Round of 64

Moton

NC Central coach LeVelle Moton reunites with son, who was hospitalized this week (PHOTO)

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In his fourth season as North Carolina Central head coach LeVelle Moton led his team into the NCAA tournament. However, he entered Friday’s game against No. 3 Iowa State in the East Region without his family in the stands, as his wife and daughter stayed behind to tend to his 1-year-old son who was hospitalized after suffering burns.

Following a 93-75 loss to the Cyclones, Moton returned home to his family, and shared this photo with his son on his Instagram page. Moton’s son will not suffer any long-term injuries.

Moton wrote in the caption:

“Made it home safely to see my son. This pic symbolizes a Father’s Love! Thx 4 ur Prayers!

The Eagles finished 28-6 (15-1 MEAC) on the season.

John Beilein gets lost going back to the team hotel after Michigan’s win over Wofford (VIDEO)

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Michigan, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, took down No. 15 seed Wofford, 57-40, on Thursday. Despite already securing the Round of 64 win, Michigan head coach John Beilein faced another challenger on Thursday night: the city of Milwaukee.

Beilein, who says he likes to take walks following games, got lost as he searched for his team’s hotel.

Luckily for Beilein two TV reporters from WNEM spotted him in Milwaukee and were able to help locate his hotel with one of their smartphones. Beilein and his Wolverines will look to navigate themselves into the Sweet 16 as Michigan takes on No. 7 Texas, which won on a game-winning shot from Cameron Ridley two days ago.

The Texas-Michigan Round of 32 matchup is scheduled to tip on Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

[H/T Sporting News]

Mercer center Monty Brown suffers concussion vs. Duke, doesn’t remember the game

Duke v Mercer
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Mercer, the No. 14 seed in the Midwest Region, advanced to the Round of 32, to play No. 11 seed Tennessee, following a massive upset win over No. 3 seed Duke.

Despite moving on in the NCAA tournament, the Bears will be without senior reserve center Monty Brown. The 6-foot-11 Brown suffered a concussion during Friday afternoon’s game against Duke, according to a report from Rachel Nichols.

Nichols reported that Brown will miss Sunday’s contest against the Volunteers and at the moment he is, “staying in dark room; doesn’t remember game at all.”

RELATEDMercer guard dances the Nae Nae  |  Epic postgame interview with the coach

Brown played just four minutes on Friday, and averages 4.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in less than 10 minutes per game this season for Mercer. Still, the Bears will need as much help as they can get on the frontline, especially against the Tennessee duo of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon, who controlled the paint in an 86-67 win over UMass on Friday.

Stokes scored a career-high 26 points, while Maymon added 11. The two combined to grab 25 of Tennessee’s 37 rebounds.

The Mercer-Tennessee game is scheduled to tip at 6:10 on Sunday evening.

Late Night Snacks: Duke, VCU both go down

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 12 Stephen F. Austin 77, No. 5 VCU 75 OT

The Lumberjacks saw a 10-point second half disappear as VCU went on a 20-3 run in the blink of an eye, but Stephen F. Austin was able to erase a 10 point VCU lead in the final minutes to force overtime. The biggest shot of the night came from Desmond Hayman, who buried a three while getting fouled with just 3.6 seconds left. The teams traded baskets in the extra frame, but JeQuan Lewis missed a wide-open look at a three as the buzzer sounded. SFA will advance to face No. 4 seed UCLA, if they ever stop dancing.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1. No. 14 Mercer 78, No. 3 Duke 71: Stephen F. Austin weren’t the only ones dancing on Friday as the Bears handed Duke their second loss to a double-digit seed in the last three season. The Bears took advantage of off nights from Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, who combined for 6-for-24 from the floor, and attacked them on the defensive end of the floor. Jakob Gollom led the way with 20 points for the Bears.

2. No. 6 North Carolina 79, No. 11 Providence 77: Bryce Cotton went off for 36 points and eight assists, but the Friars could do nothing to keep North Carolina off of the offensive glass, giving up three offensive rebounds on the final possession of the game alone. Marcus Paige finished with 19 points for the Tar Heels.

