Rob Dauster

Cincinnati players, including forward Jacob Evans left, console forward Octavius Ellis, seated, after a first-round men's college basketball game against Saint Joseph's in the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash., Friday, March 18, 2016. Saint Joseph's won 78-76. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
(AP Photo/Young Kwak)

VIDEO: Wild finish in Cincinnati-Saint Joseph’s ends in waived off dunk


And you thought Northern Iowa’s win was a wild finish?

No. 9 Cincinnati erased a 12-point second half deficit against No. 8 Saint Joseph’s, taking a 76-75 lead with less than a minute left before Isaiah Miles buried a three to put the Hawks back up 78-76.

On the ensuing possession, Cincinnati when the length of the court, where Troy Caupain found Octavius Ellis in front of the rim for what looked like a game-tying, overtime-forcing dunk:

Not so fast.

Ellis did not get the ball out of his hands in time. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this screen shot from the truTV broadcast. The redlight behind the basket it on and the ball is still clearly in his hands:

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 12.34.09 AM

That’s a devastating way for Cincinnati to have their season end.

And that may not even be the most unlikely loss for Cincinnati this month. Remember, they were knocked out of the AAC tournament by UConn in a quadruple-overtime game when Jalen Adams forced the fourth overtime with a 65-footer at the buzzer.

Saint Joseph’s, on the other hand, will advance to take on No. 1 Oregon in the second round on Sunday.

James Farr, No. 2 Xavier outlasts scrappy No. 15 Weber State

Xavier's James Farr, center, dunks as Weber State's Zach Braxton, left, and Joel Bolomboy defend during the second half in a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA tournament, Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis. Xavier won 71-53. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Leave a comment

James Farr led four players in double-figures with 18 points and 15 boards as No. 2 Xavier took care of No. 15 Weber State, 71-53.

Weber State put up a fight. They were within single digits for the majority of the second half, but a late push from the Musketeers eventually put Damian Lillard’s alma mater away.

The Musketeers are now sitting in a great position to make a run through the bracket. They matchup up really well with No. 7 Wisconsin, who picked off No. 10 Pitt earlier on Friday night, and if they do happened to get out of the first weekend of the tournament, they are ensured of avoiding No. 3 West Virginia.

The Mountaineers spent much of the season in and around the top ten. They finished the season in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 and reached the Big 12 final. They’re good, and their pressure — and the turnovers that it forces — would have been an awful matchup for point guard deficient Xavier.

That doesn’t mean that Chris Mack’s club is going to have a cake-walk to the Elite 8. Wisconsin was one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten in the last six weeks of the season. That’s very much a losable game, as would a date with No. 6 Notre Dame or No. 11 Michigan, who have the shooters and the spread offense to give Xavier. And that’s ignoring No. 14 Stephen F. Austin, who just beat West Virginia at their own game on Friday night.

But regardless of where you end up getting seeded, you’re going to play at least five games that you can lose if you’re going to win a national title. As the saying goes, styles make fights. It’s all about how you matchup with the teams standing between you and the Final Four, and now that West Virginia is out of the way, Xavier is guaranteed to match up better with anyone that they end up play.

POSTERIZED: Jalen Reynolds murdered a rim (VIDEO)

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.05.51 PM
Leave a comment

I’m not sure there is anyone in college basketball as powerfully athletic as Xavier’s Jalen Reynolds is.

This is proof of that:

No. 3 Texas A&M makes light work of No. 14 Green Bay

Texas A&M guard Danuel House, center, dunks in front of Green Bay forward Kenneth Lowe, left, and guard Carrington Love, right, in the second half of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 18, 2016, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Leave a comment

Danuel House led five players in double figures for No. 3 Texas A&M as the Aggies cruised past No. 14 seed Green Bay, 92-65.

The Phoenix made the Aggies work for it early, taking a six-point lead at one point in the first half, but A&M’s depth and size eventually wore down Green Bay.

