13) Here is our Elite 8: Both #1-seeds won Friday, are now 10-1-1 vs spread in this round the last four years. Rest of the Elite 8? Two #9-seeds, an 11-seed, two 3-seeds and 2-seed Duke.
12) Duke 69, Syracuse 65— Duke won first meeting 60-44; teams combined to go 8-43 in that game. This game snuck over total; teams combined to go 9-39 on arc, but Duke was 20-28 on foul line as they held on at the end.
Turns out that Jim Boeheim’s last game as a Syracuse player was a 91-81 loss to Duke in the NCAA tournament back when the game were televised in black-and-white. Boeheim played at Syracuse with the great Dave Bing, who was a really good player with the Detroit Pistons.
11) Villanova 90, West Virginia 78— Mountaineers went 7-28 on the arc; they lost seven of last nine games this season when shooting less than 35% on the arc. Villanova plays better defense than you’d think. And they have multiple guys who make 3-pointers- they were 13-24 here.
10) Kansas 80, Clemson 76— If you had the Jayhawks (-5), this was brutal. Clemson rallied back from a 62-42 deficit with 11:00 left and cut lead to 4 with 0:04.5 left, called timeout, but never fouled after Kansas inbounded the ball. Very bad beat for Kansas backers.
Bill Self is 8-2 in Sweet 16 games at Kansas; he is 2-5 in regional finals.
9) Texas Tech 78, Purdue 65— Teams that make the Final Four sometimes make it because they get lucky; Purdue big man Haas couldn’t play because he broke his elbow last week, which made the Boilermakers a far less formidable opponent.
Purdue made 11-24 on arc when they beat Butler without Haas; they were 7-18 in this game, and took only six foul shots the whole game.
8) How #11-seeds (or lower) have done in regional finals:
2017— Xavier (+8.5) L83-59 vs Gonzaga
2014— Dayton (+10.5) L52-62 vs Florida
2011— VCU (+11.5) W71-61 over Kansas
2006— George Mason (+8) W86-84 over UConn
2002— #12-seed Missouri (+6.5) L75-81 vs Oklahoma
2001— Temple (+6.5) L62-69 vs Michigan State
1990— LMU (+5) L131-101 vs UNLV
4-3 vs spread, all as underdogs, with two SU wins.
7) Random trend; over last 20 years, in the West Region final, underdogs are 16-4 against the spread. Michigan is -4.5 over Florida State in Staples Center tonight.
6) Generally, if an 8 or 9-seed gets this far, they had to beat the #1-seed to get here, but not this year because UMBC pulled their upset. Here is how #8 or #9-seeds have done in the Elite 8:
2014: Kentucky (-2.5) W75-72 vs Michigan
2013: Wichita State (+6) W70-66 vs Ohio State
2011: Butler (+3.5) W74-71 Florida OT
2004: Alabama (+8.5) L87-71 vs UConn
2000: North Carolina (+2.5) W59-55 vs Tulsa
2000: Wisconsin (+1) W64-60 vs Purdue
1998: Rhode Island (+4.5) L79-77 vs Stanford
1994: Boston College (+1.5) L74-66 vs Florida
6-2 vs spread, 5-3 SU
5) Dayton Flyers went 14-17 this season, its first losing season in 12 years; they had only one senior, but since the season ended, five other players have left the program, two to explore pro possibilities, three others to transfer to other schools.
Next season’s Flyers will be very young, and will take time to get to know each other.
4) Took the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins 25 years to get 100 points in a season; Las Vegas Golden Knights have done it in their first year in the NHL, a tremendous accomplishment.
3) As you know if you read this space at all, I watch a ton of sports on TV, but one thing I’ve lost my appetite for is pre and post-game shows and halftime shows. Mostly they just exist to amuse the people who are on the show, and usually, there are too many people on them anyway.
Highlight shows late at night? Still enjoy them.
2) Traded Marcell Ozuna for Madison Bumgarner in my fantasy baseball league this winter; Bumgarner broke his left pinkie Friday when he was hit by a line drive. Bleepin’ awesome.
Of course, guy who hit the ball that broke his finger is on my team, too. No bueno.
1) On a happier note, Sunday night is the last Sunday night in 2018 without football or baseball, so thats a good thing.