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CBT Podcast: Recapping the first weekend of the 2018 NCAA Tournament

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Eamonn Brennan of The Athletic joined Rob Dauster for an epic, two-hour podcast on the first weekend of the tournament. It was so good that we had to split the podcast into two parts. On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the South and West Regions, from Sister Jean to UMBC to Nevada’s comebacks to Kentucky’s chances at a Final Four.

On this show, the two go through everything that happened in the East and Midwest Regions, from Villanova and Duke steamrolling to Michigan State collapsing to Syracuse and Clemson and Texas Tech and Purdue. It’s all in there.

Most memorable moments from first weekend of 2018 NCAA Tournament

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eric musselContrary to what people that were caught up in the moment are going to try and tell you, this was not the craziest first weekend of the NCAA tournament of all time.

We may have had the single-craziest moment ever — we’ll get to that — and we did lose a number of the top teams in the bracket, but the insanity of this weekend wasn’t quite clinical. 

That said, we did get left with a number of memorable moments through out the first four days of the greatest sporting event in America. Here are the 12 that will stick with us for the longest time:


We’ve been trying to let you know about this guy all season long. The Texas Tech star averaged 22.5 points and 3.0 assists through the first two weekends of the event, and 33 of the 45 points that he scored came in the second half of two close wins. He hit the go-ahead three to beat Florida with just over two minutes left and made all the big plays in the come-from-behind win over Stephen F. Austin in the first round. He is a killer.

The best moment, however, might have been this lob that elicited memories of Kobe-to-Shaq:


If you’re not a gambler, you may not have noticed that the final, seemingly meaningless shot in Kansas’ win over Seton Hall in the second round had all kinds of weight behind it. Powell hit a running 30-footer as time-expired, cutting the Kansas lead to 83-79. Kansas was favored by 4.5 points in that game. The shot that he hit meant that the Pirates covered the spread. Millions of dollars — that’s not an exaggeration — changed hands as a direct result of that shot going in.


You may not have known who he was before this event started but you probably know who he is now. The Gonzaga freshman scored 15 points and hit the game-winning three as the Zags beat UNC Greensboro in the first round of the NCAA tournament, following that up by going for a career-high 28 points, a career-high 12 boards, a career-high six threes and his first career double-double in a second round win over Ohio State. He’s scored at least 14 points in each of his last six games. He will be the next superstar in Spokane.


Jim Boeheim, man. You have to give him credit. For the second time in three seasons, his Orange team has snuck into the NCAA tournament with a resume that didn’t deserve a bid and proceeded to make everyone seem like an idiot for saying they didn’t belong. The Orange are in the Sweet 16 after starting in the First Four and failing to score more than 60 points in any of their three games. Boeheim just packs in that 2-3, puts as many long and athletic people on the floor that he can and lets Tyus Battle go make plays. And it works. Sometimes basketball is an easy game, I guess.


One thing that I never thought that I would see in this event is a team with Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson getting run out of the gym. Those two dudes are so good and so tough and been through so much that I expected them to be in a dogfight every time they set foot on a court for all of eternity. Then Sunday happened, and Texas A&M — who spent four months flirting with the idea that maybe living up to their potential was a possibility — absolutely trucked them. They won by 21 points, and the outcome never really felt in doubt after the final TV timeout of the first half.


Remember when we all thought that this was going to be the most memorable upset for the first weekend?

Hahaha. That was fun.

But just because Virginia happened to go full Virginia and exactly one half of the top three seeds in the tournament were knocked out before the start of the second weekend doesn’t mean that what Buffalo did should be swept under the rug. The Bulls eviscerated an Arizona team that looked like they were ready to quit on this utterly forgettable season by the middle of the second half.


Xavier, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, looked like they were going to be able to cruise into the Sweet 16, as they led the Seminoles by 12 points with under 10 minutes left in the game. But that did not last, as they were outscored 18-4 to close out the game while Florida State reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011.

It’s the first time since 2004 that we head into the Sweet 16 with two of the nation’s No. 1 seeds sitting at home.


Eric Musselman and the Wolf Pack managed two thrilling wins in the span of three days. First, they came from way behind to beat No. 10-seed Texas in the opening round of the event before erasing the second-largest deficit in NCAA tournament history when they came back from 22 points down in the final 11:43 to second No. 2 Cincinnati back to the Queen City.


