Bill Self: Elite Eight game is most difficult in NCAA Tournament
At San Jose, Calif.
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 11 Xavier
Time/TV: 5:09 p.m., TBS
What to watch: The Final Four is guaranteed a first timer. These programs have contributed much to the NCAA Tournament flavor over the past two decades and now one will be rewarded with a trip to the final weekend. The Musketeers aren’t supposed to be here. The only double-digit seed in the Sweet 16, Xavier trailed Arizona by eight with 3:50 remaining and won by a bucket. By seed difference, it was the biggest upset of the tournament. Coach Chris Mack has done an amazing job with this team and Trevon Bluiett is one of the stars of the tournament, averaging 25 points per game. Gonzaga hung on to beat West Virginia 61-58 despite a tough shooting night from guard Nigel Williams-Goss. The game featured 51 fouls and 35 made shots between the teams. The Zags have reached the Elite Eight for the third time in program history.
Prediction: Gonzaga 77-74
At Kansas City
No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 3 Oregon
Time/TV: 7:49 p.m., CBS
What to watch: Both teams know recent NCAA Tournament heartbreak, losing regional finals last season. Kansas is the first team since Connecticut to score at least 90 points in its first three NCAA games since Connecticut in 1995. In the NCAA, the Jayhawks are shooting 46.6 percent on threes and are led by Frank Mason’s 22.7 scoring average. Despite losing big man Chris Boucher in the Pac-12 Tournament, the Ducks have battled through some difficult stretches. They knocked off Rhode Island by three in the second round and survived a one-point victory over Michigan in the Sweet 16. Including the conference tournament, Tyler Dorsey is averaging 23.4 points over his past five games and hitting 63.3 percent of his three-pointers.
Prediction: Kansas 93-86