Four with a 79-76 win over Kansas State in Saturday’s East Regional Finals.
Florida Atlantic senior Michael Forrest made four clutch free throws in the final 18 seconds to lift the ninth-seeded Owls past the third-seeded Wildcats.
Florida Atlantic’s 7-foot-1 center Vladislav Golden had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Kansas State dynamic point guard Markquis Nowell had 30 points and 12 assists.
Florida Atlantic was down 63-57 when Nowell made a 3-pointer with 8:39 to go. Then the Owls made their comeback.
Florida Atlantic (35-3) will face the San Diego State-Creighton winner in a semifinal match at the Final Four in Houston.
The ninth-seeded Owls is only their second NCAA tournament appearance and had not won a tournament game until this year. But they were unstoppable, beating No. 8 Memphis, No. 15 Fairleigh Dickinson and then No. 4 Tennessee before upsetting Kansas State.
For Kansas State (26-10), the loss ended an unexpectedly stellar season. The Wildcats were picked last in the Big 12 preseason poll, but finished third in the regular season before beginning their postseason run.
In the tournament, the Wildcats beat No. 14 Montana state, No. 6 Kentucky state and No. 7 Michigan state before falling a game short of making the Final Four for the first time since 1964.
Florida Atlantic made its first tournament appearance in 2002. The Owls, seeded 15 that year, lost to 2nd-ranked Alabama, 86-78.
– Josh Peter
Half: #9 FAU 42, #3 Kansas State 38
Despite spinning the ball more than a dozen times, Florida Atlantic went into halftime with a four-point lead over Kansas State. The Owls maintained a slight lead by controlling the glass and passing the Wildcats 22-9.
Vladislav Goldin is approaching a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds, including four offensive rebounds. Alijah Martin added nine points.
Markquis Nowell leads Kansas State with 15 points and seven assists.
The Elite Eight half will be determined after a series of regional semifinals highlighted by perhaps the best game of the men’s NCAA basketball tournament.
That would be No. 3 Kansas State’s 98-93 overtime win over Michigan State, which included a historic performance from senior point guard Markquis Nowell, who set a tournament record with 19 assists.
Also Thursday, No. 4 Connecticut ran through No. 8 Arkansas and made the Elite Eight for the first time since winning the 2014 national championship; No. 9 Florida Atlantic pulled away from No. 4 Tennessee by leaning on the volunteers’ posture; and No. 3 Gonzaga traded buckets late with No. 2 UCLA, scoring a last-second win.
– Paul Meyerberg
Parity creates ultimate March Madness mayhem
In the span of just minutes on Friday night, two programs that had plenty of good seasons but rarely looked like they were on the cusp of something significant drove the last two remaining No. 1 seedlings out of this NCAA men’s tournament.
And with those back-to-back results, this is officially the craziest march of them all.
For the first time in tournament history, we didn’t seed a No. 1 in the Elite Eight.
– Dan clouds
March Madness Strikes Again: No. 1 Overall Alabama Goes Home
Oh how the mighty fell on Friday.
Alabama, No. 1 overall in the NCAA men’s tournament, lost 71-64 late to fifth-placed San Diego state and was eliminated in the South Regional’s Sweet 16.
The Crimson Tide squandered a nine-point lead in the second half as their quest for the first national championship in school history came to an abrupt end.
– Josh Peter
1 and done: Houston is out
Fifth-seeded Miami more than upset top-seeded Houston in a Sweet 16 matchup on Friday.
The Hurricanes defeated the Cougars 89-75 in the men’s NCAA tournament, dashed Houston’s hopes of playing in the school’s first national championship in their hometown.
And it means there won’t be a No. 1 in the Elite Eight for the first time.
– Josh Peter