Francis alum headed to Elite Eight

Then again, so does this: Xavier in the Elite Eight.

We closed on the coaching carousel.

Clever motivational tactics aside, it has been strong defense, relentless rebounding and the brilliance of Bluiett that has carried Xavier during the NCAA tournament. The team came up with burning the calendar to put February in the past. Markkanen did not attempt a shot in the last 11 minutes of the second half as 11th-seeded Xavier pulled off an improbable 73-71 upset of the second-seeded Wildcats.

One of Xavier's great strengths is their ability to rebound.

Such is life in the NCAA Tournament.

This season, his role has increased exponentially, starting every game for Chris Mack's program. The Musketeers lost to a UCLA team led by Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. Gonzaga received a first half scare against the No. 16 seed South Dakota Jack Rabbits, who they only led by four at halftime.

Miller has shown off his recruiting chops while at Arizona and next year's class has been touted as the best of the bunch, headlined by DeAndre Ayton, rated as the top overall recruit by some recruiting services. And, they are here and are now the lowest seeded team in the Sweet 16.

Arizona won the previous meeting to reach the Elite Eight, putting Miller one up on Mack.

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The Jayhawks will play this Saturday in Glendale, Arizona against the Oregon Ducks who won a dramatic game against Michigan Wolverines, 69-68. I don't care what defense they're playing - 1-3-1, 2-3, man-to-man - and I don't feel we did that tonight. Not in a decisive Sweet 16 game against an underdog Xavier team. Arizona will extend their Final Four drought to 16 years. Bluiett immediately drew two fouls on Allen and quickly had sophomore guard Allonzo Trier (6-5, 205) guarding him for most of the rest of the half. Quentin Goodin sacrificed his time, pledging to be in the gym more often working on his game and to spend more hours off the court with his teammates, working on those relationships.

Rogers had previously worked with Chris Mack, then on Skip Prosser's staff at Wake Forest, and suggested Miller consider him with the Musketeers. Xavier had five dunks to Arizona's one.

"I think their coach is awesome, " Miller said of Mack.

Trier was upfront and honest about this being the last game of the season when he faced reporters in the locker room following the game.

"The symbolism is not to worry about what's happened behind us", Mack said, "but to focus on moving forward, control what we can".

"You just can not let them get in transition like that", Purdue coach Matt Painter said. According to my bracket, I have Arizona knocking off Gonzaga and I am not the one to jump back and change my picks. Miller stated after the game. But along the way, there have been four Elite Eight losses under Self - three coming despite carrying a 1-seed. His footwork is impeccable, he has moves and countermoves, he can finish over either shoulder, and he does his work early, sealing and pinning defenders before they realize they've already lost. He's second on the school's all-time wins list behind Pete Gillen (202) with 186 wins. They have played their tales off this tournament. He's also reached new heights on the recruiting trail in terms of bringing in more highly-rated prospects. Arizona won't be scared of Gonzaga's height advantage, and have the luxury of pulling Lauri Markkanen out to the perimeter to draw either big man from the paint. His postseason play can only be helping his stock as a professional prospect.

Xavier had an even tougher 2016-17 season. "We stuck together", said Xavier's J.P Macura, who had 14 points. Smith and Bigby-Williams played only 10 combined minutes and scored just 1 point between them. When he scored 15 consecutive points, expanding a 49-48 lead to 64-61, he probably emptied his tank. Against Notre Dame, West Virginia shot 57% from behind the arc which is 20 percentage points higher than what they usually shoot. It turned on the Wildcats; on Thursday, Arizona got few easy buckets.

Big-time programs will come calling for him, whether it's IN or somewhere else. The Wildcats shot 43.5% from the field and 25.9% from three-point range.

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