Welcome to the Sweet 16 America!
For as terrible as the first weekend of the NCAA tournament was at times, Thursday night's games more than made up for it: Three games decided by a basket or less, and one absolute clinic put on by one the nation's top teams.
Nobody should be surprised that the Big Ten had a rough night. Michigan was at least up to the challenge against Oregon, but Purdue, supposedly the best the B1G had to offer, got taken to school by a far superior team.
We'll get to the praise the Jayhawks deserve in a moment, but lets take a moment to examine how wonderfully awful Purdue was Thursday.
So Kansas features one of the top back courts in the nation (and that's not debatable), and yet in the first half, they chose to double team Landon Lucas at times? Really?
Caleb Swanigan, the Big Ten player of the year, is talking trash until the bitter end, even when the Boilers are down by 25 points?
Issac Haas, all 7-2 of him, gets shoved around by the KU guards while standing flat footed in the restricted area?
It was not a pretty night for Matt Painter's team.
As far as KU goes, they showed again why they should be considered the favorite to cut down the nets. You may not see a more complete game out of a player than what Frank Mason III showed Thursday night, and you certainly won't see a team hit more shots at the end of a game.
Kansas literally dribbled out 25 seconds of the shot clock the last four minutes, and hit nearly every mildly contested look. It was an impressive display.
If the Jayhawks play like they did against Purdue, supposedly a "bad matchup" due to their size, they won't loose again this tournament.
How wild was the West region Thursday night?
Gonzaga barely escapes West Virginia, a team unlike anything they had played all year, and then Xavier decided to try on the glass slipper by knocking off Arizona.
Make no mistake - the Zags were lucky to win. West Virginia, normally a very capable offensive team, shot a miserable 26.7 percent for the night, and while Gonzaga's defense deserves a good bit of the credit, WVU also missed a ton of wide open looks...badly.
It sets up a fathomable scenario where Xavier, the third or fourth best team out of the Big East, could advance to the Final Four. Gonzaga, for as good as they were most of the year, has yet to play exceptionally well in the tournament.
Xavier, despite the loss of PG Edmond Sumner earlier this season, is getting insanely good play out of Trevon Bluiett right now. They're capable of beating the Zags on Saturday.
Maybe you're not a soccer fan, or maybe you've just gotten lost in March Madness (which is perfectly acceptable), but the U.S. Men's National Team has a critical game Friday night against Honduras.
It's the second batch of games in the CONCACAF Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying. The U.S. is already 0-2 (their worst start in history), and can ill-afford another loss. The fallout from the poor start has already been significant, with former coach Jurgen Klinsmann being dismissed in favor of L.A. Galaxy boss and former USMNT manager Bruce Arena.
Here's the rub - you may not give a crap about soccer, save for once every four years during the World Cup when the U.S. is playing. Well, if the United States doesn't win Friday, there's virtually a zero percent chance that they'll qualify in 2018.
So, if you want to catch FIFA fever next summer, at least be silently pulling for the U.S. while you're taking in March hoops.
So, Charles Barkley is obviously not a huge fan of Fox Sports commentator Skip Bayless
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) March 24, 2017
While Barkley was joking (hopefully, at least), and this clearly crosses all sorts of lines, I'm sure there are plenty of people that would tune in to watch Barkley at least tune up Bayless.
Just because it's Friday, here's a GIF of Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin dancing.
?"It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on FRIDAY" ?
— U.S. Olympic Team (@TeamUSA) March 24, 2017
Enjoy the weekend.