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No. 5 seed Iowa State advances past No. 12 Nevada

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Monte’ Morris finished with 19 points, eight assists and eight boards to lead five players in double figures as No. 5 Iowa State avoided an upset at the hands of No. 12 Nevada, 84-73.

The Cyclones jumped out to a big lead in the first half before the Wolf Pack made their push. They cut a 15-point lead to four at one point in the second half, but Nevada was never able to get closer than that.

The concern in this game for Iowa State was whether or not that Nevada front court would be able to dominate the Cyclones on the interior, and, frankly, that did happen to a point. Cameron Oliver, who is a borderline first round pick, finished with 22 points while Jordan Caroline added 20. But Marcus Marshall, the team’s leading scorer, was just 5-for-16 from the floor with five of Nevada’s seven turnovers, and that ended up being Nevada’s undoing. Too many empty possessions for a team that simply couldn’t stop Iowa State. The Cyclones shot 8-for-19 from three and better than 55 percent from the floor.

For Nevada, the intrigue isn’t this season. It’s next season. On paper, the Wolf Pack look like they should be loaded, but there’s a very real chance that both head coach Eric Musselman and star center Oliver will be gone next year, Oliver to the pros and Musselman to one of the high-major openings on the west coast. If they both come back, which doesn’t seem likely, Nevada may be a top 25 team next season, and a program of that caliber is exactly what the Mountain West, which has been a one-bid league that’s gone winless in the tournament the last two years, desperately needs.

Iowa State will advance to take on No. 4 seed Purdue on Saturday. The Boilermakers knocked off No. 13 seed Vermont this afternoon.

Bronson Koenig’s 28 points leads No. 8 Wisconsin past No. 9 Virginia Tech

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Bronson Koenig scored 28 points and hit eight threes to pace No. 8 Wisconsin as the Badgers pulled away from No. 9 Virginia Tech late, winning 84-74.

The Badgers got a combined 26 points and 18 boards from Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ, but it was Koenig who was the star on Thursday evening.

Koenig has developed quite a reputation for hitting clutch three-pointers throughout his career, the most memorable of which was a buzzer-beating three to send Wisconsin to the Sweet 16 last season, and that didn’t change on Thursday night. Koenig buried a pair of critical triples, the first of which came with eight minutes left and the second, his final three of the night, coming with five minutes left. Both answered a surge by the Hokies to get the game to within a single point. Virginia Tech never did take the lead in the second half.

Zach LeDay played great for Virginia Tech, going for 23 points off the bench, but the Hokies were limited as Seth Allen, the team’s second-leading scorer, was battling a toe injury that limited his effectiveness. He finished with just 10 points, going 3-for-10 from the floor and never really making all that much of an impact.

The win sets Wisconsin up for a second round date with No. 1 seed Villanova, a game that some believe Wisconsin actually has a chance to win. The Badgers have plenty of size up front, and as good as Villanova has been this season, they just don’t have that kind of size on the interior.

Villanova knocked off Mount St. Mary’s earlier on Tuesday evening.

NCAA Tournament Thursday Recap: Virginia, Notre Dame survive upset bids, Gonzaga advances

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The moment that everyone is going to be talking about tomorrow comes courtesy of No. 9 Vanderbilt‘s Matthew Fisher-Davis who, after scoring 22 points and after a go-ahead bucket from Riley LaChance with 15 seconds left, intentionally fouled No. 8 Northwestern‘s Bryant McIntosh. McIntosh made both free throws to give the Wildcats the lead, and the ‘Dores wouldn’t score against. That is just a brutal way to lose, but I’m positive that Chris Collins is not going to feel guilty about winning the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament game.

Trevon Bluiett scored 18 of his 21 points after halftime as No. 11 seed Xavier landed a win over No. 6 Maryland, which may have ended Melo Trimble’s college career. The Musketeers looked like a different team than the one that struggled down the stretch of the season.

The trendy upset pick in this year’s field, No. 12 UNC Wilmington, looked like they were going to make that upset come to fruition. Then No. 5 Virginia got hot, Marial Shayok took over and London Perrantes did London Perrantes things. For the second straight season, the Seahawks lost by single-digits to a top five seed.

No. 12 Princeton was even closer to an upset, missing a game-tying and game-winning three in the final minute against No. 5 Notre Dame. The Irish advance to take on No. 4 West Virginia, who survived a fight in the second game of the day in Buffalo. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 15 point lead early in the first half, but No. 13 Bucknell scrapped back to get within three points in the middle of the second half before WVU hung on to win by six.

We did get one 12-5 upset in the afternoon, however, as Middle Tennessee won a game in the NCAA tournament for the second straight year, knocking off No. 5 seed Minnesota in a game where the Gophers were actually the underdog despite being the higher seed. MTSU will give No. 4 seed Butler a fight for the right to get to the Sweet 16.

My upset pick went up in flames, as No. 14 FGCU dunked all over No. 3 Florida Stateand then lost. Oh well.

THURSDAY’S BEST

London Perrantes, Virginia: Perrantes scored 24 points and made two huge shots in the final five minutes as the ‘Hoos avoided a loss at the hands of UNC Wilmington.

Bronson Koenig, Wisconsin: Koenig had 28 points and hit eight threes as the Badgers advanced to the second round to square off with No. 1 overall seed Villanova.

Devin Robinson, Florida: Robinson had 24 points to help pick up for KeVaughn Allen, who struggled on Thursday afternoon, as the No. 4 seed Gators advanced past a scrappy East Tennessee State team.

Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern: McIntosh scored 25 points and made the game-winning free throws as Northwestern won their first-ever NCAA tournament game, knocking off No. 9 Vanderbilt.

Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova: DiVincenzo scored 21 points and added 13 boards as No. 1 seed Villanova got past No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary’s.

WHO GOT UPSET?

  • No No. 5 Minnesota, because technically, No. 12 Middle Tennessee was favored over the Gophers.
  • No. 6 Maryland was picked off by No. 11 Xavier.

THE REST OF THURSDAY’S ACTION

POSTERIZED: Dwayne Bacon dunks on Dunk City

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Oh my goodness is right!

 

POSTERIZED: VCU center gets caught by Saint Mary’s sharpshooter

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Goggles.

Headband.

Poster:

VIDEO: FGCU still is #DunkCity

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FGCU, back when they were still just Florida-Gulf Coast, became #DunkCity during the 2013 NCAA tournament.

Well, they still are #DunkCity: