Day one was filled with upsets, including the defeat of mighty Kentucky and UConn. Day two was not as crazy; however, there were a few upsets and some close calls. The Day two recap will explain the losses, close calls, and blowouts on day two.
Men’s Tournament Day Two Recap
The most significant upset of day two was 11 seed Iowa State taking down six seed LSU. This result did not surprise me, considering the firing of Will Wade that happened last week due to recruiting violations. The Cyclones play great defense, and Colgate challenged Wisconsin. This combination might be the recipe for a second upset. Do not be too surprised if Iowa State ends up in the Sweet Sixteen. Izaiah Brockington and Tyrese Hunter lead Iowa State; these two players help run their offense and create opportunities for others. The Cyclones may struggle if they face a team with a bonafide post threat because they do not have anyone over 6ft 8inches tall. Their lack of size is problematic, but their three-point shooting and strong defense will help this team in round two. This result took down the final perfect brackets in the ESPN tournament challenge.
11 Seed Notre Dame took down six seed Alabama thanks to ten made threes. Cormac Ryan led the charge yesterday, scoring 29 points and hitting tough shots everywhere. However, Ryan’s shooting ability is concerning and might be a problem for a Texas Tech team that can struggle to score at times. If ND wants to continue, they must hit double-digit threes again. This was a very disappointing finish for a team that beat Gonzaga during the season for Alabama. The tide had potential, but they were so inconsistent that it led to their demise.
The only other upset of day two was ten seed Miami beating seven seed USC 68-66. This game was close throughout, and Miami had to fight hard to get the win. Despite only making one three and getting outrebounded by 14, the Hurricanes managed to win because they created 17 USC turnovers. Isaiah Wong had 22 points for the Canes last night. He needs another excellent performance to give Miami a chance against Auburn. Miami’s great defense will not make anything easy for Auburn, but I am worried about who can match Auburn star, Jabari Smith. He is the key to Auburn’s offense and a challenging player to contain. Therefore, Auburn should make the sweet sixteen.
Illinois barely escaped Chattanooga 54-53 yesterday; both teams shot poorly from the free-throw line and struggled to score. On the hand, Houston looked good in their win over former conference rival UAB. On the other hand, Illinois looks like they are in trouble against the Cougars. The Mocs were ahead for most of this game, getting a 20-8 lead. However, Illinois cut the lead tow two by halftime. The Mocs would go up 11 in the second half before Illinois went on a run to get back into it. The Illini got their first lead in a while with less than a minute left and won thanks to two clutch free throws.
Wisconsin struggled with pesky Colgate, who hits a lot of threes. However, the Badgers got the win because they took care of the ball and only committed five turnovers. Johnny Davis saved the day for Wisconsin, scoring 25 points. Colgate needs to put together a better non-conference schedule next season to get a better seed because they have been so close to a win these last two tournaments.
Michigan State escaped Davidson 74-73 in a crazy game that sets up a titanic matchup with Duke. The Spartans Joey Hauser had 27 points last night. Hauser is a dynamic, experienced player that demonstrated his leadership last night. Duke has a leadership problem because of their lack of experience. Therefore this matchup tomorrow will be entertaining to watch.
Texas beat Virginia Tech by eight yesterday, pulling away late and leading for most of the game. They will face Purdue in the round of 32.
Ohio State held Loyola to 27% shooting and only 41 points in their win yesterday; the Buckeyes will move on to face Villanova in an exciting matchup.
The Wildcats struggled in the first half with Delaware but pulled away towards the end. Villanova’s senior-laden group will be a very tough out in this tournament. However, Collin Gillespie has the championship-level experience to lead this team to the sweet sixteen.
Auburn and Duke blew out their respective opponents in their 2-15 matchups. However, both of these teams looked good and will be very challenging teams in the second round.
Arizona pulled away from Wright State late in the game yesterday; however, TCU won by 27 over Seton Hall. The Horned Frogs already have a win over Kansas this year. Jamie Dixon’s team presents many issues for teams and might lead to a massive upset. Arizona must come ready to play Sunday, or they will go down much earlier than expected.
Purdue took advantage of Yale’s lack of size on day two, winning 78-56. The Boilermakers will now face Texas tomorrow in a fun matchup. For Purdue to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, their defense must stand up and force Texas into challenging offensive sets. The combination of Jaden Ivey, Zach Edey, and Trevion Williams is incredibly challenging to contain. However, Purdue should move on to the sweet sixteen if the two bigs stay out of foul trouble.
Overall, day two was less crazy than day one, but there were still a lot of significant events to explore. I am anxious to see how these matchups will impact the round of 32 and who will come out on top.
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