Sweet Sixteen Day Two Recap

The Sweet Sixteen once again delivered a night of exciting and historic basketball. Two schools punched their first ticket to the Elite Eight in school history, another set the record for most wins in NCAA history, and a coaching icon lives to play at least one more game. Let’s get caught up on all of the big storylines coming into tonight’s round. 

Sweet Sixteen Day Two Recap

Purdue vs. Saint Peter’s

What a way to start the evening. Everyone’s favorite underdog staring down a Big Ten powerhouse led by a future lottery pick. Midnight will certainly be striking for Cinderella tonight. 

At first, the game seemed to follow that script. Purdue took a four-point lead into halftime. Jaden Ivey struggled, but the rest of the team rallied and the Boilermakers were able to keep the Peacocks at arm’s length going into the break. 

The second half was a different story. Some things stayed the same, Purdue struggled offensively, forcing the ball inside and eventually being carried along by senior forward Trevion Williams, who scored a big 16 points in his 23 minutes off of the bench. Ivey continued to struggle, scoring nine points while grabbing eight rebounds. St. Peter’s defense was stifling, forcing 15 total turnovers. Six of those are owned by Ivey, who had a rough night shooting the ball as well, hitting only four of his 12 field goal attempts. 

The Peacocks shined on what turned out to be National Peacock day, another amazing oddity to add to this night. The guard play was fantastic from this group. Daryl Banks III, Matthew Lee, Isiah Dasher, and Doug Edert all played relatively well. The group scored 34 points combined while only having two turnovers. This should come as no surprise as the Peacocks are led by head coach Shaheen Holloway, a three-time All-Big East selection at Seton Hall and a former point guard with Sweet Sixteen experience. Holloway has his team fired up and ready to play. Everyone’s new favorite college team looks to keep this fairy tale alive Sunday evening in the final Elite Eight matchup. 

Kansas vs. Providence

The second game of the night had plenty of great storylines as well. Surprisingly, the Jayhawks have an underdog story of their own. Undoubtedly, one of the winningest programs of all time is rarely a ‘little guy’, almost always Goliath and never David. While that is still true this year, the college basketball world has become infatuated with a senior transfer coming off the bench for Kansas. The incredible story of Remy Martin continued last night as the California native scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 27 crucial minutes for the Jayhawks. Martin, who averaged 8.6 points per game throughout the regular season, provided more than a spark off the bench. He led the team in scoring while Jalen Wilson paced the starting five with 16 points of his own. 

It was a tough end to the tournament for Providence. The Friars did not shoot the ball well from deep in this one. They shot 17.4% from beyond the arc (4-23). Providence fell behind early, trailing by nine going into the half. They outscored Kansas in the second half, but it was not enough to overcome and advance to the next round. The Friars were led in scoring by Al Durham and Noah Horchler, who scored 21 and 10 points respectively. 

With this win, Kansas is now number one all-time in wins on the hardwood. While some of this can be credited to the sheer longevity of this university’s basketball program, it would be wrong to take anything away from Bill Self and the job that he has done in his time so far at Kansas. Kansas is the highest remaining seed in the tournament. They look to add to their all-time win total and Final Four appearances on Sunday afternoon.

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UCLA vs. North Carolina

Talk about college basketball history. It is hard to come up with a more historic matchup for the basketball world to be given than this one. Two of the most iconic programs in the history of the sport squared off in the primetime slot of the evening. The stage was huge, but it didn’t prove to be too much for these teams. 

UCLA came into this game looking to continue a run that had already proven to the world that last year’s ‘First Four-to-Final Four’ was no fluke. The Bruins’ biggest concern coming into the game was the health of Jaime Jaquez Jr. Jacquez not only played 38 minutes but was productive with his time. He scored 10 points on 5-18 shooting while grabbing five boards and dishing two assists. He would likely love to have shot better, but considering that they weren’t sure he’d be able to suit up, props should be given to Jacquez for toughing it out for his team. 

The rest of UCLA’s core helped to take a three-point lead into the locker room at the half. Johnny Juzang, Tyger Campbell, and Jules Bernard combined with Jacquez to score all but 11 of the Bruins points. 

North Carolina was propelled by a four-headed monster of their own. Caleb Love led all scorers with 30 points and was clearly the player of the game in this one. The other Tar Heels starters deserve their share of the credit too. Armando Bacot had a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds while Brady Manek and RJ Davis scored 13 and 12 points respectively. The Tar Heels will hope to burst St. Peter’s bubble in Sunday night’s Elite Eight matchup. 

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Miami vs. Iowa State

Last night’s finale was the least exciting finish of the four. It was still a great performance that, believe it or not, had a historic outcome. 

The Hurricanes took a slim three-point lead into the half but quickly put some space between themselves and the Cyclones with a run to start the second half. Iowa St. fought hard throughout the second half but their 18 team turnovers were too much to overcome. The Cyclones were led in scoring by Tyrese Hunter and Gabe Kalscheur, who each had 13 points. 

The Hurricanes lived up to their name in this one, making the most of their athleticism to capitalize on fast break opportunities. They also did so in style, scoring on alley-oops on the break and in general showing the world just how much fun they are having playing for coach Jim Larrañaga. Kameron McGusty scored 27 for the Hurricanes, an effort that was supported by Jordan Miller’s 16 and Sam Waardenburg’s 13. 

Miami’s starting five accounted for all 70 of their points, which may be a cause for concern going into their first Elite Eight in school history. The Hurricanes should still come into this matchup with a lot of confidence. In the last 2 games, Miami has trailed for 16 seconds. Total. The Hurricanes will look to knock down the tournament’s last number 1 seed on Sunday afternoon. 

From Sweet to Elite

The excitement continues with two marquee matchups this evening. Villanova and Houston square off at 6:09 pm est. Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils try for one last Final Four against the Arkansas Razorbacks at 8:49 pm est. 

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