What we found out: Upsets by Alabama, Clemson while UConn keeps

Mar 29, 2024, 12:51 AM ET It was a bad, bad Sweet 16 for the favorites. Unless obviously your name is UConn.In the West Area, Alabama stuck with No. 1 seed North Carolina all night long, then outscored the Tar Heels 7-2 in the final 1:32. The outcome was an 89-87 win for the No. 4 seed Crimson Tide. Grant Nelson scored 24 for Alabama, with 19 coming in the 2nd half alone. His old-fashioned 3-point play put the Tide ahead in the last minute. Nelson then sealed the success with 2 totally free tosses Nat Oats’ team made its share of threes as normal, going 11-of-26 behind the arc. Possibly more surprising were the 15 offensive rebounds Alabama took down versus UNC in the high-scoring affair.

“These guys are bringing their competitive side out at the correct time,” Oats said. “You wish to be peaking in March and we’re peaking in March.”

The Tide are going to the Elite 8 for the very first time since 2004. They reached the Sugary food 16 in 2015 and in 2021. They will face the other team that managed an upset earlier at night, No. 6 seed Clemson, which fell No. 2 seed Arizona.In the much less significant East area, Illinois overcame the suppressing defense of Iowa State and will deal with UConn on Saturday.Here, what the first set of regional semifinal games told us about the race for the national championship. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Was that the game of the competition? Let’s all take a deep breath after that one. I think this is what happens when you pit two of the most explosive offenses in the nation versus each other. A combined 176 points, one team shooting over 40 %from 3, the other holding a 10-point lead only to provide it up and a ridiculous pace of play that made it seem more like a track meet than a basketball game. In a game that went down to the wire, every belongings seemed like it weighed a ton of bricks. Eventually, senior Grant Nelson not just led all scorers with 24 points, he included 12 rebounds and five vital blocks to lead Alabama to a result that was an upset in name only.Editor’s Picks 2 Related What the win means for Alabama: The Tide simply got the front runner

in the West and are back

in the Elite Eight for the first time since 2004, just the 2nd time in school history. The historic win for Nate Oats ‘team comes throughout a 23-win season in which it finished second in the SEC. Last year may have included more wins (31) and a better chance at going deeper in the tournament, but this year’s group has actually shown it has the experience and offensive firepower to take on anybody.”This guy appeared tonight versus among the best bigs in the nation,” Oats stated of Nelson’s performance postgame

.”I believe people question whether [we’re] soft or what not, Grant showed we’re not. We can play with the huge young boys.” What the loss means for North Carolina: A year after ending up being the very first preseason No. 1 team to miss out on the NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels appeared primed for a deep competition run, similar to the one that led to the national championship two years earlier. Yet, despite the surplus of talent and boasting the front runner in the West, Hubert Davis ‘team could not hang on to a lead versus an Alabama team that matched them shot for shot Thursday night.– Paolo Uggetti play 0:32 Outstanding ball motion results in a Clingan dunk and the foul UConn moves the ball flawlessly with it winding up in a Donovan Clingan and-1 dunk. Can UConn’s NCAA competition potentially be more dominant than last season?UConn was unstoppable in last year’s NCAA competition. The Huskies won their 6 games by

an average of 20.0 points, the fourth-largest average because the tournament expanded in 1985. So far this year, they’ve been even much better. They have actually won their 3 games by approximately 28.7 points. They have actually trailed for 28 seconds. They’ve led by double digits in the 2nd half for 58:27 of a possible 60 minutes. San Diego State played about in addition to it could for the opening stretch of the game and discovered itself down by 11 within 9 minutes. The scariest part for future opponents is it looks like UConn has been able to keep something in the tank, hardly ever requiring to put its foot on the gas down the stretch in games.2024 Guy’s College Basketball Champion Odds What the win means for UConn: A positive indication for the Huskies on Thursday night was the play of Hassan Diarra. The reserve guard came off the bench and offered a genuine lift in the second half, scoring 10 points and distributing 4 helps– putting

the game out of reach for San Diego State soon after halftime. Huskies center Donovan Clingan resisted the Aztecs’Jaedon LeDee in the first half but ended up being more comfy as the game went on and still was a nuisance defensively. UConn forward Alex Karaban hit a couple early shots however then struggled to connect the rest of the game. And while those may appear like potential negatives, Dan Hurley should be delighted that his group beat a good San Diego State team by 30 without playing its best.What the loss indicates for San Diego State: For the 2nd season in a row, San Diego State’s season ends against UConn. The Aztecs in fact went shot for shot with the Huskies early however merely didn’t have sufficient firepower offensively. Last season at this point in the tournament, when SDSU beat total 1-seed Alabama in the Sweet 16, it had one of the most dominant defenses in the nation– and was getting consistent scoring production from its perimeter players. The defense wasn’t rather as great this season, the offensive wasn’t almost as great and LeDee couldn’t do it all himself. However national runners-up followed by a Sweet 16 run? That’s an excellent two-year run for Brian Dutcher and the Aztecs.– Jeff Borzello play 0:40 Terrence Shannon Jr.’s steal and slam leads Illinois to the Elite Eight Terrence Shannon Jr. creates a clutch take and slam dunk as Illinois advances past Iowa State to the Elite 8. Can Illinois make UConn sweat? The

Huskies have actually hardly been pressed so far this tournament, leading by double digits for basically the whole 2nd half in all three games.

