The Madness Continues
March is fever month for college basketball. The first round featured the nation’s top 64 teams competing for the NCAA title game in early April, where one of four teams will win it all in the Final Four showdown. The start of March Madness on Thursday though, was not so clear-cut. Though the top tier teams are expected to go deep into the playoffs, a few teams in the top five from each of four regions have been eliminated. A few teams outside of the top 10 made it through to the round of 32. Here’s the update.
From the Midwest, No. 1 ranked Louisville will join No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Michigan St., No. 4 Saint Louis as the remaining top-five in the round of 32, which will be played Saturday. No. 12 Oregon soundly defeated No. 5 Oklahoma St. with a 68-55 score.
From the West, No.1 ranked Gonzaga will join No. 2 Ohio St. as the remaining top-five. From this region, No. 12 Ole Miss defeated No. 5 Wisconsin, and will face No. 13 La Salle, who defeated No. 4 Kansas St. No. 14 Harvard upset No. 3 New Mexico, and will play No. 6 Arizona on Saturday. Lots of upsets in this region.
From the South, No.1 ranked Kansas joins No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Michigan, and No. 5 VCU. An interesting matchup will be the game between Michigan and VCU this Saturday as the top-five rankers face off. Earlier in the week, No. 15 FGCU upset No. 2 Georgetown. The upset is much greater given the fact that FGCU won by 10 points.
From the East, No.1 ranked Indiana joins No.2 Miami (FL), No.3 Marquette, and No. 4 Syracuse. Unlike what happened in the South region, No. 2 Miami defeated No. 15 Pacific by a 78-49 landslide. Marquette was nearly eliminated by No. 14 Davidson. Marquette won that game 59-58, a very close call to another upset. No. 5 UNLV lost to No. 12 California 61-64.
The highest margin of victory was 47 points in the Syracuse vs. Montana game. No. 13 Montana scored 34 points to Syracuse’s 81. The second highest margin of victory was 46 points in the VCU vs. Akron game. No.12 Akron scored 42 points in total to VCU’s 88.
The closest margin of victory was one point, in the Marquette-Davison game, in which Marquette won 59-58. Two other games posted the second closest margin of victory of two points, and one of them was an upset. No. 13 La Salle defeated No. 4 Kansas St. 63-61. No. 6 Memphis defeated No. 11 Saint Mary’s 54-52.
Of the remaining 32 teams, 14 are in the top-five of their regions, 10 are ranked 6-10, and the remaining eight teams were ranked out of the top 10.
The East region has one team out of the top 10 in No. 12 California; the South has two teams in No. 15 FGCU and No.11 Minnesota; the West has four teams in No. 10 Iowa St., No. 12 Ole Miss, No.13 La Salle, and No.14 Harvard; the Midwest has one in No.12 Oregon. They can be considered the underdogs going forward, and it’ll be interesting to see if any of these teams can pull an upset to push through to Sweet Sixteen on March 28-29.
The highest-ranking differential games beginning on Saturday will be eight, in the games between No. 3 Florida and No. 11 Minnesota, No. 4 Syracuse and No. 12 California, No.1 Indiana and No. 9 Temple, No. 7 San Diego St. and No. 15 FGCU, No. 2 Ohio St. and No. 10 Iowa St., No. 6 Arizona and No. 14 Harvard, No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 9 Wichita St., No. 4 Saint Louis and No.12 Oregon. In total, fans will be watching eight games in which the top team will play the bottom team in a top-eight format. The biggest upsets, if any, will come from these eight games.
The games between No. 1 Louisville and No. 8 Colorado St., No. 1 Kansas and No. 8 North Carolina, are the next closest differential in rankings, at seven.