The Elite Eight is set in the latest bracket update for March Madness and it’s got a decided west coast flavor with seven of the eight teams hailing from west of the Mississippi River.
The Sweet 16 is in the books and there were some thrilling moments, including Oral Roberts’ near-miss against Arkansas, but the cream of the crop has risen to the top of the field. With the exception of Oregon State and the Pac-12’s stunning showing, the Elite Eight features teams most experts predicted would make deep runs in March Madness.
The result should be some compelling matchups on Monday and Tuesday with tickets to the Final Four on the line. Before we look at what’s in store over the next two days, here’s a peek at the updated NCAA Tournament bracket after the Sweet 16.
The Elite Eight has some interesting matchups on tap in March Madness.
The action kicks off on Monday night in the Midwest Region, which has been essentially blown up thanks to upsets of Illinois, West Virginia and Oklahoma State. The Beavers will look to win their seventh straight elimination game (dating back to a do-or-die run at the Pac-12 Tournament) with a showdown against 2-seed Houston, which is trying to make its first Final Four since the Phi Slama Jama team reached three straight Final Fours from 1982-1984.
The South Region features more chalk with two untraditional basketball powers as Baylor squares off with Arkansas for a spot in the Final Four on Saturday. The Bears are the best team playing on Monday but the Razorbacks have proven to be resilient, rallying from early deficits in all three of their tournament games to secure their spot here.
The Pac-12 has another Elite Eight entrant in the East Region as UCLA is still alive after stunning Alabama to keep their dreams of a run from the First Four to the Final Four alive. Mick Cronin’s team will face a stiff test against Michigan, which has found a new gear and has demonstrated that they are still capable of dominating teams even without Isaiah Livers, who is out for the remainder of the NCAA Tournament with a foot injury he suffered at the end of the regular season.
Gonzaga should also get a stiff test in their regional final against USC, which will bid to join UCLA in an unexpected Final Four pairing of Los Angeles-based basketball schools. Seeing Evan Mobley get a chance to show off against another future lottery pick in Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs should be a highlight of this Elite Eight matchup.
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