But Illinois revealed a level of durability, especially defensively, that could go a long way, particularly when combined with the Illini’s elite offense. Given that UConn ended up being completely healthy in January, the only group to beat it was Creighton, which scored 85 points and made 14 threes. You have to score indicate beat the Huskies. Illinois can do that. Brad Underwood has the country’s No. 2 offense at KenPom and among the nation’s most skilled offensive players in Terrence Shannon Jr. He likewise has a lot of size on the border, a bonafide No. 2 scorer in Marcus Domask and a big guy in Coleman Hawkins who can force Donovan Clingan far from the rim. UConn is still the favorite, however Illinois might be able to press the defending national champs like nobody else has in two NCAA tournaments.Top stories of the week from Get unique access to thousands of premium articles a year from top authors. – MLB payroll tiers: Low-cost groups, huge$$$”- Which NFL groups still have lineup holes?”- NHL draft: Ranking the leading 32 potential customers” More ESPN+material”What the win means for Illinois: Shannon’s scoring capability was when again on screen Thursday
, and he’s the type of player who can carry a team to a
title. He was balancing 30.5 points in his previous 6 games before facing Iowa State, and in spite of playing the country’s No. 1 defense was able to set up 29 points. He needed to take on the load more than typical, as Marcus Domask had a hard time to make shots, so he’ll require more help from his supporting cast versus the Huskies.What the loss implies for Iowa State: What T.J. Otzelberger has actually done given that getting here in Ames is nothing short of impressive. The Cyclones have won 70 games in his three seasons, gone to three NCAA tournaments, advanced to two Sweet 16s and won a Huge 12 conference competition title. They have actually had a top-10 defense all three seasons, including the nation’s No. 1 unit this project.

With that sort of system and culture, don’t expect things to alter progressing. There are a few senior citizens on the team– Tre King, Robert Jones, Hason Ward– but Otzelberger’s bringing in a pair of four-star freshmen and currently landed Charlotte move Dishon Jackson. If the past couple seasons are any indication, the Cyclones will once again likely be picked too low in the preseason and exceed expectations.– Jeff Borzello Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Is Ian Schiefflin Clemson’s best-kept secret?With his curly hair contained by an old-schoolheadband, the 6-foot-8 junior from Georgia might appear a little unassuming. However Thursday night against an Arizona team equipped with skill, Schiefflin became one of the Tigers’most efficient players and looked like among the very best players on the flooring. Schiefflin, who is averaging 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds this season, scored 14 points and added 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Whether or not the Wildcats got ready for Schiefflin playing as huge of a role as he did, they could not stop him in crucial minutes. After draining one 3-pointer, the danger of Schiefflin shooting from deep slanted the balance of Arizona’s half-court defense, opening up lanes for its 2 best players– Chase Hunter (18 points )and PJ Hall (17 points)– to make essential plays down the stretch.Schiefflin, who used Kobe Bryant shoes to play in the arena Bryant starred in for several years, was asked postgame whether he believed he was funneling a Mamba mindset with his play, which included a key 3 that banked in. Head coach Brad Brownell inserted with a laugh.”You’re playing well,”he stated.”But do not compare yourself to Kobe Bryant, OK?”

play 0:26 Clemson sinks a pair of and-1 pails to proceed to the Elite Eight Chase Hunter and Dillon Hunter both make and-1 layups late to seal Clemson’s victory over Arizona.What the win methods for Clemson: The Tigers continue to defy expectations, and this time, they did it against one of the most skilled groups in the nation in front of an Arizona-heavy crowd. Brownell’s squad not only raced out to a 13-point lead versus the 2-seed, forcing the Wildcats into 8 first-half turnovers and an abysmal shooting

performance(37.3 %from the field, 17.9%from 3), but it also sustained the unavoidable Arizona run that tied the game in the 2nd half and still emerged triumphant.

When Arizona began making shots, Clemson stuck to its strategy, and soon enough, the Wildcats reverted to taking tough shots they could not make. On offense, the Tigers weren’t scorching hot by any ways, but when the game got close late, they did what Arizona could not: attack the basket instead of choosing jumpers. The strategy settled, and now the Tigers are headed to their very first Elite Eight because 1980.”Today was our day,”Brownell stated.”We made enough plays to win. “What the loss suggests for Arizona: Among the very best offenses in the country failed to appear in L.A. on Thursday, Given that 2015, the Wildcats have not been ranked lower than a 6-seed and have actually been a 2-seed 3 times. And yet 2015 is the last time they made it to the Elite Eight. Considering that Tommy Lloyd’s hire in 2021, Arizona has actually now lost to a 5-seed in the Sugary food 16, a 15-seed in the opening round and now a 6-seed in the Sweet 16. Given the talent the Wildcats have actually accrued over the past couple of years, the outcomes have not existed, and this latest tournament exit won’t assist their résumé.– Paolo Uggetti

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