Thursday night provided the benefit of a hotly contested first weekend of play -- eight worthy and talented teams squared off in search of spot in the Elite Eight. The Bulldogs won 79-75 in a 2006 NCAA first-round game.
Gonzaga and Arizona both are playing in the West Regional, but two other West Coast teams are in the fold.
Jordan Bell finished with 16 points and 13 boards for OR, which battles Kansas on Saturday in Kansas City. If you're thinking that Kansas will once again fall on its face before the Final Four, don't. Oh just wait, there's plenty, plenty more. No. 1 seeded Gonzaga, and No. 3 seeded OR vs.
We're down to eight teams and seven games remaining in the NCAA tournament. Sad.
Kansas is chasing its first Final Four since that 2012 run.
The No. 3 Oregon Ducks in the Midwest Regional face No. 7 MI at 4 p.m. The Ducks have lost their last three, including to Kansas in 2002. Unfortunately, they need to go through Bill Murray and the Xavier Musketeers to make it there, and Xavier is looking for their own first Final Four trip.
"All year we've been banking on our defense, our defense, our defense", coach Mark Few said. "This one, a little bit more because that Final Four is the goal of everybody".
The Jayhawks' 98-66 victory over the Boilermakers was led by 26 points apiece from their dynamic backcourt of Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham, and buoyed by a boisterous crowd packed inside the Sprint Center - a mere 40-minute drive from their campus in Lawrence. He's averaging 10.1 points and 6.6 rebounds. Still, Few has routinely refused to be consumed by the pursuit. But the players who have been consistent all season haven't been in the tournament. Against Michigan State, freshman Josh Jackson poured in 23, including 14 in the second half. So we are absolutely elated to continue to be playing. And we're not really backing down from anybody.
Don't expect both teams to score at least 100 points again, which was the case when United Kingdom beat UNC 103-100 behind 47 points from freshman guard Malik Monk.
The Elite Eight also includes SC - a No. 7 seed that has a great argument as the NCAA selection committee's "Most Wrongly Seeded Team".
Salmons said he took a big five-figure money-line parlay Friday on North Carolina and Gonzaga.
A NEW SEC TOURNAMENT: The Southeastern Conference enters the regional finals standing alone among leagues. As good as Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey are, OR simply doesn't have the athletes OR overall team speed to hang with Kansas.
Gonzaga collected one of its wildest and weirdest wins of the season. And that came only after Badgers guard Zak Showalter hit an off-balance 3 with 2.5 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period. This was the most exciting game of the night and had the world going insane. He had been considered a likely one-and-done National Basketball Association prospect all year and called Friday's loss "my final game for UCLA".