Sometimes you have to sacrifice unpredictability for quality.
With most of the Cinderellas having been trimmed from the herd, only the strongest remain.
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One of those teams is No. 11 Dayton. The Flyers faced off with Stanford in the first of four games on Thursday night. The other three matchups included No. 2 Wisconsin taking on a red-hot Baylor squad, No. 1 Arizona against No. 4 San Diego State and No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA.
The action can't match the breakneck pace of the first weekend of the tourney, but the Sweet 16 should give college basketball fans more than they could ask for in terms of drama.
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV Info||Score|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 11 Dayton||7:15 p.m.||CBS||Dayton wins, 82-72|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Baylor||7:47 p.m.||TBS||Wisconsin wins, 69-52|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA||10:15 p.m.||CBS||Florida wins, 79-68|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 4 San Diego State||10:25 p.m.||TBS||Arizona wins, 70-64|
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV Info|
|Fri., March 28||No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 11 Tennessee||7:15 p.m.||CBS|
|Fri., March 28||No. 3 Iowa State vs. No. 7 Connecticut||7:47 p.m.||TBS|
|Fri., March 28||No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 8 Kentucky||9:40 p.m.||CBS|
|Fri., March 28||No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Michigan State||9:55 p.m.||TBS|
Sports Media Watch
Note: All games are available to stream on March Madness Live.
No. 11 Dayton beats No. 10 Stanford, 82-72
Dayton's dream run in the NCAA tournament will last at least another round, as the 12th-seeded Flyers knocked off No. 10 Stanford, 82-72.
It's the first time the school has made the Elite Eight in 30 years, per ESPN Stats and Info:
Dayton advances to Elite 8 for 1st time since 1984— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 28, 2014
In the previous two rounds, Dayton was victorious with a combination of great defense and timely offense. The Flyers shot a combined 41-of-95 in their two wins while holding Syracuse and Ohio State to 45-of-104 from the field, including 3-of-22 from three-point range.
Archie Miller largely followed that same blueprint against the Cardinal. Stanford missed 15 of its 23 three-pointers and made only 37.9 percent of its field goals.
What also played a major role in the game was Dayton's bench. Kendall Pollard scored 12 points, and another five players came off the bench to score at least three points. John Gage was the only Stanford bench player to score:
Dayton's bench outscored Stanford's bench 34-2— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 28, 2014
Miller also thought the Memphis crowd impacted the Flyers' performance in a positive way, per Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde:
Dayton into regional final for first time in 30 years. Archie Miller, on fan support here: "It was a home game."— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) March 28, 2014
As ESPN.com's John Goodman pointed out, Dayton's fortunes have shifted massively in the space of a month:
Less than a month ago, Dayton wasn't even in the NCAA tourney. Now Archie Miller has Flyers in the Elite Eight.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 28, 2014
With the wave of momentum they're riding at the moment, the Flyers can beat anybody in their way.
No. 2 Wisconsin beats No. 6 Baylor, 69-52
It took Baylor all of 16 minutes to go from Final Four contender to helpless victim in front of a runaway train. The sixth-seeded Bears were down 23-11 with a little over four minutes to go in the first half, and it only got worse from there, as No. 2 Wisconsin cruised to a 69-52 victory.
As a side note, when you go to the Elite Eight for the fourth time in school history, you can dance however you want to:
One of the things Baylor did so well in its 85-55 win over Creighton was hound Bluejays shooters on the perimeter. Bears defenders were moving perfectly in sync and giving Doug McDermott a ton of trouble.
That sweltering zone defense was nowhere to be seen on Thursday night. A picture says a thousand words, per CBSSports.com's Matt Norlander:
The Badgers shot a cool 52 percent from the field. On the other side, Baylor finished at 31 percent.
This Wisconsin team is scary. Bo Ryan has always been known for his plodding, methodical style.
But this Badgers team is more than capable of opening up when it needs to and turning on the offense. When they're in a rhythm, good luck stopping them.
No. 1 Florida beats No. 4 UCLA, 79-68
The top seed in the tournament once again earned a methodical, scientific victory, as No. 1 Florida used a late second-half run to beat No. 4 UCLA 79-68:
Michael Frazier II stepped up in a big way for the Gators. He led all scorers, with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The sophomore guard hit five of his eight three-point attempts as well.
CBSSports.com's Jeff Borzello thinks that having an on-fire Frazier is the difference between being a contender and the favorite for the national title:
Frazier making shots basically eliminates Florida's lone weakness. He makes them the most complete team in the country.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 28, 2014
Between Florida's great defense and timely shooting, it's hard to see who can stop the No. 1 seed from here.
The Gators will meet the Flyers in the Elite Eight, which will almost certainly be one of the most intriguing matchups in the next round. Florida has shown few weaknesses this season, but can anybody stop the runaway train that is Dayton?
No. 1 Arizona beats No. 4 San Diego State, 70-64
While Florida surged down the stretch, San Diego State wilted. The Aztecs were up for most of the game, until a bucket by Aaron Gordon put the Wildcats on top, 52-50, with a little under six minutes to go.
The No. 1 seed in the West Region went on to win, 70-64.
This game couldn't have been better symbolized by the performance of Wildcats star Nick Johnson:
Nick Johnson was scoreless through 37 minutes of game time. Finished with 15 points. Clutch.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 28, 2014
Johnson hit all 10 of his free throws to ice the game away.
Of course, Arizona wouldn't have even been close in the first place had it not been for freshman Aaron Gordon. He finished 7-of-9 for 15 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News thought that Gordon was overshadowing some of his freshmen counterparts in March:
Remember the weekend, when everybody rushed to condemn the freshmen because Parker and Wiggins were gone? Seen Aaron Gordon lately?— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) March 28, 2014
Zona head coach Sean Miller took to Twitter to thank both his players and fans for the win:
So proud of how our team battled tonight, what a great game! #Elite8— Sean Miller (@UACoachMiller) March 28, 2014
With the Wildcats facing off with Wisconsin in the Elite Eight, either Miller or Ryan will make his first Final Four, an accolade that is long overdue for both, per CBSSports.com's Jon Rothstein:
Sean Miller and Bo Ryan are two of the best coaches that have never made a Final Four. That will change after Saturday.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 28, 2014
That matchup likely won't be easy on the eyes, but what it lacks in beauty it should more than make up for in drama.