Are we headed toward a Final Four featuring three Big Ten schools?
Wisconsin is already in. Michigan and Michigan State could join the Badgers on Sunday.
Did you miss anything Saturday night? Do you need to get ready for Sunday? If so, you've landed in the right spot to look back and look ahead. Here's everything you need to know about what just happened and what's on deck ...
Best game from Saturday: The wildest thing about Wisconsin's 64-63 win over Arizona that launched Bo Ryan into his first Final Four isn't that it came down to the final seconds as much as it's that neither team led by more than three points at any point in the last 18 minutes. Just about every time Wisconsin made a big shot, Arizona matched, and it really was terrific ... even if the end will be debated forever. Was it a charge or a block? Regardless, should a whistle have even been blown when Nick Johnson made contact with Josh Gasser on a drive in the final seconds of OT? "I thought it was a really, really tough call," said Arizona coach Sean Miller. "I'm going to stop there. I've already been fined."
Best player from Saturday: Frank Kaminsky took 20 shots, made 11 and finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds in Wisconsin's win, and he's now averaging 22.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Badgers' past three victories. "Their big guy really had a great game," Johnson said, and that just might be the simplest way to put it. Wisconsin's big guy, Frank the Tank, really had a great game. Pro scouts noticed that too, I'm certain.
Best moment from Saturday: The games were great -- especially the Wisconson-Arizona game. But I tend to like the scenes more than the slams, and the best scene, I think, was Bo Ryan, on national television, speaking fondly about his father immediately after advancing to the Final Four. Bo's father was Butch Ryan. They used to go to every Final Four together, and they planned to go to this Final Four together, too. But Butch Ryan died last August. And Bo Ryan teared up when TBS reporter Craig Sager asked about him. "It's going to be tough to be there coaching without him," Bo Ryan said before later adding, "This is for Butch." (Butch would've turned 90 on Saturday, by the way. That's a neat coincidence.)
And there was another game, too, right? Florida's victory over Dayton was neither as exciting as Wisconsin's win over Arizona nor as notable as Wisconsin's win over Arizona, if only because Bo Ryan making his first Final Four is more notable than Billy Donovan making his fourth. But, yes, Billy Donovan just made his fourth Final Four, and I couldn't dare go any deeper into this column without mentioning that because it really is a remarkable achievement. Once upon a time, as a young hotshot recruiter, Donovan failed to advance past the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament in five consecutive seasons; now he's going to the Final Four for the third time in the past nine years -- and as a giant of the sport.
Five notable numbers from Saturday
2: That's the number of Miller brothers that were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in a span of about three hours. So what was an awesome Thursday for John Miller (thanks to both Sean leading Arizona to a win in the Sweet 16 and Archie leading Dayton to a win in the Sweet 16) led to a rough Saturday, and now the Final Four is guaranteed to be Miller-less.
4: That's the number of consecutive Elite Eight games that Arizona has lost, and how the Wildcats have lost them is vomit-inducing. The four losses have come by an average of 1.8 points, and two of them have gone to overtime. Like I said, vomit-inducing.
7: That's the number of OT games this NCAA Tournament has produced -- the latest of which, obviously, came via Wisconsin-Arizona. One more and it'll be an NCAA Tournament record.
19: That's the number of field goals Dayton made against Florida. Meantime, the Gators made just 18 field goals the entire game. But they still won comfortably because they outscored Dayton 21-6 at the free throw line.
30: That's the number of consecutive games Florida has won. The Gators last lost on Dec. 2 while short-handed. They've won their four NCAA Tournament games by double-digits.
On tap for Sunday ...
- Michigan State (-5.5) vs. Connecticut in New York at 2:20 p.m. ET.
- Kentucky (-2) vs. Michigan in Indianapolis at 5:05 p.m. ET
Some thoughts on the first game: Michigan State started the season 18-1 with wins over Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio State before going through a stretch where it alternated wins and losses for 10 straight games. But the Spartans are mostly healthy now, and that's why they should be able to handle Connecticut.
Some thoughts on the second game: Willie Cauley-Stein, barring a miracle, will not play against Michigan, and that's obviously less than ideal. But the Wildcats are still plenty talented enough to get past the Wolverines, and they will as long as the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron, contine to play as solidly as they've been playing lately.
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