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 State … and then lost. Oh well.
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
- It wasn’t pretty, but No. 1 Gonzaga got past No. 16 South Dakota State with a 20-point win.
- No. 2 Arizona beat No. 15 North Dakota in a game that was had very little intrigue.
- No. 4 Butler didn’t have much trouble at all dispatching No. 13 seed Winthrop, winning 76-64 in a game that wasn’t really that close.
- Vince Edwards had 21 points to lead No. 4 Purdue past No. 13 Vermont.
- Kasey Hill had 14 points, five boards, five assists and a pair of steals to lead No. 4 Florida to a win over No. 13 East Tennessee State.
- No. 12 Nevada made it interesting down the stretch, but they never truly threatened No. 5 Iowa State, who is heading back to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
- No. 7 Saint Mary’s tried to give a massive lead away, but they survived, holding on to beat a scrappy No. 10 VCU to advance and take on, in all likelihood, No. 2 seed Arizona.