March Madness Sweet 16 Reaction: Nobody is beating Gonzaga
What a couple of days. The Sweet 16 of the 2021 NCAA Tournament is officially in the books, and the action was truly jam-packed. There were several thrilling finishes, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. We’ve got the Elite Eight coming up, so be sure to check out our March Madness hub to stay on top of everything that goes on. Also, be sure to check out our picks on the side and total for every single game in the tournament.
But before you start thinking about Monday’s wagering, let’s take a look back at what just happened and digest a few of the main takeaways. Here’s where my head is at after Sunday’s games:
Nobody is beating Gonzaga
This might sound hyperbolic, but I don’t see how anybody beats Gonzaga. When they’re at their best, they’re impossible to beat. When they’re not at their best, they’re still nearly impossible to beat. In the Round of 32 Gonzaga shot their lowest percentage from the floor of the entire season, Oklahoma played really well, and they still never came close to losing while winning by 16. In the Sweet 16 they beat the brakes off Creighton without breaking much of a sweat, shooting 60 percent from the field. Drew Timme was once again unstoppable, scoring 22 points in only 27 minutes.
This Bulldogs offense is obviously historic, but what makes this team now look unbeatable is the level of defense they’ve been playing. They just held a really good Creighton offense to only 65 points, and at this point it’s clear they were just taking it a bit easy on the defensive end during the regular season. Unless there’s a significant injury (knock on wood), I don’t see how this team loses a game.
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Oral Roberts belonged in the Sweet 16
Oral Roberts captured all of our hearts with their shocking win over Ohio State. Then in the Round of 32 against Florida, they proved it wasn’t a fluke. In the Sweet 16 against Arkansas, they proved it once again. The Golden Eagles’ miracle run may have ended, by just two points, but they certainly weren’t outclassed. They got disrespected again when oddsmakers made Arkansas a double-digit favorite, and that was clearly way off.
Oral Roberts led most of the game, and showed they can hang with any of the power conference teams. Max Abmas and Kevin Obanor became legitimate stars, and this run won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Whatever happens with Oral Roberts next season, there wasn’t anything lucky about this streak, these guys earned it and deserved it.
Was the PAC 12 the best conference in college basketball?
Excuse me if this sounds ridiculous, but what we all just witnessed was even more ridiculous. The PAC 12 has simply dominated this tournament, and they might’ve been the best conference in college basketball this season. If you had tried telling someone at the beginning of the year that the PAC 12 would have three teams in the Elite Eight, you wouldn’t have been taken seriously.
But that’s exactly what happened, and if USC and Oregon hadn’t had to play each other in the Sweet 16 they might’ve gotten four. Oregon State pulled off an upset over Loyola Chicago as a big underdog, and then UCLA knocked off Alabama as an equally big underdog. In games where they weren’t playing each other, the PAC 12 is now 12-1 against the spread in March Madness.
That’s simply incredible, and the conference has demanded their respect in a dominant way. Everyone is going to remember this when next season rolls around, and the PAC 12 will no longer be a punching bag when the 2021-22 campaign starts.