Quinn’s Friday March Madness Journal

Welcome to day two of my first ever March Madness Journal! Even though the Indiana Hoosiers’s season is over, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the two best sports days of the year. In fact, I’m going to cover all 32 first round games! Here are below are my game recaps and reactions written immediately after each game ended. I hope you all enjoyed the games and enjoy this little experiment:

Michigan 92, Oklahoma State 91

Honestly I could have just watched this game for 12 hours and be happily entertained. Back-and-forth and more offense than you can ask for, this was a great start to Friday. Derrick Walton Jr. (26 points, 5 rebounds, and 11 assists) is really starting to remind me of Kemba Walker and this Michigan team ( combined 11 of 15 from deep in second half) really believes it can take this magical run all the way to a championship. I don’t think they’ll get much further than the Sweet 16, but then again I never expected they’d get this far just a few weeks ago.

Baylor 91, New Mexico State 73

The victim of multiple first round upsets in recent years, you can’t blame me and others to think the same thing was going to happen when Baylor trailed New Mexico State 40-38 at half. What transpired afterward was a great psychological win for the Bears as they didn’t let the pressure of the past control them and went out and dominated in the second half. I didn’t get to watch much of this game because of the Michigan-Oklahoma State game, but the fact that they dominated in the second half points to the fact that this is a different Baylor team from years past.

Arkansas 77, Seton Hall 71

This was a great gamed that had a terrible end. Khadeen Carrington got trapped and accidently traveled down one with 24 seconds. Then a desperate attempt to foul led to Desi Rodriguez pushing Jaylen Barford from behind resulting in the feet getting tangled and Barford falling down. This was eventually called a flagrant 1 foul and it basically ended any chance of Seton Hall beating Arkansas. To be fair, Arkansas totally deserved to win but it was just a disappointing end to an otherwise great game.

Oregon 93, Iona 77

Didn’t get to watch much of this game either but Oregon definitely showed that the injury of Chris Boucher isn’t going to slow the Ducks down. Tyler Dorsey was sensational with 24 points on an excellent 9 of 14 shooting. Jordan Bell did a great job stepping up in Boucher’s absence as he finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Iona made things a little interesting but you never really felt Oregon was ever in danger.

Louisville 78, Jacksonville State 63

Louisville showed in the first half why I think they will have a hard time advancing very far in the NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals missed 11 of their first 12 shots and fell behind Jacksonville State by eight points early in the game. The problem is that offensive shortages like this are common for Louisville and while the Cardinals’ defense is excellent, a run similar to the Gamecocks’ run would be much harder to come back from against a better team. Also shoutout to Norbertas Giga, who scored 30 points for Jacksonville State on 11 of 13 shooting including a perfect 5 0f 5 from deep.

USC 66, SMU 65

Our first LEGIT upset! USC continues to amaze me how they are able to overcome big deficits (13 wins in which the Trojans trailed by double-digits), this time down 12 to SMU. It’s a shame the Mustangs are out because they had multiple players that I think could have had memorable tournament runs such as Semi Ojeleye (24 points and 10 rebounds) and Shake Milton (11 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and some big shots down the stretch). Meanwhile, USC head coach Andy Enfield, formerly the head coach of Florida Gulf Coast’s magical run, is showing he can possibly orchestrate another tournament run.

North Carolina 103, Texas Southern 64

Not much really to say about this game but the fact that unlike with Villanova and Gonzaga, there was never even a hint of drama in this game as North Carolina dominated throughout. Fun fact about is that the Tar Heels’ bench combined for 46 points, 25 rebounds, and 12 assists. The Texas Southern team only had 18 more points (64), 2 more rebounds (27), and 3 less assists (9).

Rhode Island 84, Creighton 72

Just like Michigan, Rhode Island continued its hot play into the first round of the tournament as the Rams led from the start and besides a 17-17 tie with 6:26 left in the first half, had the lead for the entire game.  It obviously helps when you go 28 of 31 (90.3%) from the free throw line. The second round game with Oregon will be a great matchup of the Ducks’ offense vs the Rams’ defense.

Kansas 100, UC Davis 62

And just like that, we’ll have to wait another year to see the 16-1 upset. Not that surprised since none of the one-seeds looked vulnerable, not even Gonzaga. The Jayhawks finished the game shooting 56.3% (36 of 64) from the floor and 44% (11 of 25) from deep in a game that was close for only the first 15 minutes. Frank Mason III off to a great start in the tournament with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Wichita State 64, Dayton 58

Not the most dazzling basketball in the world, but this was “grind-it-out” game between two teams that deserved better seeds. The key of the game was Wichita State’s domination on the boards, where the Shockers outrebounded Dayton 48-29. Scoochie Smith did his best to keep the Flyers around, scoring almost 25 of the team’s 58 points. It will be interesting, especially since the game took place in Indianapolis, if Dayton Head Coach Archie Miller gets a call from IU about a coaching interview. More than likely, it’s too soon to make that call and besides Dayton isn’t that far away.

