March Madness: West Region Second Round Recap in NCAA Tournament
Gonzaga vs Northwestern
The Gonzaga Bulldogs continued their strong play early in the West Region of the NCAA tournament with a 79-73 win over the Northwestern Wildcats, ending their potential Cinderella run. By halftime it looked like the game was over with Northwestern only scoring 20 points while going 1-11 from three. In the second half, the Wildcats came out swinging, bringing the lead down to twelve.
Once again, Northwestern were led by Bryant McIntosh who even cut the lead down to six with 45 seconds left. Nigel Williams-Goss had another really strong game for the Bulldogs. Willilams-Goss will have to be the catalyst for this team if they wish to fulfill the expectations of a number one seed.
Gonzaga will take on West Virginia in the Sweet Sixteen. It will have to be a mistake free game by guards Silas Melson, Nigel Williams-Goss and Josh Perkins who will have to navigate the vaunted West Virginia full-court press.
West Virginia vs Notre Dame
Although the Notre Dame Fighting Irish was the lower seed in this matchup, most analysts had the Fighting Irish as the favorites to move past the West Virginia Mountaineers. With a couple of NBA draft hopeful players, Notre Dame was thought to have the elite guard play necessary to beat the West Virginia press. The exact opposite happened in this game, Notre Dame had 14 turnovers, their second most all season.
West Virginia were led by Jevon Carter who hit 4-5 of his three-pointers while also consistently getting into the lane and causing havoc for Notre Dame. The final score was 83-71 for West Virginia who will play favorites Gonzaga in the next round.
The Bulldogs have two dominant forces on the inside in Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins who could bully West Virginia inside. If the Mountaineers cannot turn Gonzaga over it could be a long day for West Virginia.
Xavier vs Florida State
This game did not go as expected. The Xavier Musketeers is the upstart team without their star player who crawled into the tournament while Florida State Seminoles are loaded with NBA talent and thought to be a dark-horse contender for the National Title.
This game was quite simply a beat-down by Xavier who dominated the game from start to finish. Xavier center Sean O’Mara dominated the paint against the much talked about Seminole big-men in the first half, scoring 9 points by halftime and helping Xavier get a 10 point lead.
In the second half, Xavier was 11-16 from three, stifling any comeback attempt winning 91-66. Xavier has definitely been the surprise team of the tournament so far. They will take on Arizona in the next round, another team with a couple of NBA prospects. Lauri Markkanen is a different type of beast to anything Xavier has faced so far and could give the Musketeers fits.
Arizona vs Saint Mary’s
The Arizona Wildcats pulled off a victory against Saint Mary’s Gaels in a dogfight of a game winning 69-60. Saint Mary’s came out of the game strong and had a 10 point lead midway through the first half.
Behind some strong play by Lauri Markkanen, Arizona was able to cut that deficit to one at halftime. That’s when Allonzo Trier woke up and scored seven straight points to regain the lead for Arizona. From there, it was smooth sailing for the Wildcats who did not relinquish the lead again.
Arizona is going to play a really hot Xavier squad who seemingly cannot miss a shot. Arizona will have to adjust their style as they only recorded four assists all game.