All-Name Team sweethearts Wichita State provided us with the first early exit for a #1 seed this year, knocking off Gonzaga 76-70.
The Bulldogs and their 15-game winning streak were done in by a couple of poor shooting performances from Kelly Olynyk (8-22) and Kevin Pangos (6-17), and shot under 35% (8-23) as a team from long range. The Shockers lived up to their name through 50% (14-28) shooting from the 3-point line that included seven-straight makes down the stretch and a balanced scoring attack led by 16 points a piece from Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker. Wichita State shot 50% of the field as a team and managed to hold Gonzaga to just 35% shooting.
The Shockers advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 2006, and will face the winner of Sunday’s matchup between La Salle and Ole Miss.
One of the most commonly held beliefs when the bracket was unveiled last Sunday was that Oregon was seriously short-changed in being slotted in as a No. 12 seed in the Midwest Region. Through two games, the Ducks are proving just how underrated they were by the selection committee.
If anyone doubted Louisville’s worth as a No. 1 overall seed for even a second coming into this tournament, the Cardinals have quickly silenced those critics with two absolutely dominating performances. And they don’t look anywhere near satisfied.
The recipe for upsetting a higher seed when you’re a sizable underdog is usually pretty straightforward – take care of the ball, get the most out of your possessions, get out to a big lead, then hope like hell you can hold off the higher seed once they inevitably wake up. No. 13 La Salle followed that blueprint to a tee on Friday afternoon in holding off No. 4 Kansas State in the wild West Region.
No. 8 vs. No. 9 games are supposed to be the most competitive of the first second round matchups, but for the majority Friday’s 8 vs. 9 matchup in the East Region, North Carolina State was no match for Temple.
For all of its prestige, new age sports fans never thought of Harvard in athletic terms until Jeremy Lin took the NBA by storm last February. Now the school has some basketball history to add to its’ lore besides just an accomplished alumni, as the No. 14 seeded Crimson earned their first ever NCAA Tournament game victory with a shocking 68-62 upset of No. 3 New Mexico in the West Region.
Against North Carolina A&T, it looked like Louisville was the only team on the floor
The third quadrant of games on Thursday produced a couple of results on opposite ends of the spectrum. In Lexington, No. 1 overall seed Louisville showed why they were rewarded by the selection committee, while over in San Jose, No. 5 UNLV showed why many felt they were one of the most vulnerable high seeds of the opening rounds.