The first night of the Elite Eight has wrapped up, and two of the top eight teams in the country have advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA tournament. Both Baylor and Houston have snapped long Final Four draughts with their wins Monday night, and will face each other on Saturday in Indianapolis.
The Houston Cougars defeated the Cinderella Story Oregon State 67-61 in a game that got very close towards the end. Houston was led by Marcus Sasser and Quentin Grimes, scoring 20 and 18 points, respectively. Oregon State had a balanced score sheet, with a few bench players getting into the scoring column. As much as it stinks seeing a team like Oregon State have their improbable tournament run end, Houston has proven that they are one of the best teams in America. Shutting down two scorching hot teams in Syracuse and Oregon State is a tall task, and they did so with elite defense and great scoring from their star players. In the Final Four for the first time since the Phi Slamma Jamma days of the 80's, they have a tough matchup against one-seed Baylor on Saturday night.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Baylor defeated three-seed Arkansas 81-72, en route to their first Final Four appearance since 1950. The Bears used their trademark defense to stifle the Arkansas shooters all night, and led comfortably throughout. Every run the Razorbacks had, Baylor shut it down quickly with a run of their own, not allowing anything to get out of hand. All-American Jared Butler led the way with 14 points and five assists, with help from Macio Teague who contributed with 22 points of his own. Baylor has lost only two games all season, and they are living up to that record here in this tournament by controlling every opponent throughout each game. If they continue this great stretch of form, they could have a serious chance at cutting down the nets next Monday.