That was the total when adding up the number of seeds that participated in yesterday’s first day of Sweet 16 action. Why is that important?
Two reasons. First, that is the highest number ever to participate in four Sweet Sixteen games on the same day. Second, a one, two and three seed prevailed over a five, 11 and 15 seed respectively. In the fourth game, Twelfth seed Oregon State eliminated eighth seeded Loyola of Chicago.
In other words, Cinderella teams can often get to the dance, but seldom do they take home the brass ring. Which brings us to today’s games which will determine the final four teams to advance to the Elite Eight.
One team has a double-digit seed, UCLA, and the 11th seed Bruins meet the third seed Alabama Crimson Tide. The two number one seeds in action today, Gonzaga and Michigan, would on paper have a more challenging contest than the number one seed that advanced yesterday with a win over Syracuse, the Houston Cougars.
Michigan is favored by only two points over fourth seed Florida State. The Seminoles took out the highest rated Pac 12 team last Monday, Colorado, and the Buffalos are the only Pac 12 team to lose a game in this year’s tournament. Yesterday, Oregon State extended their improbable run that was started by a Pac 12 Tournament championship that earned them an automatic bid. Their win over Loyola of Chicago sets them up with a meeting against the Houston Cougars tomorrow.
In the early game today, the Gonzaga Bulldogs continue on their journey that appears destined to end with them completing the first undefeated National Championship season since the Indiana Hoisers in 1976.
You don’t need brains to bet on the Zags, and bright handicappers will avoid laying the ridiculous point spreads that the books tag Gonzaga with every time out. But, the undeniable truth is that Gonzaga is the best team in the country and won their two opening games while clearing double-digit spreads.
Today, they meet a talented Creighton squad, a team that edged Santa Barbara in their opening game last week and advanced to the Sweet 16 with a more convincing win over Ohio, 72-58. In seed talk, the fifth seed Creighton Bluejays have downed a 12th seed and 13th seed and now … well now they get crushed by a number one seed.
This year, the Sweet 16 field started with the highest total when adding up the seeds, 94, but they are going to field a likely Elite Eight with a more common total for the seeds. Yesterday, a 56 total was reduced to an advancing combined number of 18, and a dozen of that seed total is attributed to the 12th seed Oregon State Beavers.
Today, only one double-digit seed is in action, the 11th seed UCLA Bruins. They meet third seed Alabama. As we move closer to the Final Four, the higher seeds most often are sent packing. The three sides we consider the best plays of the day are now posted on this site.