The NCAA tournament has lost another No. 1 seed. Xavier, the top seed in the West Region, blew a double-digit second-half lead and lost to No. 9 Florida State on Sunday in Nashville, 75-70. A wild tournament got even wilder with the Seminoles’ win.
FSU will play Gonzaga in a West Region semifinal next weekend in Los Angeles. The ‘Noles are two wins from the Final Four, where they’ve been just once, in 1972.
Xavier led by 12 with 10 minutes left in the game. The tide started to turn in earnest when the Musketeers’ J.P. Macura picked up his fourth foul with nine minutes left. Xavier led by 10 then, and when he returned with a little more than four minutes on the clock, the lead had dwindled to three. He fouled out shortly thereafter, and FSU just kept pushing.
The Seminoles pulled ahead with 1:08 to play, when PJ Savoy connected on a critical three-pointer. They hadn’t led since the score was 15-14 in the first half:
FSU didn’t give that lead up, and Xavier’s season ended in tragedy. The Musketeers joined Virginia as No. 1 seeds who fell short of a Sweet 16 berth.
The Musketeers became the second team based in the city of Cincinnati to suffer a confounding blown lead in the tournament on Sunday. Hours earlier, Cincinnati had coughed up a 22-point lead to lose to Nevada, the second-biggest come-from-ahead loss in the history of the tournament. Xavier didn’t quite outdo the Bearcats, but their fate was the same: an incredible season gone down the drain after an awful second half.