Duke 87, Troy 65

Like Michigan and Rhode Island before them, Duke showed that it was still feeling it after the Blue Devils’ ACC Tournament run as they easily beat Troy. Jayson Tatum was easily the best player on the court, finishing with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals, and 4 blocks. When you consider that this team has succeeded this season with mainly Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen carrying the team, Tatum’s performance is a great sign for Duke and a bad sign for the rest of the field.

Cincinnati 75, Kansas State 61

I picked Kansas State over Cincinnati because I wasn’t sure Cincinnati could score enough points. Well I was really wrong about that as the Bearcats scored 75 points on 62.8% shooting. Troy Caupain was the leader behind this attack going 7 of 10 from the floor for 23 points. Obviously thinking Cincinnati will continue to shoot above 60% during the rest of the tournament is silly, but if the Bearcats can hit around 50-55% of their shots and combine that with their trademark defense, this just became a scary team.

Michigan State 78, Miami 58

After a 17-5 start by Miami, it looked like Tom Izzo and his inconsistent and young Michigan State team were headed to another first round exit. Then something clicked as the turnovers stopped and the Spartans outscored the Hurricanes 33-10 over the rest of the first half, taking an 11 point lead into halftime. The Spartans wouldn’t let up as Izzo showed yet again that even with one of his weaker teams it’s hard to beat Izzo in the month of March.

South Carolina 93, Marquette 73

This was a back-and-forth game that ended up turning into a blowout thanks to a great stretch from SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell as he had 10 points during a 22-4 South Carolina run starting at the midpoint of the second half. He finished with a game-highs in points (29) and rebounds (11). Playing in their home-state may help the Gamecocks when they face Duke on Sunday

UCLA 97, Kent State 80

UCLA’s bad defense kept this a relatively close game for most of it as Kent State once narrowed the Bruins’ lead to just five. Thankfully for UCLA its offense rarely missed, hitting 62.7% of its shots and thus never letting the Flashes get much closer. Lonzo Ball (15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists) was very good but not great while it was T.J. Leaf (23 points and 6 rebounds) and Thomas Welsh (16 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists) that impressed me the most. Aaron Holiday also posted a double-double finishing with 15 points and 11 assists.

Kentucky 79, Northern Kentucky 70

I’m so used to Kentucky blowing out mid-major teams in the NCAA Tournament by 20+ points that I was really confused by this game. Give a lot of credit to Northern Kentucky, who down to the final minute and down 10 still didn’t give up, but it was surprising that the Norse even had a chance that late in the game. My friend who is a Kentucky fan explained the Wildcats have played to the level of their competition all year, which really explains a lot and thus shouldn’t put much doubt in those who have Kentucky going deep in their brackets.

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Quinn’s Thursday March Madness Journal

Welcome to my first ever March Madness Journal! Even though the Indiana Hoosiers’s season is over, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the two best sports days of the year. In fact, I’m going to cover all 32 first round games! Here are below are my game recaps and reactions written immediately after each game ended. I hope you all enjoyed the games and enjoy this little experiment:

Notre Dame 60, Princeton 58

Honestly Notre Dame is very lucky to have won this game, as the Irish really became sluggish towards the end. That and missed free throws from one of the best free throw shooting teams almost led to a buzzer-beating upset during our first game of the day. Matt Farrell and Bonzie Colson were great for Notre Dame, but they’ll need a third player to step up if they want to continue to advance.

Virginia 76, UNC-Wilmington 71

The Seahawks took control early and started making the numerous people who picked the upset (including myself) feel smart. Then the Cavaliers countered with a 19-3 run over the last seven minutes of the first half to actually take a one-point lead. From there, London Perrantes did what senior leaders do and took over, scoring 19 of his 24 points in the second half as Virginia held off a late UNC-Wilmington run. Fun fact, I actually didn’t get to watch much of the final minute because they decided to run a test emergency broadcast alert during that time.

Butler 76, Winthrop 64

Aside from a 7-0 run that cut the deficit from 14 to 7, early in the second half, Winthrop just couldn’t keep up with Butler as the Bulldogs look poised for a long tournament run despite finishing just .500 in their last 10 games before the tournament. With the two close 5/12 matchups playing at the same time, I didn’t get to see much of the game but what I do know is that if Avery Woodson (team-high 18 points) can continue this hot shooting (6 of 10 from deep), this just became a very dangerous team that North Carolina, Kentucky, and UCLA probably would like to avoid.

Gonzaga 66, South Dakota State 46

Usually you don’t start getting excited about a possible “16 over 1” upset until you get to the second half, but you can’t blame us for getting interest in this attempt. South Dakota State took an early 2-0 lead and almost went the entire first half without letting Gonzaga get ahead. Considering the Bulldogs NCAA Tournament history, this looked like a real opportunity for a 16-seed to end the streak. Alas Gonzaga finally went ahead with 1:40 left in the first and never looked back.