This shot, to beat Houston in the second round, will be the most memorable shot from this first weekend:

While this image is one that will forever epitomize what makes March Madness so special:

( Jeff Gross/Getty Images)


The shame in Poole’s shot going in was that it ended the tournament run of Houston star Rob Gray, who put together one of the best first weekend’s in tournament history as well as a performance that should have been iconic. In the first round, against No. 11-seed San Diego State, Gray finished with 39 of his team’s 67 points, including the game-winning bucket with 1.1 seconds left on the clock.

That game-winner capped one of the wildest finishes to a game that I can ever remember seeing. Check this out:

And that led directly to this:


I don’t even know where to start with this.

Twice in the span of three days, Loyola trailed 62-61 with less than 10 seconds left and twice in the span of three days they made a game-winner to advance to the next round of the tournament.

Sister Jean loves it.

1. UMBC!

Could it be anything else?

For the first time in the history of the world, a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament as the Retrievers knocked off Virginia to get their shot to play their way into the Sweet 16. They lost to Kansas State on Sunday, but who cares? It would have been terrific theater to see them get their shot in the Sweet 16, but it was not meant to be.

We’ll have to simply settle for UMBC truck-sticking the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.

Thursday NCAA Tournament Recap: What a wild, wild day of basketball

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It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

Rob Gray.

The Houston star scored a career-high 39 points, including a game-winning bucket with just 1.1 seconds left on the clock, as the Cougars advanced past San Diego State to take on Michigan in the second round of the tournament. Gray’s performance — and the shot that he hit to cap it — will go down as one of the great individual games of the NCAA tournament this decade.



  • KEENAN EVANS, Texas Tech: Evans scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, hitting all six of his field goals and his free throws as the No. 3 seed Red Raiders survived Stephen F. Austin.
  • DEVONTE’ GRAHAM, Kansas: No. 16 seed Penn looked like they were going to give Kansas a fight … until Graham took over. He finished with 29 points, six boards and six assists in the 76-60 win.
  • KEVIN KNOX and SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER, Kentucky: The Wildcats needed them to go off, and they did. Knox went for 25 points and SGA added 19 points, eight boards, seven assists and five steals.
  • TREVON DUVAL, Duke: A lot of Dukies played well against No. 15 seed Iona, but Duval’s performance might matter the most. He had 19 points and eight assists and hit four threes.
  • LAMONTE TURNER, Tennessee: The No. 3 seed Vols weren’t really tested by No. 14 Wright State, and that had a lot to do with Turner’s 19 points and nine assists.


The No. 13 seed Buffalo Bulls beat the breaks off of No. 4 seed Arizona. They won 89-68. They put in their walk-ons at the end of the game. They embarrassed the preseason No. 2 team in the country. And all this was the first NCAA tournament win the program’s ever had.

Not a bad day for Nate Oats.


The first game of the day was an absolute thriller, as Rhode Island knocked off Oklahoma and Trae Young in overtime in a game that very nearly featured a game-winning, buzzer-beating tip-in.


Shoutout to Donte Ingram, because he made this shot to kick off what turned into an incredible, exciting day of basketball:



Radford head coach Mike Jones channelled his inner-Marshawn Lynch after losing to Villanova:



Three Ohio State players went for 20 points as the No. 5 Buckeyes knocked off No. 12 seed South Dakota State in a fun game that saw 71 threes.

Khadeen Carrington went for 26 points as No. 8 Seton Hall advanced past No. 9 N.C. State.

Zach Norvell hit a three with less than a minute left to break a tie as No. 4 Gonzaga knocked off No. 13 UNC Greensboro.

No. 1 seed Villanova advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a dominant win over No. 16 Radford.

Collin Sexton had 25 points and six assists in a win over No. 9 Alabama and No. 8 Virginia Tech.

Good Florida showed up on Thursday night. The No. 6-seed Gators smoked No. 11 St. Bonaventure.

There was nothing good about No. 3 Michigan‘s win over No. 14 Montanaexcept for the fact that Michigan won.

After replacing Fisher, Dutcher guides SDSU back to NCAAs

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Four weeks ago, when San Diego State was 13-10 and in eighth place in the Mountain West Conference, even a berth in the NIT seemed farfetched in the Aztecs’ first season under coach Brian Dutcher.

There were rumblings that maybe Dutcher hadn’t been the right guy to replace Steve Fisher, even though the longtime loyal lieutenant had been the “head coach in waiting” since 2011.

Then it all changed as Dutcher guided the Aztecs out of the rough stretch and back into the NCAAs for the seventh time in nine seasons.

