NCAA Tournament Recap — Michigan and Michigan State Advance to Sweet 16
After four exciting days of college basketball, the 68-team field of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship has been reduced to the Sweet 16.
Still alive are both Michigan and Michigan State.
Here are six things we learned from the tournament’s first weekend:
Big Ten Conference Puts Trio in Sweet 16
Of the six Big Ten Conference teams making the field, three remain. The Big Ten went 3-0 in third-round games on Saturday, with Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin advancing.
In the Midwest Region at Milwaukee, second-seeded Michigan defeated Texas 79-65 behind Nick Stauskas’ 17 points, eight blocked shots, two rebounds and one assist. In the East Region at Spokane, Wash., fourth-seeded Michigan State held off Harvard 80-73 behind Branden Dawson’s career-high 26 points and nine rebounds. In the West Region in Milwaukee, second-seeded Wisconsin defeated Oregon 85-77.
Michigan State (28-8) next plays No. 1 seed Virginia at 9:57 p.m. Friday in New York. Michigan (27-8) next plays No. 11 Tennessee at 7:15 p.m. EST Friday in Indianapolis.
Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State all suffered opening-round losses.
Wichita State’s Streak Is Over; Florida’s Streak Is Not
Just two days after becoming the first NCAA Division I men’s basketball team to win 35 consecutive games in a single season, Wichita State’s historic run ended on Sunday thanks to a spirited effort by Kentucky.
The eighth-seeded Wildcats edged the top-seeded Shockers 78-76 in the Midwest Region in St. Louis. Kentucky moved on to face in-state rival Louisville in the Sweet 16 on Friday in Indianapolis.
Top-ranked Florida won its 28th consecutive game, trouncing Pitt 61-45 on Saturday in the South Region in Orlando.
The top-seeded Gators advanced to their fourth consecutive Sweet 16 berth, and next face fourth-seeded UCLA on Thursday in Memphis. The Bruins beat Stephen F. Austin 77-60 on Sunday in San Diego.
Three Cinderellas Are Still Dancing
Three double-digit seeds remained alive after the tournament’s first weekend: Stanford, Dayton and Tennessee.
The Cardinal and the Flyers were the 10th- and 11th-seeded teams in the South Region. Each advanced to the Sweet 16 by knocking off high-profile opponents: Stanford beat seventh-seeded New Mexico and second-seeded Kansas; Dayton upset sixth-seeded Ohio State and third-seeded Syracuse.
Tennessee beat Iowa on Wednesday to claim the 11th seed in the Midwest Region. The Volunteers then routed sixth-seeded Massachusetts and 14th-seeded Mercer over the weekend in Raleigh, N.C. to advance.
Stanford will play Dayton on Thursday in Memphis. for the right to advance to the South Region final. Tennessee will face second-seeded Michigan in Indianapolis on Friday.
No. 1 Seeds Played Well; No. 5 Seeds Did Not
Wichita State was the only top regional seed to lose during the first weekend of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Florida (South), Virginia (East) and Arizona (West) all cruised into the Sweet 16 via lopsided victories in their first two games. Each top team must now get past the fourth seed in their region to advance to the Elite Eight.
Fifth-seeded teams went a woeful 1-4 in the NCAA tourney. Only Saint Louis managed to top N.C. State in the Midwest Region, and that victory came in overtime after a late Wolfpack collapse. The Billikens then lost on Saturday to fourth-seeded Louisville.
Elsewhere, Cincinnati lost to 12th-seeded Harvard in the East; Oklahoma fell to North Dakota State in the West and Virginia Commonwealth dropped its game to Stephen F. Austin in the South.
Southeastern Conference Is Good At Basketball, Too
The Southeastern Conference produce great basketball teams, too, in addition to football.
Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee have a perfect 7-0 record in the tournament. If the Wildcats and Volunteers can win their games Friday in Indianapolis, an all-SEC Midwest Region final on Sunday will guarantee the conference at least one Final Four entrant.
Creighton’s Doug McDermott Played His Last NCAA Game
When sixth-seeded Baylor crushed third-seeded Creighton 85-55 in the West Region in San Antonio on Sunday, the Bears ended more than the national title hopes of the Bluejays. Creighton’s Doug McDermott, the nation’s leading scorer, played his last college game in the loss.
His 15 points were nearly 12 points off his per game average this season. Almost certain to be a lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, McDermott must now wait until the pros to show off the shooting skills that allowed him to tally 3,150 points — the fifth highest total in NCAA history.