3. No. 3 Iowa State 93, No. 14 N.C.-Central 75: Iowa State won and advanced, but the biggest news of the day was that Georges Niang’s season came to an end with he broke a bone in his foot. That’s a massive blow for the Cyclones.

STARRED

1. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee: The big fella finished with 26 points and 14 boards as No. 11 Tennessee knocked off No. 6 UMass in a blowout.

2. Doug McDermott, Creighton: Ho-hum, just another 30-point, 12-rebound performance from McDermott for the No. 3 seed Bluejays in a win over No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette.

3. Julius Randle, Kentucky: Randle scored 19 points and grabbed 15 boards as No. 8 Kentucky knocked off No. 9 Kansas State.

STRUGGLED

1. Alex Kirk and Kendall Williams, New Mexico: Two of No. 7 New Mexico’s three best players combined for six points on 1-for-12 shooting from the floor in a 58-53 loss to No. 10 Stanford.

2. Le’Bryan Nash, Oklahoma State: Nash was 2-for-5 from the floor and played just 17 minutes before fouling out as the No. 9 seed Cowboys lost to No. 8 Gonzaga.

3. Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were 4-for-21 from three, Tim Miles got ejected and the 74-60 loss was much closer than the game seemed. That’s bad.

NOTABLES

No. 8 Kentucky knocks off No. 9 Kansas State, advances to face No. 1 Wichita State

Julius Randle
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Jullius Randle went into full-blown beast mode, finishing with 19 points and 15 boards as No. 8 Kentucky knocked off No. 9 Kansas State 56-49 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

Aaron Harrison chipped in with 18 points for UK. Randle and Harrison combined to shoot 13-for-22 from the floor. The rest of the Kentucky roster went just 6-for-28, but it didn’t matter. Kansas State’s offense was inept against a suddenly stingy Kentucky team that gave up just 0.831 PPP to the Wildcats.

For those that aren’t well versed in tempo-free stats, that’s really, really good and ranks among the best defensive performances this season for Kentucky.

And what it does is vault the Wildcats into what may be the most intriguing Round of 32 matchup in the history of college basketball.

I’m not exaggerating, either.

No. 1 Wichita State vs. No. 8 Kentucky on Sunday afternoon will be the most hyped up game of the weekend, and it’s not hard to figure out why.

Kentucky entered the season projected as the No. 1 team in the country, as they were blessed with a roster that includes more potential lottery picks than Wichita State has had in program history. There was so much hype surrounding what many considered to be the great recruiting class of all-time that Kentucky that there were actual, intelligent people that thought the Wildcats had a chance to go 40-0 this season.

That dream died on the fifth day of the regular season, but it is still intact for Wichita State, who has now won their first 35 games of the season. The Shockers don’t have any blue-chippers. Cleanthony Early was a sought after Junior College recruit and Fred Van Vleet was on a couple of top 100 lists as a senior, but overall, Wichita State is made up of a group of blue-collar, overlooked guys that have a chip the size of Koch Arena on their shoulder.

In other words, their roster makeup and the base they recruit from couldn’t be more different than Kentucky’s.

And yet here they are, squaring off in a Round of 32 game. How hard would you have laughed if I told you back in November that a game between Wichita State and Kentucky featured the Shockers, and not the Wildcats, as the No. 1 seed?

That’s not even the most intriguing story line here, either, as both teams — and coaches — will be under an enormous amount of pressure.

If Coach Cal, for a second straight season, fails to get this Kentucky team to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament, the pressure-cooker that is Lexington, Kentucky, is only going to get more intense. Saying that Calipari is on the hot seat would be incorrect, but his job certainly would not be as easy or as safe as it was two seasons ago.

And he’s got it easy.

Gregg Marshall’s team is in a position where a loss to the preseason No. 1 team in the country would essentially nullify everything that they were able to accomplish this season. Kentucky is the best team that the Shockers will have faced this season. Losing to them would only further the narrative that Wichita State’s record is a result of who, not how, they played.

Should I mention that the game is going to be played is a raucous, sold out Scottrade Center in Saint Louis?

This is going to be fun.