They were right, of course.
All those pundits who predicted that the winner of the second-round game between Michigan State and Georgia would reach the Final Four.
But so did the top seeds in the other three regions, an equally inexplicable result.
Until you have the coaches explain it for you.
Once again, with the official Tournament post-game press conferences transcribed by asapsports.com, here’s what the coaches said by way of explanation.
And what they wanted to say:
Gregg Marshall, Wichita State: Just from studying the film, you could tell what a dynamic offensive team they were. There’s nobody you can cheat off on. Each one of those five guys, and they play a lot of minutes, are dangerous.
Translation: I don’t particularly like the fact that we had fewer days to prepare than Notre Dame. That’s not an excuse. I just don’t like the pod system, or whatever they call it, where you go play Sunday night, you get back late, and then you’re back on the road Tuesday, when the other team has an extra day, plus less travel.
Bob Huggins, West Virginia: They had a good day today, and we had a miserable day, you know, so we lose by 40.
Translation: You don’t climb out of an 18-2 hole against Kentucky by shooting 24 percent and bricking 13 of 15 threes.
Roy Williams, North Carolina: You have to congratulate Wisconsin. I’m tired of congratulating people, but I wouldn’t trade my kids for anybody.
Translation: How do you not love and enjoy a group that can drill 8 of 13 threes, and then step up and make only 12 of 18 free throws?
Chris Mack, Xavier: Our guys competed their tails off. We gave one of the best teams in the country everything they wanted, and more.
Translation: We played Arizona dead even statistically. We just couldn’t make a couple of plays down the stretch.
Lon Kruger, Oklahoma: Just credit Michigan State for doing things better down the stretch than we did. I think Tom’s great all year long. His clubs always play well. He’s got his team playing well right now.
Translation: We ran into a hot team at the end of the year, just like our football team.
Mark Gottfried, N.C. State: I’m disappointed.
Translation: You make 9 of 20 threes, you ought to be able to take down Louisville, as poorly as they shoot.
Steve Alford, UCLA: We just got beat up on the glass, and that doesn’t happen to us very often. We gave up 18 offensive rebounds, and that enabled them to get to the free throw line, where we didn’t.
Translation: Simple math. They made 10 more free throws than we did. We lost by 12.
Larry Krystkowiak, Utah: I thought there was going to be a moment of truth in the game where Duke pressed, and, if we took care of the ball, probably weren’t going to see much of it.
Translation: Unfortunately, we had some turnovers and they kind of juiced it up a little bit and added to it.
Sean Miller, Arizona: I’m not going to apologize for being 34-4, and I’m not going to apologize for not making the Final Four. We lost to Wisconsin in two hard-fought battles in the Elite Eight, and if that’s a problem, I think you know what you can do.
Translation: Anybody got a problem with that?
Bo Ryan, Wisconsin: We have guys that are pretty smart, and what they’re trying to figure out in the first half is where we need to go, what we can do to get good shots.
Translation: Then guys got hot. You don’t shoot 79 percent every day in a half.
Mike Brey, Notre Dame: We really thought we had a great chance as the game was going on. I thought we just felt we could win the game. We were very confident. We were a little tired at the end. I used a couple of timeouts just to rest us. We were fatigued a little bit because our guys play a lot.
Translation: Our subs logged 16 minutes of playing time. Kentucky’s played 61.
John Calipari, Kentucky: Give Notre Dame credit. They came right after us. They were not afraid. They were confident. We made some plays down the stretch.
Translation: We made our last nine shots. I think their defense got fatigued a little bit.
Rick Pitino, Louisville: We’re trying to drive it hard, because we’re not a great shooting team. Not that we should have gotten the calls, but we didn’t.
Translation: I guess I sound greedy when I say 29 foul shots weren’t enough.
Tom Izzo, Michigan State: We just didn’t defend as well in the first half. They really got back to who we are. Holding a team like that to 5 of 25 from the field in the second half is remarkable.
Translation: We finally quit playing our “ole” defense, and they’re not a great shooting team.
Mark Few, Gonzaga: Man, if you get down to Duke inside that four minutes, I don’t think there’s anybody better at finishing games.
Translation: I mean, their guards each played 40 minutes and didn’t have a single turnover, and they made 9 of 10 free throws. Can’t beat that.
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke: They average about 80 points a game. They’re the top offensive team in the country. I think they scored 14 points in the last 16 minutes. That’s just collective effort.
Translation: I don’t think there’s anybody better at finishing games.