The Finest and Worst from Day 3 of March Insanity


A one seed, and the reigning nationwide champion, went down. One other one seed was pushed to the brink for about half-hour. Duke misplaced and set a doubtful file within the course of. And a 15-seed cashed a ticket to the Candy 16 for a 3rd straight 12 months.

Let’s get into all of it.

1. (8) Arkansas 72, (1) Kansas 71 (West)

For my cash, this was the most effective recreation of the event thus far.

Enjoying with out head coach Invoice Self as soon as once more, Kansas appeared poised for many of the afternoon to advance into the event’s second weekend and proceed its title protection. The Jayhawks raced out to an 11-2 lead, then led by eight at halftime and by as many as 12 early within the second half. Including to KU’s confidence was the truth that a number of key Arkansas gamers have been coping with foul bother from the center a part of the primary half on.

Simply as they did in final 12 months’s Candy 16 conquer No. 1 general seed Gonzaga, the Razorbacks simply stored coming.

Davonte “Devo” Davis took over for the Hogs after the break, scoring 21 of his game-high 25 factors within the second half. He jumpstarted an 11-0 run that communicated to the entire hoops universe that Kansas was in bother.

Ricky Council IV, who added 21 factors, then seized management late. He knocked down a pair of key jumpers within the recreation’s closing minutes, and hit 5 free-throws within the closing seconds to assist put the Jayhawks away.

Arkansas’ defensive prowess and superior physicality was additionally on full show within the second half.

After letting him get going early on, the Razorbacks put the clamps on Kansas All-American Jalen Wilson, permitting him to try solely two pictures over a 15-minute stretch after halftime. The Hogs additionally appeared to provide you with the ball throughout each key scramble state of affairs, and completed the sport outscoring KU 15-2 on second probability alternatives.

Not solely had Kansas been 26-0 this season when main at halftime, however the Jayhawks had been 47-0 all-time within the NCAA event when main by at the least eight on the break. They led or have been tied with Arkansas for all however one minute and 43 seconds of Saturday’s recreation.

Arkansas, which turned the primary crew to have three gamers foul out and nonetheless beat a No. 1 seed, is now a win over Saint Mary’s or UConn away from its third straight regional closing look, and two wins away from its first Closing 4 since 1995. Not dangerous for a program that went from 1997-2020 with no single journey to the Candy 16.

2. (2) Texas 71, (10) Penn State 66 (Midwest)

Texas is headed to its first Candy 16 since 2008 due to the kind of response in a combat or flight second that may win you a nationwide championship.

The Longhorns led by eight factors at halftime and had been capable of hold Penn State at arm’s size for nearly the whole thing of the sport. Then, the Nittany Lions reeled off a late, lightning fast 10-0 run that put them in entrance by three with simply 4:48 to play. It was their first lead since a 4-3 benefit two minutes into the sport.

Texas didn’t miss a shot the remainder of the sport.

Dylan Disu — who performed the sport of his life — made pictures on 5 of UT’s subsequent six offensive possessions. The Longhorns made their closing six subject objective makes an attempt of the sport, and bought factors on eight of their final 10 journeys.

Increase. Rodney Terry’s crew advances, Micah Shrewsberry’s crew begins its offseason.

Maybe essentially the most shocking stat of the sport was that Texas gained regardless of going simply 1-for-13 from past the arc. A Longhorn crew identified for its guard play needed to trip its senior ahead and a few stellar protection to victory.

3. (2) UCLA 68, (7) Northwestern 63 (West)

Solely three of the eight video games on Saturday have been determined by fewer than 13 factors, however all three of these have been stellar.

Identical to beforehand talked about Arkansas, UCLA is headed to the Candy 16 for a 3rd straight 12 months. Identical to beforehand talked about Texas, the Bruins bought there due to some clutch late play after a livid rally from their underdog opponent.

Northwestern by no means led within the second half, however a 17-4 run helped them get to inside one with beneath eight minutes to play. The groups traded blows for the following couple of minutes earlier than a key sequence the place Adem Bona blocked a layup try by Northwestern star Chase Audige and David Singleton buried a 3 on the opposite finish to all however ship the knockout blow for UCLA.

