Louisville roared past Saint Louis 66-51 and the defending national champion has moved to the Sweet 16. Look who is next: Either Wichita State, which was eliminated by the Cardinals in last year’s Final Four, or arch rival Kentucky. The Midwest Region continues in Indianapolis on Friday.
Saturday marked Louisville Coach Rick Pitino’s 50th NCAA Tournament victory, and the Cardinals are in the Sweet 16 for the 20th time. That matches Kansas for fourth all time behind North Carolina (25), Kentucky (24) and Duke (23).And so is Michigan
The national title finalist, Michigan, made it look easy against Texas in a 79-65 triumph and returned to the Sweet 16. The Longhorns’ Cameron Ridley, the hero of Texas’ opening victory over Arizona State with a buzzer-beating stickback, was held to six points. The Wolverines made half of their three-pointers (14 of 28).No Ennis to rescue
Tyler Ennis was a game-winning shot machine for Syracuse this season. But not in the NCAA Tournament.
The freshman guard missed twice in the final 14 seconds, sealing Dayton’s 55-53 upset victory. Ennis missed a 16-foot jumper with the Flyers nursing a one-point lead. After Dyshawn Pierre made a free throw with 6.7 seconds remaining, Ennis had a good look from three. But he missed again, and third-seeded Syracuse became the first of last year’s Final Four teams to be eliminated.
Dayton, seeded 11th, collected its second upset victory after knocking off Ohio State in the opener. The Flyers will meet the Kansas-Stanford winner on Thursday in Memphis.Not the shoes
San Diego State plays nasty defense, as North Dakota State learned. The Bison put up 80 in an overtime upset victory over Oklahoma on Friday, but barely recorded half of that in a 63-44 loss to San Diego State. Maybe they got on the wrong foot, with Nike supplying the Bison with new lime green shoes for the game. More likely it was a hard-nosed defense that has carried the Aztecs all season and into the Sweet 16 to face Arizona or Gonzaga.Ratings smash
The upsets, fantastic finishes, the Warren Buffet perfect bracket offer, or maybe all it answers why the NCAA Tournament viewership for the first Friday was the highest in 23 years for that day.
Overall, the tournament ratings through Friday’s games ran six percent higher than the same period last year.