No. 8 Northwestern was rolling.
They were on a 23-8 run, having trimmed what was once a 20-point deficit down to just five. There were five minutes left in the game, and the collective hope of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Doug Collins and 75 percent of the sports journalism world was going to be enough to lead the Wildcats to the miraculous upset.
And then this happened:
A dunk attempt by Dererk Pardon was blocked by Zach Collins, according to the officials, but Collins had actually blocked the shot by putting his hand up through the rim. It’s quite clearly a blown call by the officiating staff — one that was confirmed in a release by the NCAA on Saturday evening — and to compound their error, the ref closest to Northwestern head coach Chris Collins lit him up with a technical foul when he protested. (Collins earned the tech by running on the floor, but he was justified in being angry.)
Instead of a bucket that would have cut Gonzaga’s lead to three points and continued to add game pressure on a team that doesn’t exactly have the best reputation of being able to handle game pressure, Gonzaga got a pair of free throws and was able to push the lead back to ten points two possessions later. Northwestern never threatened again, and Gonzaga went on to win, 79-73.
It was a brutal break for the Wildcats, one that I’m sure Mark Few isn’t going to complain about, as the Zags avoided bowing out of the tournament in the second round, which was the fate the program suffered the last time that they were a No. 1 seed.
Nigel Williams-Goss led the way with 20 points for the Zags, while Zach Collins chipped in with 14 points, five boards and four blocks off the bench as the Zags advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season, where they will face No. 4 seed West Virginia.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — Police say someone stole thousands of dollars in electronics from the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team locker room and office while they were away for the ACC tournament.
UNC-Chapel Hill campus police said on Twitter that the break-in happened at the Dean Smith Center on March 9, and they released images of a man they believe may have been involved.
A police report says the thief managed to get into the team locker room and basketball office without forced entry, according to The Herald-Sun.
The report says the thief stole a PlayStation 4, Xbox One and clothing worth $2,900 that belonged to the athletic department. Police say the thief also stole a laptop worth $1,200 and a financial document worth about $3,000 belonging to one of the players.
The No. 1 overall seed on the men’s side of the NCAA tournament made history on Friday night.
They because the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the first round of the tournament, as Virginia lost to UMBC, if you were still unaware.
Over on the women’s side, the bracket is nowhere near as broken, because UConn’s women made history, too. They set NCAA tournament records for … well, almost everything it seems like.
The Huskies were up 55-19 at the end of the first quarter of their first round game against St. Francis (PA). Those 55 points are an NCAA tournament record. They held a 94-31 lead at the half, another NCAA tournament record, and held on to win 140-52.
The 140 points that Geno Auriemma’s team scored was an NCAA tournament record. The 88 points that they won by was one point short of an NCAA tournament record 89 points that was set by Baylor in a win over Texas Southern last season.
Oh, and the Huskies set the record for more assists in an NCAA tournament game — 38 — for good measure.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the fans in Storrs had a better weekend than the fans in Charlottesville. Hopefully, that will allow them to forget the fact that the men’s basketball program has become a laughing stock.
Never before in the history of the NCAA tournament as a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed.
That was until Friday night, when UMBC sent the No. 1 overall seed Virginia packing.
And if you thought no one had picked that upset, you were wrong.
Let’s start with the Maryland Governor, who was clearly a homer in picking UMBC to not only beat Virginia, but to win a national title:
Never say never, but … that’s never going to happen bud.
But how about this: My son, who is two years old and based his picks on his hard and fast rule of “all the doggies”, called this upset!
He also called Penn over Kansas, Fullerton over Purdue and Butler winning a national title, but whatever.
That bracket is actually pretty good!
You have to give Virginia some credit.
After losing to No. 16 seed UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the players on that roster faced the music. They went up to the dais and answered question from reporters on national television.
There is no way they enjoyed that.
And you can tell because Ty Jerome had absolutely no interest in answering dumb questions from reporters:
He was not amused.
Here is the full TV schedule, with spreads, over-unders and betting lines, for every game for the first four days of the NCAA tournament.
(Lines are updated for Saturday morning.)
Pittsburgh: Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner and Dana Jacobson
- 12:10 p.m.: No. 1 Villanova (-11.5) vs. No. 9 Alabama, CBS (149.5)
- 2:40 p.m.: No. 2 Duke (-9.5) vs. No. 7 Rhode Island, CBS (149)
Boise: Brian Anderson, Chris Webber and Lisa Byington
- 5:15 p.m.: No. 5 Kentucky (-5.5) vs. No. 13 Buffalo, CBS (155)
- 7:45 p.m.: No. 4 Gonzaga (-4) vs. No. 5 Ohio State, CBS (141.5)
Dallas: Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Len Elmore and Ros Gold-Onwude
- 6:10 p.m.: No. 3 Tennessee (-5) vs. No. 11 Loyola (Chicago), TNT (131.5)
- 8:40: No. 3 Texas Tech (-1.5) vs. No. 6 Florida, TNT (133.5)
Wichita: Brad Nessler, Steve Lavin and Evan Washburn
- 7:10 p.m.: No. 1 Kansas (-4.5) vs. No. 8 Seton Hall, TBS (154.5)
- 9:40 p.m.: No. 3 Michigan (-3) vs. No. 6 Houston, TBS (135)