With 20 seconds to play, Singleton suffered what seemed to be a reasonably critical foot or ankle harm. He informed reporters after the sport that he had merely rolled the ankle, which was refreshing information for a Bruin crew already coping with the lack of Pac-12 Defensive Participant of the 12 months Jaylen Clark and with a banged up Bona.

UCLA was carried by its regular main males. Pac-12 Participant of the 12 months Jaime Jacquez scored 24 factors, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out 4 assists. Level guard Tyger Cambell didn’t make a subject objective, however knocked down all 12 of his free-throw makes an attempt and had seven assists towards no turnovers. Freshman Amari Bailey, whose position has taken on a heightened significance because the lack of Clark, added 14 factors and 6 assists.

The victory marked UCLA’s sixteenth straight NCAA event win in a recreation performed within the state of California. That streak ties Duke — from 1999-2011 — because the second-longest NCAA event win streak in a crew’s dwelling state.

1. Princeton

There’s little doubt that the sporting world thought Princeton had a shot to get the higher of seventh-seeded Missouri on Saturday. In spite of everything, the Tigers had already fried a much bigger fish in Arizona two days earlier, AND we had already seen a 15-seed dance their method to the second weekend in every of the final two tournaments.

I don’t assume anybody anticipated this.

For 40 straight minutes, Princeton regarded vastly superior within the battle of SEC Tigers versus Ivy League Tigers. Mitch Henderson’s crew constructed a 14-point level lead within the first half, a 21-point lead within the second, and completed with a 15-point margin of victory that was the most important ever for a 15-seed within the NCAA event.

Princeton now heads to Louisville for its first regional semifinal look in 56 years. The Tigers are the second Ivy League college to make the Candy 16 up to now 43 tournaments, becoming a member of the 2009-10 Cornell Massive Pink.

“I’ve at all times dreamed of enjoying deep into the event,” stated Henderson, who gained first spherical video games as a participant at Princeton in 1996 and 1998. “As a participant, bought to the second spherical a pair instances. By no means bought past it. I really feel like these guys, it’s unbelievable.”

The Tigers have actually regarded each bit as sturdy, if not stronger, than Saint Peter’s did a 12 months in the past. They won’t be performed right here.

2. Houston

For the reason that NCAA event expanded to 64 groups in 1985, there has by no means been a 12 months the place fewer than two No. 1 seeds superior to at the least the Candy 16. With Purdue getting surprised on Friday and Kansas falling to Arkansas earlier within the day, Houston seemed to be flirting with historical past for a lot of early Saturday night.

Enjoying in entrance of an Auburn-friendly crowd in Birmingham and with two of its stars — Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead — coping with accidents, the top-seeded Cougars appeared for a bit to be the wobbly prize fighter simply ready to be knocked out. They trailed by 10 at halftime, and their second half began with head coach Kelvin Sampson telling the viewing public that Sasser was enjoying at “most likely 60 %.”

The trigger for concern was excessive.

Then, Houston displayed the identical mixture of talent and fearlessness that has carried it to 33 wins, and counting, this season.

Sasser got here out on hearth, burying a trio of out of doors jumpers to steer a 15-4 cost that put UH again on high. The Cougars additionally put the clamps on Auburn on the different finish of the ground, shutting down the lane and taking away the extensive open appears the Tigers had feasted on within the first half. Auburn would misfire on 20 of its 24 subject objective makes an attempt after halftime.

The sport was nonetheless very a lot doubtful when each Shead and Sasser have been pressured to the bench with 4 fouls and loads of time left on the clock. That’s when junior Tramon Clark took over, thriving in isolation and in the end scoring a game-high (and game-deciding) 26 factors. Clark’s play allowed the Cougars to truly enhance their lead by 10 factors with their two stars on the sidelines.

Houston completed the sport outscoring Auburn by a staggering 50-23 rely within the second half. It was a gutsy as hell efficiency by a championship caliber crew that’s headed to its fourth Candy 16 in 5 years.

