Saturday, March 29, 2014
Sean and Archie Miller are headed to the Elite Eight together.
One had it easier than the other — and it probably wasn't the one you'd expect.
Archie's Dayton Flyers, the darlings of the 2014 NCAA tournament, took down another higher-seeded team, stiff-arming Stanford in Memphis Thursday night to reach the regional final for the first time since 1984.
Big brother Sean's Arizona Wildcats, the top seed in the West, had a much tougher time getting through, laboring through most of their game against San Diego State before wearing down the Aztecs in Anaheim, Calif., to reach the Elite Eight for the second time in four years.
Already the first brothers to coach separate teams into the Sweet 16, they're now a game away from the Final Four and, dare we say it, an all-brothers championship game in Texas.
"We're both alive," Sean said.
Archie's Flyers weren't supposed to be here.
The 11th seed in the South Region, they opened the first full day of the tournament with a bracket-crumpling win over Ohio State and proved it was no fluke by taking down Syracuse to reach the second weekend.
Not satisfied with that, Dayton took it to another favorite in one of the early games Thursday night, using its 12-deep roster to wear down No. 10 seed Stanford 82-72 in a third-straight upset.
Next up for the Flyers is a date with top overall seed Florida on Saturday.
"It was a true team effort," Archie said. "That's what they've been about all year, so it's nice to see on the biggest stage, us be ourselves."
The Wildcats weren't themselves until the game was on the line, which, in a way, is just being themselves.
Arizona (33-4) labored most of the game against San Diego State, burned by offensive rebounds in the first half and unable to get some of its best players going.
The Wildcats have had a knack for wearing teams down by the end of games and they did it again against the Aztecs, pulling out a 70-64 victory after Nick Johnson scored all 15 of his points in the final 2:45.
Arizona moves on to face another defense-oriented team in the Elite Eight, against Wisconsin Saturday night in Southern California.
"We were tested in a huge way," Sean said.
Pass one more test and the two brothers will match wits for a national championship.