That was quite a show by the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Now the league is set up for quite the showcase on Sunday in the Elite Eight.
There were four games in the Sweet 16 on Friday night and all of them involved one ACC team. Sure enough, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia and Syracuse all prevailed.
The four victories mean it’ll be an all-ACC showdown on Sunday when Notre Dame meets North Carolina and Virginia faces Syracuse. It also means the league will have two Final Four representatives in Houston and one in the championship game.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said the ACC was certainly “tough” but didn’t gloat about the league’s dominance in the aftermath of his team’s comeback win over Gonzaga.
“I learned a long time ago that it’s a foolish game to say one league is better than the other,” Boeheim said. “There’s just too many variables. I think the top conferences are very, very good, and it’s an imperfect system to say, well, they did better in the NCAA Tournament.”
Here are a few more nuggets as the NCAA Tournament hits the Elite Eight round:
PLENTY OF PERRY: Kansas fans have heard about senior Perry Ellis for a very long time.
Ellis was a Kansas high school star and coach Bill Self attended his first high school game in 2008 while laying the groundwork for his recruitment.
Now the 6-foot-8 Ellis is in the final days of an outstanding career — his 1,794 career points are 8th career at Kansas and he recently passed Paul Pierce on the scoring list. The Jayhawks face Villanova on Saturday.
Ellis has saved some his best basketball for the past month. He’s scored at least 20 points in seven of his last eight games.
“Just trying to do whatever I can to win — that’s all I’m trying to do,” Ellis said.
VILLANOVA’S SCORCHING THE NETS: It’s hard to find a team as hot as Villanova right now.
The Wildcats are shooting nearly 60 percent from the field in three NCAA Tournament wins and have scored at least 86 points in all of them.
“They’re probably playing as well as anybody that we’ve gone against in recent memory, at least that I can recall,” Self said. “They’re on fire right now.”
BUDDY TIME: Oklahoma’s star guard Buddy Hield met Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant after Thursday’s win over Texas A&M.
Now, he’d like to do his best Kobe impression when the Sooners meet Oregon on Saturday for a chance to go to the Final Four.
“He’s one of my idols I grew up watching, one of the guys I looked up to,” Hield said. “And I try to copy and mimic his work ethic. I am just happy I got to meet Kobe and he said a couple words of encouragement.”
Hield had a down game by his lofty standards in Oklahoma’s 77-63 win over Texas A&M, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The prolific shooter is averaging more than 25 points per game.
Oregon expects to get Hield’s best.
“He’s just a great athlete, and he can keep backing up,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “He moves so well without the ball that it’s hard to keep up with him.”