The Big 12 lost its shot at landing two teams in the Final Four when Villanova beat overall No. 1 seed Kansas. Oklahoma did its part earlier Saturday, beating Oregon in the Elite Eight.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, on the other hand, has guaranteed itself two of the Final Four teams before the final legs of the Elite Eight even begin.
Sunday’s ACC mini-tournament will pit Virginia against Syracuse and North Carolina against Notre Dame. If you’re not into the ACC, it might be a better day for tuning into the Golf Channel, or going outside. On Sunday, it’s all ACC, all day.
OKLAHOMA’S OK: It was Buddy Hield’s show. He had eight 3-pointers and 37 points to lead the Sooners to their fifth Final Four and first since 2002.
Oklahoma led by 18 points over Oregon at halftime and won 80-68, a dominating send off for the Sooners to Houston.
“It’s special,” Hield said, a piece of net tied to his Final Four hat. “As a kid, you dream of having games like this. … I’m just happy that we all made it, and we’ve just got to finish it out.”
NOVA STARRED: The Wildcats broke up the Big 12’s dream scenario with a 64-59 win over Kansas. Villanova got to the Elite Eight behind outstanding 3-point shooting but hit just 4 of 18 against the Jayhawks. Instead, outstanding defense led the Wildcats to the Final Four for the fifth time overall and first since 2009.
“They played man and they played zone and they played 1-2-2, then back to man,” Kansas coach Bill Self said of the Wildcats. “They basically did what we anticipated them doing. We didn’t attack their zone very well at all. And we got some open looks and didn’t make them pay in their man, especially.
“I think that the basket shrunk a little bit for us and, certainly, they probably got some confidence the way they were defending us.”
IMPRESSIVE TAR HEELS: Notre Dame coach Mike Brey was asked how impressive it was for North Carolina to have won the ACC regular season and tournament titles in a year when it was easily recognized as college basketball’s best league.
“I think it shows the power that they have. And they’re old — it’s funny, so many people talked about, ‘You’re in this position last year, you’re playing Kentucky — Kentucky was young,’” Brey said, referring to last season’s Elite Eight when the Fighting Irish took then-undefeated Kentucky down to the wire. “I always felt good about that one. This one worries me more because they’re men. They’ve been together a while and they’ve played. And they really have played like veterans.”
TWO-WAY PRAISE: Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim had plenty to say when asked about Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon.
“Brogdon is a tremendous defensive player. I voted him the best defensive player in our league,” Boeheim said “He guards anybody.
“He’s an underrated offensive player. He makes big shots for them almost all the time. I’ve worked with him with USA Basketball, and he was on our team last summer. … He’s just a really good basketball player, doesn’t say a lot. I like those guys. They just play. They don’t have big celebrations when they make the normal plays that they make, which are great plays. But he’s a player that as a coach you admire tremendously for what he does. He reminds me of Klay Thompson, who we coached in the world championships. They play both ends of the court, they don’t say much, they just let their games do their talking for them. Malcolm is not quite as good a shooter as Klay, but nobody else is, either.”