Four teams punched their tickets to the Elite 8 on Thursday night. On Thursday, the number one overall seed of the tournament was sent home, while a coaching legend fought to see another day. After today the Elite 8 will be set as the final four teams look to advance in March Madness. Here is a preview of the matchups taking place on Friday.
(15) Saint Peter’s vs. (3) Purdue
Rip up those brackets! We'll see you in Philly!!!#StrutUp🦚 pic.twitter.com/UDZ5UzLfNc
— Saint Peter's Men's Basketball (@PeacocksMBB) March 20, 2022
Only one Cinderella is left standing in all of this madness, and that would be the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s. After dismantling the entire state of Kentucky with a win over Kentucky and Murray State, the Peacocks have their sights set on continuing the magic with a win in the Sweet 16. The pride of New Jersey (Yes, I had no idea where this school was located.) is playing with house money, and they like it that way.
Sleep well Boiler Nation.
Tomorrow is the #Sweet16. pic.twitter.com/Zs4e1QNcjt
— Purdue Mens Basketball (@BoilerBall) March 25, 2022
Standing in the way of the next Hollywood sports movie script is the Boilermakers of Purdue. Purdue cruised through the first two rounds of the tournament while the seeds ranked above them in their region have already been sent home. Purdue is salivating at the opportunity to make the Final Four for the first time since 1980. Their first roadblock of the weekend will be a freakin’ peacock.
(4) Providence vs. (1) Kansas
2021-2022 Honors for @CoachCooleyPC pic.twitter.com/ae0QJtGZmL
— Providence MBB (@PCFriarsmbb) March 22, 2022
Coach Ed Cooley’s Friars haven’t been given the respect they’ve earned in their tournament run. Everyone assumed Providence would fall victim to a first-round upset over a potential Cinderella darling in South Dakota State. The Friars have quietly advanced to the second weekend and await a huge opportunity against one of the greatest programs in college basketball history.
If you’re buying on the secondary market…we’ve got some suggestions near the @KUHoops bench😏 pic.twitter.com/9kBlDgjLlY
— Kansas Jayhawks (@KUAthletics) March 24, 2022
After the events of night one of the Sweet 16, the Kansas Jayhawks are the last one seed left standing. Not only that, but the Jayhawks will be playing for more than just a Sweet 16 win on Friday night. The Jayhawks are currently tied with Kentucky as the winningest programs in college basketball history. A win on Friday will catapult the Jayhawks alone on top of that incredible statistic.
(8) UNC vs. (4) UCLA
All of the lights 💡#CarolinaFamily | #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/auwR1KXUCd
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) March 24, 2022
On Friday night, a battle between two blue bloods will occur in the late portion of the Sweet 16 action. At one point this season, UNC looked to be in a little bit of a rebuild of the program with some growing pains after the retirement of Roy Williams. Now the Tar Heels look to make the Elite 8 for the first time since 2017.
2️⃣4️⃣ hours until the 𝓢𝔀𝓮𝓮𝓽 16! ⏳#GoBruins x #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/SewddElZr8
— UCLA Athletics (@UCLAAthletics) March 25, 2022
The Bruins had an incredible run last season, making it to the Final Four before losing an absolute heartbreaker to Gonzaga on a last-second half-court heave. UCLA relies on their experience from last season to pursue back-to-back Final Four appearances. The Bruins have been to the Final Four 4 times since 2006, as the program seeks its twelfth National Championship.
(11) Iowa State vs. (10) Miami, Fl.
Practice Day ✅#Cyclones | #C5C pic.twitter.com/p7HMAWqcG2
— Iowa State Men’s Basketball (@CycloneMBB) March 24, 2022
A matchup that almost certainly no one saw coming in the Sweet 16 is between Iowa State and Miami. The Cyclones had an abysmal 2021 winning only two games. In what is the most significant turnaround we have seen in recent years, the Cyclones now have their eyes set on a Final Four appearance. The Cyclones are just another beautiful example of expecting the unexpected in March.
Sights and sounds from today’s practice. Game tomorrow night. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/MHb8RJJkHJ
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) March 25, 2022
The Hurricanes are another team whose story didn’t seem like a potential ending would be a trip to New Orleans. Miami is coming off a monster victory over an Auburn team that many had sharpied into the Final Four. However, the Hurricanes had other plans, and now along with UNC, they look to be the third team from the ACC heading to the Elite 8.