The first round of the NCAA Tournament came and went without any real upsets, but the first day of the second round more than made up for it. It started when Wisconsin came back to knock off the defending champions in Villanova, and continued into the night when 11-seed Xavier beat Florida State by 25 points. With half of the Sweet 16 now filled, here is everything you may have missed and/or need to know:
(8) Wisconsin shocks (1) Villanova with 65-62 upset win
There will not be a repeat champion this year. Wisconsin led for the first 25 minutes of the game, but foul trouble to point guard Bronson Koenig and center Ethan Happ killed their momentum. Villanova used that to their advantage, going on a spirited run that gave them a 57-50 lead with just over five minutes to play.
Of course, Wisconsin wasn't done. They closed the game on a 15-5 run of their own as Bronson Koenig (17 points) hit a pair of huge three-pointers down the stretch and Nigel Hayes (19 points) added a late layup that iced the game.
— Chat Sports NCAA (@ChatNCAA) March 18, 2017
With the win, Wisconsin advances to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season. It is also the third time in four years that Villanova has lost in the Round of 32.
11) Xavier Musketeers advances to Sweet 16 with 91-66 win over (3) Florida State
Led by Trevon Bluiett's 29 points, Xavier shot an impressive 56.6 percent from the field as five different players scored in double figures. Their zone also kept Florida State from establishing any offensive flow, limiting the Seminoles to just 4/21 shooting (19 percent) from three-point range.
The Musketeers trailed for just over a minute early in the first half, then broke the game open with a 12-0 run that gave them a double-digit lead they would never give back. FSU managed to stay within roughly a 10 point deficit for a while, but Xavier exploded with another big run - this one 20-8 - to push the lead to 21. The rest of the game was simply a formality after that.
Tyrique Jones' big night
Apparently, Xavier's Tyrique Jones has some vendetta against the rim. Their upset win over Florida State was capped by a pair of MONSTER slams from the big man.
How did he do that?!?
Iowa State's Deonte Burton is really, really athletic.
West Virginia, Press Virginia
The Mountaineers cruised past Notre Dame for the 83-71 win, and did so with their patented full court press, which created a few highlights.
Defense to offense
Arizona overcame a slow start against St. Mary's and won 69-60 thanks to a revamped defensive effort in the second half, as shown by Kadeem Allen.
Lay down the Law!
Northwestern's furious second half rally against Gonzaga came up just short, but Vic Law provided us with a huge putback slam in the process.
These are the Badgers we all expected at the beginning of the year
To be frank, Wisconsin's senior-laden team looked terrible at times this year. Despite having superstars Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ, the Badgers lost five of their last seven games to close the regular season. It looked like this group that is so accomplished had lost their edge. Then, they seemingly flipped a switch and are playing their best basketball of the season at the perfect time. This group knows what it takes to be successful in March and are a real threat to make the Final Four.
Will Gonzaga be the only mid-major in the Sweet 16?
The Zags don't really count as a mid-major since they've established themselves as one of the elite programs in all of college basketball, but there is a good chance that they will be the only school from a small conference to make it into the second weekend after Middle Tennessee lost to Butler. Wichita State and Rhode Island are the only other two left, and both will be decided underdogs against Kentucky and Oregon, respectfully, on Sunday. That's something to watch tomorrow.
It's finally starting to feel like March
The first round had a little bit of drama, and Saturday certainly made up for any shortcomings the first two days of the tournament had. Not only did we have the two major upsets we discussed above, we had Arizona overcoming a double-digit deficit to win, Northwestern nearly pulling off a 20+ point comeback and Iowa State completely erasing a 19-point deficit against Purdue before losing in the final seconds.
Yeah, it definitely feels like March now.Back to the NCAA Newsfeed