FAU, UConn through to Final Four; who’s next?


March Madness is wrapping up the Elite Eight, and No. 1 seeds are nowhere to be found. Instead, Florida Atlantic became the lowest-ever seed to make the Final Four after beating Kansas State. And UConn’s back in the Final Four for the first time in nine years. There’ve been millions of busted brackets — and more games to come. Here is what to know:


No. 5 San Diego State (30-6) vs. No. 6 Creighton (24-12), Sunday, 2:20 p.m. (CBS)

A first trip to the Final Four awaits the winner of the South Region, and both used defense to secure their spot. The Aztecs stifled top-seeded Alabama’s All-American freshman Brandon Miller, blocked eight shots and forced 14 turnovers in a 71-64 victory. The Bluejays took out Princeton with a combination of 3-point shooting and a swarming second-half defense. Darrion Trammell sparked a go-ahead 12-0 run for San Diego State in the second half and the Aztecs hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute to finish off the Crimson Tide, who led only briefly. Two-time Big East defensive player of the year Ryan Kalkbenner scored 22 points and Baylor Scheierman made five 3s and finished with 21 for the Bluejays.

No. 2 Texas (29-8) vs. No. 5 Miami (28-7), Sunday, 5:05 p.m. (CBS)

Coaches don’t play, but can provide compelling matchups just the same. So it is with the Longhorns and interim coach Rodney Terry and the Hurricanes’ 73-year-old Jim Larrañaga, who literally danced after his team took out No. 1 seed Houston to reach its second straight Elite Eight. Texas is in a regional final for the first time in 15 years after dispatching Xavier. The Longhorns, seemingly thriving after coach Chris Beard was suspended and replaced by Terry, are the highest seed left in the tourney. They had three players score at least 18 and won with minimal contributions from big man Dylan Disu because of a foot injury. Nijel Pack was a difference-maker for the ’Canes, hitting several deep 3s as Miami scored the most points against the Cougars this season.


The top four seeds were given to Alabama, Houston, Kansas and Purdue. Expectations for a chaotic tournament were met quickly: The Boilermakers were ousted by Fairleigh Dickinson in a first-round stunner and the defending champion Jayhawks lost to Arkansas the next day.


Princeton used a late run to earn its first NCAA Tournament win in 25 years by ousting No. 2 seed Arizona and then beat Missouri to lock in its first Sweet 16 spot in 56 years. For Princeton and other teams, getting this far after pandemic-disrupted seasons is a milestone.

Furman celebrated its first tourney appearance since 1980 with a win over No. 4 seed Virginia on a deep 3-pointer by JP Pegues with 2.4 seconds left. Then came 16-seed Fairleigh Dickinson’s win over Purdue as the 22 1/2-point underdog joined UMBC in the record books.

All that happened before the Razorbacks and shirtless coach Eric Musselman celebrated their win over the Jayhawks.


The SEC and Big Ten led the way by placing eight teams each in the 68-team field. Conference USA (Florida Atlantic) and the Ivy League (Princeton) each got one team into the tournament. The records through three rounds thus far:

ACC (5 teams made tourney): 6-4. 1 remaining (Miami). American Athletic (2): 2-2. 0 remaining. Big 12 (7): 9-6. 1 remaining (Texas). Big East (5): 9-3. 2 remaining (Creighton, UConn). Big Ten (8): 6-8. O remaining. Mountain West (4): 3-3. 1 remaining (San Diego State). Pac-12 (4): 3-3. 0 remaining. SEC (8): 9-6. 0 remaining. West Coast (2): 3-1. 0 remaining.


Gun violence has cost lives and disrupted college sports all season, touching some of the top programs in college basketball, including Alabama. Coaches have been thrust into uncertain and unwelcome roles in trying to navigate the topic — as well as the fallout from the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

On a lighter note, if you feel you know March Madness pretty well, try this 25-question trivia quiz.


The NCAA Tournament is filled with great players and the AP All-America team is a good place to get familiar with the names. It’s also an event where guys you’ve never heard of can take a star turn. There are some NBA prospects in the mix.

Bet on this, too: Some player — maybe more than one — will have a chance to join the mustachioed Doug Edert (remember Saint Peters’ inspiring run last year?) and find a way to cash in on their celebrity.


Every game of the men’s tournament will be aired — here is a schedule — either on CBS, TBS, TNT or TruTV and their digital platforms. CBS, which also has a handy schedule that includes announcing teams, will handle the Final Four and national title game this year.

The NCAA is streaming games via its March Madness Live option and CBS games are being streamed on Paramount+. Fans of longtime play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz should soak up every moment: It’s his final NCAA Tournament.


Who’s going to win the national championship? The betting favorites earlier this week (in order): Alabama, Houston, UConn, UCLA, Creighton and Texas, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.


Sweet 16 weekend has games in New York City (East Region), Las Vegas (West), Kansas City, Missouri (Midwest), and Louisville, Kentucky (South).

Where is the Final Four? In Houston, on April 1, with the championship game on April 3. Basketball aficionados, take note: The women’s NCAA Tournament will hold its Final Four in Dallas, a four-hour drive up the road from Houston.

Can’t get enough March Madness? Well, there is talk about expanding the tournament despite a host of challenges. Enjoy the 68-team version for now!

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