When the Portland Trail Blazers extended their lead over the Washington Wizards to 21 points in the third quarter, the game seemed out of reach. The Trail Blazers have been desperate for wins since the All-Star break, but they’d won their last four games.
A win on Saturday would have brought them closer to reaching the Denver Nuggets for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. But the Wizards fought back and made an improbable fourth quarter push to force overtime before coming away with a 125-124 win on the road that included a controversial ending.
They’ve reached a couple of Elite Eights, but they haven’t gotten past that point. The Adam Morrison Zags couldn’t, nor could the Kelly Olynyk Zags, the Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos and Domantas Sabonis Zags, or any other group of Zags. Tons of great players have come through Spokane, but none have finished the job. This group — led by Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski — could change that.
Northwestern makes the tournament for the first time in the program’s 78-year history, coming in as a No. 8 seed where it’ll face No. 9-seeded Vanderbilt. That’s a matchup that should be plenty of fun.
After Gonzaga, the West’s next top seed is No. 2 Arizona, which is this season’s Pac-12 champion. The Wildcats are led by Allonzo Trier and projected NBA lottery pick Lauri Markkanen.
Here’s the full bracket.
All four regions can be found here. The West’s Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games are at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on March 23 and 25. Whoever survives heads to Glendale, Ariz., to to represent the region in the Final Four. It’ll be a fun journey to that point.