March Madness: Men’s and women’s Elite Eights continue


imageMarch Madness continued Sunday as the last two Final Four spots were awarded in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and two teams earned trips to the national semifinals in the women’s tournament .Defending champion and top-seeded Stanford held on to beat No.2 Texas in the women’s Spokane Region final and return to the Final Four.Earlier in the day, No.1 South Carolina dominated tenth-seeded Creighton in the Greensboro Region, claiming an 80-50 win and earning a place in its second straight national semifinal.On the men’s side, North Carolina ended a magical run by No.

15 seed Saint Peter’s with a 69-49 win and set up a semifinal matchup with No.2 seed Duke .It will be the first time the bitter rivals meet in the NCAA tournament.

Top-seeded Kansas knocked off No.10 Miami to move on to its first Final Four since 2018.

The Jayhawks will face No.2 seed Villanova in the other semifinal.Follow along for live updates, analysis and highlights from March Madness .What to know about the Elite Eight Men’s scores Women’s scores

Even if Stanford hadn’t lost to Texas earlier this season, the No.

1 Cardinal would have known it was in for a tough fight against its second-seeded opponents.Sure enough, the Longhorns gave a tough effort in search of their 15th straight win, but in the end Stanford was able to prevail, 59-50, in the Spokane Region final.The result not only extends the Cardinal’s own winning ways to 24 games, the longest active streak in the nation, but sends it to the Final Four with a chance to defend the NCAA championship it won last year.Senior guard Lexie Hull hit seven of 14 shots and scored a game-high 20 points for the Cardinal, which also got 18 points and 12 rebounds from Pac-12 player of the year and first-team all-American Haley Jones.They combined to score all 14 of their team’s points in the fourth quarter.Cameron Brink, Stanford’s leading scorer who had no points in the first half, came to life with 10 in the third quarter.In foul trouble for much of the game, Brink also had six blocks, helping her team to 11 in the game, compared to one block for Texas.Texas was paced by 15 points from senior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor, and standout freshman Rori Harmon chipped in with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

The Longhorns were trying to reach the Final Four for the first time since 2003.In a gritty defensive battle, neither team shot very well, but Texas hurt itself at the free throw line, where it went 11 of 20 while Stanford made 18 of 22 attempts.Stanford advances to its 15th Final Four, where it will square off with the winner of the Bridgeport Region final Monday between No.1 North Carolina State and No.2 Connecticut.

After three games Sunday between the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments that turned into routs, we may yet have a nail-biter on our hands.A nightcap on the women’s side featuring No.

1 Stanford against No.2 Texas saw the Cardinal go to the half with a three-point lead at 30-27 in the Spokane Region final.Senior guard Lexie Hull, whose 36-point outburst against Kansas in the second round was the highest by a Stanford player in an NCAA tournament game in 10 years, led all scorers in the first half with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.Haley Jones, the Pac-12 player of the year and a first-team AP all-American, added nine points.Cameron Brink, Stanford’s leading scorer and a third-team all-American, picked up her second foul early in the second quarter and was sent to the bench with no points on 0-of-2 shooting.Texas guard Joanne Allen-Taylor paced her squad with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting.The Longhorns made four of six three-point attempts to just 1 of 8 for the Cardinals, but Stanford had a sizable edge in rebounds (23-14).The game is a rematch of a November contest that saw Texas win at Stanford, 61-56.

Longhorns guard Rori Harmon, the Big 12 freshman of the year, had a game-high 21 points then, and in Sunday’s first half she notched seven.The winner moves on to a matchup with the winner of the Bridgeport Region final Monday between No.

1 North Carolina State and No.2 Connecticut.

The first team into the women’s Final Four made sure to end the suspense early about who would make it out of the Greensboro Region.No.

1 South Carolina took a 21-point halftime lead Sunday over No.10 Creighton and kept its foot on the gas in an 80-50 victory.With the outcome of the game in little doubt during the second half, one of the only questions left for the Gamecocks to answer was whether star forward Aliyah Boston would notch her 28th straight double-double.The 6-foot-5 junior was pulled with several minutes left in the rout and ended up with seven rebounds, breaking her streak, but she managed to all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting.In addition to Boston, three other members of South Carolina’s regular rotation are at least 6-foot-2, and that advantage in size showed up early and often against the Bluejays, none of whom were over 6-foot-1.South Carolina dominated in the paint, racking up a 43-23 rebounding advantage and using just three made three-pointers to augment its score.Muscle ⬆️ 💪 + the foul … 👏 #MarchMadness “Our bigs are doing a great job of finishing,” Gamecocks Coach Dawn Staley said before the fourth quarter.She has now led South Carolina to each of its four Final Four appearances, all since 2017, when it finished as national champion.One of only three No.10 seeds to advance to the Elite Eight, Creighton earned its place in the final by ousting the highest seed it could have faced — No.7 Colorado, No.

