Here’s what we learned from the round of 64 in the NCAA tournament. The games are so hard to call that match ups that felt like pick’em games turned into blowouts. We also learned that injuries will play a huge part in who advances from here on out. The foul line can either win you the game or lose it for you.
The No.1 seeds all won their games in various ways. Arizona got down early to Weber State, but turned the defensive intensity up to win by nine. Their dominant defense offset what was a struggling offensive performance for the Wildcats.
Gonzaga won a foul fueled contest over Oklahoma State. It’s hard to tell if the Bulldogs played well because of all those whistles. Gonzaga had a comfortable lead, but foul shooting almost let Oklahoma State back into the game. Still, they made enough to advance to the round of 32.
Baylor beat Nebraska in another foul fest. The Cornhuskers never got into a rhythm, and the stoppages in play almost made the game unwatchable. Baylor’s 2-3 zone will be a problem for plenty of teams.
Doug McDermott is still a dynamic scorer. The Creighton star hit the 30 point mark and grabbed 12 rebounds. It was a nice 10 point victory, over Louisiana-Lafayette. Creighton faced multiple defenses and they’ll see another good one in Baylor on Sunday.
Wichita State had the easiest time of all the No. 1 seeds this week. The Shockers moved to (35-0) and their defense is very good. Cleanthony Early had 23 points and outscored Cal Poly by himself in the first half. Wichita State will face Kentucky in the next round.
We learned that players shouldn’t dunk the ball with 19:58 left in warm ups. Kentucky started the game with two foul shots before the game even started. It was a bad omen for the Kansas State Wildcats on Friday.
Tennessee’s size was too much for UMASS. They’ve dealt with two trapping defenses and handled both of them fairly well. They’ll face Mercer in the round of 32. This game will be played in the paint for sure.
Duke took 37 3-point shots in the loss. They started the game 7-14 from downtown.
Unfortunately, Iowa State lost Georges Niang for the season with a broken foot. The Cyclones looked like a Final Four caliber team, but they are now missing their biggest player on a small team. Niang led Iowa State with 24 points on Friday.
Instead of making the foul shots, North Carolina decided to get the offensive rebounds. Providence had the game in their hands, but the Friars couldn’t keep the Tarheels off the boards. North Carolina moves on to play the depleted Iowa State Hawkeyes. That spells trouble for the Big 12 champion.
Virginia was down by five at half time and the game was in the balance midway through the second half. Yet, Virginia put on a decisive run to knock off No. 16 seed Coastal Carolina. The Cavaliers will face Memphis on Sunday. The Tigers led from opening tip and fended off a furious rally by George Washington.
There’s no way VCU should have lost to Stephen F. Austin. After missing two foul shots, the Rams fouled on a three point attempt to make it a four point play. The Lumberjacks took the lead in Overtime and rebounded the final VCU miss to win by two.
The UCLA Bruins looked like the team to beat. Every time they were challenged, UCLA would come up with huge plays. Kyle Anderson had a sloppy game with five turnovers, but the Bruins had a total team effort.
Kansas didn’t hang their head when Eastern Kentucky played them to a stand still. The closer the game stayed, the more Kansas attacked the rim. The Jayhawks dominated the glass with Jamari Traylor and Perry Ellis snatching double-doubles.
Kansas will face upset minded Stanford in the round of 32. The Cardinal got out to a huge lead and held on for dear life against New Mexico. It’s the second year in a row the Lobos went out in the first round.
The Jayhawks did not miss Joel Embiid in the first game. Kansas got 43 points from their front court. That doesn’t include the 19 points by Andrew Wiggins.
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