NCAA Tournament Is the Worst Way to Crown a Champ
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 21, 2018,
Mar 21, 2018, 10:51
Big 12 Schedule in the Sweet 16Thursday, March 22No.
It's been a insane four days of the NCAA Tournament.
Pablo Torre, a regular panelist on ESPN afternoon show "Around the Horn" can legitimately say "I told you so" to the millions of viewers and fellow panelists who laughed at him for harping on his theory that this is the year a No. 16-seeded team will knock off a No. 1 in this year's NCAA Men's basketball tournament.
And the fact that Self thinks the best is yet to come should give the Jayhawks confidence as they head to the Midwest Region semifinals.
The team's Cinderella run may be over, but they did something no other NCAA team has ever done before and that is reason to celebrate. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten each have two.
The Kansas State Wildcats made it to the Sweet 16 without their best player Dean Wade, who's been dealing with a foot injury since the Big 12 Tournament. No other conference can make that claim.
The Atlantic Coast Conference (Virginia's conference), for example, has 9 teams in the tournament this year, accrued a total 64 units between 2015 and 2017, and reported $373.4m in 2016 revenue. Led by twin brothers Caleb and Cody Martin, Nevada is one of the scrappier teams in the entire tournament, and they always seem to find a way to get the job done. Jim Boeheim has Syracuse playing their 2-3 zone just about as well as they can, allowing no more than 56 points in all three tournament games.
A memorable, zany first two rounds - even by March Madness standards - set up what could be another wild two weekends in a tournament where anything can become reality.
The return of Udoka Azubuike to the Kansas rotation has provided an inside presence that was missing the last couple of weeks.
For college basketball fans who care more about the season than just their brackets, this sucks. For Loyola, Betfair Sports has posted at 2.20, while for Nevada the odds are 1.66.
So far in the tournament, Kansas State has had to get past Creighton and UMBC. That 5.4 fouls-per-game difference is significant no matter the opponent - but when it's Villanova with the edge, West Virginia could be in serious trouble Friday. The "Press Virginia" defense is made to order for single-elimination tournaments. The Mountaineers have forced 34 turnovers, turning them into 44 points. Jevon Carter led WVU with 28 points. In every year between 2011 and 2015, not a single team was upset in the first round.
Shaelyn Martin added 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals while scoring four points. The Red Raiders needed a gritty comeback to turn back Stephen F. Austin in the first round. They made the first free throw then proceed to miss the second, in which gives MI time to run a play for Freshman Jordan Poole who launched a long three-point shot while kicking out his legs to get it over the defender, swishes the shot and sends MI to the Sweet Sixteen.
Sexton is the only freshman from that group who even reached the second round.
Kenisha Bell had 24 of her 26 points in the second half. Not so much for Texas Tech and Kansas State. Can Texas Tech's elite defense stop Purdue's elite offense? The Trojans overcame a 13-point deficit in the final 3:33 of regulation.
Both teams struggled on the offensive end early, neither squad able to take hold of the game. Purdue assuredly won't discount this team coached by Beard. UMBC came to the dance with the unenviable task of facing overall No. 1 seed Virginia in the first round.
Sneed answered with a steal and breakaway dunk and later followed a missed shot with another dunk that put Kansas State up 44-38 with three minutes to play.
Kentucky will be the Wildcats' toughest task to date.