The first two tickets to Glendale, Arizona, are set to be punched Saturday, as the West and Midwest Regions are crowning their champions.
Gonzaga and Cinderella pick Xavier went head-to-head in the West Regional final, with both programs attempting to make their first Final Four. A victory for either team would have wiped it off the top of the list for most tournament wins without a Final Four appearance.
Kansas and Oregon are slated to go head-to-head in the Midwest. The Jayhawks have not been to a Final Four since 2012, while Oregon hasn't gotten past the Elite Eight since winning the 1939 national championship.
Here's a look at how things played out.
|Florida vs. South Carolina||2:20 p.m.||CBS|
|North Carolina vs. Kentucky||5:05 p.m.||CBS|
Full bracket available at NCAA.com.
Gonzaga 83, Xavier 59
At the turn of the century, Gonzaga was an anonymous Washington school with a few fun tournament moments but no history of basketball excellence. Mark Few has spent the last decade-and-a-half building the program into a mid-major juggernaut.
Now Few finally has the Final Four berth on his resume he'd been missing for so long.
Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points and Johnathan Williams added 19, as the Bulldogs ran Xavier out the gym on their way to a 83-59 victory. The Zags knocked down 12 threes compared to just two for Xavier and shot 47.5 percent overall.
Most of their damage offensively came as part of a 49-point first half, as they blitzed Xavier for easy open shots from beyond the arc and inside the paint. It was a complete 180-degree shift from Gonzaga's Sweet 16 struggles against West Virginia, which nearly broke the top-seeded Bulldogs with its relentless press. The Mountaineers would have been facing Xavier if it weren't for a confounding final 91 seconds in which it gave away a three-point lead.
Gonzaga took advantage of its new lease on life Saturday, looking every bit like the team that nearly ran through the regular season undefeated. Its lead stretched past the 20-point mark at multiple points in the second half; there wasn't really any point after halftime where the game was in question.
Williams-Goss knocked down four threes and added eight rebounds and four assists in a stellar all-around effort. Williams was also a menace on the defensive end, hauling in eight rebounds, blocking three shots and recording two steals.
Jordan Mathews and Josh Perkins each scored 11 points to round out double-digit scorers for Gonzaga.
J.P. Macura led the way with 18 points for Xavier, which will still go down as one of the most successful No. 11 seeds in history. Trevon Bluiett, who had been so brilliant in the Musketeers' first three victories, struggled his way to a 10-point performance. Bluiett shot just 3-of-14 from the floor and turned the ball over four times.
Xavier shot 35.5 percent as a team and was completely locked down by a Gonzaga defense that ranks No. 1 nationally in efficiency, per KenPom.com.
The Bulldogs are the first team from the West Coast Conference to reach the Final Four since San Francisco made the trip in 1957.
Oregon 74, Kansas 60
Oregon is heading to its first Final Four in nearly 80 years.
Tyler Dorsey scored a game-high 27 points, and Jordan Bell nearly went for a triple-double, as Oregon held on late for a 74-60 win over Kansas.
The Ducks scored the game's final eight points after Kansas had closed the lead to 66-60 with 2:50 remaining. Dorsey knocked down a three-pointer off a Bell offensive rebound on Oregon's next possession, essentially striking the dagger as Kansas flailed offensively from that point on.
After coming up huge in clutch moments all season, Dorsey continued his torrid postseason run Saturday. He hit six threes and missed on just four of his 13 shots, scoring over 20 points for the seventh straight game.
But it was Bell who changed the entire complexion of the game. The Oregon forward finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks. Kansas found almost no success near the rim when Bell was in the game and at times became skittish when driving to the hoop. Even when they had open floaters, Jayhawks players were missing bunnies and short-arming shots with Bell lurking near the rim.
Bell's presence combined with a cold shooting night made it nearly impossible for Kansas to get into an offensive rhythm. The Jayhawks shot 5-of-25 from three-point range and 35 percent overall.
Frank Mason III came through with a team-high 21 points and four assists but did not get much help. Josh Jackson had 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, solid overall numbers that obscure long stretches where he disappeared. The freshman star did not score his first point until there were less than 12 minutes remaining.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, who had 10 points, was the only other Jayhawk in double figures.
Dillon Brooks had 17 points, and Dylan Ennis had 12 to round out double-digit scorers for the Ducks. Their starting lineup was responsible for all but five of their points, as head coach Dana Altman's short seven-man rotation kept things tight. When Chris Boucher went down for the season, Oregon's chances for a deep tournament run looked shaky, but Altman's adjustments have been enough to carry it into the Final Four.