March Madness: Reactions to a wild Saturday and a look ahead to the Sweet 16

The first weekend of action at this year's NCAA tournament delivered in every possible way, from overtime thrillers to historic upsets and everything in between. Let's take a look back at what went down on Saturday before we turn our attention to the Sweet 16.

  1. (11) NC State 79, (14) Oakland 73 (OT) - South Region: The first overtime game of the weekend did not disappoint, as two evenly matched teams went back and forth for 40 minutes. In the end, it was the strength of NC State's defense and the heroics of DJ Burns, who finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists, that proved to be the difference. Oakland led by three with less than 20 seconds to play in regulation but failed to score on its final possession, and NC State's Casey Morsell nearly won the game with an incredible three-quarter court shot at the buzzer.

The two teams traded buckets in overtime, but a 7-0 run by the Wolfpack sealed the deal, sending them to their first Sweet 16 since 2015. Oakland, meanwhile, can be proud of a memorable run that included wins over two power conference teams. They'll hope to build on this experience next season.

  1. (3) Creighton 86, (11) Oregon 73 (2OT) - Midwest Region: In what was arguably the game of the tournament so far, Creighton and Oregon battled back and forth for more than 45 minutes before the Jays finally pulled away in double overtime. It was a wild finish to the first overtime, as Oregon tied the game at 71 on a three-pointer with less than a second on the clock. But Creighton responded with a 7-0 run to start the second overtime, as Ryan Kalkbrenner and Steven Ashworth hit consecutive threes to put the game out of reach.

The Ducks' offense was too one-dimensional, as Jermaine Couisard and N'Faly Dante scored 60 of their 73 points. The Jays, on the other hand, had five players score in double figures, led by Trey Alexander's 21 points. They'll head to the Sweet 16 for the third time in five years.

  1. (2) Tennessee 62, (7) Texas 58 - Midwest Region: Tennessee avoided another early exit in the NCAA tournament, as the Vols held on to beat Texas in a defensive struggle. The Longhorns struggled mightily from the field, shooting just 33.8 percent overall and 12 percent from three-point range. But they had a chance to win at the end of regulation, as Erik Stevenson got a clean look at a three-pointer that would have tied the game. Tennessee advanced to its third Sweet 16 in five years under Rick Barnes and will have a chance to avenge last year's defeat to Creighton.

3 teams that won it the best:

  1. North Carolina: The Tar Heels continued their dominance over Michigan State, as they beat the Spartans by 16 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the 39th time in program history. They were led by their dynamic freshman duo of Dontai Stewart and Grabriel peri, who combined for 47 points. They'll face an experienced and talented UCLA team that is fresh off a win over USC. It should be a great matchup between two of the country's top programs.
  2. Gonzaga: The Zels made it nine straight trips to the Sweet 16, as they blew out Kansas by 21 points. They were led by point guard Courtney Warner, who had 18 points and six assists, and center Luke Fortz, who had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. They'll face a tough test against Auburn, which just knocked off Wisconsin.
  3. Illinois: The Illini blew out Duquesne by 26 points to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005. They were led by their dynamic guard duo of Kofi Cockburn and Adam Miller, who combined for 43 points and 11 assists. They'll face a tough test against Houston, which just knocked off Arizona.

3 Biggest Disappointments:

  1. Kansas: The Jayhawks had a chance to make a deep run in March, but they fell flat against Gonzaga and lost by 21 points. It was their worst loss in the NCAA tournament in program history, as they simply had no answer for the Bulldogs' hot shooting. They'll have to regroup and try to get back to the Sweet 16 next season.
  2. Duquesne: The Dukes had a disappointing end to their season, as they were blown out by Illinois. It was their worst loss of the season, but they had a chance to beat Iowa State and nearly did. They'll hope to build on this experience next season.
  3. Washington State: The Cougars had a chance to beat Iowa State but fell short. They led by five points with less than a minute to go, but they couldn't make the necessary free throws to close it out. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise great season for Washington State, which will hope to build on this experience next season.

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