Most of the higher seeds again won on Friday, with a few notable exceptions:
Davidson won on a last-second layup in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals.
Auburn is still alive upsetting LSU 70-67 in overtime. Guess who they’re playing next? More on that briefly in my next blog.
North Carolina upset Virginia 71-67 and Notre Dame managed to shoot 50% for the game, but held on for dear life against Duke 74-64 to set up an interesting ACC title game matchup on Saturday night. And once again, the Blue Devils got burned by the three–hitting only 2 of 17 long distance shots for the game.
As far as the 1 vs. 2 seed discussion, Virginia is on some slightly shaky ground. Most bracketologists now have Duke as the second overall seed, but Wisconsin could lay claim to that final number one seed if they win both Big Ten games remaining in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday.
And yes, there were a few near misses too–most namely:
- Oklahoma missing a layup as time expired against Iowa State 67-66 in Kansas City.
- Richmond committing many fouls late and VCU went on a scoring binge to win 70-67 in Brooklyn.
- In the MEAC, Hampton is still under .500 at 15-17, but they could be a late bid thief for the likes of Indiana, Illinois, or Texas A&M after their surprising 75-64 upset of Norfolk State.
- And like I also last year, never count Tom Izzo in March:
Sparty is back again after knocking out Ohio State 76-67 in the last quarterfinal at the Big Ten tournament in Chicago.
- But the ending of the night has to go to UConn’s Richard Boatwright. Fighting through two Cincinnati defenders, he calmly knocked down a three point shot with .2 seconds left the clock to keep the defending champions hopes alive at least for one more day. Next up, a bigger challenge in the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
One berth was clinched in the SWAC on Friday night
Top seed Texas Southern qualified for the NCAA Tournament after dispatching of Prairie View A&M 90-77. Their final game Saturday evening against Southern University will not count technically because the NCAA ruled that Southern submitted, “inaccurate and incomplete data on student-athlete academic progress.” Coach Mike Davis joins Eddie Sutton in taking his third different school to the Big Dance (Indiana in 2002 and UAB in 2011 were the other times).
Full schedules for Saturday are in the next blog. Just wait until you see how many automatic bids will be decided.