The Sweet 16 rolls on with double the action on Friday.
It’s the first day of the women’s Sweet 16, and two No. 1 seeds are in action. Top overall seed South Carolina faces North Carolina (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) and No. 1 Stanford takes on Maryland to end the night, with No. 2 Texas vs. No. 6 Ohio State and 10th-seeded Creighton against No. 3 Iowa State in between.
On the men’s side, the 15th-seeded Cinderella Saint Peter’s Peacocks begin the slate against third-seeded Purdue. The lone remaining No. 1 seed, Kansas, faces Providence as the other game in the early slate.
Follow along for live updates and analysis from the USA TODAY Sports staff.
Sweet 16 winners, losers: Razorbacks save SEC’s bacon, Coach K survives, Gonzaga falls apart
CHICAGO — With three No. 1 seeds out of the men’s NCAA Tournament, only Kansas remains. The way Providence was playing, it’s looking like at least one top seed will reach the Elite Eight.
A foul at the end of regulation on a 3-pointer helped the halftime score look closer than it actually was, with Kansas leading 26-17 at the break. The Friars shot a dreadful 1-for-13 (8%) from 3-point range and couldn’t get anything going offensively. Providence was just 7-for-35 from the floor (20%), with Kansas having blocked seven shots at halftime.
Remy Martin came off the bench to give Kansas offensive life with 13 points. The Arizona State transfer guard scored 20 points in KU’s second-round win over Creighton.
– Scott Gleeson
Third-seeded Purdue leads 15th-seeded Saint Peter’s 33-29 at halftime.
Sasha Stefanovic leads Purdue with 11 points and Zach Edey has seven for the Boilermakers, shooting 50% from the field despite nine turnovers. Clarence Rupert scored 11 for the Peacocks, who are shooting 36.7%. Jaylen Murray led Saint Peter’s into the half with a buzzer-beating layup.
– Cydney Henderson
Duke freshman Paolo Banchero isn’t looking past Saturday’s Elite Eight matchup against fourth-seeded Arkansas. But he’s also aware of who could be waiting for the Blue Devils in next week’s Final Four.
Second-seeded Duke (31-6) is one win away from a trip to New Orleans and a possible grudge match with arch-rival North Carolina, which faces fourth-seeded UCLA in Friday’s East Regional semifinal.
The Blue Devils defeated the Tar Heels 87-67 on Feb. 5 at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill before UNC (27-9) spoiled Mike Krzyzewski’s home finale in a 94-81 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 5.
“If we were to see each other that deep in the tournament, I’m sure it would be wild,” Banchero said.
Only once, during the 1991 NCAA Tournament, has Duke and UNC both been in the Final Four. Duke and UNC have never played each other in the NCAA Tournament.
– David Thompson
The entire college basketball universe has its eyes trained on Saint Peter’s and its “folk hero” Doug Edert, the mustachioed clutch shooter who has helped propel the No. 15 seed Peacocks on a Cinderella run to the men’s Sweet 16 against Purdue on Friday.
The ‘stache, Edert’s father Bill says, will stick around as long as Saint Peter’s is winning.
“They call James Harden ‘The Beard,’ ” Bill Edert told USA TODAY Sports. “Right now, Doug is ‘The Mustache.’
– Chris Bumbaca
PHILADELPHIA – The Peacocks (21-11) have shown a certain swagger in the tournament. That attitude, along with unexpectedly strong play, create a compelling combination.
“Just being on this coast, being in New York and New Jersey, you have a different type of toughness, a different type of swagger that you play the game of basketball with,” junior guard Daryl Banks said. “As far as a chip on your shoulder, it’s just a different breed of basketball, and that is what all of us are embracing.”
Saint Peter’s roster is a collection of under-recruited, overlooked players who have come together under coach Shaheen Holloway.
“Typically, those are the type of kids I like to recruit, guys who are under-recruited, have a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. Tough, hard-nosed kids, tough-minded,” Holloway said.
— Stephen Edelson, NorthJersey.com
Creighton assistant Carli Berger watched the Bluejays upset No. 2 seed Iowa last Sunday from home, after she gave birth to her son Luke on March 15 and the team FaceTimed her from the court. Meanwhile, South Dakota strength and conditioning coach Caleb Heim, whose wife Katie gave birth to son Bennett (also) on March 15, texted motivational videos and coordinated meals.
— Jordan Mendoza
SAN ANTONIO — At its best, basketball is a beautiful game of skill and artistry mixed with soaring athleticism that will inspire leaping from seats. At its most dramatic, it’s often barroom brawl in gym shorts.
The NCAA has made its choice about what kind of sport it wants college basketball to be on the biggest stage. It prefers a game where freedom of movement is a myth, the lane is constantly clogged and nobody is going near the rim without risking half their body getting covered in scratches and welts. It is ridiculously physical, inconsistently officiated and often just plain ugly.
But it’s pretty good television, and it certainly reveals something about what wins in the NCAA tournament.
Though we’re supposed to call it a crazy night when two No. 1 seeds fall, as Gonzaga and Arizona both did within a couple hours Thursday, those twin results fit perfectly within the paradigm of what college basketball has become.
Whatever concept you have of “best team wins” has never been more irrelevant. In this tournament, the toughest, most physical team wins.
— Dan Wolken
SAN FRANCISCO – Nolan Richardson, the Hall of Fame basketball coach who led the Arkansas Razorbacks to the 1994 national title, has a prediction about Mike Krzyzewski’s farewell tour.
It’s going to end of Saturday, at the Chase Center in the Elite Eight.
That’s when the fourth-seeded Arkansas plays the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils.
“When you look at it with the eye test, when they both (teams) play to their potentials, I think the Razorbacks are three, four, five points better at this point, hopefully because of maturity,’’ Richardson said Friday.
In 1994, his Razorbacks beat Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils, 76-72, in the national championship game.
– Josh Peter