By: Caleb Luketic
(3) Notre Dame 81 – (7) Wichita State 70
The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were able to hold off the Wichita State Shockers to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time in over 30 years. The Irish shot 75% the final 20 minutes of Thursday’s game. The Shockers were unable to overcome the lights out shooting of Notre Dame. Senior guard Fred VanVleet led Wichita State with 25 points. Demetrius Jackson led Notre Dame with 20 points on Thursday night. Notre Dame will play Kentucky on Saturday.
(1) Wisconsin 79 – (4) North Carolina 72
The Tar Heels looked to have the Badgers number in the first half and in the beginning of the second half, but Wisconsin was able to get its engine revved up to get the win. Sam Dekker scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Badgers over the Tar Heels. Wisconsin big Frank Kaminsky added 19 points and Nigel Hayes added 12 points. Wisconsin will play Arizona in the Elite 8 on Saturday.
(1) Kentucky 78 – (5) West Virginia 38
The Kentucky Wildcats obliterated the West Virginia Mountaineers on Thursday night. In the first half, West Virginia scored 18 points, and the Harrison twins scored 20. Earlier in the week, freshman guard Daxter Miles Jr. made the claim that the Wildcats would be “ 36-1” after they played WVU. He also made some comments about how they do not put in enough work and don’t give enough effort. Kentucky was obviously fueled by these comments, and every single player brought their A-game. Whoever plays Kentucky from here on out, you better be ready to step in the ring and take some punches. Kentucky will play Notre Dame in the Elite 8 on Saturday.
(2) Arizona 68 – (6) Xavier 60
Arizona’s head coach Sean Miller was able to get the win over his former team the Xavier Musketeers on Thursday night. T.J. McConnell led the Arizona charge with 17 points and 5 assists. McConnell hit a huge three-point shot in the final minutes of the game that ultimately put Arizona over the top. Arizona has the speed and physicality that is needed to beat Kentucky. If Arizona is able to beat Wisconsin in the Elite 8, they would face the unbeaten Wildcats in the Final Four.
(2) Gonzaga 74 – (11) UCLA 62
The Gonzaga Bulldogs were just too dominant in the paint for the UCLA Bruins to handle. Gonzaga was led by their center Przemek Karnowski. Karnowski scored 18 points and had 9 rebounds. UCLA didn’t have the physicality to keep up with Gonzaga. Gonzaga will play Duke in the Elite 8.
(4) Louisville 75 – (8) NC State 65
The Louisville Cardinals were able to hold off the Wolfpack of NC State. Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier led the Cardinals. Harrell scored 24 points and added 7 rebounds, and Rozier had a double-double scoring 17 points and corralling 14 rebounds. Louisville is always a dangerous team that a lot of people forget about, and I look for Louisville to advance to the Final Four. Louisville plays Michigan State in the Elite 8.
(1) Duke 63 – (5) Utah 57
The Duke Blue Devils beat the Utah Utes on Friday night. Duke Freshman Jahlil Okafor was shut down in this game because Utah was able to keep him under wraps. Justise Winslow stepped up in place of Okafor, and he scored 21 points and added 10 rebounds. Duke is going to be a threat to go far in the NCAA Tournamwnt because of coach K. Duke will play Gonzaga in the Elite 8
(7) Michigan State 62 – (3) Oklahoma 58
The Michigan State Spartans have advanced to the Elite 8. The Spartans edged the Oklahoma Sooners on Friday night. Travis Trice and Denzel Valentine led the Spartans. Trice scored 24 points, and Valentine scored 18 points in Friday’s win. Michigan State is this year’s Cinderella-esqu team, even though I don’t think that they are a Cinderella team. They have fantastic talent and they have one of the best coaches in the country in Tom Izzo. I picked the Spartans to advance to the Elite 8 because of their amazing guard play of Trice and Valentine. Michigan State will have a chance to advance to the Final Four when they take on the Louisville Cardinals.