And on a day where No. 2 Michigan State, No. 3 West Virginia and No. 4 Cal all lost — and just 24 hours after a pair of No. 5 and No. 6 seeds fell — it’s worth wondering whether or not the Aggies are flying under our radar at this point.

Maybe it’s because they’re a football school. Maybe it’s because no one ever really expects SEC schools not named Kentucky or Florida to do much of anything in the NCAA tournament. Maybe it’s because A&M doesn’t exactly have a reputation for being a winning basketball team. Whatever the case may be, this was not a team that you heard much about in the days after the bracket was released.

We did hear about how the West was wide open for Oregon and Oklahoma to meet up in the Elite 8. We did hear about how Baylor, Duke and Texas drew a team that could easily pick them off in the first round. But outside of the President, did anyone pick the Aggies to make it out of the West Region?

Might we all regret that?

No. 7 Wisconsin advances with a win over No. 10 Pitt

Wisconsin's Zak Showalter, left, heads to the basket as Pittsburgh's Jamel Artis defends during the first half of a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA tournament, Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Pitt-Wisconsin was everything we thought it would be and more.

Well … less, actually.

The No. 7 seed Badgers erased an early 12-point deficit with a 19-6 run, holding on down the stretch to beat No. 10 Pitt, 47-43, in the East Region’s first round.

And yes, that final score is accurate, as the game may have been worse than that score would lead you to believe. Wisconsin shot 37.8 percent from the floor, which was markedly better than the 32.1 percent that Pitt shot. Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin’s star forward, hit the two game-clinching free throws with 1.3 seconds left on the clock, but he also shot 3-for-17 from the floor. Pitt’s James Robinson was 3-for-14 from the floor, including a runner that he missed with five seconds left that would have given the Panthers the lead.

As bad as this game way, it has to be taken with a bit of perspective. Games that were played in the 40s and 50s, eyesores like this, were not uncommon last season. This year, at least in settings that get as much attention as the NCAA tournament, they have been few and far between.

So maybe the reduced shot clock and the emphasis on freedom of movement actually helped?

Whatever the case may be, the Badgers will advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament, which is a fairly shocking accomplishment given everything they’ve been through this season. Bo Ryan quit in December. Greg Gard took over, but his impact wasn’t immediate. On Jan. 12th, after a loss to Northwestern, the Badgers were 9-9 on the season after a 1-4 start to Big Ten play with losses to Western Illinois, Milwaukee and Marquette.

And now they’ll get their shot at No. 2 Xavier — or No. 15 Weber State — for the right to play in the Sweet 16.

How many people had a better season than that?

No. 2 Oklahoma gets 27 from Hield to advance past No. 15 Bakersfield

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) drives to the basket around Cal State Bakersfield guard Dedrick Basile (5) in the second half during a first-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City, Friday, March 18, 2016. Oklahoma won 82-68. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
(AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Leave a comment

Buddy Hield went for 27 points, including a pair of critical threes in the second half, and Jordan Woodard and Isaiah Cousins combined for 31 points and six assists on 6-for-8 shooting from three as the No. 2 seed Sooners knocked off No. 15 Cal State Bakersfield, 82-68, in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Oklahoma was never really in danger of getting Michigan State’d, but the Roadrunners were tied early in the second half and within single digits under the final minutes. The final score says 14 points, but the Sooners didn’t really get enough separation ever feel comfortable.

The Sooners will advance to face No. 10 seed VCU in the second round. The Rams dispatched No. 7 Oregon State in the first round. On paper, the Sooners look like they should be able to handle VCU fairly easily. The Rams no longer are full ‘Havoc’, as they don’t really play that over-gambling, full-court pressure defense any more, but they are still a team that relies pretty heavily on forcing turnovers and will gamble enough that opponents do get some open looks from three.

Oklahoma has one of the nation’s best back courts and is also one of the nation’s best three-point shooting teams.