The Wisconsin Badgers ended a lot of people's bracket hopes on Saturday, as they knocked out the top-seeded, defending champs, Villanova, 65-62. Nigel Hayes finished with 19 points, including the game-winning layup with 11 seconds left for the eighth-seeded Badgers. Bronson Koenig added 17 points, despite foul trouble, as the Badgers advance to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16. The Wildcats got 19 points from senior, Josh Hart, who was stripped on a drive in the final seconds to secure the stunning defeat. Nova was attempting to become the first team to repeat as National Champions since Florida did it in 2007. They blew out No. 16 Mount St. Mary's in the first round for their only tournament win. This is the third No. 1 seed that Wisconsin as knocked out, as they also took out Arizona in 2014 and Kentucky in 2015. The senior Wildcats finish their Nova career with a stellar record of 129-17 in four seasons.
Gonzaga Holds Off Northwestern For Sweet 16 Appearance
The Gonzaga Bulldogs knew it wouldn't be easy against a Northwestern team enjoying their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance, although, they found a way to survive, with a little help from the officials. A late non-goaltending call led to a crucial technical foul on Wildcats coach, Chris Collins, which helped the Bulldogs hold off Northwestern, 79-73. The non-goaltending call came when Dererk Pardon nearly hit a layup that would've cut the Northwestern deficit to three, but Gonzaga big man, Zach Collins, put his hand through the hoop to block the shot. Collins stomped on to the court, receiving the tech with 4:54 remaining, and giving the Bulldogs the momentum the rest of the way. Nigel Williams-Goss had 20 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for the top-seed of the West, who led by as many as 22 in the game. The Wildcats nearly pulled off the improbable comeback, led by Bryant McIntosh, who had 13 of his 20 points in the second half, and Vic Law, who added 15 of 18 points in the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs are now heading to their third consecutive Sweet 16.
Florida, Xavier Record Impressive Routs in Second Round
Two teams cruised on Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16, both of which came as a bit of a surprise, as Xavier and Florida punched their tickets in impressive fashion. First, the Gators held fifth-seeded Virginia to just 29 percent shooting in a 65-39 blowout victory. Devin Robinson recorded the fifth double-double of his career with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Justin Leon added 14 points and 10 rebounds of his own in the win. The win sends the Gators to their 11th Sweet 16 in school history, and fifth in the past seven years. They held the Cavaliers to a season-low 17 first-half points, and will battle No. 8 Wisconsin on Friday. Meanwhile, 11th-seeded Xavier pulled off an upset with ease, their second of the tourney, as they blew past No. 3 Florida State, 91-66. They shot 55 percent from the floor, including 64 percent from three-point range, and outscored the Seminoles by 15 after halftime. Trevon Bluiett led the way with 29 points, while Kaiser Gates added 14 off the bench. The Musketeers will now appear in their second straight Sweet 16, and the eighth in school history. It'll take another upset victory to advance to the Elite 8, as they are matched up with No. 2 Arizona.