NCAA Tournament Round 2 Day 1 Recap
The first day of the Round of 32 has come and gone and after the first two games it sure was a forgettable day. Here’s to hoping that Sunday will be better. Also, I have a major gripe with the NCAA in terms of scheduling. Why the hell do the games start at 11 and by the time we hit 4, only two have been played? Why do we have to play 3 games at once in the evening? Can’t we make this simple and not load up the evening slate? Probably not, because it’s the NCAA but wow is this poorly done.
LSU 69 Maryland 67
Maryland was as good as dead halfway through the 2nd half, heading into a media timeout Mark Turgeon was slapped with a technical that ballooned the LSU lead to 15, but the Terps responded strong. Maryland went on a big run to tie and eventually take the lead in the ball game thanks to a zone defense that caused all sorts of problems for LSU and some interesting and inconsistent calls on each end. The final minutes were excellent with Skylar Mays knocking down a huge 3 late only to be answered by Frosh Jalen Smith on the other end. With the shot clock off LSU drew up a high ball screen for Tremont Waters and he finished at the rim to win it. Tigers advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
Kentucky 62 Wofford 56
It was an awful day for College Basketball’s all-time leader in 3-point makes, Fletcher Magee. The senior sharpshooter went 0-12, a new NCAA record for most attempts in a game without a make, en route to a 6-point loss. This followed Magee’s excellent 7-12 shooting against Seton Hall and puts him at 0-20 this year against Kansas and Kentucky. Nathan Hoover was great for the Terriers and their big men really battled, but the story of the game for Kentucky was Jemarl Baker and Reid Travis. Baker was a spark plug off the bench while Travis was just too much on the interior for the Wofford defense. Kentucky heads to the Sweet Sixteen where they hope their best player, PJ Washington, will be able to rejoin the team.
Michigan 64 Florida 49
That March Michigan defense really came to play and limit Florida to just 49 points. Jordan Poole lead the way for the Wolverines with 19 points and he hit 4 three’s, something they will need more often to make a Final Four and beyond run. Florida just didn’t have it offensively, only Jalen Hudson was in double figures and as a team they shot 34.5% from the field.
Florida State 90 Murray State 62
The Noles rode a hot shooting start and really game to a blowout over Murray State. Ja Morant did what he could to keep his team alive, but the Racers just didn’t have an answer for Florida State’s speed, size, and athleticism. Morant, who normally struggles with turnovers, only turned it over twice but Murray State just could not hit their shots, while FSU shot 50% from the field. Kabengele was excellent and Mann had another strong game as the Seminoles head to a matchup with Gonzaga.
Gonzaga 83 Baylor 71
In probably the closest game of the day following the two early games, Gonzaga wasn’t necessarily threatened much by Baylor despite the lead hovering in that 7 to 11 point range. The Zags seemed in control the entire way after taking a strong punch from Baylor out of the gate to start the 2nd half. Brandon Clarke became the 2nd player in NCAA Tournament history with 35+ points and 5 blocks as he was dominant in the game.
Michigan State 70 Minnesota 50
This was really only a game for a minute or so in the 2nd half when Minnesota cut the lead to 9, but Michigan State quickly opened it back up to a double-digit lead thanks for a personal 8-0 run from Cassius Winston. Following their scorching 11 made 3’s in the first round against Louisville, the Gophers were just 2-22 from beyond the arc and lost the rebounding battle 45-19.
Purdue 87 Villanova 61
The defending National Champs and final team standing in the Big East have fallen. It was a bad, bad season for the league but there’s a ton of promise on the horizon. For Purdue, this was arguably the best game they played all season. Carsen Edwards was dominant scoring 42 points and they seemingly couldn’t miss in the first half. They were excellent on the boards and dug in defensively.
Auburn 89 Kansas 75
Auburn was off to the races quickly last night scorching the nets from downtown on their way to a 51-25 halftime lead. And despite 50 2nd half points from Kansas, it was too little too late. Both teams did not miss a shot going into the first media timeout of the 2nd half which was Kansas’s chance to make a run and from there it was over. Anytime the lead got below 20 there was Bryce Brown with another 3.