Morning Madness: Sunday, March 26
Half of the national semifinals are set, and we'll decide the other two teams today. Let's get into it.
We've got some Final Four fresh faces
Heading into Saturday, 42 schools had made it to the Final Four at least once since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Gonzaga and Oregon were not on that list.
Before the 2017 NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs were 24-19 in 19 tournament appearances since 1985. The Zags had made it to the Elite Eight twice (in 1999 and 2015), but never the national semifinals.
Oregon had been to three Elite Eights since the expansion (2002, 2007, 2016), but came up short each time. Before 1985, Oregon had been to one final Four -- when the Ducks won the 1939 national championship.
This year, neither team was wasting another shot.
Against 11-seed Xavier, Gonzaga dispelled all lingering thoughts that it was overhyped, dismantling the Musketeers from tipoff to buzzer, eventually winning the matchup 83-59. In the second matchup of the night, Oregon jumped out to a double-digit lead at halftime over 1-seed Kansas, then fought off a late Jayhawks comeback attempt to win 74-60.
Elite Eight schedule, round two:
Previewing the rematch: UNC vs. Kentucky
What De’Aaron Fox means to the Wildcats
In case you’ve been sleeping for the past 48 hours, Kentucky freshman (that’s a little redundant, we know) De’Aaron Fox put up 39 points in the Sweet 16 against UCLA without hitting a three. That’s … very impressive.
Led by Fox, Kentucky showed how impressive (and scary) it can be. Will it be enough against top seed North Carolina?
The Tar Heels’ road to redemption
On Dec. 17, UNC and Kentucky played arguably the best game of the regular season. Malik Monk dropped 47 points, and Kentucky won 103-100. That game — and a shot at redemption — is still on the mind of the Tar Heel players, but a more meaningful redemption tour awaits if UNC can sneak past the 2-seed Wildcats. NCAA.com’s Mike Lopresti explains.
SEC vs. SEC for a trip to Phoenix
Three head coaches will be making their Final Four debuts this year. Two are set: Gonzaga's Mark Few and Oregon's Dana Altman. The third? That'll be either Florida's Mike White or South Carolina's Frank Martin.
This year, the Gators and Gamecocks split matchups, but none had stakes as high as today's game. NCAA.com's Joe Boozell breaks down Sunday's showdown.
Dunks of the day
Oregon vs. Kansas, Gonzaga vs. Xavier. Yeah, there were quite a few highlights coming out of yesterday’s matchups. Watch Saturday’s Dunks of the Day.
Mark your calendar
Elite Eight continues: Today!
Final Four in Phoenix: Semifinals on Saturday, April 1; Championship game on Monday, April 3