Game 1: #6 Baylor vs. #11 Nebraska.
“If you live by the three you will die by the three”. This is Basketball 101 and the Huskers failed miserably. Baylor defeated their former Big 12 foe Nebraska 74 to 60 in the round of 64, putting an end to their short-lived NCAA tournament run.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half with Nebraska shooting 23.1% from the field and 0% from the three. Despite their struggles from behind the arch Nebraska just kept jacking from the three-point line going 0-11 in the first half. Baylor didn’t shoot very well either to start the game making just 33.3% of their shots from the field. They were still able to go into halftime with a thirteen-point lead thanks to their constant attack of the rim, which resulted in shooting eleven more free throw’s than Nebraska in the first half. They also out rebounded the Huskers 22-15 in the first half.
Baylor’s Royce O’Neal said the first game of the tournament is always the toughest and he’s glad that his Baylor Bears were able to get it done and put this game passed them.
Leading the way for Baylor was Corey Jefferson who finished with 16 points. Isaiah Austin added 13 and Brady Heslip added 12 going 10-10 from the free throw line. Baylor will advance to play the winner of the Creighton/Louisiana-Lafayette game with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line.
Game 2: #3 Creighton vs. #14 Louisiana-Lafayette
In the second game of the day, Doug McDermott did what he does best and that is get buckets. He scored 30 points leading Creighton to a 76-66 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The Ragin’ Cajuns were able to keep McDermott fairly quiet in the 2nd half keeping the score close and even taking a short-lived four point lead making a couple of Bluejay fans nervous. But McDermott scored 7 points in the last three minutes to put some separation between Creighton and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Elfrid Payton led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 24 points while Shawn Long contributed 15. Creighton will advance to play Baylor in the third round with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line.
Quick question…do you guys consider Creighton a major school? I realize that they’re in the Big East now but they are still very mid-majorish to me coming from the Missouri Valley Conference. Tweet me your answers @simonwithane.
Game 3: #6 North Carolina vs. # 11 Providence
North Carolina fans that laughed and taunted Duke fans for losing earlier in their first game of the tournament can breathe a sigh of relief. Their Tarheels will not be joining the Blue Devils on the couch. In what turned out to be the most exciting game of the day in San Antonio with 7 ties and 8 lead changes, North Carolina defeated Providence 79-77 eliminating the Friars in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
UNC annihilated Providence on the glass, out rebounding them 40-26. 21 of those 40 boards were offensive rebounds that translated into 26 second chance points, twice as many as Providence. Providence guard Bryce Cotton had a stellar performance finishing with 36 points but it is nearly impossible to beat a team when you give up 21 offensive rebounds. Leading the way for North Carolina was Marcus Paige who finished the game with 19 points. James McAdoo got a double-double scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and Brice Johnson also scored 16 points.
The Tarheels will play the winner of the Iowa State/North Carolina Central game. After the game UNC forward J.P. Lokoto said he was happy NCCU got in the tournament and would love to see them get a win. I thought that was funny because history shows us that the Tarheels are more likely to lose to NCCU than Iowa State because all season they’ve lost to teams they were “supposed” to beat.
Game 4: #3 Iowa State vs #14 North Carolina Central
North Carolina Central kept it interesting for the majority of the game, even leading by as many as 3. But in the end the #9 ranked Iowa State Cyclones proved to be too much for the Eagles downing them 93 to 75.
The Cyclones picked up right where they left off in the Big 12 Tournament with all 5 starters scoring in double figures making them nearly impossible to stop on the offensive end. Niang led the way for the Clones scoring 24 points while Ejim added 17. NCCU was led by Jeremy Ingram who finished with a game high 28 points.
With this win the Cyclones improve to 28-7 and will advance to the round of 32 where they will meet the North Carolina Tarheels. On the line is a trip to the Sweet 16.