🌵 Headed Four Phoenix

Men's Final Four set, Elite Eight recap, MLB, NBA, NHL, EPL, golf, and more...

Good Morning! On the final day of March, the Final Four was finalized in men’s March Madness. And surprise! It features a pair of teams that nobody saw coming. Top-seeded UConn and Purdue could be on a collision course, but the Tide are riding a title wave of momentum (ha!), and the clock has yet to strike midnight for the Cinderella Wolfpack. On the women’s side, the semifinals are halfway set, with the last two Elite Eight matchups tipping off tonight, headlined by a tantalizing national championship rematch. It's been 72 hours of utter awesomeness in college hoops, and we’ll relive it all. Other sports were also played this weekend, so we’ll recap everything you might’ve missed stretching from the MLB ballpark to the Premier League pitch. Let us rejoice that March extends into April. And let the madness continue. By the way, happy April Fools’ Day!

WTF Stat: The three-point lines on either side of the court were different distances for the women’s NCAA Tournament Regionals (Sweet 16 and Elite Eight) at Portland’s Moda Center. Texas and NC State’s head coaches were made aware of the dimension discrepancy ahead of their Elite Eight game on Sunday and elected to play on the court rather than correcting the lines and delaying the game - the court will be adjusted before tonight’s Elite Eight matchup between UConn and USC.

Written By: Ian Dardani

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🏀 Headed Four Phoenix!

Photo: 2024 Final Four | Source: NCAA March Madness

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Elite Eight

  • South (Sunday) | #11 NC State 76, #4 Duke 64: The Pack is back in the Final Four for the first time since Jimmy V. led them to a title in 1983! NC State’s magical run — which began by winning five games in five days at the ACC tournament just to get a bid to the Big Dance — continued Sunday after upsetting No. 2 Marquette two days prior, as America’s newest star, big man DJ Burns Jr. (29 PTS, 13-19 FG, 4 REB, 3 AST) dazzled once again to knock off Kyle Filipowski (11 PTS, 3-12 FG, 9 REB), Jared McCain (32 PTS, 5-11 3PT, 6 REB), and rival Duke in Dallas - the No. 11 Wolfpack are tied for the lowest seed (and just the seventh double-digit seed) to reach the Final Four since seeding began in 1979

  • Midwest (Sunday) | #1 Purdue 72, #2 Tennessee 66: In a slugfest between two Naismith Player of the Year candidates, Dalton Knecht (37 PTS, 6-12 3PT, 3 REB) did absolutely everything he could for the Vols, who were seeking their first Final Four appearance in program history, but Zach Edey (40 PTS, 13-21 FG, 14-22 FT, 16 REB) was an unstoppable force inside, as the 7-foot-4 senior used a career-high 40 points to pull Purdue away in the final minutes, exorcising the Boilermakers’ recent tournament demons by booking the program’s first trip to the Final Four since 1980 - despite being a No. 4 seed or higher in the last six NCAA Tournaments, Purdue had reached the Elite Eight just one time in that span before this weekend

  • West (Saturday) | #4 Alabama 89, #6 Clemson 82: In a matchup between two football powerhouses seeking their first-ever Final Four appearance, Ian Schieffelin (18 PTS, 11 REB) and the Tigers trailed by an arm’s length nearly the entire second half and cut the deficit to three with 2:18 remaining; however, All-American Marcus Sears (23 PTS, 7-14 3PT, 2 AST) wouldn’t be denied and splashed a dagger three with 1:17 left to send the Tide to their first national semifinal in program history - Sears hit a career-high seven triples, and the Tide knocked down 10 threes in the second half

  • East (Saturday) | #1 UConn 77, #3 Illinois 52: After winning their first three tournament games by an average of 28.7 points, it looked like the Huskies finally found a competitor Saturday, as the score was tied 23-23 with 1:51 left in the first half. But then, “Cling Kong” Donavan Clingan (22 PTS, 9-13 FG, 10 REB, 5 BLK) and UConn went on an outrageous 30-0 run, holding Terrence Shannon Jr. (8 PTS, 2-12 FG, 3 AST) and the Illini scoreless for 53 minutes of real team to seize a robust 53-23 lead with 13:16 left in the second half, as Dan Hurley’s squad rolled to their second straight Final Four with another monster win - the Huskies are the first defending champions to reach the Final Four since Florida repeated in 2007 and they’ve won their last 10 NCAA Tournament games by 13-plus points, the longest streak in tournament history!

