- Associated Press - Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Latest on the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):

11:45 p.m.

The bluebloods will take center stage Sunday to determine the last two entrants in the Final Four.

No. 1 seed Kansas and No. 2 seed Duke will face off in the Midwest Region final in the only region that got its top two seeds to the regional final. Duke has won five national titles and Kansas has won three NCAA Tournament titles.

In the other Elite Eight game, No. 1 seed Villanova will face No. 3 seed Texas Tech in the East Region final. Villanova won national titles in 1985 and 2016. Texas Tech, the outlier in Sunday’s action, is in the Elite Eight for the first time.

Two of the slots have already been filled.

Loyola-Chicago, a No. 11 seed out of the Missouri Valley Conference, defeated No. 9 seed Kansas State 78-62 in the South Region final. Loyola will face Michigan, a 58-54 winner over Florida State in the West Region final.


11:10 p.m.

Mighty Michigan is rolling all the way back to the Final Four.

Charles Matthews scored 17 points and Michigan earned its first Final Four berth since 2013 with a 58-54 victory over Florida State on Saturday night in the West Region final.

Moe Wagner scored 12 points as the Wolverines (32-7) earned their 13th consecutive victory by persevering through a defense-dominated second half and holding off a late charge from the Seminoles, who had already knocked off three higher-seeded teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan advanced to San Antonio next weekend to face the underdog heroes of Loyola-Chicago (32-5), who stunned the sport by winning the South Region.

Phil Cofer scored 16 points for the ninth-seeded Seminoles (23-13), who knocked off three higher-seeded opponents on their school’s longest NCAA Tournament run since 1993.


10:35 p.m.

The West Region final might be going down to the wire.

Michigan has a 40-36 lead on Florida State at the midway point of the second half at Staples Center, where the thousands of Wolverines fans are performing more impressively than either team on Saturday night.

The third-seeded Wolverines and ninth-seeded Seminoles have combined for 24 turnovers in 30 minutes, and neither is shooting above 36 percent.

Michigan took a 10-point lead early in the second half, but Florida State trimmed it back down to three points.

Coach Leonard Hamilton’s surprising Seminoles are trying to reach just the second Final Four in their school’s history by knocking off four straight higher-seeded opponents.

The Wolverines were last in the Final Four in 2013, also under coach John Beilein.


10 p.m.

Michigan has a 27-26 lead on Florida State at halftime of a tight West Region final.

The third-seeded Wolverines held the ninth-seeded Seminoles scoreless for the final 4 1/2 minutes of the half.

Phil Cofer got Florida State’s only two field goals in the last 7 1/2 minutes before the break. Yet Michigan could only manage one field goal of its own in the last 8:44 before halftime, also missing four free throws.

When faced with Florida State’s persistent defense, Michigan is finding it impossible to match its 99-point performance against Texas A&M two days earlier. After making nearly 62 percent of their shots against the Aggies, the Wolverines are only 7 for 21 against the Seminoles.

But with the backing of a loud fan base at Staples Center, Michigan has forced 14 turnovers by Florida State, allowing the Wolverines to stay in it despite no field goals from German center Moe Wagner, who dropped 21 points on Texas A&M.

Coach Leonard Hamilton’s surprising Seminoles are trying to upset their fourth straight higher-seeded opponent to reach just the second Final Four in their school’s history.

The Wolverines were last in the Final Four in 2013, also under coach John Beilein.


9:25 p.m.

Florida State is in hot pursuit of its fourth straight NCAA Tournament upset in the West Region final.

Staples Center is packed with Michigan fans as the third-seeded Wolverines take on the ninth-seeded Seminoles, who have knocked off three straight higher-seeded opponents. Michigan jumped to an early lead, but Florida State rallied back with a 10-3 surge to a two-point lead midway through the first half.

Coach Leonard Hamilton’s surprising Seminoles are trying to reach just the second Final Four in their school’s history.

The Wolverines were last in the Final Four in 2013, also under coach John Beilein.


8:50 p.m.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton could go over $1 million in bonuses earned from the Seminoles’ NCAA Tournament run if his team can beat Michigan in the West Region final on Saturday night.

Hamilton, who has a base salary of $2.3 million, has already earned $775,000 from Florida State’s first Elite Eight appearance since 1993.

He received a $200,000 bonus when the Seminoles made the 68-team field and an additional $50,000 for consecutive appearances. The three wins have netted an additional $525,000 as the Seminoles defeated Missouri in the first round ($50,000), Xavier in the second ($225,000) and Gonzaga in the regional semifinal ($250,000).

