Playing without Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather, No. 10 Florida made a definitive statement to those that have kept their name out of the SEC title race with a 74-56 win over No. 22 Wisconsin.
Erik Murphy was the star for the Gators. The 6-foot-10 power forward finished with 24 points — including 16 in the first half — while making all 10 of his field goal attempts from the field. Murphy hit a pair of threes and a couple of short jumpers, but at least half of his fields goals came in the paint, including a trio of beautiful jump hooks. Once known as strictly a stretch four, Murphy has clearly added to his game. He’s a serious threat on the offensive end of the floor.
Mike Rosario was the other guy that really impressed for the Gators, as he looked like the guy that starred for Rutgers two seasons ago. He finished with 15 points and four assists, including a pair of spectacular alley-oops to Patric Young and a number of really nice drives to the rim. Wilbekin, who was expected to be Florida’s starting point guard this season, will be back at some point, but if Rosario can score like this consistently, it will give Billy Donovan a very dangerous pair of scorers in his back court.
Florida put this game away pretty early. They jumped out to a big first half lead, in large part due to the fact that they hit 18 of their first 22 fields goals. Florida was on fire, there’s no question about that, but they weren’t hitting tough, contested shots for the first 20 minutes. They were getting layups and wide-open threes.
People are going to be quick to point out the fact that Wisconsin is without Josh Gasser and blame this performance on his absence — he tore his ACL in practice — and it’s inarguable that losing a guy that started 66 games in his first two seasons will hurt. But the Badgers aren’t going to go anywhere this season if they continue to defend the way they did Tuesday night, and that cannot all be blamed on an injured point guard.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
Here is the full TV schedule, with spreads, over-unders and betting lines, for every game for final day of the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Odds via VegasInsider.com
- 7:07 p.m.: No. 11 Loyola-Chicago vs. No. 7 Nevada (-2.5), CBS (143.5)
- 9:37 p.m.: No. 9 Kansas State vs. No. 5 Kentucky (-5.5), CBS (138.5)
- 7:37 p.m.: No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 3 Michigan (-3), TBS (134)
- 10:07 p.m.: No. 9 Florida State vs. No. 4 Gonzaga (-5.5), TBS (154.5)
- 7:07 p.m.: No. 5 Clemson vs. No. 1 Kansas (-4), CBS (143)
- 9:37: No. 11 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Duke (-11.5), CBS (133.5)
- 7:27 p.m.: No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 1 Villanova, TBS
- 9:57 p.m.: No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 2 Purdue (-1.5), TBS (137.5)
The wild opening weekend of the 2018 NCAA tournament is finally in the books.
The bracket officially turns its attention to the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight this week as teams are trying to punch tickets to San Antonio during an especially wide-open year.
Major upsets, double-digit seeds advancing into the Sweet 16 and the loss of all four top seeds in the South Regional means there’s still plenty of action to watch over the next several weeks.
Here’s how the updated bracket looks after the first weekend of March Madness.
PLAYER OF THE DAY
Caleb Martin was, once again, a monster for Nevada on Sunday.
He finished with 25 points. He handed out seven assists. He put the No. 7-seed Wolf Pack on his back and carried them back from a 22-point deficit in the final 12 minutes of a game that looked like it was lost.
It was impressive.
But he’s not our player of the day. His teammate Josh Hall is. Because he’s the one that grabbed this offensive rebound and scored this put back and sent Nevada into the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
That lead was Nevada’s first lead of the game.
THEY WERE GOOD, TOO
- JEVON CARTER, West Virginia: 28 points. Five steals. Five assists. Four boards. Eight turnovers for Marshall’s Jon Elmore. Jevon Carter was terrific this weekend.
- T.J. STARKS, Texas A&M: While Tyler Davis and Big Bob Williams combined for 26 points and 22 boards, it was Starks that was the star for the Aggies on Sunday, finishing with 21 points and five assists in a blowout win over UNC.
No. 9-seed Florida State erased a 12-point deficit in the final 10 minutes to send No. 1-seed Xavier back to the Queen City. Both Xavier and Cincinnati blew late leads on Sunday.
It was not a pretty game, but No. 11-seed Syracuse knocked off No. 3-seed Michigan State in a game where the Spartans completely forgot how to make a jump shot.
SHOT OF THE DAY
Playing without their starting center, who is recovering from a broken elbow, Purdue’s Dakota Mathias buried this shot to send in-state rival Butler home:
WTF??? OF THE DAY
Michigan State shot 8-for-38 from three on Sunday afternoon, which was the major reason that the Spartans found a way to lose to Syracuse in the second round.
But one of the eight threes that they did hit was this one:
WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Auburn never stood a chance. No. 5-seed Clemson led by 41 points at one points as they sent Bruce Pearl’s boys packing.
The dream died. No. 16 UMBC lost to No. 9 Kansas State, ending their “run” in the NCAA tournament at two games.
North Carolina head coach Roy Williams took a moment to reflect on a special three-year run after the Tar Heels were eliminated from the 2018 NCAA Tournament with a blowout loss to No. 7 seed Texas A&M on Sunday.
After back-to-back national title game appearances and a championship win last season, Williams grew quite fond of seniors like Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson. Williams also mentioned some of the tumultuous circumstances surrounding the program from the past few years as he maintained that his players helped him through a difficult stretch in his life.
Speaking to reporters at the postgame press conference, Williams tried to subdue the emotion in his voice as he talked about this Tar Heels team.
With four more top threes falling out of the NCAA tournament on Sunday, here are the updated national title futures and betting odds in the NCAA tournament.
Odds via VegasInsider.com
West Virginia: 22/1
Texas Tech: 25/1
Texas A&M: 100/1
Loyola Chicago: 100/1
Kansas State: 125/1
Florida State: 150/1