2 Iowa and No.3 Iowa State — in each of the first three rounds.However, the Bluejays never got the outside shooting they desperately needed on Sunday, hitting just seven of 21 three-point attempts.Lauren Jensen led Creighton with 12 points, giving her double-digit scoring totals in each of her team’s four tournament games.Six players scored at least nine points each for South Carolina, which had a 40-20 advantage in points in the paint after three quarters.The Gamecocks will take on the winner of the Wichita Region final Monday between No.1 Louisville and No.3 Michigan.

Spokane Region No.2 Texas vs.

No.1 Stanford 9 p.m.Eastern, ESPN Winner faces: No.1 North Carolina State or No.2 ConnecticutStanford is bidding to become the first team other than Connecticut or Tennessee to win back-to-back Division I championships since Southern California did so in 1983 and 1984.Tara VanDerveer’s Cardinal team has plenty of familiar faces, including Haley Jones, Cameron Brink, Francesca Belibi and Lexie Hull back from the 2021 championship team.Stanford is pursuing its fourth NCAA title and 14th Final Four appearance.Anna Wilson, the sister of Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, is in her sixth season with Stanford after winning two extra years of eligibility through a medical redshirt two years ago and the coronavirus exemption offered to all players this year.

She has appeared in 158 games, the most in school history.Texas has been averaging 72.5 points per game, 15.7 more than the Stanford gives up per game.Joanne Allen-Taylor is the only returning full-time starter from the team that advanced to the Elite Eight last year and has been the steady hand on a squad that has won 14 games in a row.

Much as the Saint Peter’s men’s team discovered to its dismay earlier on Sunday, the Creighton women could be finding their unexpected NCAA tournament run coming to a crashing halt.The 10th-seeded Bluejays were dominated by South Carolina, the tournament’s top overall seed, in a first half that ended with the Gamecocks in command by a score of 46-25.South Carolina pulled away by outscoring Creighton 23-9 in the second quarter of the Greensboro Region final.The Gamecocks’ superior size manifested itself in a number of ways, including the fact that the Bluejays went just 3 for 12 on layup attempts.The main hope for Creighton in this matchup was to get hot from outside, but it connected on just three of seven three-point shots in the half.South Carolina hit on 64.3 percent of its field goal attempts and committed only one turnover.Double-double machine Aliyah Boston, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, had 14 points and four rebounds for the Gamecocks.The winner takes on the winner of the Wichita Region final Monday between No.

1 Louisville and No.3 Michigan.

Well, Saint Peter’s, you gave basketball fans all sorts of joy with a stunning tournament run for such an unheralded program.Now, though, the storyline shifts to a titanic battle of historic heavyweights.The looming showdown was set up Sunday by No.8 North Carolina’s 69-49 East Region final win over the Peacocks, who were the first 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight after never before having won a game in the NCAA tournament.In the Final Four, the Tar Heels are set to take on Duke, which they have never played before in the NCAA tournament.Oh, and with a win UNC can end Mike Krzyzewski’s career.But there’s plenty of time for the endless amount of coverage that game will spawn this week.

For Saint Peter’s, the time has come to look back on a magical stretch during which the Jersey City-based program took out No.2 Kentucky, No.7 Murray State and No.

3 Purdue.The Peacocks had able to ride their strong defense and ability to make a big shot seemingly whenever they really needed one, but Sunday they were unable to lean on either attribute.Saint Peter’s went 1 for 11 from three-point range in the first half and 4 for 16 for the game, as part of a 28.8 percent overall field goal percentage.Caleb Love with the exclamation point! @UNC_Basketball can feel it North Carolina, meanwhile, calmly played its unspectacular but steady brand of basketball.

That was more than sufficient to avoid becoming the latest big-name program to stumble against the tournament darling.Six-foot-10 junior forward Armando Bacot was too much for Saint Peter’s to handle on both ends, and he finished with 20 points, 22 rebounds and two blocks.Brady Manek, a senior forward for the Tar Heels, added 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go with eight rebounds.Junior forward Fousseyni Drame came off the bench to score 12 points for Saint Peter′s.The Peacocks were trying to become the second team since 1985 to make a Final Four after never previously winning an NCAA tournament game, following George Mason in 2006 (per the Elias Sports Bureau ).The Tar Heels will now look for their seventh national championship in their record 21st trip to the Final Four, this time with a first-year head coach in former North Carolina star Hubert Davis.He helped his team spoil Krzyzewski’s final home game as the coach at Duke with a surprisingly thorough win earlier this month.

