The No. 1 seed Arizona men will be in action later tonight vs. TCU (approximately 9:40 p.m.). Women’s top seeds Louisville (vs. Gonzaga, 7 p.m.) and Stanford (vs. Kansas, 9 p.m.) are back on the court Sunday as well.
Follow along for live updates and highlights from March Madness.
What to know about the first two rounds
Patrick Stevens: Three nuggets on the Mike Krzyzewski farewell tour that will continue at least a few more days after the second-seeded Blue Devils bounced Michigan State from the NCAA tournament, 85-76:– Krzyzewski will coach in his 26th career Sweet 16 on Thursday when the Blue Devils (30-6) meet either third-seeded Texas Tech or 11th-seeded Notre Dame. The only other coaches with 26 total tournament appearances are Jim Boeheim (35), Roy Williams (30), Bob Knight (28), Lute Olson (27), Dean Smith (27) and Rick Barnes (26).– Duke got past the vaunted Tom Izzo-in-the-second-game-at-a-site trend. Michigan State fell to 23-7 under Izzo in games in the second round, regional final or the national title game — all the second game in three days at a tournament site.– Now it’s off to San Francisco, where Krzyzewski will try to accomplish a first before he faces his last game. Duke is 0-5 in NCAA tournament games in the Pacific time zone under Coach K, with losses in 1984 (to Washington in Pullman, Wash.), 1989 (to Seton Hall in Seattle), 2003 (to Kansas in Anaheim, Calif.), 2011 (to Arizona in Anaheim) and 2016 (to Oregon in Anaheim) on the ledger. The last three losses all came in regional semifinals.
Patrick Stevens: There are plenty of reasons Villanova has established itself as one of the most consistent programs annually.There’s a “get-old-and-stay-old” philosophy instilled by a veteran coach who learned the hard way what happens when a team doesn’t. Fit matters as much as talent in recruiting. There is never a shortage of quality outside threats, and the Wildcats usually share the ball (though their assist rate is down this season).But even if Villanova is assisting on less than half of its made field goals for the first time since the 2009-10 season, it is doing something better than anyone in the history of the game: converting free throws.The second-seeded Wildcats (28-7) are shooting 82.6 percent at the line, a figure that ticked up just a little with a 17-of-20 showing in Sunday’s 71-61 defeat of Ohio State. The Division I record is held by Harvard, which shot 82.2 percent during the 1983-84 season.One of the best ways to stay alive in March is to take advantage of what another team is willing to provide, and making foul shots pretty much epitomizes that mantra. Villanova was 8 of 9 at the line in the second half Sunday, and its penchant for converting free throws should serve it well in the South Region semifinal Thursday (against Michigan) and potentially Saturday (against Arizona, TCU or Houston).
Patrick Stevens: Chalk one up to the numbers. And chalk one up to Kelvin Sampson and his built-for-anytime Houston Cougars, too.Every metric on the NCAA’s team sheet pegged Houston as a top-16 team. The predictive metrics were especially bullish — all three of them had the Cougars as a top-five team. The results-based ratings listed Houston at No. 13 and No. 14. And the NET, the NCAA’s primary sorting tool, had them at No. 3.There was a logic to placing Houston as the No. 5 seed in the South bracket. There were surface-level question marks that seemed sensible. The Cougars lost two key players (Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark) to injury in December. They plowed through an American Athletic Conference of questionable strength. They owned just two victories over the rest of the field of 68, over Memphis (last week in the American Athletic final) and Bryant.And now they have two more after pounding UAB (82-68) and smothering Illinois (68-53) in Pittsburgh to boomerang back to Texas for the South regional in San Antonio.The Cougars rank 10th in both adjusted offensive efficiency and adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. They’ve reached the Sweet 16 in three consecutive tournaments, advancing to the Final Four last year. And they have pulverized a lot of people; this season’s Cougars (31-5) only own four victories by less than 10 points (Hofstra, at Temple, at Tulsa and at Wichita State).That’s ultimately what the numbers were indicating. A team that beats the snot out of three-quarters of its opponents is probably quite good. No doubt Illinois would agree after receiving the Houston treatment on Sunday.