In the biggest upset of the tournament, Arizona blew an 8-point lead in the final four minutes, and got dusted by Xavier in a Sweet 16 shocker, 73-71.
California has been a nightmare for Arizona in the regionals, and this stunner in San Jose will stick with the Wildcats for years. Leading 69-61 with 3:45 left, Arizona went stagnant on offense, and gave up a 12-2 run to end the game.
Allonzo Trier was brilliant for Arizona, scoring 15 straight points during one stretch as the Wildcats forged ahead. And then he went ice cold. Leading 69-61, Trier went 0-for-3 the rest of the way with a turnover. He missed Arizona’s final shot. Their NBA lottery pick, Lauri Markkanen, didn’t take one shot in the final 11 minutes.
How does that even happen? Yes, Trier had been hot. But then he went cold. They ran little-to-no offense after grabbing the 8-point lead. Arizona came out of a timeout with the game tied at 71, and actually drew up a play for their other 7-footer. He got out of position and tried a 5-foot hook from basically behind the basket. It was an airball. Bizarre.
Trier is a titillating player, and a frustrating one, too. As explosive as that 15-point binge was, he finished with 19 points … on 19 shots. Markkanen took only nine shots, and finished with nine points.
It’s such a devastating loss for the Wildcats. Markkanen will head off to the draft. Senior Kadeem Allen graduates, and who knows if Trier will return. They’ll get another monster recruiting class, because that’s what Miller does. And then in March? Here are their last four finishes:
2017 – Sweet 16 loss, Xavier
2016 – 1st round loss, Wichita State
2015 – Elite 8 loss, Wisconsin
2014 – Elite 8 loss, Wisconsin
2013 – Sweet 16 loss, Ohio State
I believe the last four years, they were eliminated as favorites.
Xavier will play Gonzaga Saturday afternoon for a trip to the Final Four. This is how I feel right now: