It has been a wild ride in March Madness this year, and Wichita State and La Salle sit in the tattered remains of the West Region after laying waste to brackets everywhere.
Wichita State dismantled the Pittsburgh Panthers in the second round, and then proceeded to knock off the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in the third round. Gonzaga pulled ahead by eight points in the second half and seemed ready to punch its ticket to the next round, but Wichita State finished the game with five consecutive shots behind the arc in the win. The Shockers finished 14 of 28 from three-point range. Wichita State last made it to the Sweet 16 in 2006 before losing to George Mason.
Tyrone Garland banked home a running layup with two seconds left as the Explorers defeated the No. 12 Mississippi Rebels to advance to the first Sweet 16 in school history. The Explorers have been farther, though, making it to the championship game in 1955 -- back when the tournament had only 24 teams. Even compared to the No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, La Salle has had an exciting run in the tournament. The Explorers dominated the Boise State Broncos in the first round, and have made it by their second- and third-round opponents in two-point wins both games.
It will be a contrast of styles between the two teams. The Explorers are undersized compared to the Shockers and will most likely get demolished on the boards. Wichita State was the seventh-best in the nation with a +8.4 rebounding margin, La Salle just 278th with a -3.0 margin. But Wichita State's hot shooting that helped it down Gonzaga might not be consistent. The Shockers normally shoot 33 percent from three-point range.
Game time, location: 10:17 p.m. ET; Staples Center, Los Angeles.
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