It was a pretty great first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the SEC.
The conference is sending THREE teams to the Sweet 16, with a chance to have two of the three teams meet in an Elite Eight matchup next weekend at Madison Square Garden.
How did we get here?
Let’s break it down.
After handling East Tennessee State, the Gators whomped Virginia, 65-39.
Virginia scored 17 points in the first half. It was absolutely atrocious. Florida did the nation a favor by not making us all watch Virginia/Wisconsin Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
Instead, it will be Florida squaring off with the Badgers, as the Gators look to get back to the Elite Eight for the first time since their 2014 Final Four appearance.
Remember, in 2014, when a painfully underseeded Kentucky team ended Wichita State’s perfect season in the Round of 32?
Sunday, we saw a painfully underseeded Wichita State team nearly knock off the Wildcats.
Kentucky pulled out a 65-62 victory, though. Bam Adebayo had another strong game, recording a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double, his second in as many games.
The Wildcats now move on to face UCLA in Memphis, in what should be one of the Tournament’s best games.
When Villanova lost to Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon, everyone assumed Duke would steamroll through the rest of the East Region and head to the Final Four.
Not so fast, my friend!
The Gamecocks, riding high after defeating Marquette for their first NCAA Tournament win since 1973, upset the Blue Devils, 88-81, to advance to their first Sweet 16 in school history.
The nation gets another chance to watch SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell, and Duke has been sent packing. A win for the Gamecocks was a win for everyone.
Unfortunately, the Razorbacks aren’t on this list for a good reason like the other three teams. After giving North Carolina everything they had, Arkansas fell 72-65.
There were a couple bad calls down the stretch, but Arkansas also didn’t score in the final three minutes of the game, so it’s not wise to blame the referees here.