March Madness: Round of 32 (Pts. 1&2)

March Madness: Round of 32 (Repost)

March 18, 2017

by Chase Gage

 

 

Well, day two was much better for me than day one. How will I fare today?

Yesterday I improved my overall record to 25-7 (would have been 26-6 if SMU could make a shot). Today we have some great matchups that could go either way. Who will break brackets today? Will Middle Tennessee advance to the Sweet 16? Will a one-seed fall early? Will I get out of bed and fix my hair today? I doubt it. Let’s see what we have to look forward to.

(As games conclude, winners will be bolded with results being added)

 

5 Notre Dame vs 4 West Virginia

Prediction: The Irish survived a scare from Princeton in the first round while West Virginia handled Bucknell rather soundly. Notre Dame will right their wrongs this round and move on to the Sweet 16 for the third-consecutive year.

Result: Bad start today for my bracket. West Virginia dominated from start to finish. They pulled off an 83-71 victory over the Irish in a game in which they never trailed.

Record: 0-1 Second Round/25-8 Overall

 

8 Wisconsin vs 1 Villanova

Prediction: Nova is way too good to even think about not putting them in the Sweet 16. The Badgers fall while the Wildcats advance.

Result: Down goes Nova! The defending champions and the top seed in the entire tournament become the first top-4 seed to lose this year. This is the sixth time since 2010 that the Wildcats have failed to advance to the Sweet 16. The Badgers took the lead with 11 seconds left and held on to knock mighty Villanova off of their pedestal.

Record: 0-2 Second Round/25-9 Overall

 

8 Northwestern vs 1 Gonzaga

Prediction: Northwestern pulled off the win (thanks to a little help from Vandy) and now sit at 1-0 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Too bad they’ll drop down to .500 after this game. The Zags win it.

Result: The refs missed a crucial goaltending call against Gonzaga. The missed call led to a technical foul on Northwestern. This caused a four-point swing in the Zags direction. The Wildcats came storming back, but could not overcome that call toward the end, falling to the Zags 79-73 (should have been 77-75).

Record: 1-2 Second Round/26-9 Overall

 

11 Xavier vs 3 Florida State

Prediction: Xavier “shocked” everyone (except for me) when they defeated Maryland in the first round. Florida State broke all of our hearts when they knocked DUNK CITY (Florida Gulf Coast) out of the tournament.The Seminoles keep rolling, taking out Xavier while they’re at it.

Result: Xavier overwhelmed Florida State from start to finish. They may be the real deal after all. 91-66 final score.

Record: 1-3 Second Round/26-10 Overall

 

12 Middle Tennessee vs 4 Butler

Prediction: I knew I should have picked Middle Tennessee, but I didn’t. According to my bracket, neither of these teams will be in the Sweet 16, so I guess I don’t have to follow my picks for this one. I will ride the hot hand of Middle Tennessee, even though Butler is hard to beat in March. What do I have to lose?

Result: It hit midnight for Cinderella earlier than we had hoped. Middle Tennessee put up a solid fight, but the Bulldogs pulled away at the end, 74-65.

Record: 1-4 Second Round/26-11 Overall

 

7 Saint Mary’s vs 2 Arizona

Prediction: Saint Mary’s surprised me in their victory over VCU. Did they wow me enough for me to pick them in this matchup? Not even close. Wildcats move on.

Result: Saint Mary’s was in this game until the final buzzer.They held a one-point halftime advantage. The second half saw a back-and-forth effort from both teams until the Wildcats finally started to pull away. Arizona survives a scare, 69-60.

Record: 2-4 Second Round/26-12 Overall

 

5 Virginia vs 4 Florida

Prediction: I thought I was going to be right when I picked UNC Wilmington over Virginia, but they blew it at the end. Florida will do the dirty work instead and get UVA out of here. Gators prevail.

Result: Florida absolutely dominated from the opening tip to the final buzzer. They played a nearly perfect defensive game, allowing only 17 first-half points and 39 total. The Gators swamp (yeah, bad pun) Virginia, 65-39 to advance to the Sweet 16.

Record: 3-4 Second Round/27-12 Overall

 

5 Iowa State vs 4 Purdue

Prediction: Sure, it wasn’t “smart” to pick against a 4-seed. But it was fun. The only reason I picked Vermont in the first place is because neither team was going to beat Iowa State anyway. The Cyclones cash in their ticket to the Sweet 16.

Result: This one came down to the wire. Iowa State was down as many as 19 in the second half before storming back to take their first lead of the game with just over three minutes left. Their lead didn’t last long, and their comeback fell four points short. The Boilermakers advance, 80-76.

Record: 3-5 Second Round/27-13 Overall

 

If you pick with me, expect to be wrong most of the time. As of the writing of this, I’ve only missed 7 games, but expect that to change a bit today. Check in tomorrow for part two of the Round of 32. See ya then.



Round of 32 pt. 2

 

 

Ah, another day of great basketball has come and gone, and now we have yet another to look forward to. Yesterday was great in terms of games, but awful in terms of my picks. How will today go?

As games conclude, winners will be bolded.

 

7 Michigan vs 2 Louisville

Prediction: Don’t sleep on the Wolverines. Louisville is one of the best teams in this tournament. In a tournament that has seen very few major upsets, this could be one of the biggest (besides Wisconsin over Villanova, of course). Michigan rides their hot streak all the way into the Sweet 16 and sends the Cardinals packing in the process.

