As expected, Day 1 of the Sweet 16 lived up to the hype thanks to more upsets and close games between some of the nation's best teams.
Everyone's favorite Cinderella kept the ball rolling, while higher-ranked seeds hardly survived the fray—if at all. None of this should come as a surprise considering the vast parity that was on display most of the season.
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Four teams punched tickets to the Elite Eight with victories on Thursday. While not all were expected, each victor surely deserves to live another day after a grueling victory in what has been the most entertaining round to date.
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||TV Info||Live Stream||Winner|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 10 Stanford vs. No. 11 Dayton||7:15 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||Dayton, 82-72|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 2 Wisconsin vs. No. 6 Baylor||7:47 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||Wisconsin, 69-52|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 UCLA||9:45 p.m.||CBS||March Madness Live||Florida 79-68|
|Thurs., March 27||No. 1 Arizona vs. No. 4 San Diego State||9:55 p.m.||TBS||March Madness Live||Arizona 70-64|
(11) Dayton 82, (10) Stanford 72
By this point, a Dayton victory is in no way a shock anymore.
The Flyers were once again wildly efficient on the court, recording a stunning 19 assists to just 10 turnovers in a display of unselfish basketball that typically wins tournament games and counteracts any talent disparity.
In other words, hats off to Dayton coach Archie Miller in what has been a startling turnaround for the Flyers, as illustrated by Evan Daniels of Scout.com:
Tremendous job by Archie Miller. I saw Dayton play in person a month ago. Wouldn't have guessed this. Look like completely different team.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) March 28, 2014
Jordan Sibert once again took control of the game, as he has for the entire tournament. This time, Sibert rattled in seven of 12 shots from the field and led Dayton in scoring with 18 points. He told reporters after the game he is simply grateful his team will live to see another day, via the Associated Press:
Dayton's Jordan Sibert right after win over Stanford: "It's amazing to be in this position right now. ... It's just a blessing."— AP Top 25 (@AP_Top25) March 28, 2014
Dayton now gets a shot to prove it is a team fans should continue to believe in as a date with either No. 4 UCLA or No. 1 Florida looms on the horizon.
(2) Wisconsin 69, (6) Baylor 52
No surprises here.
For what it's worth, there probably should have been considering Wisconsin and Baylor went into the matchup touting contrasting styles that had all of the makings of a gritty battle.
Alas, Wisconsin's strategy of domination inside leading to open looks for the shooters on the outside worked to perfection. CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein put it best:
If you can't appreciate what Wisconsin has done in this game, you simply aren't a purist. Badgers were flawless from tip to buzzer.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 28, 2014
The Wisconsin shooters, led by Frank Kaminsky and his game-high 19 points, were out in force—but Baylor didn't help itself any by having a miserable drought to open the game, as illustrated by Jesse Temple of Fox Sports:
Stats don't lie. Baylor tallied as many turnovers (5) as made field goals in the first half. Made only 5 of 24 shots. Astounding. #Badgers— Jesse Temple (@jessetemple) March 28, 2014
Baylor shot a miserable 31.6 percent from the floor and hardly better than 13 percent from long range. Forget seeds and any narratives—that sort of performance simply won't cut it at this stage of the tournament.
After a bit of a breeze in the Sweet 16, Wisconsin advances to the Elite Eight to take on either No. 1 Arizona or No. 4 San Diego State. Regardless, either matchup could swing in any direction, so it's one fans will not want to miss.