Greensboro Region No.10 Creighton vs.

No.1 South Carolina 7 p.m.Eastern, ESPN Winner faces: The winner of Monday night’s game between No.3 seed Michigan and No.1 seed LouisvilleStaking her claim to being the best player in the nation, South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston has recorded a double-double in every game since Nov.

26 and recorded her 27th in a row in the team’s Sweet 16 victory over North Carolina.Over the tournament’s first three rounds, she has 48 points and 50 rebounds.Creighton arrives as a Cinderella team, one of only three No.10 seeds to advance to the Elite Eight (along with Oregon in 2017 and Lamar in 1991).

The Bluejays come with no shortage of confidence after having already beaten No.7 Colorado, No.

2 Iowa and No.3 Iowa State.Lauren Jensen, the former Iowa player who transferred to Creighton and led its upset of the Hawkeyes in the second round, has been on a roll, scoring in double digits in all three games.

The joy of Villanova’s win Saturday over Houston that sent the second-seeded Wildcats to the Final Four was tempered for the team by an injury suffered by Justin Moore in the final minute.On Sunday, the program announced that Moore is out for the rest of the NCAA tournament with a torn Achilles’ tendon.Moore, Villanova’s second-leading scorer and a major contributor to its tournament run thus far, was shown in despair while on the bench at the end of the Elite Eight win as teammates came over to console him.A junior guard who played at DeMatha in high school, he is scheduled to undergo surgery this week.Justin Moore’s teammates immediately ran over to console him after exiting the game in the final seconds 🙏 #MarchMadness @NovaMBB “This is a tough blow for all of us, not just because of the great player Justin is, but because of what he means to us as teammates and coaches,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright, whose team will play Kansas in the Final Four, said in a statement.

“As one of our captains, Justin has been an integral part of our success.He helps our team in so many ways.Every game, he guards the opponent’s best scorer and is one of the toughest rebounding guards we have had in our time at Villanova.“Justin’s work ethic and dedication will help bring him through this recovery and we look forward to the day where we see him back on the court fully healthy.”

It was remarkable enough when Saint Peter’s won its first game of the NCAA tournament, and nothing short of astonishing when the Peacocks became the first 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight.But reaching the Final Four will require something close to miraculous from the upstarts from Jersey City.That’s because Saint Peter’s finds itself doubled up at halftime, 38-19 , to an eighth-seeded North Carolina squad playing more than well enough to distance itself from the misfiring Peacocks.Love to Bacot connection 🔥 @UNC_Basketball | #MarchMadness Saint Peter’s made just seven of 31 shots in the first half, including 1 of 11 from three-point range.UNC hit 15 of 36 shots and took a 26-19 edge in rebounds.When the Peacocks fell behind 7-0 to start the game, it was their largest deficit of the tournament to that point.

UNC’s lead grew to 9-0 before Saint Peter’s got in the game with a 7-3 run, but it almost all Tar Heels after that in the East Region final in Philadelphia.North Carolina guard Caleb Love topped all scorers with 12 points and forward Brady Manek, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, added 10.

Junior forward Hassan Drame’s five points led the Peacocks, who got two points on 0-of-3 shooting from junior guard Doug Edert, the team’s tournament breakout star.The winner takes on No.2 Duke, the West Region champion, in the Final Four.

PHILADELPHIA — Shaheen Holloway always knew he wanted to be a coach.It happened sooner than he expected.His professional playing career ended after seven years on European teams and in domestic minor leagues, a life not conducive to caring for his daughter.He was a point guard, a quarterback in sneakers, a position that imbued him with a holistic view of the game.

More than that, he believed the right coach at the right moment could change a life.“A lot of people took a chance on me when it was so easy to go the other way,” Holloway said.“I want to be that guy to take a chance on some kids people don’t want or are pushing away or got in trouble and need a second chance.That’s kind of what I’m about.”For two magical weekends, America has learned what Holloway is about.In his fourth season as a head coach, Holloway has led Saint Peter’s to three stunning upset victories in the NCAA tournament, turning the tiny Jesuit school from Jersey City into the first No.

15 seed to reach the Elite Eight .Sunday evening, Saint Peter’s will face North Carolina — a program with 126 more NCAA tournament wins than the Peacocks — for a trip the Final Four.

What to watch for in North Carolina-Saint Peter’s Return to menu By Cindy Boren 4:50 p.m.Link copied Link

East Region final In Philadelphia No.8 North Carolina vs.No.

