Xavier 76, Maryland 65— When Xavier’s kids sat down to watch TV at 5:30 Sunday, they had to nervous as to whether they were in the field of 68 or not. Now they’ve advanced to the round of 32. Terrapins won a lot of games with an extremely young nucleus held together by junior PG Trimble; that wasn’t enough here, as Xavier big man O’Mara had a career night, scoring 18 points.
Villanova 76, Mt St Mary’s 56— Wildcats dozed thru first half, led 30-29, then did what they had to do in second half to advance. Villanova needs to step up its game Saturday. Over last seven years, #1 seeds are 23-5 SU in second round games, but they did lose five times, as favorites of 11.5-8-6.5-22.214.171.124 points. Wildcats were last of those five teams, losing to NC State in 2015.
Purdue 80, Vermont 70— Game was only 37-36 at half, but Boilermakers win/cover- Vermont didn’t score in last 1:16 as Purdue covered on a FT with 0:28 left America East teams are now 6-7 vs spread in this round the last 13 years- Albany 5-1, rest of the league 1-6.
St Mary’s 85, VCU 77— Announcer on A-14 tournament last weekend said this: “If VCU plays a team with experienced guards, they could be in trouble in NCAA’s.” That is exactly what went on here. Gaels ran a clinic on half-court offense and move on to play Saturday.
Florida State 86, Florida Gulf Coast 80— Not often a game starts 2-2 with both baskets on dunks, but this one did. This game was like a fierce playground battle between arch-rivals; teams combined to go 10-41 on the arc, but Seminoles got to foul line 39 times. Bacon had 25 for FSU; you could say he was…..sizzling.
Wisconsin 84, Virginia Tech 74— Badgers made 13-31 on arc, will next play Villanova, which could be a good game— Wisconsin starts four seniors who’ve played a lot of ball together. Bronson Koenig was 8-17 behind the arc; thats a lot of 3’s for one guy to take.
Iowa State 84, Nevada 73— Wolf Pack only played six guys in this game; difficult to play as hard as they do and not sub much— their legs go late in game, which shows in their shooting. When Nevada has better depth next year, they’re going to be a handful.
Good trivia; Nevada player Jordan Caroline’s dad is Simeon Rice, who was a really good player in the NFL. His granddad is JC Caroline, who played 10 years for the Bears and intercepted Johnny Unitas’ first career pass and ran it back for a touchdown.
Arizona 100, North Dakota 82— Fighting Hawks went right at Arizona and got their butts kicked, but what a year they had, making NCAA’s for first time. In 2018-19 they move to the Summit League, which is a better league, so they’ll need to upgrade their recruiting. Video from this game won’t hurt, at least the offensive part of it.
Arizona-St Mary’s Saturday will be an interesting game.
Notre Dame 60, Princeton 58— Tigers had a wide-open 3-pointer to take lead with 0:05 but Cannady missed, and Irish survive/advance. Cannady grew up five minutes outside South Bend. Princeton won Ivy title on Sunday; thought noon Thursday game was a tough draw for them, but they played well- too bad they were 8-31 on arc.
Virginia 76, NC-Wilmington 71— Seahawks led by 14 in first half, but Cavaliers used big run to grab 30-29 lead at half- Virginia held UNCW off in second half. Hard to believe Kevin Keatts will still be Seahawks’ coach next year; he’s done great work there, and the $$$ leagues should come calling this week or next.
Butler 76, Winthrop 64— Bulldogs outscored Winthrop 20-5 on foul line; Woodson made 6-10 on arc for Butler. Big South is now 2-6 vs spread in this round the last nine years. This was Eagles’ first trip to NCAA’s since 2010, when Gregg Marshall was their coach— terrific year for them.
Gonzaga 66, South Dakota State 46— Zags were only up 26-22 at half, but they methodically pulled away in second half and won easily- they held Jackrabbits’ star Daum to 17 points. Zags might’ve covered spread had they not gone 8-18 on foul line. There will be pressure on Gonzaga Saturday, when they play Vandy-Northwestern winner to get to Sweet 16.
West Virginia 86, Bucknell 80— Mountaineers were up 27-12 eight minutes in; there was a few minutes when Bucknell couldn’t get ball over half-court, but then Bison got gritty and hung in there- they got within five points a few times in second half. West Virginia-Notre Dame is a high quality second round game Saturday.
Florida 80, East Tennessee State 65— Game was 33-32 at half, but Gators outscored ETSU 21-6 on foul line, got lot of run-out hoops after Bucs’ turnovers to pull away in second half. Second round game with Virginia will be a much different style game.
Middle Tennessee State 81, Minnesota 72— Last two seasons, Blue Raiders are 5-0 vs SEC/Big 14 teams, winning by average of 12.6 pts/game. This was a 12-seed beating a 5-seed, but not an upset. MTSU was favored by a point. Richard Pitino lost his poise, got T’d up near the end when Gophers were down nine- -they were already going to lose, but not his finest moment.
Northwestern 68, Vanderbilt 66— Vandy scored with 0:17 left to take lead, then one of their best guys screwed up, fouling on purpose— did he think a) they were behind? b) they were up 3? c) they had a foul to give? Whatever, it was a colossal screw-up.
Northwestern makes their foul shots and advances, so we get 120 more shots of the Seinfeld lady on TV Saturday (her son is a sub on Northwestern).