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March Madness Sweet 16 Thursday Recap

Thursday night’s March Madness Sweet 16 action featured three close, action-packed games and one blowout. Michigan – Oregon came down to a single point differential, West Virginia – Gonzaga decided by 3 points, and 2 points separated Xavier and Arizona. It’s nights like that that make March Madness must-watch TV.

Xavier Musketeers (11) vs. Arizona Wildcats (2)

Xavier continued its cinderella run (and got a little revenge on the Wildcats who knocked them out in 2015) thanks in large part to Trayvon Bluiett who was a perfect 7 of 7 in first half and finished with 25 points.  Arizona kept coming up with big runs and led by 8 with only 3 minutes to go, but Xavier answered every time and snatched victory out from underneath Arizona.

Final score: Xavier 73, Arizona 71

Kansas Jayhawks (1) vs. Purdue (4)

Bill Self and the #1 seeded Jayhawks took on 4th seed Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue looked good early but Josh Jackson and Frank Mason came alive. Kansas ended the first half on a 22-7 run and never looked back. The Jayhawks seem to be able to score from anywhere — from high-flying alley oops, utter destruction inside the paint, to sniping from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks move on to Elite 8 with a Boilermaker beatdown.

Final score: Kansas 98, Purdue 66

Gonzaga (1) vs. West Virginia (4)

Despite an interminable referee timeout to review a seemingly cut and dry out of bounds call, and looking flummoxed by the Mountaineer’s press, Gonzaga was relentless around the boards and forced West Virginia into a one-dimensional game led by Jevon Carter who had 21 points and 7 rebounds. Gonzaga continues their scoring struggles, but still, they’re moving on to the Elite 8.

Final score: Gonzaga 61, West Virginia 58

Michigan (7) vs. Oregon (3)

Michigan’s magical March Madness Sweet 16 run finally came to an end in a tight contest with the Oregon Ducks. Michigan led late in the 2nd half but Tyler Dorsey (20 points) and Jordan Bell (16 points) look like a major force to be reckoned with and were able to barely edge past the Wolverines and into the Elite 8.

Final score: Michigan 68, Oregon 69

If you’re hanging out in Vegas and need a place to chill and watch the game, check out my review of the top 5 places to watch March Madness.

By Chris Sharp, Certified 12-Time Veteran of Las Vegas March Madness and Sports Wagering

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