Hamilton would get a $275,000 bonus if Florida State defeats Michigan. He would also be in line for $150,000 if it reaches the national title game and an additional $500,000 if the Seminoles win their first national championship.


8:20 p.m.

Loyola-Chicago continued its improbable postseason run, beating Kansas State 78-62 on Saturday night to advance to its first Final Four in 55 years.

Extending its winning streak to 14 games, Loyola enjoyed strong shooting against a Kansas State team which relied on strong defense in the NCAA Tournament.

Led by Ben Richardson’s 23 points, the Ramblers shot 57.4 percent from the field in the NCAA South regional final. Richardson made six of seven 3-pointers.

Loyola will play in its first Final Four since 1963, when the Ramblers won their only championship. Kansas State was denied its attempt to return to the Final Four for the first time since 1964.

The Ramblers took a big lead of 23 points in the first matchup of No. 11 and No. 9 seeds in a regional final.

As the No. 11 seed, Loyola matches the lowest seed to play in the Final Four. Louisiana State (1986), George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011) also were No. 11 seeds.

- Charles Odum reporting from Atlanta


7:55 p.m.

Loyola-Chicago is blowing away expectations that its Elite Eight matchup with Kansas State would be a close game.

Instead, the first NCAA regional final to match No. 11 and No. 9 seeds is looking like a rout.

After leading 36-24 at halftime, the 11th-seeded Ramblers stretched the lead to 21 points on a layup by Aundre Jackson with 13:23 remaining.

Loyola, looking to extend its 13-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the nation, has answered every challenge from the Wildcats.

Loyola took a big lead of 23 points at 61-38.

- Charles Odum reporting from Atlanta


7:05 p.m.

Loyola-Chicago started hot, making its first three 3-pointers, to take a 36-24 halftime lead over Kansas State in the NCAA South Regional final on Saturday night.

Ben Richardson made three 3s and had 11 points in the half for the Ramblers, who are attempting to advance to their first Final Four since winning the 1963 championship.

Loyola, the No. 11 seed, continued its winning formula from its Sweet 16 win over Nevada by attacking the basket against the Wildcats, the No. 9 seed.

Xavier Sneed has eight points for Kansas State, which is looking for its first Final Four berth since 1964.

- Charles Odum reporting from Atlanta


6:30 p.m.

Players from the 1963 Loyola-Chicago championship team are back for the Ramblers’ Elite Eight matchup against Kansas State, and this time they’re sitting closer to their team.

For Loyola’s Sweet 16 win over Nevada on Thursday night, Jerry Harkness, the captain of the ‘63 team, and three of his teammates had front-row seats across the court from the Ramblers.

For Saturday night’s South Regional final, the Ramblers’ elder statesmen are sitting immediately behind the Loyola bench.

The 1963 team won Loyola’s only national championship. The Ramblers haven’t made it back to another Final Four.

The ‘63 team has joined Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, Loyola’s 98-year-old team chaplain, as famous supporters of the 11th-seeded Ramblers’ surprise march through the tournament.

Loyola has taken an early lead over K-State, 25-19 with less than seven minutes in the first half.

- Charles Odum reporting from Atlanta.


6 p.m.

Loyola-Chicago could join the great underdog programs to make the Final Four in the past 10 years.

Eleventh-seeded Loyola faces No. 9 seed Kansas State in the South Region final in Atlanta on Saturday.

Loyola is the Missouri Valley Conference champion. Schools from non-power conferences don’t often get this far. Last season, Gonzaga of the West Coast Conference made the Final Four, though the Zags shed the Cinderella label long ago.

Wichita State of the Missouri Valley made it in 2013. In 2011, Butler of the Horizon League and Virginia Commonwealth of the Colonial Athletic Association got there. Butler also played in the Final Four in 2010, losing a close championship game to Duke in its own city of Indianapolis.

In the other regional final Saturday, third-seeded Michigan plays ninth-seeded Florida State in the West Region in Los Angeles.


5 p.m.

Time to punch the first two tickets to the Final Four. First up, a no. 9 seed or an 11.

Seems appropriate for this NCAA Tournament, where upsets have dominated especially in the South and West.

Ninth seeded Kansas State is a slight betting favorite over No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago in the South regional final in Atlanta. The second game Saturday night is in Los Angeles, where No. 3 seed Michigan plays No. 9 seed Florida State.

One of those four teams will eventually play for the national championship in San Antonio. Quite a feat considering three of those teams faced at least some bubble uncertainty in the final month of the regular season.


More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org ; https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 and https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-special-events

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide