When Stanford upset UConn way back in November and pushed the Huskies into to the No. 2 spot in the country, fans and former players everywhere gabbed red pens and circled the early February matchup between the defending champs and the South Carolina Gamecocks.
After UConn beat No. 1 ranked South Carolina, 87-62, in the regular season contest, most people immediately figured the two teams would meet again in the national championship game on April 7.
Notre Dame, however, had a very different plan.
In the first national semifinal over the weekend, Jewell Loyd and the Fighting Irish survived a back-and-forth game against Dawn Staley and South Carolina, earning another chance at UConn and a national title on Tuesday night.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Duke languished in the shadows of Kentucky all season, the big blue juggernaut that nobody seemed to be talking about. It was a rarity for a program with such a championship pedigree, not to mention a record-setting coach and superstar freshmen.
They can thank Wisconsin for finally returning to the limelight.
The fun-loving Badgers ended the Wildcats' pursuit of perfection in the national semifinals, and set up an intriguing showdown in Monday night's title game: Duke trying to give Mike Krzyzewski his fifth national championship, Wisconsin trying to capture its first in 74 years.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nobody ever said they were perfect. Now, the Kentucky Wildcats aren't undefeated, either.
The hard-nosed Wisconsin Badgers did what nobody else could this season: They knocked off the Wildcats 71-64 on Saturday night behind 20 points and 11 rebounds from birthday boy Frank Kaminsky and a clutch comeback down the stretch.
Now, instead of Kentucky going for history, it's Wisconsin heading to the final Monday night to play Duke. The Badgers, who lost 80-70 to Duke in a December meeting in Madison, opened as a one-point favorite.
"I just feel like we wanted to win the national title, and we didn't do it," Wildcats freshman Tyler Ulis said. "So the season was a waste."
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Two star freshmen, a solid senior and some of the trademark defense Duke has long been known for have the Blue Devils back in the national championship game.
And in Indianapolis, no less.
Justise Winslow scored 19 points, fellow freshman Jahlil Okafor added 18 and senior Quinn Cook had 17 to lead top-seeded Duke to an 81-61 victory over Michigan State on Saturday and into yet another title game in the city known for a 500-mile auto race.
The Blue Devils won it all in Indianapolis in 1991, their first under Mike Krzyzewski. The winningest men's Division I coach, who has a 9-3 record in national semifinal games, led them to their fourth and most recent title in 2010, also in Indianapolis.
The UConn Huskies need to do one thing to play for their third-straight national title next week: Escape a field that for the third time in Final Four history includes every No. 1 NCAA tournament seed.
There are still a lot of minutes left to play this season, but no matter which teams end up in the championship game on April 7, two very tough games will be played first. And the featured semifinal opponents could not be more different.
Some basketball history was made in Sacramento today. The Kings signed center Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract, making him the first player of Indian descent to make it onto an NBA roster.
The 7-foot-5, 360-pound Bhullar had been playing in the NBA’s development league with the Reno Bighorns. This season, he has played 39 games (starting 17) and collected 11 double-doubles, along with one triple-double. He’s averaging 10.3 points a game, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks.
The Kings’ next game is tomorrow at home against the Pelicans. So Bhullar should be suited up and on the bench.
How's that bracket looking? If you picked all the top seeds to make it to Indianapolis for the Final Four, you were so, so close to being right! Three of the four number ones in the tournament are still standing — Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Duke. But after NC State shocked Villanova in the third round, the door was open for a Cinderella. And that team is Michigan State.
The seven-seed Spartans defeated 10-seed Georgia in the second round and upset number two Virginia in round three. This weekend, MSU topped third-seed Georgia in the Sweet 16, 62-58, then on Sunday shocked fourth seed Louisville in overtime in the Elite 8, 76-70.