Result: What. A. Finish. This may have been the best game of the tournament so far. The dream continues for Michigan. The Wolverines storm back to top the second-seeded Cardinals, 73-69. More importantly, I got an upset correct for a change.

Record: 4-5 Second Round/28-13 Overall

 

10 Wichita State vs 2 Kentucky

Prediction: The Shockers are solid. I believe they are the best double-digit seed in the tournament by a large margin. If only they could have drawn a team other than Kentucky in the second round. The Wildcats will prevail, though Wichita State will put up a heck of a fight. Kentucky makes yet another trip to the Sweet 16.

Result: The Wildcats survive a scare. Wichita State’s potential game-tying three at the buzzer got blocked as Kentucky advanced. This is another game that may have been the best yet, keeping fans on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Freshman guards Malik Monk and DeAaron Fox showed up when the Wildcats needed it most, with the duo scoring the final seven points for Kentucky. The Shockers cut the lead to one with under a minute left, but their final effort fell just short. Welcome back to the Sweet 16, Kentucky.

Record: 5-5 Second Round/29-13 Overall

 

9 Michigan State vs 1 Kansas

Prediction: Michigan State looked great in their first-round domination of Miami. Kansas, although they played a 16-seed, looked nearly unbeatable in their first-round game. This could shake up to be a great matchup in the second round, though ultimately I believe the Jayhawks will move on.

Result: Michigan State was in the game for a while, but Kansas proved to be too much to handle in the final minutes. Jayhawks advance to the Sweet 16.

Record:6-5 Second Round/30-13 Overall

 

8 Arkansas vs 1 North Carolina

Prediction: Ugh. Do I have to? Arkansas was able to wear Seton Hall down toward the end of the game, turning an eight-point deficit into a seven-point victory. North Carolina coasted to 103 points and barely broke a sweat. Both of these teams prefer to turn the game into a track meet, so expect nothing less. North Carolina is too good to pick against, even for the sake of my Hogs. The Tar Heels win a (fairly) close game and move on. Read my full review here.

Result: I don’t really wanna talk about it. The Razorbacks fought back from a 17-point deficit and held a 65-60 lead with three minutes left in the game. North Carolina responded with a 12-0 run to win the game 72-65. The Hogs left it all out on the court, and that’s really all that this fan could ask for. Tar Heels onto the Sweet 16.

Record: 7-5 Second Round/31-13 Overall

 

11 Rhode Island vs 3 Oregon

Prediction: Rhode Island keeps on rolling. Do they have what it takes to make the Sweet 16? Oregon is down due to injuries, but they are still strong enough to power past the Rams. You had a great run, URI, but the Ducks win this one.

Result: Rhode Island gave the Ducks a run for their money, but ultimately fell short. Three points short, in fact. The Rams were up 46-38 at halftime but were outscored 37-26 in the second half. Oregon moves on to the Sweet 16, 75-72.

Record: 8-5 Second Round/32-13 Overall

 

11 USC vs 3 Baylor

Prediction: USC is the only team to survive the First Four and the first round. They’ve had a good tournament run thus far, but it will come to an end against Baylor. I’ve picked against the Trojans twice already (three times if you count the Rose Bowl), and I have yet to be right. The Bears come to my rescue and finally end my streak of being wrong about USC.

Result: Baylor hangs on and I was finally right in picking USC to lose. The Trojans cut the lead to two with 21 seconds remaining, but the Bears outlasted them for a final score of 82-78.

Record: 9-5 Second Round/33-13 Overall

 

7 South Carolina vs 2 Duke

Prediction: I am somewhat surprised that South Carolina made it this far. They have apparently found new life after falling apart in the final stretch of the regular season and the SEC Tournament. However, Duke is still the best team in college basketball right now. They’re hard to beat the way they’re playing right now. Don’t expect the upset. Blue Devils roll the Gamecocks.

Result: Down go the Blue Devils! South Carolina wins 88-81 to advance to the Sweet 16! This is the first game I missed today, and I can’t say I’m upset about it (even though I wanted to miss the Arkansas vs UNC game). The Gamecocks reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

Record: 9-6 Second Round/33-14 Overall

 

6 Cincinnati vs 3 UCLA

Prediction: This one could be a great matchup. Cincinnati is rolling right now, even though they lost their conference championship game. UCLA still sits as one of the favorites to make at least the Elite Eight. We will find out just what both teams are made of, and see if they are truly equipped to make a deep run. The Bruins defeat the Bearcats in a nail-biter on their way to the Sweet 16.

Result: The Bruins hold on to advance to the Sweet 16. The Bearcats led by three at the half and even held a one-point advantage (47-46) with 14 minutes remaining. From there on out, though, UCLA took over. They outscored Cincinnati 33-20 in those final 14 minutes, led by star Lonzo Ball.

Record: 10-6 Second Round (5-1 Day 2)/34-14 Overall

 

If you haven’t learned by now, I am kind of bad at this. So if you’re using me as the basis for making bets, make sure to bet against what I’ve said. You’ll be much more likely to win big. Even though I’m wrong a lot, at least I get to watch basketball all day and type these dumb articles. See ya in the Sweet 16, readers.

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