27 March, 2017
Xavier and Gonzaga for a trip to the Final Four.
Kansas face an OR team that has shown few weaknesses this season and despite losing probably their best player, Chris Boucher, tore his ACL earlier this season, but Dillion Brooks has kept this team glued together and the Ducks are a Final Four looking team. "But the one thing that happened today, and it's hard to admit, the best team did win today".
Now, they'll go up against No. 11-seeded Xavier.
"Our guys have nothing to hang their head about", coach Chris Mack said. They'll head to Phoenix for the championship rounds of the NCAA Tournament.
"He's going to be a big-time player for this team", junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss said of Hachimura.
Xavier, the lowest seed remaining, advanced by beating Maryland, Florida State and Arizona. As an 11 seed, they'll face the no. 1 seed in the West region on Saturday. Gonzaga advances to the Final Four for the first time, heading to the national semifinals in Phoenix in one week where the Bulldogs will play the victor of the Florida vs. "My body was stiff and I thought I couldn't do anything", said Hachimura, who is understood to be the first player with Japanese citizenship to play in the NCAA Tournament. However, most probably weren't shocked to see Middle Tennessee win in the first round. We've had some classes that redshirted and stayed together for four years. However, an underachieving performance in the tournament last year followed by an underachieving season this year could have definitely slowed their roll heading into this spring's evaluation periods.
The story of Xavier's remarkable run to the Elite Eight was their zone defense, which conceded open shots on the perimeter in order to wall off the paint against teams from Power Five conferences stocked with NBA-caliber athletes.
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With under a minute to play, Xavier star Treyvan Bluiett attempted a step-back jumper that went off the front rim. forward Johnathan Williams was one of two Gonzaga players attempting to corral the rebound, but it didn't exactly go as planned, to say the least.
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The Ducks feature four scoring options on one end of the floor and smother teams at the rim on the other, leading the nation in blocked shots.
Hachimura admitted that he had not realized how big of a deal it was to make it to the Final Four right before the Elite Eight contest. "Absolutely. I mean, it is". The Zags, coached by Dan Monson with Few as an assistant, lost their Final Four bid in a 67-62 loss to CT.
"Players would sign out sweats and jerseys at the beginning of every school year and turn them back in nine months later", wrote Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg earlier this week.
Xavier's case to be considered a Cinderella is really one that could be argued on paper only.
Or maybe it caught its break five years ago, when Karnowski - now the winningest player in college basketball history - got on a cross-world flight to Spokane. They've won 17 WCC regular season titles and 15 WCC tournament titles during that span.