Just two Aussies remain as the NCAA tournament enters its penultimate Final Four round. With no Australian ever claiming an NCAA National Championship, could this be the year?
Written by Liam Ellison.
No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 1 Baylor
Saturday April 6, 10am AEDT
Morgan Yaeger (Oregon) – 4.4 points, five rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.
The Oregon Ducks are into the Final Four after an 88-84 victory over Mississippi St in the Elite Eight. Morgan Yaeger did not hit the floor in the Ducks’ win, as the widely regarded best player in college basketball, Sabrina Ionescu, played all 40 minutes.
Head coach Kelly Graves trimmed his rotation to just seven players and even Yaeger, who is often the first guard off the bench for Oregon, was unable to see game-time.
In the Sweet Sixteen, Yaeger played seven minutes as Oregon defeated South Dakota St by ten points.
Oregon will now face Baylor in the final four, with a win meaning they will meet the winners of Notre Dame vs. UConn in the National Championship game.
No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 5 Auburn
Sunday April 7, 8:09am AEDT
Kody Stattmann (Virginia) – 1.7 points per game.
The last remaining #1 seed in the men’s bracket, Kody Stattmann and the Virginia Cavaliers advanced through the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight in nail-biting fashion.
The Cavaliers firstly defeated Oregon by just four points before prevailing in overtime against Purdue in the Elite Eight.
Kody Stattmann did not see any game-time during either game and is unlikely to hit the court in their last two games but still has a real chance to be Australia’s first NCAA Champion.
Star of the Cardinal and recently named member of the AP All-American Second team, Alanna Smith and Stanford were knocked out by Notre Dame in the Elite Eight on Tuesday afternoon.
Smith was held to 14 points and eight rebounds in the 84-68 loss, ending her four-year career in the process.
She finishes her time at Stanford as the tenth leading scorer in school history with 1,703 points, second for blocks with 225 while also becoming just the fourth NCAA women’s basketball player in the last 30 years to record 1,600 points, 150 made triples and 200 blocks alongside Elena Delle Donne, Maya Moore, and Breanna Stewart.
Jasmine Simmons registered another DNP as Oregon St fell to #1 seed Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen while over on the men’s side, Duke’s Jack White returned to game action in the Elite Eight after recovering from a hamstring injury.
White played three minutes off the bench in his return as Duke were defeated in the dying moments 67-68 by Michigan St to drop out of the NCAA tournament, much to the disappointment of the Blue Devil’s army.