15 Saint Peter’s 5:05 p.m.Eastern, CBS Winner faces: No.2 Duke in the Final FourIt isn’t often that basketball fans feel pity for North Carolina, a school that has been to the Final Four six times since 2000 and has a rich basketball history.But if the Tar Heels are to advance to Saturday’s game, they will have to topple the tournament’s darling, Saint Peter’s.Under Hubert Davis, in his first year after succeeding Roy Williams, the Tar Heels have a less-lofty seed than they’re accustomed to, but expectations still have grown with every win.They advanced to this game with 30 points from sophomore Caleb Love, beating UCLA in the round of 16 .Now a small Jesuit school from Jersey stands in the way of a trip to the Final Four, and it’s a formidable opponent whose confidence has grown with every win.The Peacocks, coached by Shaheen Holloway , knocked off No.2-seed Kentucky in the first round and are the only 15th-seeded team to reach the Elite Eight.

They beat No.3 Purdue Friday behind junior Doug Edert and his marvelous mustache.

(What is it about facial hair this time of year? Last year, it was Gonzaga’s Drew Timme.)The Peacocks figure to have a nation — most of it, anyway — rooting for them to keep their Cinderella run going.They seem unlikely to be intimidated.“I’ve got guys from New Jersey and New York City,” Holloway told reporters.“You think we’re scared of anything?”

Miami had used its guard-heavy lineup to make an unprecedented run to the Elite Eight , but on Sunday the Hurricanes discovered that Kansas also has some pretty good guards — and plenty more.The No.1 Jayhawks trailed at halftime but quickly asserted their superiority in the second half and eventually cruised to a 76-50 victory over 10th-seeded Miami in the Midwest Region final in Chicago.Kansas moves on to the program’s 16th Final Four, where it will meet South Region champion Villanova in New Orleans.Down by six after the first half , Kansas came out of the locker room and immediately embarked on a 25-7 run, leading to a Miami timeout that did little to stop the bleeding.

The Jayhawks relentlessly drove into the paint, and their defense at the point of attack repeatedly forced the Hurricanes’ guards into bad shots.OCHAI BACKDOOR SLAM 🚪💥

Jayhawks are rolling #MarchMadness When Miami forward Sam Waardenburg, a sixth-year senior, fouled out with over eight minutes to play, the team’s tallest player at that point was 6-foot-7 guard Jordan Miller.A few minutes of game action later, Miller fouled out.Senior guard Kameron McGusty, the Hurricanes’ leading scorer on the season, paced all players Sunday with 14 points at halftime but had just four points in the second half.Senior guard Ochai Agbaji, the Jayhawks’ leading scorer, had 18 points and senior forward David McCormack added 15.Kansas dominated on the boards, finishing the game with 42 rebounds to 29 for Miami, and the Jayhawks would have won by a larger margin had they fared better than a 13-for-26 showing at the free throw line.Kansas Coach Bill Self will go to his fourth Final Four and is looking for his second national championship since taking over the program in 2003.“The lid finally came off the basket,” he said after the game of his team’s second-half surge.

Kansas, the only No.1 seed remaining in the men’s tournament, had its hands full in the first half against Miami, with both teams struggling at times to control the ball and the Hurricanes leading 35-29 after a seesaw first half.“We can’t guard their guys,” Coach Bill Self told CBS during an injury timeout with the Jayhawks trailing 15-14 at the 11 minute, 45 second mark.

“Their three guys are getting what they want [with shots].We’ve got to do a better job.”McGusty is HEATING UP ♨️

He’s got half of @CanesHoops ‘ points #MarchMadness Miami’s Kameron McGusty led all scorers with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting.With Kansas up 21-20 with 7:45 left in the half, Miami Coach Jim Larrañaga told CBS he wanted his team to “run faster.We’re running at our normal pace and we can’t do that today.We’ve got to run at our top speed because they’re at their top speed when they’re attacking the rim.

If we do that, we’ll be able to defend them much better.”Larrañaga reiterated at halftime that “whoever gets down the floor first wins.It’s simple.” His players heard him, going on a 9-2 run to close the half.“Kam McGusty got us going and we were finding him regularly,” Larranaga said.“Isaiah Wong in scoring transition and also getting Sam Waardenburg an open three a little earlier — once guys get comfortable and confident in how we’re attacking them, we play a little better.”Kansas, which has been to the Final Four three times under Self (with one national championship), has been known for grinding out wins this season and it appears that this game will be no exception against a team that has never gone this deep in the tournament.Safe to say Bill Self disagrees with the call Kansas trails at halftime for the 1st time since Feb.12 vs Oklahoma, a game they came back and won.

Will the Jayhawks survive and advance again?

Here are some of the best images from March Madness ..

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