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As the chalk settles, an Elite 8 Open Thread

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The women and men hit the hardcourt Monday and Tuesday for places in the Final Four...with the Hoosier women and Wolverine men looking to keep dancing.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Indiana at NC State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There will be more previews and stuff...at some point. But it’s Module finals (this is fun!) and Holy Week and a whole bunch of other nonsense, so here’s what you get: an open thread to ruin to your heart’s content.

WBB: [6] Texas Longhorns 64, [2] Maryland Terrapins 61

larry31: Wow. MD was rolling, then decided to get with the B1G program and inexplicably lose in the NCAA tournament. Hooray for towing the company line and showing B1G solidarity instead of going for the self-aggrandizement of winning. Is there any more noble sacrifice? Well done.


Memphis rolled both Colorado State and Mississippi State to win the NIT; that was pretty bitchin. Hardaway might have something cooking at ol’ Memphis State—and those blue throwbacks were awesome.

Monday, March 29

All times CT; all men’s games are at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis while all women’s games are at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

[2] Baylor Bears vs. [1] UConn Huskies

6pm | ESPN | Conn -4 | O/U 136
River Walk Regional Final (Women’s)

MNW: If you watched any of UConn’s handling of Iowa...goddamn, man. It’s just basketball on another level. With the Hawks’ Caitlin Clark pressing early and going into the break shooting 2/10, the Huskies just whipped the ball around a sluggish and undersized Iowa defense, dominating them on the glass and coasting to a win.

There’s absolutely no shame in the effort Iowa put forward; it’s just a reminder of the stark disparities between the top 2-3 teams in women’s basketball and all the rest.

[12] Oregon State Beavers vs. [2] Houston Cougars

6:15pm | CBS | Houston -7.5 | O/U 129
Midwest Regional Final (Men’s)

MaximumSam: Why is this game the early tip? Both of these teams like to walk the ball up at a snail’s pace, so maybe CBS is trying to get you to take a nap before the 10 pm game.

In any event, Oregon State is only in the tourney because they won the Pac 12 tourney, which from looking around is quite the accomplishment. My money says Houston’s organized approach on defense solves the Beavers, but I thought Loyola’s would too.

Poll

/snickers

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    cougars
    (7 votes)
  • 41%
    beavers
    (5 votes)
12 votes total Vote Now

[4] Indiana Hoosiers vs. [3] Arizona Wildcats

8pm | ESPN | IU -2.5 | O/U 124
Mercado Regional Final (Women’s)

MNW: So...uh...Indiana played all five of its starters 33+ minutes and got double-digits out of each, including double-doubles out of both G Grace Berger and F Aleksa Gulbe.

I have no idea if that’s sustainable, but the upset loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament is looking more and more like a blip, as Indiana has the size to hurt you inside and the scoring to keep you honest outside. This is their first time beyond the Round of 32, so it’s fun to just watch and see how far the only remaining Big Ten squad can go.

Candystripes: I actually caught most of the last game, and wow. The Hoosiers owned the middle quarters, and held on the rest of the way. They’re playing with house money right now, and while much like MNW, I have no idea how much farther this run goes, I’m prepared to enjoy however much of it is left. Teri Moren’s got something really good going here, and this hopefully won’t be the only time her team goes deep into the NCAAs.

Poll

Hoosiers?

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Hoosiers!
    (4 votes)
  • 66%
    Hoosiers :(
    (8 votes)
12 votes total Vote Now

[3] Arkansas Razorbacks vs. [1] Baylor Bears

8:57pm | CBS | Baylor -8 | O/U 14i8.5
South Regional Final (Men’s)

MaximumSam: I haven’t been the biggest believer in Baylor, but there is no question their guards will choke you out if you aren’t prepared for them on both ends. Not sure Arkansas is the team that solves that.

Poll

man

This poll is closed

  • 83%
    bear
    (10 votes)
  • 16%
    pig
    (2 votes)
12 votes total Vote Now

Tuesday, March 30

[6] Texas Longhorns vs. [1] South Carolina Gamecocks

6pm | ESPN | SCar -8 | O/U 130
Hemisfair Regional Final

[6] USC Trojans vs. [1] Gonzaga Bulldogs

6:15pm | TBS | Gonzaga -9 | O/U 153.5
West Regional Final (Men’s)

MaximumSam: Zags looking at their first big test of the tourney. The Trojans are 6th on KenPom and 4th in defensive efficiency. Gonzaga has barely broken a sweat since December, and their response when the open shots and easy transition baskets dry up is the difference in this game.

