No. 2 seed Kentucky def. No. 3 seed Houston 62-58
13 – That was Kentucky’s rebounding advantage against Houston, 36-23, including 11 offensive rebounds. The Wildcats had an offensive rebounding percentage of 45.8 percent (11 rebounds on 24 missed shots) and a defensive rebounding rate of 78.1 percent (25 rebounds on Houston’s 32 missed shots).
PJ Washington, who missed Kentucky’s previous two games, came off the bench to score 16 points but just two total rebounds, as Reid Travis had a team-high 11 boards and Keldon Johnson had seven.
No. 1 seed Duke def. No. 4 seed Virginia Tech 75-73
5 – That’s the number of 3-pointers Duke freshman point guard Tre Jones made against Virginia Tech on seven attempts. Jones, a 23 percent 3-point shooter entering the Sweet 16, hadn’t made more than one 3-pointer in a game since November 19. The Blue Devils were 6-of-20 (30%) from 3-point range for the game, which means his teammates were just 1-of-13.
If Jones had an average shooting game from deep, Duke almost certainly loses.
No. 5 seed Auburn def. No. 1 seed North Carolina 97-80
17 – That’s how many 3-pointers Auburn made, which is tied for the fifth-most in an NCAA Tournament game. The Tigers shot 45.9 percent from behind the arc, which was fitting given the rate Auburn has taken and made threes this season.
Eight players, including all five starters, made at least one three, led by Danjel Purifoy’s 4-of-6 performance off the bench.
No. 2 seed Michigan State def. No. 3 seed LSU 80-63
43.7%/30.5% – That’s the percent of Michigan State’s scoring and rebounding, respectively, that freshmen forwards Aaron Henry and Gabe Brown were responsible for in the Spartans’ Sweet 16 win.
Henry scored a team-high 20 points with eight rebounds and six assists.
Brown added 15 points and three rebounds off the bench.
They entered Friday night as the team’s seventh and ninth-leading scorers, respectively, but with previous injuries to Joshua Langford and Kyle Ahrens, plus forward Nick Ward leaving the floor with an injury, they played incredibly vital roles in the victory.
No. 1 seed Virginia def. No. 12 seed Oregon 53-49
3 – That’s how many game-tying 3-pointers Oregon missed in the final minute when it trailed No. 1 seed Virginia 48-45. Louis King had two looks to tie the game at 48 and Payton Pritchard had one before Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter eventually had a wide-open layup to put the Cavaliers up five with 27 seconds left.
No. 3 seed Texas Tech def. No. 2 seed Michigan 63-44
22 – That’s how many seconds were left in the game when Michigan made its first 3-pointer of the game, off the fingertips of former team manager turned walk-on C.J. Baird, who had scored just six points all season.
Michigan Coach John Beilein had cleared his bench as Texas Tech put the finishing touches of its blowout victory over the Wolverines and it took an odd-looking three from Baird that died on the back rim, before gravity pulled it in, for them to not be completely shut out from behind the arc.
Michigan finished the game 1-of-19 (5.3%). The Wolverines shot 34.9 percent from three this season and their previous season-low was three 3-pointers in a game.
No. 3 seed Purdue def. No. 2 seed Tennessee 99-94
97 – That’s how many points Purdue guard Carsen Edwards has scored through three games in the 2019 NCAA Tournament – the same number as Joakim Noah and Glen Davis in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, when they led all tournament scorers with 97 – after he scored 29 against Tennessee.
Equally important on Thursday were senior Ryan Cline’s 27 points on 7-of-10 shooting from three.
No. 1 seed Gonzaga def. No. 4 seed Florida State 72-58
21.8 – That’s the difference in 3-point percentage from Gonzaga (36.8%) compared to Florida State (15%) as the ‘Zags, led by Zach Norvell Jr.’s 4-of-8 performance from behind the arc, shot roughly to their season average of 36.6 percent. The Bulldogs have the most efficient offense in the country, largely because of their efficient 2-point looks, ability to take care of the ball and accurate 3-point shooting.
Ranking in the top 100 in 3-point percentage and offensive rebounding percentage doesn’t hurt, either.
After Texas Tech harassed Michigan’s 3-point shooters, Gonzaga’s ability to spread the floor and find open shooters in the Elite Eight will be critical to the ‘Zags making it back to the Final Four.