After little went according to plan in the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, the bracket has a wildly different look for the Sweet 16 than many expected. But the East Region has been dominated by the favorites thus far.
Next up, Treefort, followed by the X-Games qualifier in June and then the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament returns to Boise in 2021. We also saw No. 1 Xavier, No. 2 Cincinnati, No 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Michigan State, No. 3 Tennessee, no. 4 Wichita State and No. 4 Auburn fall in the first weekend.
In order to keep pace with Kentucky, Kansas State needs to replicate the shooting performance from the Creighton victory. They face No. 5 West Virginia (+1600), a former Big East foe, in the Sweet 16. After putting up a respectable 13 points and six rebounds in the win over Radford, Bridges was even better against Alabama.
Despite rolling past the Racers 85-68 and trouncing the Thundering Herd 94-71, West Virginia wasn't able to mask its deficiencies in the foul department.
This week, Big 12 teams are spread across three regions.
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West Virginia plays a distinct style regardless of their opponent. This pressure defense produces lots of turnovers and subsequent points, which is good for the Mountaineers because there are times they struggle to score in the half court. Other odds are West Virginia (+375), Purdue (+400) and Texas Tech (+450).
While at the NCAA Championships, the trio will be facing the best that the country has to offer. I suspect he will guard Brunson most of the game, a matchup that will be even more fun since both players grew and played together in Chicago. They're made up of players who were overlooked by bigger programs and therefore have something to prove.
"We've been here, so now we know what it takes, and that all our work in the off-season should be for this game...and to come out with a win next time", sophomore Michael Buckland said. I have Villanova winning 76-70.
Texas Tech has been the surprise team in the Big 12 this season. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten each have two. Nick Yang is scheduled to participate in all three diving events after punching his NCAA ticket on the first day of zone diving on the 3-meter board.
On the other hand Purdue has spent most of the season being rated among the nation's elite.
Match-ups for Thursday's first round of the Sweet 16 include Kansas State vs. Kentucky and Loyola-Chicago vs. Nevada (both in the South Regional), Florida State vs. Gonzaga and Texas A&M vs. MI (both in the West Regional). Boilermakers win 72-66.
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Even in the NCAA's world of alphabet soup - where USC could mean Southern California or SC and MSU could be Mississippi State or Michigan State - there is only one UMBC. After being placed in the First Four, the Orange have been tested in yet another run to the second weekend. But advancing out of Omaha to match that team's unlikely Final Four run means beating Duke and either Kansas or Clemson.
No. 1 Kansas vs. But Graham still managed to average 7.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in wins over Penn and Seton Hall. His playmaking as both a scorer and passer will be the key for Kansas.
Ayton played embarrassingly poor defense all night, giving up 23 points to Buffalo JUCO transfer power forward Jeremy Harris, and looking lost in pick-and roll and help defense. "But we put ourselves in position where hopefully we'll play much better next week and play our best ball". Grantham's absence has been replaced by a cast of Marcquise Reed, Shelton Mitchell, and Gabe DeVoe. It was a disappointing ending for a program that returned four starters from a team that lost in the Elite Eight a year ago to Gonzaga.
What is left? Three No. 5 seeds, including one that might as well be a No. 1 seed in its present state, two No. 7 seeds, two No. 9 seeds and two No. 11s.
No. 3 MI vs. Two of them-Duke and Syracuse-play in the regional semifinals, limiting the conference's earning potential. "It's an honor, and I'm thankful every time I think about it".
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