SDSU has won nine straight games, including a three-game run through the conference tournament to clinch the MWC’s automatic berth. The Aztecs beat three higher-seeded teams, including top-seeded and No. 22 Nevada, which they also defeated at home in the final week of the regular season.

One huge boost for the Aztecs was the return of senior guard Trey Kell, who had missed three games with a sprained ankle, including consecutive blowout losses at Nevada and Fresno State.

Then there was Dutcher’s unwavering belief in a team that missed the postseason altogether last year, Fisher’s 18th and final season leading the Aztecs.

“I told them we were the best team in the conference,” Dutcher said after the Aztecs (22-10) drew the 11th seed in the West Regional and a matchup against sixth-seeded Houston (26-7) on Thursday in Wichita, Kansas. “We had to go out there and prove that, not only to ourselves, but to the rest of the conference. We went on an incredible run.”

Dutcher has been to the NCAA Tournament 16 times previously, eight as an assistant at Michigan and eight with SDSU. All were at Fisher’s side except one, after Fisher had been fired because of the program’s involvement with booster Ed Martin. Dutcher was there when Fisher was elevated to interim head coach on the eve of the 1989 NCAA Tournament and led the Wolverines to the championship.

When Fisher was hired by SDSU prior to the 1999-2000 season, he brought Dutcher along as he revived the moribund program. SDSU went to the NCAA tourney eight times under Fisher. The Aztecs went a school-record six straight times from 2010-15, including the school’s first two Sweet 16 appearances.

“Just by nature, I’m happiest for the kids,” said Dutcher, who never had been a head coach until replacing Fisher. “Because as a coach, maybe if you fall short a year you can always go the next year, the next year, the next year. These kids, they have a four-year opportunity to go the NCAA Tournament. When Trey and Malik (Pope) went their first year, it seemed like, well hell, maybe we’ll go three more. As it turned out we got to their senior year and we really had to play well to get them there for their senior year.”

Fisher remains a university employee, working on development. Fisher also drives his son, Mark, who has ALS, to and from campus where he remains part of the coaching staff.

Steve Fisher said he’s proud of Dutcher’s stability and consistency.

“So often when you have some bumps in the road, you tend to jerk the wheel all over the road, and he’s had a steady hand on the rudder and the wheel,” Fisher said. “He bowed his back. Ten games ago when we got beat by 20 at Nevada, everybody was talking about how bad we were and all of this stuff and he’s just steady as a rock. And I think that guided the team through where they were to where they are. … And the team, too. They’ve done a magnificent job, and he’s been the leader of the pack. Good for all of them.”

Fisher has gone to every home game and some on the road, including the conference tournament.

“It’s different,” he said. “It’s easier. You sit where I do and you’ve got all the answers right after the fact. You don’t realize how hard it is when you’re sitting where I was, for those on the bench. I’ve been a good fan and I’ve been a nervous fan with a vested interest.

“We feel that we’ve got a program, underline program, and we should have an opportunity to compete to get into the NCAA Tournament, and we found a way this year, so it was very nice,” Fisher added.

Dutcher sees Steve Fisher every day. During the rough stretch, he said the former coach offered encouragement rather than strategy.

“We usually just say hello,” said Dutcher, whose father, Jim, was head coach at Eastern Michigan and Minnesota. “He doesn’t want to interject unless I ask him. So he’s not up in there closing the door and saying, ‘I think I have some advice for you.’ All the advice he’s given me is 29 years in the making. If I wasn’t listening, there’s no sense in listening now.”

CBT Podcast: Jeff Borzello’s Bracket Q-and-A and why he loved the bracket reveal

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Jeff Borzello of fame joined Rob Dauster on the podcast today to talk through the Coaching Carousel, the bracket reveal and some bracket advice Q-and-A. Spoiler alert: Jeff LOVED the bracket reveal, and he tries to justify that opinion unsuccessfully.

OPEN: What did the Selection Committee get wrong with seeding and bubble teams?

10:25: Jeff tries to justify his love for the bracket reveal.

15:15: UConn, Georgia, Pitt and Memphis. Who should they hire? Who will they hire?

26:45: Bracket Breakdown Q-and-A!

CBT Podcast: The Why Your Team Sucks Bracket Breakdown

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Brian Snow joined Rob Dauster for another stirring rendition of the Why Your Team Sucks podcast, only this time they breakdown the entire NCAA tournament bracket, giving picks for every single game and even giving you a full bracket to use for your convenience. The rundown:

OPEN: The South Region

17:35: The West Region

33:15: The Midwest Region

48:20: The East Region

1:00:50: The Final Four