2023 March Madness scores, takeaways: Elite Eight set as Texas, Creighton, Miami, San Diego State advance
The Elite Eight field has been finalized as the Sweet 16 action in the 2023 NCAA Tournament came to a close on Friday
The 2023 NCAA Tournament devolved into utter chaos on Friday. The Sweet 16 once again took center stage, and the last No. 1 seeds departed from the bracket as Alabama lost to San Diego State and Houston fell against Miami. Both the Aztecs and Hurricanes are No. 5 seeds who will be marching on to an Elite Eight that will feature just one team seeded No. 2 or better. This will mark thein tournament history that not a single No. 1 seed has made it past the Sweet 16.
Amid the mayhem, the top team left standing is No. 2 seed Texas, which handled No. 3 seed Xavier 83-71 in Friday's final game to secure the Longhorns' first Elite Eight appearance since 2008. In total, the Elite Eight fields looks like this: No. 2 seed Texas, No. 3 seed Kansas State, No. 3 seed Gonzaga, No. 4 seed UConn, No. 5 seed Miami, No. 5 seed San Diego State, No. 6 seed Creighton and No. 9 seed FAU.
One of the only things that could have made the Sweet 16 wonkier would have been an upset victory from No. 15 seed Princeton on Friday. While the Tigers put forth a gamely effort, they could not overcome a hot-shooting Creighton team as their Cinderella run ended with an 86-75 loss to the Bluejays. The Elite Eight appearance will be the first in program history for Creighton.
Here are some more takeaways from Friday's action as the Sweet 16 wrapped up and we look ahead to the Elite Eight.
The SEC looked like a big winner entering the Sweet 16 as the league was tied with the Big East for most representatives (3). But the league's hopes of sending a team to the Final Four crashed hard in the Sweet 16, capped by No. 1 overall seed Alabama's abrupt exit thanks to San Diego State. The Aztecs held Alabama to 32.4% shooting, which tied a season-low for the Crimson Tide. Alabama's 3-of-27 shooting mark from 3-point range marked its second-worst percentage (11.1%) in a game this season.
No. 4 seed Tennessee lost to No. 9 seed FAU in Thursday's action, while No. 8 seed Arkansas was blown out by No. 4 seed UConn as well, to mark a disappointing end to the conference's season.
Big East shines
On the flip side, the Big East is the only conference with two teams left standing for the Elite Eight after Creighton handled Princeton on Friday to join UConn in the Regional finals. While Xavier produced a dud performance in its loss to Texas, this has been a good tournament for the league, on the whole. Of the conference's five tournament teams, only Providence exited in the first round.
If either the Bluejays or Huskies can win their Elite Eight game, it will mark two years in a row with a team in the Final Four for the conference after Villanova made it last season. A win from one of the two would also mark the first time since UConn's 2014 national title run that someone other than Villanova represents the conference in the Final Four.
Texas is hot
After dismantling Xavier, Texas is now on its longest winning streak of the season at seven games. The Longhorns have won five of those seven games by double digits, including a beatdown of Kansas to close the regular season and another thrashing of the Jayhawks in the Big 12 Tournament title game. In an NCAA Tournament that has seen well-seeded teams struggle, the Longhorns have risen to every challenge.
A game with Miami will be another big test Sunday, but playing Xavier marked a good warmup for Texas. Like Miami, the Musketeers like to play fast and are a good 3-point shooting team, and Texas had no problem in the matchup. The Hurricanes have a deeper group of dynamic playmakers on the perimeter than Xavier, but many of the concepts used for Friday's win should translate to Sunday's Elite Eight showdown for the Longhorns.
2023 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 scores
Friday, March 24
- (1) (5) San Diego State 71, (1) Alabama 64 --
- (5) Miami 89, (1) Houston 75 --
- (6) Creighton 86, (15) Princeton 75 -- Recap
- (2) Texas 83, (3) Xavier 71 -- Recap
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest from every Sweet 16 game on Friday.
Final: Texas 83, Xavier 71
Texas shot 52.5% from the field and built a 42-25 halftime edge while limiting Xavier to 27.3% shooting. The Musketeers got going in the second half but couldn't get enough stops to truly make it close. Tyrese Hunter, Marcus Carr, Sir'Jabari Rice and Christian Bishop each scored between 16 and 19 for the Longhorns, who also got 11 from Timmy Allen. It was a balanced effort for Texas, which would have won by even more of it had shot better than 12 of 19 from the free-throw line. A game with Miami awaits for a spot in the Final Four.
Texas building lead
At the under-12 timeout, Texas leads 61-41 and is on a 6-0 run that has put Xavier's back agains the wall. Marcus Carr and Tyrese Hunter are having themselves a day for the Longhorns, and Xavier can't keep up. The Musketeers just seem a bit flat, and a lack of depth could have something to do with it. Texas is outscoring Xavier 18-1 in bench points.
Final: Creighton 86, Princeton 75
Creighton is going to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history after ending No. 15 seed Princeton's season with an 86-75 victory in Sweet 16 action on Friday night. The Bluejays shot a prolific 58.2% from the floor while dissecting a Princeton defense that had been elite in victories over Arizona and Missouri to begin the tournament last week. Ryan Kalkbrenner and Baylor Scheierman led Creighton with 22 and 1. Princeton also played well offensively as Tosan Evbuomwan and Ryan Langborg combined for 50 points. However, the Tigers could not get enough stops to keep their Cinderella run alive.
The Tigers are within nine points at the under-four timeout. The problem is that Creighton's offense has been unbelievable tonight. The Bluejays are shooting 58.8% from the field. Princeton will need something special in the stretch run here, but you can't count this team out. The Tigers have been excellent themselves offensively.
Don't count Xavier out yet
Xavier faces an uphill climb to get back in the game, but the Musketeers have faced large deficits before this season and made them vanish quickly. Doing so agains Texas' defense will be tough, but Adam Kunkel is already 2 of 3 from Depp, and if Colby Jones and Souley Boum are able to get going, Xavier can turn a 17-point deficit into a single-digit margin in the blink of an eye.
Xavier in trouble
Halftime: Texas 42, Xavier 25
Timmy Allen just banked in a ridiculous shot at the buzzer to give Texas its largest lead yet entering halftime. The Longhorns dominated defensively in the first half, holding Xavier to just 27.3% shooting while shooting 53.1% themselves. Marcus Carr has 15 and Christian Bshop has 10 to lead the Longhorns, who own a 14-1 edge in bench points.