Final two No. 1 seeds downed, stage set for wild Elite 8
Miami celebrates after their win against Houston in a Sweet 16 college basketball game in the Midwest Regional of the NCAA Tournament Friday, March 24, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, March 25, 2023 8:10AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, March 25, 2023 8:10AM EDT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Nijel Pack and Miami hit shots from near and far against the stingiest defense in the country to beat Houston 89-75 on Friday night in the Sweet 16, leaving the NCAA Tournament without a single No. 1 seed among its final eight teams for the first time since seeding began in 1979.
Miami (28-7), only the fifth team this season to score at least 70 points against Houston (33-4), will play second-seeded Texas in the Midwest Region final for the chance to go to the Final Four.
The fifth-seeded Hurricanes reached a regional final for the second straight year. Coach Jim Larrañaga is seeking his first Final Four with Miami and his second overall after leading George Mason there as an 11 seed in 2006.
This is the first time in three years Houston didn’t make it to the Elite Eight.
The Cougars simply couldn’t stop a multifaceted Miami offense led by Pack’s 3-point shooting. He had season highs of seven 3-pointers on 10 attempts and 26 points. Isaiah Wong finished with 20 points for Miami and Norchad Omier had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Jarace Walker led Houston with 16 points. Jamal Shead added 15 and All-American Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark had 14 apiece for the Cougars, who shot just 37% overall and 29% from distance.
TEXAS 83, XAVIER 71
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Tyrese Hunter scored 19 points, Marcus Carr and Christian Bishop added 18 apiece, and second-seeded Texas beat No. 3 seed Xavier to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in 15 years.
Playing most of the way without ailing star Dylan Disu, the Longhorns — the highest seed left after No. 1s Alabama and Houston lost earlier in the night — built a 42-25 lead by halftime. They quickly pushed it past 20 before cruising the rest of the way into a matchup with fifth-seeded Miami on Sunday night for a spot in the Final Four in Houston.
Sir’Jabari Rice had 16 points and Timmy Allen added 11 for the Longhorns (29-8), who kept Souley Boum and the rest of Xavier’s perimeter threats in check while making life miserable for Jack Nunge down low.
Adam Kunkel hit five 3-pointers and led the Musketeers (27-10) with 21 points. Nunge scored 15 but needed 19 shots to get there, while Colby Jones also had 15 points. Boum didn’t hit a field goal until early in the second half and finished with 12 points.
SAN DIEGO STATE 71, ALABAMA 64
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Darrion Trammell and San Diego State used a dominant defensive performance to knock out All-America freshman Brandon Miller and top overall seed Alabama.
Trammell scored 21 points while Miller, whose outstanding season was marred by off-the-court complications, was held to nine points on 3-of-19 shooting and had six turnovers.
The fifth-seeded Aztecs (30-6) will face sixth-seeded Creighton on Sunday in the South Region final, with each team seeking the first Final Four in program history.
San Diego State trailed 48-39 midway through the second half before going on a 12-0 run and controlling the game from there. The Aztecs finished with eight blocked shots — five by Nathan Mensah — and forced 14 turnovers.
The March Madness run of Alabama (31-6) was clouded by its response to the Jan. 15 fatal shooting of a 23-year-old woman in Tuscaloosa, which led to capital murder charges against a then-Crimson Tide player, Darius Miles. Miller was at the scene of the shooting and has not been charged, but police have said in court documents that Miles texted Miller to bring him his gun.
Mark Sears had 16 points and Jahvon Quinerly and Charles Bediako scored 10 each for Alabama, which shot 32% overall and a miserable 3 of 27 (11.1%) from 3-point range.
CREIGHTON 86, PRINCETON 75
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Creighton used its size, 3-point shooting and a swarming second-half defense to end the March Madness run of 15th-seeded Princeton.
The sixth-seeded Bluejays (24-12) advanced to their first regional final since they were part of an eight-team NCAA Tournament in 1941. Creighton will play No. 5 seed San Diego State on Sunday.
Ryan Kalkbenner, the two-time Big East defensive player of the year, scored 22 points to lead the Bluejays to their sixth win in seven games. Baylor Scheierman made five 3s and finished with 21 points.
The Tigers (23-9) were led by Ryan Langborg with 26 points and Ivy League player of the year Tosan Evbuomwan with 24 points, six rebounds and nine assists.