Fun day in college hoops yesterday, eh? You can complain all you want about the lack of upsets, buzzer beaters, madness, etc. but the NCAA Tournament is beautiful regardless of how crazy it is. Here is a recap of the first eight games of the Round of 32…
(4) West Virginia 83, (5) Notre Dame 71: Press Virginia was a little too much for the Irish. The Mountaineers controlled the tempo the entire game and Notre Dame couldn’t get over the hump. Jevon Carter was fantastic for West Virginia scoring 21 and hit multiple timely shots.
West Virginia moves on to the Sweet 16 with a much-anticipated matchup against (1) Gonzaga.
Villanova 62, (8) Wisconsin 65: A number one seed goes down in the Round of 32! Nigel Hayes delivers a clutch layup with 11 seconds left to put the Badgers ahead. Bronson Koenig was clutch all game scoring 17 and Hayes has 19 for the Badgers. Tough way to go out for the defending champs as they were up 57-50 with around 3 minutes to go but decided to slow up the tempo and ended up costing them.
Badgers advance to their fourth straight Sweet 16 and will play (4) Florida.
(1) Gonzaga 79, (8) Northwestern 73: Gonzaga had a 22 point lead in this one then the ‘Cats came storming back in one of the most intense games in this year’s tournament. Northwestern cut the deficit to five then there was an obvious goaltending which was not called by the officials and Wildcats’ coach Chris Collins received a technical after the play. The ‘Cats never recovered and Gonzaga was able to hold on and clinch a berth to the Sweet 16.
Nigel Williams-Goss had 20, Zach Collins and Jordan Mathews added 14 apiece for Gonzaga. Bryant McIntosh had 20 for Northwestern while Vic Law followed with 18. Chris Collins has something special at Northwestern and it’s just the beginning for that program.
Gonzaga moves on to the Sweet 16 and will play (4) West Virginia.
Also, our very own Connor Lagore proved CPP writers are better at our jobs than ESPN analysts by schooling Jay Williams in this tweet.
— Connor Lagore (@clagore34) March 19, 2017
(3) Florida State 66, (11) Xavier 91: Who would’ve thought, three weeks ago, that Villanova would lose in the Round of 32 and Xavier would be moving onto the Sweet 16? Certainly not I. The Musketeers were 11-17 from 3-point land in the game and Florida State had no answer. Trevon Bluiett had a day scoring 29 points, leading Xavier while Kiser Gates added 14.
Not sure what happened to Florida State. The Seminoles just collapsed over the season and their struggles carried into March. So much NBA talent on their roster but it wasn’t enough to make a deep run in the tourney.
Xavier will play the (2) Arizona in the Sweet 16.
(4) Butler 74, (12) Middle Tennessee 65: The Butler Way. The ‘Dawgs avoid the upset bid sneaking past the Blue Raiders and securing a spot in the Sweet 16. Kelan Martin was a man amongst boys coming off the bench scoring 19 points and Andrew Chrabascz chipped in 15 for the ‘Dawgs.
Tough to see a team like Middle Tennessee get knocked out of the tournament. They’ve had a great run upsetting Michigan State last year in the first round and Minnesota this year. Especially Blue Raider senior Reggie Upshaw who did so much for the program and really put them on the map.
Butler advances to play the winner of (1) North Carolina/(8) Arkansas.
(2) Arizona 69, (7) St. Mary’s 60: Good teams win when they don’t play their best. Well, that’s exactly what Arizona did in their victory over this pesky St. Mary’s squad. Lauri Markkanen had his 17th double-double of the year finishing with 16 points and 11 boards for the Wildcats.
Arizona shot 45% from the field, 23% from 3-point land as a team and still found a way to beat a very good St. Mary’s team. If the Wildcats start to click and everyone starts to play well, which was not the case tonight, look out cause they can beat anyone, especially with their fantastic guard play.
Arizona will now move on to play (11) Xavier in the Sweet 16. Coach Sean Miller’s former school should be an awesome matchup, especially at the guard position.
(4) Florida 65, (5) Virginia 39: Virginia’s motto is “win and win ugly.” Well, that wasn’t the case in this one. The Cavaliers shot 29% from the field and were 1/15 from behind the arc while no one on Tony Bennett’s team scored more than 10 points.
On the other hand, Florida played great basketball and controlled the game from start to finish. The Gators used a 21-0 run starting in the first half and continuing on in the second half to propel them to an easy victory. Devin Robinson and Justin Leon had 14 each for Florida in the win.
Florida will face the (8) Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.
(4) Purdue 80, (5) Iowa State 76: Purdue was up by 19 at one point in the second half. What looked like a blowout, became a battle as Iowa State came storming back and took the lead in the last minute of the ballgame. Ultimately, Caleb Swanigan and the Boilers were able to hold on for dear life and come away with the victory. “Biggie” Swanigan had 20 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists and Vince Edwards played well himself putting up 21 points for the Boilers.
Before the Cyclone comeback, Purdue looked unbeatable and Iowa State had no answer for Purdue’s frontcourt. When Coach Matt Painter decided to take Swanigan out of the game up 19, Purdue started to become flustered by Iowa State’s speed and quickness and before you knew it, it was a five-point game. In the end, though, the Boilermakers were able to hold on to clinch their first Sweet 16 since 2010.
Purdue will go on to play the winner of (1) Kansas/(9) Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
Should be another great day in college basketball today. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @edupridepress as we will most likely be live tweeting all the games and giving our takes on the madness. Also, we’ll be doing a podcast tonight recapping the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament and what we are most looking forward to as we get closer to Phoenix and the Final Four.
Photo via USA Today