3. Tennessee

In contrast to a 12 months in the past, Tennessee wasn’t precisely a modern Closing 4 choose when the brackets have been unveiled final Sunday. The Volunteers had misplaced PF Zakai Zeigler for the season to an ACL tear, they have been woefully inept on offense for prolonged stretches, they usually had misplaced seven instances since Feb. 1.

The widespread thought was that UT wouldn’t be lengthy for this event. And but, whereas final 12 months’s stylish Closing 4 choose bought knocked off within the second spherical by Michigan, this 12 months’s Vols are rolling into the Candy 16 off of considered one of Saturday’s most spectacular performances.

Tennessee dominated red-hot Duke, holding the favored (however worse-seeded) Blue Devils to simply 52 factors. That whole matched the bottom ever for a Duke crew within the NCAA event.

After the sport, the Volunteer gamers and their head coach weren’t shy about addressing their “doubters and haters.”

“All people thought we have been useless,” Barnes stated. “We’re alive and kicking, child.”


It might really feel fallacious to not at the least point out the crew that gained by the most important margin on Saturday. That might be San Diego State, which ended Furman’s Cinderella run with a 75-52 thrashing that by no means actually felt doubtful.

The Aztecs’ 23-point win matched the most important margin of victory for a 5-seed towards a 13-seed in event historical past. It additionally marked the forty first recreation in a row that SDSU has gained when capturing 50.0 % or higher from the sector.

They’ll be the primary Mountain West crew to crash the second weekend since Nevada in 2018.

1. Missouri

The season was nonetheless an amazing success, and the longer term remains to be vibrant beneath Dennis Gates, however man …

There was a by no means a second on Saturday the place Missouri didn’t look wildly inferior to its Ivy League foe. Princeton hit simply 4 of its first 16 three-point makes an attempt, and was nonetheless at all times in whole management of the competition.

When the 15-seed lastly did begin catching hearth from past the arc within the second half, the sport went from well-in-hand to all-out blowout. On the uncommon event that it missed, Princeton was there to out-scrap their opponent for the rebound. They out-rebounded Missouri by 14 and had 11 offensive rebounds within the second half alone, leading to 16 second probability factors.

Once more, the longer term remains to be vibrant for Missouri, however shedding by extra factors to a 15-seed than any crew had ever misplaced to a 15-seed earlier than remains to be a tough method to exit.

2. Duke

Purdue’s historic loss to Fairleigh Dickinson meant that the East Area — broadly thought-about to be simply the weakest of the 4 heading into the event — was much more extensive open than earlier than. The widespread thought by many was that 5-seed Duke, winners of 10 straight together with a powerful 23-point throttling of Oral Roberts within the first spherical, was now truly the favourite to win the area and make it to a second straight Closing 4.

In a phrase, nope.

Enjoying with out PF Mark Mithcell, who was a late scratch due to a knee harm, was a blow, but it surely doesn’t excuse scoring the fewest factors in an NCAA event recreation in program historical past. The Blue Devils by no means actually threatened Tennessee after the sport’s opening 10 minutes.

3. Kansas

A part of me needed to offer this to Maryland for not with the ability to hold issues aggressive with Alabama whereas they’d the final half an hour of the evening alone to themselves, however that wouldn’t be truthful.

Kansas is the clear alternative, because the Jayhawks misplaced an NCAA event recreation that they led by 8 or extra at halftime for the primary time in program historical past. They’d beforehand been 47-0 in stated state of affairs.

Invoice Self’s state of affairs was actually a March curveball nobody may have ready for, however the reigning champs not even making it to the event’s second weekend remains to be a disappointment.

1. The 15-seed revolution

From 1979 to 2020, just one 15-seed reached the second weekend of the NCAA event. Now, after Princeton’s conquer Missouri, we’ve got our third straight 12 months of a 15-seed enjoying its approach into the Candy 16.

That’s … madness.

Much more laborious to imagine is the truth that of the 4 15-seeds in historical past which have crashed the Candy 16, none of them have been even the highest seed in their very own convention event.

The one factor left is for a 15-seed to do the unthinkable and break by to the Closing 4. With Princeton trying the way in which it did on Saturday, it’s completely inside the realm of chance.