See the full box scores here.

Men’s Final Four

Saturday, April 6 - State Farm Stadium (Glendale, AZ)

  • #1 Purdue vs. #11 NC State 6:10pm ET, TBS

  • #1 UConn vs. #4 Alabama 8:50pm ET, TBS

See the entire men’s bracket here.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Elite Eight (Day 1)

  • Region 1 | #1 South Carolina 70, #3 Oregon State 58: The Gamecocks are back in the Final Four with a 36-0 record for the second straight season! Raegan Beers (16 PTS, 8 REB) and the Beavers only trailed 37-33 at the break, but Kelly Cardoso (12 PTS, 9 REB) and unbeaten South Carolina dominated the second half to reach their fourth consecutive Final Four - the Gamecocks are two wins away from achieving the first perfect season since 2016 UConn (38-0)

  • Region 4 | #3 NC State 76, #1 Texas 66: What a Sunday it was for the Wolfpack! Hours before their men’s team reached their first Final Four since 1983, NC State’s women’s squad punched their first ticket to the Final Four since 1998, as Aziaha James (27 PTS, 7-9 3PT, 6 REB, 4 AST) knocked down a career-high seven threes to outpace Madison Booker (17 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST) and the top-seeded Longhorns in Portland - NC State will play South Carolina in the national semifinals in Cleveland on Friday

See the full box scores here.

Today’s Schedule - Elite Eight (Day 2)

  • Region 2 | #1 Iowa vs. #3 LSU 7:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Region 3 | #1 USC vs. #3 UConn 9:00pm ET, ESPN

See the entire women’s bracket here.

Photo: Yankee Doodle | Source: USA Today

MLB - Top Games

  • New York Yankees 4, Houston Astros 3: Juan Soto (3-5, 1 RBI) became the first Yankee since the MLB’s 1961 expansion to record three go-ahead RBIs in three of his first four games with the team, as the Pinstripes’ newly acquired superstar ripped a tiebreaking one-run single in the top of the 9th on Sunday to complete an opening four-game sweep of Jose Altuve (2-14, 1 HR, 1 RBI) and the Astros in Houston - Soto also had a go-ahead homer on Saturday and a go-ahead RBI walk on Friday

  • Philadelphia Phillies 5, Atlanta Braves 4: After getting bounced by the Phils in the NLDS for the second straight season in 2023, Atlanta hung 21 runs on their postseason foes in their first two opening games to take a 2-0 series lead; however, the Fightins bounced back on Sunday as Alec Bohm (2-4, 2 RBIs) delivered a two-run single in the 7th to break a 3-3 tie, ultimately giving the Phillies their first win of the year

See the full MLB scoreboard here and the current standings here.

NBA - Top Games

  • San Antonio Spurs 130, New York Knicks 126: In the highlight of the weekend, Jalen Brunson (61 PTS, 25-47 FG, 6 AST) went ballistic in San Antonio on Friday and had a chance to break Carmelo Anthony’s franchise record of 62 points but missed a potential go-ahead three with 5.4 seconds left in overtime, as the Spurs survived thanks to Victor Wembanyama’s (40 PTS, 20 REB, 7 AST) monster double-double, including a career-high 40 points - Wemby threw the ball into the stands after the win, earning himself a $25,000 fine, and New York lost to OKC on Sunday, 113-112, thanks to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s game-winning jumper with 1.8 seconds remaining

  • Dallas Mavericks 125, Houston Rockets 107: To sum up Luka Doncic’s (47 PTS, 9-16 3PT, 12 REB, 7 AST) Sunday, he did this in warmups, and then pulled this off during the game. Silly. Mavs win big in Houston to snap the Rockets’ 11-game heater - Dallas (45-29) has won seven straight games and is tied with New Orleans (45-29) for fifth place in the West

  • Los Angeles Lakers 116, Brooklyn Nets 104: After the Pacers snapped the Lakers’ five-game win streak on Friday, Los Angeles bounced back on Sunday in Brooklyn behind LeBron James’ (40 PTS, 9-10 3PT, 7 REB, 5 AST) nine three-pointers, which matched a career-high for the King on his way to his third 40-piece this season - Los Angeles (42-33) is just one game back of the Kings (42-31) for the eighth seed in the West, which would take them out of the single-elimination play-in game

See the full NBA scoreboard here and the current standings here.