West Virginia 86, Bucknell 80

Bucknell made this one interesting by constantly trying to make late run, but to West Virginia’s credit the Mountaineers continuously responded to each attempt and prevented the Bison from making that necessary run. West Virginia is able to get the bad taste of losing to Stephen F. Austin last year and now has a pretty good matchup against Notre Dame in the second round.

Florida 80, East Tennessee State 65

East Tennessee State kept this game close throughout the first half and even took the lead at the start of the second half, but for the most part Florida had control of this game. Devin Robinson had a big second half scoring 14 of his 24 points after halftime. Four minutes into the second half, Robinson hit back-to-back threes to turn the Gator’s one-point lead into a seven-point lead. The Buccaneers never got closer than five points during the rest of the game.

Middle Tennessee 81, Minnesota 72

Our first “upset” wasn’t really an upset since most people picked Middle Tennessee in their brackets. Still, it was an impressive win for the Blue Raiders as they weathered a 7-0 start from Minnesota and then survived a furious 14-2 run by the Gophers in the second half thanks to the heroics of Reggie Upshaw. Middle Tennessee will face Butler in the second round and as good as Butler was earlier in the day, these Blue Raiders are going to be a tough obstacle to get through.

Northwestern 68, Vanderbilt 66

Easily the best game of the first half of Thursday. Vanderbilt came from 15 back and took the lead with 1:36 left. What followed was five lead changes in the final minute, including the still baffling intentional foul by Matthew Fisher-Davis right after Riley LaChance gave Vanderbilt the lead with 14 seconds left. McIntosh sank both free throws and somehow the Wildcats escape with a win in their first ever NCAA Tournament game. You can guarantee that foul will find itself on “One Shining Moment”.

Xavier 76, Maryland 65

This was all about Trevon Bluiett and his amazing second half performance. After being held to just three points in the first half, Bluiett was unconscious as he scored 18 in the second half and in the process turned a one-point halftime deficit into a double-digit win. Interesting enough, this ends Maryland’s run of winning at least one NCAA Tournament game, something the Terrapins had done in their previous 12 tournament appearances.

Villanova 76, Mount St. Mary’s 56

This game was basically a rehash of the Gonzaga-South Dakota State game as the 16-seed leads for almost the entirety of the first half only for the one-seed to grab it’s first lead with a minute left and take the lead into halftime. Villanova, just like Gonzaga, dominated in the second half to make the game into a blowout. Unlike in the previous game, I never really felt like the Wildcats were in danger of losing.

Purdue 80, Vermont 70

Vermont was determined to pull an “Arkansas-Little Rock” on Purdue, but these Boilermakers are much more poised than in years past and demonstrated that in this game. The defense allowed nothing easy and Caleb Swanigan was the main reason recording three blocks in the final three minutes. Having proved they can win in the NCAA Tournament, Purdue should have the confidence going forward to be a real threat to the rest of the Midwest Region.

Saint Mary’s 85, VCU 77

The only way to describe Saint Mary’s first half performance was that they destroyed VCU by hitting on 64% of their shots as the Gaels led 46-31. Yet the Rams never quit and while they never retook the lead, they made life extremely difficult for Saint Mary’s in the second half thanks to an 18-4 run that made it just a two-point game with 10 minutes left. A lot of teams may have quit after the first half beatdown, but VCU never gave up and was a few bounces away from possibly winning the game.

Florida State 86, Florida Gulf Coast 80

Probably one of the more entertaining games I watched today, the pace of these two teams was fun to watch. I admit that I underestimated the Seminoles and am happy they proved me wrong. Dwayne Bacon (25 points and 9 rebounds) and Jonathan Isaac (17 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists) were just as good as advertised. As expected, Florida Gulf Coast made it difficult as they constantly hung around and wouldn’t let FSU run away with the game.

Wisconsin 84, Virginia Tech 74

Zach LeDay and Virginia Tech really looked like they may take control away from Wisconsin and pull ahead but the Badgers’ experience was just too much for the Hokies. This was a vintage performance from Bronson Koenig, who made eight three-pointers in route to a game-high 28 points. Nigel Hayes also came in clutch as the 58% free throw shooter hit 8 of 9 from the foul line and six big offensive rebounds. Wisconsin is way too good to be an 8-seed and I have a feeling we may see that even more when they give Villanova a dogfight on Saturday.

Iowa State 84, Nevada 73

A trendy 12-5 upset pick, Iowa State really showed from the beginning that they weren’t planning on exiting early. The Cyclones dominated the first half and were able to hold on in the second half to advance to a matchup with Purdue that should be a must-see game on Saturday. Monte Morris was a little more mistake-prone than advertised (4 turnovers) but still impressed me by almost posting a triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists.

Arizona 100, North Dakota 82

I’ll just be honest that I didn’t really watch much of this game because I was so tired by then plus it was blowout. From what I saw I can confirm Arizona is just as good as I thought. Just like Villanova and Gonzaga, they took care of business but Arizona never really struggled in its game. This looks like a well-oiled machine led by freshmen Lauri Markkanen and Rawle Alkins who each had 20 points.