Still Dancing

March 24, 2023

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday 

How’s your pulse? The Big Dance turned up the music on Thursday with the NCAA Tournament’s first overtime game, a couple of record-breaking performances, and an instant classic in the nightcap. Only 12 teams remain, but we’re still dancing…

NCAA Tournament Bracket | Check Your Bracket

*Updated Bracket Leaderboard in Monday\’s Edition

Letter Rip!


Still Dancing! 

Photo: Jamie Schwaberow / Getty Images

Half of Elite 8 Locked as #3 Kansas State, #3 Gonzaga, #4 UConn & #9 Florida Atlantic Advance

Maxed out madness! If you went to bed early, you missed another instant classic UCLA-Gonzaga showdown in March, complete with alternating 3s in the final 12 seconds. That frenetic finish came after K-State and Michigan State needed overtime. UConn throttled Arkansas. Florida Atlantic made history. Half of the Elite 8 is now set, and the other half is soon to follow. Here’s what happened last night:

#3 Kansas State def. #7 Michigan State (98-93, OT)

The first game of the Sweet 16 was nothing short of spectacular, and possibly the game of the tournament thus far. Kansas State and Michigan State lit up the scoreboard with 24 combined 3s, both shooting near or above 50 percent. A late rally by K-State gave the Wildcats a five-point lead down the stretch, but MSU got a tip-in and a layup in the final two possessions to force overtime (82-82). The Spartans led deep into OT (90-88), but K-State scored 10 points in the final two minutes, finishing with a steal and a game-sealing layup by Markquis Nowell (98-93, OT). MSU’s A.J. Hoggard had a game-high 25 points, but Nowell (20 points, 19 assists) broke the NCAA Tournament record for most assists in a game. Keyontae Johnson (22 points) also led a host of six Wildcats in double figures. Kansas State will make their fourth Elite 8 appearance, but they’ve never reached the Final Four. They lost to No. 11 Loyola-Chicago (2018) and No. 5 Butler (2010) in their last two trips to the next round.

#4 UConn def. #8 Arkansas (88-65)

Game 2 on Thursday had a different tone than Game 1. Blistering-hot UConn put Arkansas to bed early thanks to a 19-4 run in the first half. The Huskies led by as much as 29 before emptying the bench late in the game. Arkansas shot below 32 percent while UConn fired at a 57-percent clip. Jordan Hawkins had a game-high 24 points for UConn, and the Huskies have the second-highest average margin of victory of any team left in the tournament behind Alabama (20.6 points per game). Connecticut is making their 11th Elite 8 appearance. And while that seems like a lot, this will be their first in nine years. The last time UConn went this far (2014), they beat Michigan State, Kentucky and Florida to win it all.

#9 Florida Atlantic def. #4 Tennessee (62-55)

The Owls keep flying! The second game of the night in the East Region featured a second-half comeback by everyone’s favorite sleeper. Florida Atlantic fell behind by as many as nine in the first half to Tennessee, but an 18-2 run over six minutes in the middle of the second half flipped the scoreboard. The Owls took a 10-point lead with just over five minutes to play and didn’t let up. FAU’s Johnell Davis had a game-high 15 points by getting to the free-throw line while the Vols couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half. It’s FAU’s first-ever trip to the Elite 8 in just their second NCAA Tournament appearance. They’ll get K-State on Saturday in a high-octane shootout.

#3 Gonzaga def. #2 UCLA (79-76)

The rematch lived up to the hype! Basketball fans certainly remember that iconic clash in the Final Four from 2021 where Jalen Suggs sunk the Bruins with a bank heave for the win (93-90). In Round 2 on Thursday, it was nothing short of another Gonzaga-UCLA thriller. The Zags erased a 13-point halftime deficit to take control late, but UCLA didn’t go quietly. With Gonzaga leading by 10 with 2:30 to play (72-62), the Bruins scrambled to extend the game and eventually pulled within two (75-73). Amari Bailey knocked down the go-ahead 3 for UCLA with just 12 seconds left (76-75), and it looked like the Bruins might have salvaged revenge. Not so… Gonzaga’s Julian Strawther (16 points, 10 rebounds) pulled up from the logo and buried the shot of the tournament to put Gonzaga in the Elite 8. It’s the Zags’ sixth Elite 8 and fifth in the last eight years. They’ve yet to win it all. Is this the year for Mark Few and company?

