March Madness: San Diego State and Miami punch tickets to their first-ever Final Four
The five-seed San Diego State Aztecs are through to their first Final Four in school history after grinding out a low-scoring 57-56 win against the six-seed Creighton Bluejays in Sunday's Elite 8 action.
With their seasons on the line, the two sides combined to shoot a dismal five-of-30 (16.6 per cent) from three-point range, but there were no such struggles for Aztecs junior guard Lamont Butler.
Butler posted a game-high 18 points on eight-of-11 shooting, nailing both of his three-point attempts, while only committing one turnover in his 30 minutes.
Seven-foot-one Creighton center Ryan Kalkbrenner continued his strong NCAA Tournament with a team-high 17 points (eight-of-17 shooting), six rebounds and two blocks.
It was not without controversy though, as after Bluejays senior transfer Baylor Scheierman tied the game with 32 seconds remaining, San Diego State's Darrion Trammell was fouled on the potential game-winning floater with 1.2 seconds on the clock.
Creighton's players and coaches were apoplectic at the call, which was borderline, and after Trammell missed the first free throw, he drained the second to secure the one-point victory.
They will face this year's most unlikely Final Four participants next, with Florida Atlantic waiting in the wings after having never won a single game in the NCAA Tournament prior to this season.
Meanwhile, the five-seed Miami Hurricanes also booked their ticket to the first Final Four in school history after an 88-81 triumph over two-seed Texas.
The Hurricanes were coming off their first ever Elite 8 appearance in 2022, and they have gone even further this time around thanks in large part to the spectacular showing from senior wing Jordan Miller.
Miller scored a game-high 27 points – his highest total since November 2020 – while shooting a perfect seven-of-seven from the field and 13-of-13 from the free throw line.
All five of Miami's starters scored at least 11 points each, and they did it in old-school fashion, shooting 59 per cent from the field while only attempting eight three-pointers as a team.
The Hurricanes will meet the Connecticut Huskies in the Final Four, who are the only team seeded fourth or lower in NCAA Tournament history to win four games in a row by double-digits.