The Midwest Regional at Sprint Center was threatening to become the Big Ten Tournament. By late Sunday afternoon, Purdue and Michigan had won their way to the Sweet 16.
But the conference’s run ended there. Kansas ran away from Michigan State 90-70 in a second-round game at Tulsa, Okla., and reached the regional semifinal round for the second straight year.
This time, the Jayhawks make the short trip to Kansas City.
“We get a chance to play 35 miles away from Lawrence,” KU point guard Frank Mason said. “I think it’s just great for the fans and for us to get a chance to play there in the Sweet 16. We’re all so excited.”
So are the other three teams. Here’s a first look at who’s coming to Kansas City for the games that will played on Thursday, with the winners meeting on Saturday with a Final Four berth on the line.
No. 4 Purdue (27-7)
What a swing in fortunes for Purdue in the second round.
The Boilermakers led Iowa State 58-39 with 14:23 remaining on Saturday, and they looked remarkable. Caleb Swanigan was well on his way to another terrific stat line — 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists — and everybody else was on top of their game, too.
Then the Cyclones caught fire, outscoring Purdue 34-13 over the next 11 minutes to take a two-point lead. But Iowa State couldn’t finish the job and fell 80-76.
The Sweet 16 is Purdue’s first since 2010.
Purdue had experienced tournament heartbreak in the previous two years, falling to Cincinnati in overtime in an 8-9 game in 2015 and getting upset by Arkansas-Little Rock as a No. 5 seed last year. Had the Boilermakers won that game, they’d have played Iowa State for a spot in the Sweet 16. Those losses sweeten this year’s run.
▪ Path to KC: Defeated No. 13 Vermont 80-70, defeated No. 5 Iowa State 80-76.
▪ Star attraction: Caleb Swanigan’s 28 double-doubles are a Big Ten record.
No. 7 Michigan (26-11)
Does the team of destiny label apply here?
The Wolverines were seeded eighth in the Big Ten Tournament and arrived in Washington, D.C., on the day of their first game because their team charter had slid off the runway in an aborted takeoff the previous day in Michigan. The passengers went through an emergency evacuation.
Michigan went on to win the tournament and has now won 12 of 14. On Sunday, the Wolverines rode Moritz Wagner, who scored a career-high 26. Louisville had no answer for the inside-outside threat.
“I let the game come to me,” Wagner said.
▪ Path to Kansas City: Defeated No. 10 Oklahoma State 92-91, defeated No. 2 Louisville 73-69.
▪ Star attraction: Derrick Walton Jr., was MVP of the Big Ten Tournament.
No. 1 Kansas (30-4)
The Jayhawks led Michigan State 54-53 with 12 minutes remaining and looked tired.
Looks can be deceiving.
Over the final 12 minutes, Kansas outscored the Spartans 36-17 and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
The regional semifinals and finals are in Kansas City for the first time since 1995. That year, Kansas lost to Virginia in the Sweet 16. The Jayhawks reached the Final Four in 1986 from Kansas City, beating Michigan State in overtime for the region title.
Kansas’ record at Sprint Center is 34-7. But the Jayhawks have lost in their previous appearance there, to TCU in the quarterfinals of this year’s Big 12 Tournament.
▪ Path to Kansas City: Defeated No. 16 UC Davis 100-62, defeated No 9 Michigan State 90-70.
▪ Star attraction: Frank Mason is bidding to become the second player under Bill Self to average 20 points.
No. 3 Oregon (31-5)
The Ducks survived a major scare on Sunday, outlasting Rhode Island 75-72.
The Rams led 72-68 with 2:11 remaining, but a four-point possession kept alive by offensive rebounds got the game tied some 30 seconds later. Tyler Dorsey then hit the eventual game-winning shot for Oregon with 40 seconds remaining, and the Ducks survived a pair of Rhode Island three-point attempts
Oregon, led by former Kansas State and Creighton coach Dana Altman, is in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season. The Ducks fell to Oklahoma and Buddy Hield in the West final last year.
▪ Path to KC: Defeated No. 14 Iona 93-77, defeated No. 11 Rhode Island 75-72.
▪ Star attraction: Dillon Brooks averages 16.3 points and connects on 41 percent of his threes.