NHL - Top Games

  • New York Rangers 8, Arizona Coyotes 5: The Rags notched their NHL-best 50th win of the season in style on Saturday, as Alexi Lafreniere (3 G, 2 A) recorded a hat trick and two apples, Artemi Panarin (1 G, 3 A) added four points, and Jonathan Quick (27 SV) broke the win record for US-born goalies with his 392nd career victory - New York (50-20-4, 104 PTS) leads Dallas (47-19-9, 103 PTS) for the most points in the NHL by one point

  • Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Buffalo Sabres 0: Auston Matthews (1 G) buried his 60th bingo of the year on Saturday to become the NHL’s first two-time 60-goal scorer in 30 years, and Ilya Samsonov (34 SV) was perfect in net as the Leafs shutout the Sabres - with nine games remaining, Matthews is on pace for 67 goals this season

See the full NHL scoreboard here and the current standings here.

English Premier League - Top Matches

  • Arsenal 0, Manchester City 0: A highly-anticipated bout between two of the Premier League’s top three ended in a draw Sunday at the Etihad, as the usually prolific holders were held to just one shot on goal by the Gunners, who remained one point over City for second in the table with nine games remaining

  • Liverpool 2, Brighton & Hove Albion 1: While Arsenal and City failed to find twine, Liverpool gained ground atop the table Sunday with a come-from-behind victory, as Luis Diaz (27’) and Mohamed Salah (65’) rallied the Reds to top Danny Welbeck (2’) and Brighton at Anfield - Liverpool (20-7-2, 67 PTS) is two points ahead of Arsenal (20-5-4, 65 PTS) and three points ahead of Man City (19-7-3, 64 PTS)

See the full international scoreboard here and the current EPL table here.

⛳️ Nelly Korda (-20) won the inaugural Ford Championship on Sunday at Seville Country Club in Gilbert, AZ, for her third consecutive LPGA victory this season - Korda is the first to accomplish a three-peat since Ariya Kutanugarn in 2016

⛳️ Stephan Jaeger (-12) won the Houston Open on Sunday at Memorial Park in Houston, TX, for his first PGA Tour victory - Scottie Scheffler (-11) missed a birdie putt on hole No. 18 to force a playoff

🏎️ Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR Cup Series at Richmond on Sunday for his third victory this season - Hamlin won two weeks ago at Bristol and the season’s opening race in Los Angeles

🏒 The Frozen Four is set in men’s NCAA hockey, with No. 1 Boston College set to play unseeded Michigan and No. 2 Boston University set to play No. 3 Denver in the national semifinals on April 11 in Saint Paul, MN - all four teams won their second-round matchups over the weekend

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Before NC State did so on Sunday, when was the last time a school sent both their men's and women's basketball teams to the Final Four in the same year?

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Women’s NCAA Tournament - Elite Eight

  • Region 2: #1 Iowa vs. #3 LSU 7:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Region 3: #1 USC vs. #3 UConn 9:00pm ET, ESPN


  • Boston Celtics @ Charlotte Hornets 7:00pm ET, Local

  • Phoenix Suns @ New Orleans Pelicans 8:00pm ET, NBA TV

  • Full Schedule


  • Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers 7:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Florida Panthers @ Toronto Maple Leafs 7:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Los Angeles Kings @ Winnipeg Jets 9:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Full Schedule

Trivia Time Answer

A. 2017. Before the Wolfpack, the last school to send their men’s and women’s teams to the Final Four in the same year was South Carolina in 2017. That season, the Gamecocks’ men’s team lost to Gonzaga in the semifinals, but their women’s team won it all. In total, it’s happened just 14 times, and UConn is the only school to win the men’s and women’s national championships in the same year, doing so in 2014 and 2004.

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Women’s NCAA Tournament - Elite Eight

  • #1 Iowa vs. #3 LSU: LSU ML (+110)

NC State wouldn’t have made the NCAA Tournament if not for this remarkable buzzer-beater against UVA in the ACC semifinals. Thanks for reading!