By: Joe Dillard Jr.
Headline Photo Courtesy: NCAA/Indy Star
Gonzaga versus Creighton in a Sweet 16 match called for a battle of the mid majors. The dominance that Gonzaga has shown has come to this moment bringing an undefeated record into the tournament. Creighton who is a tough mid major and well balance come out and gave it their best shot but had no answer for Drew Timme who was an efficient 10 of 14 for 22 points and 6 boards. Andrew Nembhard followed suit with efficiency and was 7 of 9 for 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 deep balls to show that the Zags are on a mission. Jalen Suggs still has not played his best but stuffed the stat sheet as best as he needed too with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. After leading 43 to 33 at the half, the Zags just continued to show their dominance on all phases. With a 83 to 65 win, Gonzaga will advance to the Elite Eight and will face University of Southern California in a showdown to punch a ticket to the Final Four.
In a Sweet 16 matchup, South Carolina proved why they are a number one seed with depth and talent. Georgia Tech came out going blow for blow with South Carolina almost mirroring every move of South Carolina. That was good enough for the first half as South Carolina only led by 4, 39 to 35. In the beginning of the third quarter South Carolina would show where their depth with talent would prove valuable winning the quarter 23 to 15. Pretty much that third quarter was the determining factor in regard tothe differential. I mean when South Carolina has Zia Cooke go 5 of 6 from the arc with 17 points, Victaria Saxton and LaeticiaAmihere combine for 27 points and 13 rebounds then those are good stats. Georgia Tech big three had a bigger night bugtmaybe not so much support like the Lady Gamecocks had. Lotta-Maj Lahtinen had 20 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds led the way while Lorela Cubaj and Kierra Fletcher combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds. Well as I said in the beginning the depth allows South Carolina to advance and they will face Lady Longhorns of Texas.
Dana Evans of Louisville is still scoring as she dominated on a dominant team as the Lady Cardinals smothered Oregon 60 to 42. Evans poured in 29 points as Oregon had no answer for heras she pulled every trick out of her tool bag. Nyara Sabally and Erin Boley each chip in 14 each for Oregon, while the defenseof Louisville only allowed Oregon to score double figures in the third quarter. One thing is for sure is that Louisville is a serious team that straps up defensively and has a star in Dana Evans.Evans hit a couple of 3 pointers from deep and with that pressure of the defense anywhere from full court to trapping shows that Louisville is poised for a deep run. Oregon shot 32 percent from the field and went 2 for 18 from the arc. With Louisville having a dominant performance, they will look to continue that in the Elite Eight versus top seed Stanford.
In a game where UCLA comes into the sweet 16 as a first four in proved to be a worthy opponent for the Crimson Tide of Alabama. UCLA came out and showed that execution and playing at a comfortable pace would cause Alabama trouble as they struggled in the first half turning the ball over and only scoring 29 points as they average well over 80 points per game. UCLA took an 11-point lead into the half as they were up 40 to 29. In the second half, Alabama clawed and fought back to tie the game due to the play of the bench. As Alabama fought back to within a possession, the Tide was down 3 with 4 seconds left and Alex Reese nailed a deep three pointer which was his only basket to send the game into overtime. UCLA had 6 players in double figures as they dominated the overtime session like the first half. Mick Cronin has his team one win ahead of the field as they were in the first play in game against Michigan State and looks poised to be this years cinderella team crashing the dance. The final score was 88 to 78 as UCLA advances to the Elite Eight to face Michigan.