#1 Baylor vs #16 Norfolk State
Baylor got out to a good start and never really looked back in this game. The Bears had a huge rebound compared to last week when they fell to the Oklahoma Sooners in the first round of the Big 12 tournament. Norfolk State losing Jalen Hawkins due to a violation of team rules would hurt them as well. I wish there was more to say about this one but just overall domination from one side in this 1 vs 16 matchup.
#8 North Carolina vs #9 Marquette
Shooting completely changed this game. North Carolina was lights out from beyond the arc and Marquette was just not able to keep up with them. Brady Manek was the leading scorer for the Tar Heels registering 28 points going 10/15 from the field. The Eagles just did not have enough firepower on offense to keep up.
#5 Saint Mary’s vs #12 Indiana
Indiana just did not look like the same team that made a run in the ACC tournament or the same team that won a game against Wyoming in the First Four. They were out of energy and did not play well at all in this game. St. Mary’s defense also deserves a lot of credit as they didn’t let Indiana shoot from beyond the arc and made them take a lot of tough midrange shots. The Gaels just had to play normal ball on the offensive side and faced little resistance from the Hoosiers. Fatigue seems to be the killer in this one.
#4 UCLA vs #13 Akron
UCLA fought from a potential first-round exit and had a stunning comeback against a strong Akron team. Tiger Campbell would lead his team back with 8 out of the last 10 points for the Bruins. This was a truly gritty game that ended up falling the Bruins way. Akron struggled from beyond the arc shooting 23.5% from 3 in the game. If that number was higher we could have been talking about another upset.
#6 Texas vs #11 Virginia Tech
After taking down top-seeded Duke to win the ACC Championship, there were high hopes in Virginia Tech. The first quarter looked promising, as VA Tech held their own and seemed to be playing a very competitive style of ball. Heading into the second quarter though, Texas used the momentum from a Marcus Carr half-court buzzer-beater to propel them into control of the game. Carr, 15pts and 9 assists became a primary playmaker and really started dissecting the Virginia Tech defense. Once Texas was rolling there wasn’t much VA Tech could do to stop them, and they ended their season on an 81-73 loss.
#3 Purdue vs #14 Yale
This team is extremely reliant on Jaden Ivey and maybe, just maybe that will be able to work. Ivey scored 22 points and Purdue was able to win pretty easily against Yale. Purdue’s biggest advantage seemed to be their size. They were just way bigger than Yale and were able to outrebound and outsize the Bulldogs easily. Purdue came into this game much more prepared than many people expected and was able to win handily.
#7 Murray State vs #10 San Francisco
What a game. 92-87 OT thriller with Murray State advancing to the Round of 32. You could talk about the entire game where each team was battling to get an advantage, but what really matters is what happened after Murray State started taking control of this game. With barely any time left, San Francisco was facing a deficit, but a 10-0 run to end the game helped them make it into overtime. During OT, San Francisco tried to hold on but Murray State was eventually able to outlast the Dons, who only stayed in this game thanks to some crazy stepback threes from Jamaree Bouyea(36pts) in clutch moments.
#2 Kentucky vs #15 Saint Peter’s
The biggest upset of the tournament had to be one of the most entertaining games of the tournament. Despite having the student body of a Texas. high school, Saint Peter’s played at a high level the entire game staying with Kentucky and matching them. In OT they were down by four and clawed their way back into the game and would ultimately win. The defense from St. Peter’s and poor shooting from Kentucky would keep the Peacocks dancing.
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