Tom Izzo and his seventh-seeded Spartans are headed back to the Elite 8 for the second year in a row. Sparty Nation is counting its blessings for now after fighting off an Oklahoma lead Friday night in Syracuse. The Spartans held on defeating the Sooners, 62-58.
It wasn’t exactly David versus Goliath, but 6-seed and nationally unranked Xavier had a tall order to fill against the red-hot 2-seed Arizona Wildcats in Los Angeles on Thursday night. To add to the tourney drama, Xavier coach Chris Mack faced his former employer of five years and good friend, Arizona coach Sean Miller.
Trailing with seven minutes to go, Arizona fought off a tough team in Xavier with a 19-7 run, defeating the Musketeers, 68-60. Arizona trucks on to face Frank Kaminski and the Wisconsin Badgers in the Elite 8 in a rematch of last year’s West region final.
With three quarters of the teams eliminated, we are entering the Sweet 16, the round that has given hoops fans instant classics for years. Hopefully Thursday’s late game in Los Angeles won’t disappoint. Seven-seed Xavier is taking on 2-seed Arizona in the “House that Kobe Built,” also known as the Staples Center.