Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Arizona, Syracuse, and Oregon are in the sweet 16. Marquette is there as well, although Butler almost joined the group instead. In a back and forth game, Marquette struggled to a 74-72 win.
The team that won’t join the 16 is the first number 1 seed to lose, Gonzaga. The number one team in the division and the nation was outplayed by Wichita State and lost 76-70.
The “Shockers” shot themselves into the 16. Late in the second half they did not miss a single shot for 7 minutes. They were aided by a struggling Gonzaga defense.
“The improbable is happening this year,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. “(Gonzaga is) a great team; they have a great coach, a great program, but today they had to beat us, and our guys were able to pull it out.” They will be leaving Salt Lake City and moving to Los Angeles.
Wichita State led by 11 in the first half. They neutralized Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga’s imposing 7 footer by shooting and making 3 pointers.
The last two minutes of the game witnessed the Bulldogs playing in desperation. They appeared disorganized and without confidence.
Meanwhile Wichita State looked like a team positive of the outcome.
The “Zags” were naturally distraught.
“I don’t even know what’s going through my head right now,” said a flummoxed Elias Harris, the forward also now done with his college days. “It is what it is. It was a hell of a year. I’ve had the greatest teammates in the world, and it’s over now.
“It’s sad. It hurts.”
Coach Mark Few summed up the game:
“What we are and what we had was a great team,” he said. “We’re not overly athletic. We’re based on just playing together and we have a high level of skill, good size and we play hard and we’re pretty efficient.”
But it’s over now, leaving Few to deliver the post-mortem.
“Tonight, it’s gonna feel awful,” he said. “After a couple of days go by, we’ll realize it was one hell of a ride.”
Columnist-The Guardian Express