Photo: Brett Willhelm / Getty Images

Top Sweet 16 Top Performers

Drew Timme (GONZ): 36 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists

Jordan Hawkins (UCONN): 24 points

Keyontae Johnson (KSU): 22 points, 6 rebounds

Markquis Nowell (KSU): 20 points, 19 assists, 5 steals

Julian Strawther (GONZ): 16 points, 10 rebounds

Johnell Davis (FAU): 15 points, 6 rebounds

Four more are on the way tonight!

Sweet 16 Schedule (Tonight)

#1 Alabama (31-5) vs. #5 San Diego State (29-6)

Time: 6:30 pm ET, TBS

Spread: Alabama (-7.5)

#1 Houston (33-3) vs. #5 Miami (27-7)

Time: 7:15 pm ET, CBS

Spread: Houston (-6.5)

#6 Creighton (23-12) vs. #15 Princeton (23-8)

Time: 9:00 pm ET, TBS

Spread: Creighton (-9.5)

#2 Texas (28-8) vs. #3 Xavier (27-9)

Time: 9:45 pm ET, CBS

Spread: Texas (-4.5)

Additional Storylines

B/R: Thursday’s Sweet 16 Winners & Losers

Yahoo! Sports: Strawther’s Clutch 3 From Logo Lifts Gonzaga Over UCLA

CBS Sports: K-State’s Markquis Nowell Leads Wildcats With 19 Assists in Sweet 16 OT Thriller



 NBA: Okoro Calls Game for Cavs in Wild Ending

Look out in the East! The Cavs are riding a three-game win streak (8-2 in their last 10) after beating the Nets with Isaac Okoro’s game-winning 3 (116-114). Cleveland (47-28) is one game away from clinching the East’s fourth playoff spot.

 NHL: Blazing Bruins Win 5th in a Row

Boston’s chase for history continued with their fifth straight win on Thursday as the Bruins topped the Canadiens (4-2). David Pastrnak scored his career-high 49th goal of the season, and Boston (55-11-5) is seven games away from the single-season wins record with 11 games to play.

 SOCCER: Messi Scores 800th Goal in Argentina Win

Lionel Messi scored his 800th career goal on a set piece in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Panama in an international friendly on Thursday. He’s only the second player ever to record 800 goals, joining Cristiano Ronaldo (830). He’ll go for his 100th goal in an Argentina uniform next Tuesday.

 PGA: Dell Match Play Updates

The second day of group play action is in the books at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event. A handful of marquee players are still perfect through two days. Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, and Tony Finau are all 2-0-0 and on their way to Saturday’s knockout stage. Round 3 of group play continues today.



 The Aaron Rodgers Trade

The New York Jets and the Green Bay Packers should have a deal by now, right? They have been talking about an Aaron Rodgers trade for weeks. The quarterback has signed off on a scenario that sends him to New York. What’s the holdup? (FOX Sports)

 2023 MLB’s Top 100 Players

Opening Day is almost here, which means it\’s time to break down how baseball\’s elite stack up against each other. ESPN experts rank the top 100 players in baseball. From Ohtani to Trout and Judge, who will be the best player in the 2023 MLB season? (ESPN)

 Concacaf Nations League Primer

The group stage of the Concacaf Nations League will be completed in the next week. This edition of the Nations League has a more competitive feel than the past ones, and the USA, Canada and Mexico have work to do. (CBS Sports)





The Must-Watch List

March Madness

Men’s NCAA Tournament Schedule

Women’s NCAA Tournament Schedule


76ers at Warriors (Fri. 10:00 pm)
Suns at Kings (Fri. 10:00 pm)

Bucks at Nuggets (Sat. 9:00 pm)

Full NBA Weekend Schedule

Rangers at Panthers (Sat. 5:00 pm)

Golden Knights at Oilers (Sat. 10:00 pm)

Bruins at Hurricanes (Sun. 5:00 pm)

Full NHL Weekend Schedule

Concacaf Nations League

USMNT vs. Grenada (Fri. 8:00 pm)

PGA Tour

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (All Weekend)

*All Times ET