All that said, making it this far in the tournament - while no surprise - is something every West Virginia should take pride in.
Arizona guard Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, and the Wildcats took a 71-64 lead on Kadeem Allen's driving layup with 2:52 remaining.
The numbers have been kind to Gonzaga all season, it being the only team nationally that ranks among the Top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. There is no guarantee that they'll win the national championship or even make it to the Final Four (more on or, their competition for Saturday, below), but no one has looked more consistent through the NCAA Tournament than Kansas. Blueitt made 9 of 17 shots and Bernard 5 of 6. The Mountaineers carved up the Irish defense, shooting 50 percent from the field and knocking down 8 of 14 threes.
A field of 68 men's college basketball teams has been narrowed down to 16.
It was listed as a neutral-site game, but Sprint Center is less than an hour from Allen Fieldhouse, the home of the Jayhawks. All that's missing is a trip to the Final Four. The Ducks defeated MI 69-68 earlier Thursday. He was fouless in the first half. Purdue's vaunted inside game never materialized as the Jayhawks owned a 36-29 rebounding advantage. Gonzaga's experience getting mildly pressed by Santa Clara was no real prep; neither was its scout team fouling its starters like mad for multiple days in practice this week.
A step-back 3-pointer from Carter cut into the Zags lead, but GU still was up 45-40.
From there, Kansas pulled away.
Thursday's games provided plenty of thrills, including one of the worst final possessions in NCAA Tournament history and a glimpse of a potentially legendary run from one of our No. 1 seeds. Sophomore Esa Ahmad opened with an aggressive approach on offense that saw him garner six 2nd half attempts from the free throw line. The Jayhawks held Swanigan and Haas to two rebounds apiece. In the first round, the Musketeers topped No. 6 Maryland, 76-65. Graham had 10 while Haas had 11. This was the Bulldogs' ninth Sweet 16 appearance in an NCAA Tournament game. Former Mountaineer point guard Darris Nichols, who started his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Huggins, is an assistant coach at Florida, which will play Wisconsin in a Sweet 16 game in the East Region Friday at approximately 10 p.m. He was going to take a step back and he's unsafe out to about 40 feet.
OR (32-5) was led by Tyler Dorsey with 20 points. "They're averaging nearly 41 rebounds a game". He finished with 21 points and seven rebounds on Thursday.
Walton led No. 7 seed MI (26-12) with 20 points.
But the Mountaineers, fueled by Carter, their whippet-quick point guard, soon wiped out their deficit. Tied again at 55 with 1:55 remaining, WVU's Jevon Carter stole the ball at midcourt and passed ahead to Nathan Adrian, and he lost the ball out of bounds as Gonzaga's Silas Melson appeared to push Adrian in the back.
Jevon Carter airballed his first 3-point attempt, then badly missed his second, and they couldn't even get a third shot off because he was too gun-shy after that poor showing.
No. 1-seed Gonzaga advanced and will face No. 2-seed Arizona/No. 11-seed Xavier in the Elite Eight. Przemek Karnowski, Johnathan Williams and Mathews each had 13 points.
But you have to shoot a whole lot better to deserve anything, and if Gonzaga had the game's biggest stops, it also made its biggest shot when Cal transfer Jordan Mathews hit a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left and his team down 58-57.
Carter missed a hard layup, but Miles was fouled fighting for a rebound and then missed two foul shots with 1:08 to go to leave the lead at 58-57.
Despite being the sixth best team in the nation in boards, the Zags were out-rebounded by the Mountaineers 41-34. It was the type of game whose box score suggested West Virginia should have won.