March Madness Reaches Elite Eight

Photo+by+Adam+Bouse+on+Unsplash%0A

Photo by Adam Bouse on Unsplash

Zach Planche, Sports Editor

Eight of the original 64 teams in the NCAA March Madness tournament remain. Over the last week and a half, teams from across the country have battled in Indianapolis, Indiana to continue their “dance”.

Three of the original four first-seeded teams in the tournament remain; Gonzaga, Michigan and Baylor. Loyola-Chicago upset Illinois in the second round, just one of the many upsets of March Madness. Below is a look at the remaining eight teams and what can propel them to a championship.

Gonzaga

The Zags have continued their tournament success within the last few years with the likes of forward Drew Timme, who averaged 19-7-2 for the year. The team went undefeated in the West Coast Conference and is 29-0 overall. They have yet to win a national championship, but remain in the elite eight for two tournaments in a row.

Baylor

Baylor has not been in the elite eight since 2012, and the final four since 1950. As favorites to win the tournament, the Bears have the chance to end an over 50 year drought. The team slipped up against Villanova in the sweet sixteen and gave up their largest deficit of the tournament in the first half. To rally, the Bears went on a 14-2 run in the second half to win and improve to an overall record of 25-2. 

Michigan

Yet another first seed remains dancing in the tournament. Michigan came out of the Big Ten conference with a 14-3 record. The Wolverines have had a rather lax route to the elite eight with an average margin of victory of 14 points. 

USC 

Southern California came out of the Pac-12 as a sixth seeded team. In the conference, Oregon claimed first place despite losing to the Trojans by 14 points. The teams faced each other again in the sweet sixteen where USC took care of business again and won 82-68. This is USC’s first elite eight appearance in 20 years.

UCLA

The Bruins were ranked as an eleventh seed in the tournament. In the first round, they upset Brigham Young by 11 points and second-seeded Alabama in the round of 16 by 10. UCLA looks to keep dancing and continue their streak of upsets.

Houston

The Cougs have not made an elite eight appearance since 1984. Back then, Houston were runner-ups two tournaments in a row. This year guard Quentin Grimes, who averages 18-6-2, gives Houston a real chance to advance and mimic success found in the 80s.

Oregon State

2021’s tournament story has been Oregon State. The Beavers have caused upset after upset; in the first round against Tennessee, then Oklahoma State and most-recently Loyola-Chicago. According to ESPN, Oregon St. has an 8% chance of winning against Houston. With the track record of this tournament, anything is possible for the Beavs.

Arkansas

Razorback basketball experienced utmost success in 1994 with a national championship and as the runner-up the next year. Since then, Arkansas has not reached the sweet sixteen until this year. Given their history, the program has what it takes to win, but will they be able to hold-off Baylor and continue their quest is the question this tournament.