Saturday’s Den: Wrapping up a full Friday of hoops

Cal-Irvine 70, Kansas State 64— Anteaters’ first-ever NCAA tournament win; they’ve won 17 games in a row, have wins this year at Saint Mary’s, Texas A&M. Very good defensive team. 

Disappointing loss for a veteran K-State team, which made the Elite 8 last year. 

Iowa 79, Cincinnati 72— Bearcats led by 13 early on, but Iowa made 11-22 on arc, shot 58% inside arc and won a game where most of the crowd in Columbus was pulling for Cincinnati. 

Last seven years, Bearcats are 183-59, 95-31 in conference games, but only 3-7 in NCAA tournament games. Three years ago, Mick Cronin pretended he was interested in the UNLV job so he could get financial concessions from the Cincinnati administration. I’m guessing there is a lot of grumbling going on today in Cincinnati. 

Oklahoma 95, Ole Miss 72— Sooners made their first eight shots, led 12-0 quickly and jogged home from there. Oklahoma was just stronger, tougher than the Rebels, 

Lon Kruger is the only coach to win an NCAA tournament for five different schools; UNLV, Kansas State, Illinois, Florida, Oklahoma. He also coached the Atlanta Hawks for three years. 

Texas Tech 72, Northern Kentucky 57— Horizon League teams lost their last eight first round games; their last win was when Brad Stevens was coaching Butler and they made the national title game two years in a row. 

Think about that accomplishment; a team from the Horizon League made the national title game two years in a row!!! No wonder the guy is coaching in the NBA now. 

Tennessee 77, Colgate 70— Colgate has a kid named Jordan Burns who was told by his HS football coach that he would never play college basketball— he scored 32 points in this game, as Red Raiders gave Tennessee quite a scare. 

One of Colgate’s best players, Rapolas Ivanauskas had pink-eye and didn’t play in the second half. Red Raiders made 15-29 on the arc in a strong performance. 

Virginia 71, Gardner-Webb 56— Cavaliers were down 14 in first half of this game, as flashbacks from LY’s loss to UMBC were in everyone’s head. 

Reality set in after halftime, when Gardner-Webb led by 6. Has to be a tremendous sigh of relief for Virginia- they play Oklahoma Sunday. 

Gardner-Webb won games at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest; they were a pretty strong 16-seed. 

Buffalo 91, Arizona State 74— Less than six years ago, Buffalo coach Nate Oats was teaching five math classes a day – algebra, geometry and statistics – at Romulus HS in Michigan. Now he is coaching a top 25 college team and making a boatload of money. He s very good at his job, but how long will he stay in Buffalo? 

Buffalo hammered Arizona in the tournament LY, now this; their game with Texas Tech Sunday will be very good. 

None of the play-in game winners won their first round game, which is unusual, first time in nine years. 

Oregon 72, Wisconsin 54— Wooten has developed into an elite rim protector for the Ducks, who have won nine games in a row. They play #13-seed Cal-Irvine next. 

This will be the 13th 2nd round game between a 12 and 13-seed; favorites went 9-3 vs spread in the first 12. 

As of right now, the Big 14 is 6-1 in this tournament, pretty strong showing. 

Washington 78, Utah State 61— Rough week for the Mountain West, with Nevada/Utah State going down meekly. Last three years, Mountain West teams are 1-5 in first round games. 

Great year for the Aggies, though who went 28-7, winning 17 of their last 19 games. It was their first 20+-win season since 2013. 

Duke 85, North Dakota State 62— Friday, a guy with too much money at a Caesars sportsbook placed a $150 money-line bet on Duke at -$15,000. When the Blue Devils won, his profit was $1. One American dollar. 

Watching games all day Thursday, think I only heard Zion Williamson’s name once all day; once you get away from ESPN, coverage of Duke is a little more even-handed. 

Houston 84, Georgia State 55— This game was 15-3 early; teams combined to go 14-52 on the arc. Cougars shot 71.4% inside the arc; last year, Houston lost 64-63 to Michigan in the second round. Now, they play another Big 14 team (Ohio State) in second round Sunday. 

Liberty 80, Mississippi State 76— Bulldogs missed their last eight shots from floor, as Liberty wins its first NCAA tournament game. This is first non-play-in win for the Atlantic Sun since Florida Gulf Coast made the Sweet 16 six years ago. 

This is 5th time that the #12 seeds went 3-1 in the first round, first time since 2014. The four #5-seeds played a total of six non-conference road games during the regular season. 

North Carolina 88, Iona 73— Gaels led this game 38-33 at halftime, little bit of a red flag for the Tar Heels. 

Iona has lost 13 straight NCAA tournament games; last time they got out of the first round was 1980, when their coach was Jim Valvano.

Central Florida 73, VCU 58— At first TV timeout, teams were combined 1-16 from floor; VCU led 3-0. UCF missed its first ten shots from floor, then made their next ten. VCU went over 10:00 without scoring a point midway thru game. 

This is the first time since 2001 that all four #9-seeds beat the #8-seeds.

Ohio State 62, Iowa State 59— Cyclones lost six of last eight regular season games, then won the Big X tournament last weekend, then laid an egg here. Teams combined to make 11-42 on the arc; five of the ten starters in this game played 38:00+.

Virginia Tech 66, Saint Louis 52— First NCAA tournament win in dozen years for the Hokies; check status of PG Robinson, who played in this game but may have tweaked a leg when he slipped on a wet spot on the floor in second half.

Billikens turned ball over 18 times (-7), made 4-23 on the arc; their bench was 0-7 from the floor. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.