SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Gonzaga coach Mark Few did not like the question but answered it anyway. His Zags had just held off West Virginia to reach the Elite Eight and he was asked if he felt like the monkey was off his back. Few gave a long answer about no one believing there was a monkey there in the first place.
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Xavier didn't look like an Elite Eight team in early March, coming off six straight defeats that led coaches to try to burn the month of February from the players' memories, literally. Ranked No. 7 in the preseason, the Musketeers had dropped out of the poll and were a bubble team after losing senior guard Myles Davis, point guard Edmond Sumner and top scorer Trevon Bluiett at midseason.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- In a story March 24 about an NCAA Tournament game between Xavier and Arizona, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Xavier's record was 30-13. It should have been 24-13. A corrected version of the story is below: Xavier knocks off Arizona 73-71 in West Region Xavier, behind Trevon Bluiett's 25 points, upsets Arizona 73-71 in West to reach Elite Eight By JOHN MARSHALL AP Basketball Writer SAN JOSE, Calif.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The Latest on the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern): 1:05 a.m. Xavier's upset of Arizona wrapped up Thursday's four-game slate, sending the Musketeers into the Elite Eight as a surprise team alongside high seeds Gonzaga, Kansas and Oregon. That made Arizona the third No. 2 seed to lose after Duke and Louisville the first weekend.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Sean Miller had just been named Xavier's head basketball coach when he began meeting with athletic director Dawn Rogers about filling out his staff. Rogers had previously worked with Chris Mack, then on Skip Prosser's staff at Wake Forest, and suggested Miller consider him with the Musketeers. Miller knew nothing about Mack, but during the meticulous process of finding assistants, the Xavier alum's name kept coming up.
When Michigan was slumping earlier in the season, the coach started thinking Super Bowl, not Final Four. John Beilein conjured up the highlight-reel catch that Patriots receiver Julian Edelman made during New England's game-tying drive in the Super Bowl, and said the Wolverines should keep that sort of play -- an outlier, as he called it -- in mind.
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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Getting to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament is nothing new for Gonzaga and Arizona. The task this weekend for the Bulldogs and Wildcats will be trying to make it out of the West Region and take that next step to the Final Four. The process starts Thursday when top-seeded Gonzaga (34-1) faces No. 4 seed West Virginia (28-8) and second-seeded Arizona (32-4) faces No. 11 seed Xavier (23-13).
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- No. 11 seed Xavier (23-13) vs. No. 2 seed Arizona (32-4) Third round, West region; San Jose, California; 10:09 p.m. EDT. BOTTOM LINE: Xavier is the lone double-digit seed left in a Sweet 16 filled with power programs. The Musketeers pulled off a pair of upsets to reach the regional semifinals, beating No. 6 seed Maryland and No. 3 Florida State the first weekend of the tournament.
The NCAA Tournament's first weekend closed with a flourish, a Sunday full of scintillating games after three days of good-not-always-great basketball. That put the madness back in March and should carry over into a regional round filled with great matchups and big-name programs. Here's a rundown of the top games, players, coaches and interesting story lines for the Sweet 16: ___ TOP GAMES UCLA vs. Kentucky, South Region; Friday, Memphis. Blue bloods in Bluff City.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's win over defending national champion and overall No. 1 seed Villanova shook up office pools around the country, though the tested Badgers aren't a typical No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Eleventh-seeded Xavier might be a surprise team in the regional semifinals, but with their 3-point prowess, the Musketeers are capable of shooting their way past any opponent.
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Point guard Edmond Sumner eased himself down the hallway from Xavier's practice gym on Monday using a pair of crutches to protect his surgically repaired knee. Somehow, his team has figured out how to move on without him. The Musketeers (23-13) are the biggest surprise in the Sweet 16.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The Xavier Musketeers didn't have the regular season they hoped to have. They are making up for it now. The 11th-seeded Musketeers dominated third-seeded Florida State 91-66 during Saturday's second round of the NCAA Tournament. Their second upset in the West Region put them back into the regional semifinal round for the second time in two years and eighth time in program history.
A look at some interesting things as we head into Saturday, the first day of the second round of the NCAA Tournament: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE There will be plenty of parent shots during two games Saturday. No. 12 seed Xavier and assistant coach Luke Murray, son of actor-comedian Bill Murray, faces third-seeded Florida State in Orlando, Florida.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Bill Murray was like every other proud parent with a son in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But when you're a world famous actor/comedian, you have a tendency to stand out. And he did, cheering, rooting and fist-pumping every Xavier highlight in support of son Luke, an assistant coach for the Musketeers.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Trevon Bluiett doesn't spend a lot of time worrying about missed shots because he knows the makes will eventually come. After missing his first seven shots and contributing just 3 points in the first half, Bluiett found his rhythm Thursday night to lead No.11 seed Xavier to a 76-65 upset of sixth-seeded Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Latest on the NCAA Tournament (all times EDT): 12:55 a.m. It's been 20 years since a Pac-12 team won the national championship, and Arizona is out to match what the 1997 Wildcats pulled off. They're off on the right foot, beating North Dakota 100-82 in the final game of a day that saw two teams make their NCAA Tournament debuts. Northwestern's inaugural visit ended in a stunning victory over Vanderbilt.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kareem Richardson will never confuse the NCAA Tournament with the CBI, one of the myriad other postseason tournaments that doesn't even rise to the level of the NIT. He was an assistant under Chris Mack at Xavier when the Musketeers went to the Sweet 16. He was on Rick Pitino's staff a few years later when Louisville beat Michigan to win the national title.
ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) -- Pat Kelsey is finally glad his Winthrop players have an NCAA Tournament moment to celebrate. Many feel the same way for Kelsey, the Eagles young coach whose time in the spotlight up until now has been filled with heart-wrenching experiences.
NEW YORK (AP) -- In a magnificent game of 3-ball, Marcus Foster and Creighton got the 22nd and final one and a trip to the championship game of the Big East Tournament. Foster hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 8 seconds to play and the sixth-seeded Bluejays (25-8) defeated Xavier 75-72 on Friday night to advance to a title showdown with second-ranked Villanova.