2. Devo Davis’ emotional day

Arkansas has two gamers prone to hear their names referred to as throughout the lottery of this summer season’s NBA Draft. They’ve one other one or two who may very well be chosen later within the draft.

None of those gamers are Davonte “Devo” Davis. What Davis is is the center and soul of a Razorback crew that may be misplaced with out him. They’d even be dwelling for the offseason proper now.

Together with his extra naturally gifted teammates saddled with foul bother, Davis was spectacular on Saturday. The three-year veteran of this system poured in a season-high 25 factors and willed his crew to its third straight journey to the Candy 16.

After the sport, his feelings flowed.

He additionally shared a particular second along with his head coach.

That is the most effective of March.

3. Shirtless Muss

Merely put: It had been too lengthy.

Our man Ricky O’Donnell had a entrance row seat for the most popular present in Des Moines, and he would possibly disagree.

Eric Musselman is now 8-2 within the NCAA event at Arkansas.

From 1997-2020, Arkansas was 5-10.

4. Event viewership

We simply skilled the most-watched first spherical within the historical past of the NCAA event, and my hunch is that the numbers for the second spherical are going to be stellar as properly.

Snigger at anybody who tries to let you know that faculty basketball is a “dying sport” or “isn’t what it was once.” The numbers from each the common season and now the primary a part of postseason present that the game is in an excellent place in the meanwhile.

5. New Jersey

Not because the Jersey Shore/Actual Housewives phenomenon of 2009/2010 has New Jersey been this sizzling.

A 12 months in the past, Saint Peter’s turned the primary 15-seed to play in a regional closing. This 12 months, we’ve bought Fairleigh Dickinson not even profitable the NEC however taking out No. 1 seed Purdue within the first spherical, and Princeton gorgeous Arizona after which blowing out Missouri as a 15-seed.

“I assume there’s one thing within the water,” Princeton senior Ryan Langborg (a San Diego native) stated concerning the pattern on Saturday.

Even Jersey natives who moved out of the state to play their faculty ball are getting in on the fever.

It’s evident as of late that in case you’re a high seed going through a small Jersey college within the Massive Dance, you’re a grenade that’s prepared for a GTL session. GTL after all that means “Recreation to Lose.”

I’m not even sorry about what simply occurred. You couldn’t pay me a thousand {dollars} to delete it.

BONUS CHEER: This Brandon Miller end-to-end sequence

Protected to say the Alabama freshman star was feeling a bit higher on Saturday than he was on Thursday.

1. The early standalone video games

I’ll by no means perceive the format of the event’s first Saturday and Sunday. I imply I’m positive the reason is rooted in one thing associated to scores and cash, but it surely nonetheless defies primary logic from a fan perspective.

After being flooded with video games in any respect hours for the earlier 48 hours, we get simply two video games back-to-back for the primary 5 hours of the day. No video games occurring on the similar time. Even the primary half of the third recreation is alone on an island. After which BAM, we’ve bought six video games hurled at us throughout the night session.

There’s no motive to have second spherical video games wrapping up after midnight on the East Coast. It’s a simple repair, and it blows my thoughts that it hasn’t occurred but.

It’s particularly brutal when the primary two video games of the day are San Diego State demolishing Furman, and Duke struggling to get to the 50-point mark towards Tennessee.

Giving us all these choices for 48 hours straight after which yanking them away with no correct adjustment interval is merciless and weird punishment.

2. Mike Bothwell having to say farewell

That is such a mature and touching parting message, however there’s one half particularly that’s troublesome to observe.

When Bothwell says “it’s gonna be robust to by no means play for Furman once more,” you possibly can virtually really feel the instinctive jolt that simply saying these phrases outloud for the primary time has on his soul.

The whole finality that’s at all times current throughout this month is a part of what makes it so nice, but it surely’s additionally unfailingly brutal.

One second you’re a standout basketball participant at a program the place you’ve put in years of labor, and also you’re absolutely targeted on the duty at hand of taking stated program so far as it could possibly go. A second later, you was once these issues.

Like several demise, it’s a second that’s inconceivable to organize for. Credit score to Bothwell for dealing with it so properly.

