LAS VEGAS — March has gone from madness to unprecedented.
With Miami’s win over Houston and San Diego State’s takedown of Alabama on Friday night, the NCAA Tournament will not have a No. 1 seed in the Elite Eight for the first time since seeding began in 1979.
Purdue, Kansas, Houston and Alabama are all gone, ensuring the Final Four will not have a No. 1 team for the first time since 2011 and the third overall. The four teams deemed by the NCAA to be the best in the country combined to win five tournament games this year, the fewest by three among No. 1 seeds since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
Three No. 2 seeds were gone already, with lone survivor Texas playing Xavier on Friday night. The fewest combined No. 1-2 seeds in the Elite Eight before this year was two (three times).
How crazy has it been? The national title game is guaranteed to have at least one of these teams: San Diego State, Princeton, Creighton, Florida Atlantic or Kansas State.
San Diego State 71,
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Darrion Trammell and San Diego State used a dominant defensive performance to knock top overall seed Alabama out of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night, bottling up All-America freshman Brandon Miller in a 71-64 victory in the Sweet 16.
Trammell scored 21 points while Miller, whose outstanding season was marred by off-the-court complications, was held to nine points on 3-of-19 shooting and had six turnovers.
The fifth-seeded Aztecs (30-6) will face either Creighton or Princeton on Sunday in the West Region final as they seek their first Final Four in program history.
The March Madness run of Alabama (31-6) was clouded by its response to the Jan. 15 fatal shooting of a 23-year-old woman in Tuscaloosa, which led to capital murder charges against a then-Crimson Tide player, Darius Miles.
Miami 89, Houston 75
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nijel Pack and Miami hit shots from near and far against the stingiest defense in the country.
Miami (28-7), only the fifth team this season to score at least 70 points against Houston (33-4), will play second-seeded Texas or No. 3 seed Xavier in the Midwest Region final for the chance to go to the Final Four.
The fifth-seeded Hurricanes reached a regional final for the second straight year.
This is the first time in three years Houston didn’t make it to the Elite Eight.
The Cougars simply couldn’t stop a multifaceted Miami offense led by Pack’s 3-point shooting. He had season highs of seven 3-pointers on 10 attempts and 26 points.
Isaiah Wong’s mid-range game helped get the ‘Canes out to a fast start, and he finished with 20 points. Jordan Miller hurt the Cougars with his penetration and had 13 points, and Norchad Omier was his usual rugged self under the basket while recording his 16th double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
It resulted in a heartbreaking end for a Cougars team that was in the Sweet 16 for a fourth straight time, had won 15 of its last 16 games and had the season-long goal of playing in next week’s Final Four in its home city.
Miami coach Jim Larrañaga, much to his players’ delight, busted out dance moves in the locker room befitting a 73-year-old man harkening to the disco era. Then Wooga Poplar and Joseph Bensley joined him up front for an impromptu line dance.
Larrañaga will seek his first Final Four with Miami and second overall — he took George Mason there as an 11 seed in 2006.