Brian Gillis: Tuesday’s match-up between Gonzaga and USC features two of the hottest teams in the NCAA tournament. Although to be honest, it’s not entirely accurate to call Gonzaga “hot” since the Zags are really just continuing the excellent level play that they’ve displayed all season. Through three games, there has been nothing to suggest that Gonzaga isn’t still the team to beat – one that often looks like it’s operating on another level all together.

If any team has playing as well as Gonzaga, though, it’s USC. It’s not that USC came out of nowhere. Blessed with one of college basketball’s most talented players in Evan Mobley, the Trojans began the season 18-3 en route to a 22-7 record heading to Indiana. It’s in the NCAA tournament, however, that the Trojans really found their groove, winning their three games by an average margin of victory of more than 20 points.

While the Trojans are most known for the aforementioned Evan Mobley and his brother Isaiah (the two are combining to average 27 points and 17 rebounds in the tourney), they’re not two-man team. And while the Trojans have been torching the nets on offense through three games in Indiana, like Michigan, they’re probably most dangerous because of their ability to play defense. USC has held Drake, Kansas and Oregon to a collective field goal percentage of just 32%.

Gonzaga is still the tourney favorite and the smart money is on the Zags to advance. But it’s because of USC’s defense that more and more pundits are saying things like, “If there is a team that can hang with the Zags, it’s USC.” We’re about to find out how accurate that assessment is.

Poll

Pick’em:

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    Fight on
    (6 votes)
  • 77%
    Zag on
    (21 votes)
27 votes total Vote Now

[2] Louisville Cardinals vs. [1] Stanford Cardinal

8pm | ESPN | Stanford -10 | O/U 134
Alamo Regional Final (Women’s)

[11] UCLA Bruins vs. [1] Michigan Wolverines

8:57pm | TBS | Michigan -7.5 | O/U 136.5
East Regional Final (Men’s)

Brian Gillis: At this point, it’s not really fair to refer to UCLA as an 11 seed any more. Not as well as the Bruins have been playing. Tyger Campbell has impressed with his point guard play and Jaime Jaquez and Johnny Juzang have, at times, looked as good as anyone in the tournament. Sunday’s victory over #2 seed Alabama, however, showed that the Bruins aren’t a two-man team, as six players scored in double-figures. Mick Cronin’s Bruins are also playing with the collective confidence befitting a team in their position. In short, they’re not to be taken lightly.

Of course, Michigan is also a very balanced team that has been playing exceptionally well, particularly in its last two games (against two very good teams).

Records and seedings aside, expect UCLA to present an extremely difficult challenge to Juwan Howard’s Wolverines. If there’s something in which Michigan fans can find solace, it’s that UCLA hasn’t faced many teams that play defense like Michigan does.

Will it be enough? Will the Wolverines continue their roll and advance to the Final Four for the second time in the last three NCAA tournaments? Or will UCLA’s – and the Pac 12’s – wild ride continue?

MaximumSam: I’m not sure what to make of UCLA. Mick Cronin is known for tough minded defensive teams, but UCLA is 55th in defensive efficiency on KenPom. They have talent, and at times couldn’t miss against Alabama. But I have a difficult time seeing them score much against Michigan, which means the real key is whether they can defend Michigan. The closest analog on their schedule looks to be USC, and UCLA had one very tight loss at home to them and another where they got whomped.

RockyMtnBlue: I really don’t know anything about UCLA except they’re ridiculously hot right now. It says something about a team when they give up a dagger tying three-pointer, and then proceed to score 23! in overtime.

Michigan is playing well right now, better than I expected without Livers’ leadership on the floor. But they’re paper-thin. The rotation is about 6.5 guys, and unlike the FSU game, this game is on two days rest. Give me UCLA in the upset: 72-65. You can bet I’ll be betting heavily that way.

Poll

i prefer my entitled historical smugness with no actual modern victories in a shade of

This poll is closed

  • 31%
    "dark azure"
    (11 votes)
  • 68%
    GOBLUEGOBLUEWARRRGLEBARGLE
    (24 votes)
35 votes total Vote Now

Games, open thread, behave, go.