NOTRE DAME ONLY ONE OF THREE 3-SEEDS TO ADVANCE THURSDAY
Two three seeds went down in Thursday’s first three match-ups to kick off another unpredictable start to the NCAA Tournament. The main takeaway? The Big 12 is overrated.
Perhaps Thursday’s biggest play came from R.J. Hunter of the 14-seeded Georgia State Panthers, who sunk this 30-footer with 2.7 second left to knock off 3-seeded Baylor 57-56. The Panthers will try to recreate the magic Saturday against 6-seed Xavier.
The other 3-seed from the Big 12 to be shocked Thursday afternoon was Iowa State. Down three to UAB with just seconds remaining, Iowa State’s Naz Long missed an elbow three-pointer that would have sent the game into overtime. A tip-in at the buzzer for the Cyclones made the final score 60-59 UAB.
Notre Dame was the only 3-seed to make it out of Thursday alive, holding off the Northeastern Huskies by forcing a clutch turnover in the game’s final minute to win 69-65. The Irish will face 6-seeded Butler Saturday.
I said going into yesterday that “as far as upsets are concerned, I think the 1-3 seeds are all pretty safe.” So you can pretty much guess how my bracket’s doing right now.
LATE START NOT IDEAL FOR CATS, BEAT 16-SEED HAMPTON BY 23
After the 8/9 matchup of Cincinnati and Purdue went into overtime in Louisville, undefeated Kentucky did not tip-off against 16-seeded Hampton until about 10:20 p.m. Thursday. The Cats got off to a sluggish start shooting just 8-23 from the field, before going on a 14-0 run to finish the half up 41-22. Kentucky only outscored the Pirates by four in the second half, capturing their 35th win of the season by a final of 79-56.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Cats in scoring with 21, going 8-12 from the field and also co-led the team in rebounds with 11. Willie Cauley-Stein also had 11 boards and added seven points. Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and Tyler Ulis co-led the team in assists with three.
KENTUCKY/HAMPTON BOX SCORE:
Kentucky moves on to play 8-seeded Cincinnati at 2:40 p.m. Saturday at the YUM! Center in Louisville.
SMU GETS ROBBED, NC STATE RALLIES & OHIO ST. WINS IN OT
Down two with the ball and just 12 seconds remaining, UCLA‘s Bryce Alford put up this three which resulted in three points from a goaltending call on SMU‘s Yanick Moreira…
The highly controversial whistle gave the Bruins a one-point advantage over the Mustangs 60-59, even though the ball did not look like it had a shot in hell to get through the rim. The Bruins move on to challenge 14-seed UAB Saturday.
In a game where LSU led by 16 early in the second half, NC State orchestrated a phenomenal comeback that ended in Beejay Anya‘s left-handed hook at the buzzer to give the Wolfpack a 66-65 win…
Oh and that also made for quite the celebration back home in Raleigh, where students celebrated like this…
The Wolfpack will meet top-seeded Villanova Saturday in Pittsburgh.
Ohio State star D’Angelo Russell scored 28 to lead the Buckeyes from down 12 to a 75-72 overtime victory over 7-seed VCU. The Buckeyes will face the 2-seeded Arizona Wildcats in Portland, OR Saturday.
MY BEST BRACKET ENTERING FRIDAY
…didn’t look so hot. In my predictions I gave out on the blog Thursday, I went 8-for-16. I filled out three in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge and went 9-for-16, 9-for-16 and 11-for-16. So not great, but Friday is a new day… Here’s a link to the full updated bracket. Analysis to come.