3. The Massive Ten

Whereas the Massive Ten’s opening weekend hasn’t been fairly as disastrous because it was, say, two years in the past, it nonetheless hasn’t been stellar.

The league went 0-3 on Saturday, is 5-6 within the event, and has solely Indiana and Michigan State nonetheless standing.

It appears unlikely that the convention’s 23-year title drought goes to be snapped in a few weeks.

4. This Missouri fan

The one factor worse than watching your crew getting its ass kicked by a 15-seed with the identical “Tigers” nickname, is doing it in a Tiger-themed blazer that has the shedding college’s colours dominating the sample.

Is that George Hamilton? Did George Hamilton go to Missouri?

I’m not trying it up.

It’s George Hamilton.

5. The hunt for a repeat nationwide champion dying

Kansas’ upset loss to Arkansas implies that Florida in 2006 and 2007 will stay faculty basketball’s most up-to-date repeat nationwide champion. Not solely that, however we nonetheless haven’t had a reigning nationwide champ play previous the Elite Eight because the Gators minimize down the nets for a second time in ‘07.

Olivier Nkahmhoua, Tennessee

Duke merely had no reply for the senior ahead from Finland, who torched the Blue Devils to the tune of 27 factors on 10-of-13 capturing from the sector.

Dylan Disu, Texas

Texas is thought primarily for its guards, however the senior ahead is the most important motive why the Longhorns are dancing into the event’s second weekend. Disu dominated inside towards undersized Penn State, ending with 28 factors and 10 rebounds.

He even bought some love from Kevin Durant after the sport.

Disu, whose 28 factors matched his career-high, tied Durant’s Texas NCAA event file for made subject objectives in a recreation with 14.

Tramon Mark, Houston

With each Marcus Sasser and Jamal Shead enjoying by accidents, Mark stepped up in an enormous approach to assist hold Houston’s season alive. The junior guard scored a game-high 26 factors to associate with 9 rebounds within the Cougars’ come-from-behind win over Auburn.

Davonte Davis, Arkansas

The guts and soul of this Razorback squad, Devo Davis took heart stage when his crew wanted him essentially the most. Davis scored 25 factors and grabbed eight rebounds as Arkansas bounced reigning nationwide champion Kansas from the event.

Ryan Langborg, Princeton

Langborh buried 4 triples and scored a game-high 22 factors to associate with six rebounds and 4 assists in Princeton’s convincing upset over Missouri.

The dunks from this group have been dangerous on Thursday. They have been approach worse on Saturday.

I promise you that this was the most effective of the most effective.

1. Olivier Nkahmhoua, Tennessee

2. Julian Phillips, Tennessee

3. Keshad Johnson, San Diego State

1. Locker room euphoria

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Sacramento

Photograph by Jed Jacobsohn/NCAA Photographs by way of Getty Photographs

2. Above the rim in Sacramento

Northwestern v UCLA

Photograph by Ezra Shaw/Getty Photographs

3. Houston huddles

Auburn v Houston

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Photographs

1. “We come to play for 40 minutes, and we knew we have been going to convey them all the way down to the mud with us for 40 minutes. It’s robust, and a few guys can grasp and a few guys can’t.” —Tennessee senior ahead Olivier Nkamhoua

2. “Nicely I’ve been teaching a very long time, and that’s as nice a win as I’ve ever been part of.” —Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman

3. “It appears the extra he goes, the looser it bought. He didn’t have the identical pop. He was 3 of 11 on 2s. A variety of these have been on the rim. His ending has been actually good. He positively wasn’t 100%. He’s a tricky child. He’s enjoying by some stuff. He doesn’t let folks know he’s damage.” —Alabama head coach Nate Oats on star freshman Brandon Miller

4. “We’ve by no means performed towards a giant man with that sort of contact. I don’t bear in mind him lacking, not one floater. He would do it from 10 toes, 15 toes, 5 toes.” —Penn State’s Seth Lundy on Texas PF Dylan Disu

5. “It’s one thing nobody can take away from this crew. Best crew within the college’s historical past. Nobody has gained extra video games than us, and we loved it. That’s the most effective half about it.” —Furman senior G Mike Bothwell

Final day of the primary weekend. Let’s depart all of it on the market.


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