The first major upset of the NCAA Tournament occurred Saturday thanks to Wisconsin’s win over top-seeded Villanova. Looking back at the day's action, the standouts included a few prospects that committed more than once in high school, a three-star gem that has turned into a superstar and another that chose college ball over a pro contract. Altogether, we recap all of Saturday’s standouts and how they got to where they are today.
Purdue’s run to the Sweet 16 never would have come to fruition if Swanigan hadn't decided to back off of his commitment to Michigan State in 2015. California, Duke and Kentucky were in play for his services, but Swanigan ultimately decided on the Boilermakers. Despite a giant comeback from Iowa State on Saturday evening, Matt Painter’s crew walked away with the win as Swanigan finished with an impressive stat line of 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Williams-Goss has won at every point in his basketball career and that continued Saturday as he helped lead Gonzaga to another Sweet 16 berth. The 6-foot-5 lead guard, who has upped his efficiency numbers during his senior year, began his collegiate career at Washington under Lorenzo Romar. Williams-Goss, ranked No. 33 in the 2013 Rivals150, transferred to Gonzaga after two years with the Huskies. Saturday against Northwestern, Williams-Goss scored 20 points, hauled in eight rebounds and dished out four assists in the Bulldogs' 79-73 victory.
Bluiett was at one point committed to UCLA but backed off his pledge a month later in hopes of finding a better fit closer to home. The No. 34-ranked prospect in the 2014 Rivals150 considered in-state Butler but ended up inking with Xavier. Saturday, Bluiett was at his very best in the Musketeers' upset over No. 3 seed Florida State, filling the box score with 29 points and six rebounds.
The expectation surrounding Markkanen's recruitment was that Kansas and Utah would be tough to beat as his father played for the Jayhawks and his club coach played for the Utes. Sean Miller sold Markkanen on the idea of developing into a one-and-done prospect at Arizona while still competing for a national championship. Saturday against St. Mary's, Markkanen took just six shots from the field but pitched in 16 points along with 11 rebounds. The college game hasn’t seen many like Markkanen in recent years, and he is the type of talent that will soon hear his name called in the NBA Draft.
Hayes scored the game-winning basket for Wisconsin in its upset win over top-seeded Villanova, noting afterward that he stole the move from the legendary Michael Jordan. The former three-star prospect was a bit of a recruiting win for the Badgers in 2013 when then coach Bo Ryan beat out in-state Ohio State. Since signing with Wisconsin, all Hayes has done is win, taking UW back to the Sweet 16 for the fourth-straight year. Hayes has become a consistent producer on the biggest of stages, as he finished with 19 and eight rebounds in the win.