March sadness: Top seeds fail to make NCAA elite eight for first time
LAS VEGAS (AP) — March has gone from insanity to unprecedented.
With Miami’s win over Houston and Alabama pulled out by San Diego State on Friday night, the NCAA Men’s Tournament will not have a No. 1 seed in the Elite Eight for the first time. since the start of the ranking in 1979.
“There’s not much difference between the best team in the country and the worst team in the country,” San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said. “You see that on this stage.”
Purdue, Kansas, Houston and Alabama are all gone, ensuring the Final Four won’t have a No. 1 team for the first time since 2011 and third overall. The four teams considered by the NCAA to be the best in the nation have combined to win five tournament games this year, the fewest three among No. 1 seeds since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Texas is the only remaining No. 2 seed after knocking Xavier out of the group 83-71 on Friday night under interim coach Rodney Terry. The fewest No. 1-2 seeds combined in the Elite Eight before this year was two (three times).
How crazy was that? The national title game is guaranteed to have at least one of these teams: San Diego State, Creighton, Florida Atlantic or Kansas State. The Aztecs, Bluejays and Owls have never made the Elite Eight. The Wildcats were chosen to finish last in the Big 12.
It’s also a lock that the winning trainer will be a champion for the first time.
“There are a lot of really good programs in the country that have lost — I mean, we could run through the list,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “That’s what makes the NCAA Tournament the NCAA Tournament. They are all good teams.
The madness began in the Eastern Region first round, when fairy tale Fairleigh Dickinson smashed brackets across the globe by becoming the second No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1.
Arkansas was the next giant killer, knocking out the defending national champion and No. 1 seed from Kansas West Region in the second round.
The Sweet 16 turned sour Friday for No. 1 seed Alabama in the group. The Crimson Tide were no match for Dutcher’s San Diego State Aztecs in a 71-64 South Region loss in Louisville, Kentucky. San Diego State is the first school in the Mountain West Conference to reach the Elite Eight.
Miami capped the No. 1 carnage in the Midwest region by dismantling one of the stingiest defenses in the nation in an 89-75 victory over Houston in Kansas City, Mo., with Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga. dancing in the locker room.
“Unfortunately, one night off and you go home to this tournament,” Cougars coach Kelvin Sampson said.
Let’s move on to an Elite Eight like no other.
AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this report.