We had some blowouts and we had some neck and neck games. That’s March, right?
To start the day off, Maryland and LSU went head to head for the first berth in the Sweet 16.
LSU led by 9 at the break and controlled all parts of the game during the first half. That was the first half though… the Terps wouldn’t let the Tigers run away with it. A progressive run throughout the first half brought Maryland within a bucket and had their first lead of the game with just under 6 minutes to play. Although the run was spectacular and gave us a great introduction to the Round of 32, it wasn’t enough. Tremont Waters, who finished with 12 points going 5 for 12, made the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left. The Tigers move on and the Terrapins are heading home.
Next up was the Wofford Terriers looking to knock off the Kentucky Wildcats. Wofford beat Seton Hall with their daggers from deep, but those daggers weren’t on target as Kentucky got the dub 62-56. Fletcher Magee of Wofford went 0 for 12 from downtown, with a disappointing 6 points. Wofford stuck in it for most of the game, but the shots weren’t falling. Kentucky will head onto the Sweet 16,
Following the first two games, which were VERY good, we had the Michigan Wolverines against the Florida Gators. Florida knocked off #7 Nevada in the first round and now today they played a stellar Wolverines’ defense. Michigan’s defense was present and dangerous, holding Florida to 49 points in a 64-49 win. Neither team shot incredibly well, but Jordan Poole helped boost the Maize and Blue into the Sweet 16.
Looking for the first upset of the day, star Ja Morant and Murray State went against Florida State. Ja Morant put up 28 points but it wasn’t enough this time as Murray State can’t continue to play Cinderella. Florida State won 90-62 with Mfiondu Kabengele leading the way with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Oh, and that was off the bench… on 10-12 shooting. Pretty good addition to have off your bench for the Seminoles.
Midway point for the day, Gonzaga took on Baylor. This game was no surprise, as the Bulldogs wipe away any upset talk by the Bears and continue to prove doubters wrong with an 83-71 win. Brandon Clarke was simply incredible for Gonzaga, racking up 36 points on 15 of 18 shooting. He also snagged 8 rebounds and had 5 blocks.
The Michigan State Spartans took on conference rival Minnesota Gophers in the Round of 32. The Gophers were lights out shooting against Louisville in the first round, but not today. Minnesota shot 2 for 22 from three. Yes, 2 for 22. That is 9% from behind the arc. As a whole team, they shot a dreadful 31% from the field. Michigan State only had 2 players in double figures and had 22 turnovers. Not the greatest numbers, but Tom Izzo and his Spartans keep playing in March.
The defending champs Villanova Wildcats were up next to tip against the Purdue Boilermakers. Turns out Jay Wright and his defense aren’t unstoppable in March. Carsen Edwards put up a casual 42 points to lead the Boilermakers into the Sweet 16. 53.7% from the field and 53% from 3, Purdue was hot from the tip and hope to carry the Momentum into the next round.
To wrap up the first day of the Round of 32, we had Auburn versus Kansas. Kansas was one game away from playing in the Sweet 16 and on their home court, but they couldn’t get it done. Auburn came out with speed and carrying their momentum shooting 53% and forcing the Jayhawks to 16 turnovers. Dedric Lawson for Kansas and Bryce Brown for Auburn both had 25, but the Tigers got it done and will go to Kansas City for the Sweet 16.
The first day was action packed and the second day won’t disappoint. Here are the games for day two of the Round of 32.
(2) Tennessee v. (10) Iowa – 12:10pm ET
(1) North Carolina v. (9) Washington – 2:40pm ET
(1) Duke v. (9) UCF – 5:15pm ET
(3) Texas Tech v. (6) Buffalo – 6:10pm ET
(4) Virginia Tech v. (12) Liberty – 7:10pm ET
(1) Virginia v. (9) Oklahoma – 7:45pm ET
(3) Houston v. (11) Ohio State – 8:40pm ET
(12) Oregon v. (13) UC Irvine – 9:40pm ET