A year after reaching the final fourth in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, Houston takes another run. This time, it does so with five new starters and a modified list.
The Cooks, ranked 5th, advanced to the 16th round with the third match in a row. Won 68-53 Fifth Level Illinois in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon. Houston, who eventually lost to national champion Baylor in last year’s national semifinals, advanced to meet the winner of Sunday’s game.
“I think they’re standing on the shoulders of all the players who came before them,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, who advanced to round 16 for the sixth time in his career, said in a television interview. “They believe in our culture. We are talking about watering the trees. We do not water the leaves; We are the roots of water, and the roots of this project are our culture, and each of these children buys it. That is why we have succeeded.
Houston (31-5), the champion of the American Athletics Conference, did not even win a single digit seed in the tournament after the 1984 final four, when Hakeem Olajouvon and Clyde Trexler were the stars of the Cooks. Illinois (23-10) lost in the second round from first place for the second year in a row. In 2021, it was mourned by Loyola Chicago as the No. 1 seed.
Three of the final four teams last year advanced to the round of 16, with Gonzalez and UCLA winning on Saturday. Baylor lost to North Carolina on Saturday, meaning the reigning champion has now lost 16 rounds five years ago.
Immerse yourself deeply in NCAA competitions
Sampson lost all five of his starting players last year when they moved or were injured. Quentin Grimes, a key player on the team last year, now plays for the Knicks. Junior guard Marcus Saucer, who scored 20 points in the national semifinals last year, came out with a season-end injury, just as second-year guard Dramon Mark did.
However, Houston has maintained its trademark defensive intensity, and it looks like it has seven defenders on the ground instead of five. Cookers limited Illinois to 34 percent shooting off the field. Houston took an 11-0 lead, advancing 65-49, not reaching the game.
In action, senior defender Das Moore was unbeaten in the open, finishing with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Kyler Edwards, a member of the Jamal Sheet 18 and Texas Tech 2019 final four team, received 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
Kofi Cockburn, the Illinois 7-foot, 285-pound all-American big man, finished his final college game with 19 points and 8 rebounds.
Colin Gillespie leads Villanova back to the 16th round.
Villanova point guard Colin Gillespie was heartbroken when he missed the NCAA tournament a year ago in early March after tearing an intermediate ligament in his left knee.
A native of 6-ft-3 Pennsylvania, he returned to Villanova for a fifth season after the NCAA exempted all players following the outbreak and is now making the most of his final season.
After leading the Wildcats to their sixth Big East Tournament Championship, Gillespie scored 20 points and 4 assists to lead second-placed Villanova into the 16th round of the second season with a 71-61 win over seventh-ranked Ohio State in Pittsburgh. Gillespie’s assist to Eric Dixon led to a 3-pointer that put Villanova ahead 67-59 with 1 minute 38 seconds left after Ohio State came within 2 points. He scored two free throws in the final seconds to secure the victory.
In a televised interview after the Big East match, Gillespie said, “It’s all about that, part of the reason I came back.” “It hurts not to be able to play with them last year. But, especially after the season, I’m glad to be able to play on the field again with them.
Fifth-year senior Jermaine Samuels had 17 points and 8 rebounds, and Caleb Daniels added 11 points and 8 rebounds to Villanova, which has won seven straight games and 12 of its last 13. The Wildcats (28-7) face the next goal. 11 Michigan (19-14) in the Southern Regional Game in San Antonio on Thursday.
Under Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright, Villanova won NCAA titles in 2016 and 2018, the latter when Gillespie was new. He and the Wildcats are alive, which could be the show’s third championship since 2016.
Gillespie has been the face of the project for the past several years and is now ranked 13th in project history and 10th in aid.
Ohio State’s EJ Little 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists could be his final college game before he makes it to the NBA Draft. Ohio State Freshman Guardian Malachi Branham had an outstanding performance in the Borderline First-Round NBA Exam, with an excellent 23 points, including 3 out of 8 from beyond the curve.
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