NCAA Tournament Midwest Region – Day Two in the Midwest: Rhode Island Upsets Creighton, Kansas hits 100
Michigan cuts it close with Oklahoma State
(7) Michigan Wolverines and (10) Oklahoma State Cowboys are two of the most efficient teams on offense in the country, so this was expected to be a fast paced game. Both teams struggled shooting early on in the game. Michigan shot just one for seven, while the Cowboys shot one for six. However, the Wolverines avoided turnovers, so they were able to stay in the game against Oklahoma’s pace and rebounding. After Derrick Walton Jr. was fouled on a 3-point attempt and making his free throws at the end of the half, Michigan led just 41-40.
Oklahoma State started the second half on a 12-5 run to take a lead, but it didn’t last long. The Wolverines took control from 3-point range, finishing the game with 16 threes and shooting 55.2% from behind the arc. This helped them to regain the lead and maintain it throughout the rest of the game. Jawun Evans played a great game for the Cowboys, tallying a double-double (21 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST), but it wasn’t enough. Walton Jr. scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half while recording a double-double with 11 assists, leading the way to a Wolverine win.
FINAL: Michigan 92, Oklahoma State 91
Kansas (Jayhawks) , Louisville (Cardinals) and Oregon (Ducks) fly – with little turbulence – through their first games
The first round of the tournament has not provided many exciting upsets, which is unfortunate for fans who like a good Cinderella team. (1) Kansas, (2) Louisville, and (3) Oregon did what they were expected to do on Friday: win their games (all by double-digits).
Kansas vs. UC Davis
UC Davis came into this game confident (and as a 16 seed, not feeling much pressure), as they had won seven of their last eight games. However, it didn’t take long for the Jayhawks to start doing their thing. After getting bumped out of the Big 12 tourney by TCU, they had a lot of time off and looked well rested and ready to go. Devonte’ Graham, Josh Jackson, and Frank Mason III carried Kansas to triple-digits. Meanwhile, UC Davis couldn’t keep up with the fight. Mason led the Jayhawks with 22 points and 8 assists.
FINAL: Kansas 100, UC Davis 62
Oregon vs. Iona
Things looked good for Iona early on against Oregon, as they were able to keep up with the pace, even with Oregon fast in transition. With about eight minutes left in the first half, the Ducks went on a 15-5 run to give Oregon the 55-37 lead after the first 20 minutes. In the second half, Jordan Bell was on fire for the Ducks, shooting 85% and finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Tyler Dorsey also had a fantastic game with 24 points, as Oregon handed Iona their 11th NCAA tournament loss.
FINAL: Oregon 93, Iona 77
Louisville vs. Jacksonville State
The game between Jacksonville State and Louisville was the most exciting of the top-3 seed games in the Midwest. The Gamecocks, making their first NCAA Tournament appearance, started the game on a 10-2 run. Louisville struggled making shots early, forcing them to press. It didn’t take the Cardinals too long to step up their game. They dominated on the offensive glass, which gave them the lead at the half – 38-31. After halftime is when Louisville got into their groove, they attacked the paint and forced turnovers. Norbertas Giga had a great game for the Gamecocks (30 PTS, 9 REB), including shooting 5-5 from behind the arc, but it wasn’t enough.
FINAL: Louisville 78, Jacksonville State 63
(11) Rhode Island Upsets (6) Creighton
As mentioned in the Midwest preview, Rhode Island became a trendy upset team after Selection Sunday, but an upset is still an upset. The Rams rebounded well early on, while Creighton made just three of their first 15 shots. It stayed a close game though with Rhode Island hitting their last six of eight to end the half up 33-26. With 8:53 left in the game Ronnie Harrell Jr. converted a dunk for Creighton to make it a five point game. The Rams were able to see it through though, and win their first tournament game since 1998. Jeff Dowtin led the Rams with 23 points and 5 rebounds (10/10 FT).
FINAL: Rhode Island 84, Creighton 72
Don’t Underestimate Tom Izzo in March
(8) Miami (FL) took on (9) Michigan State Spartans as the final game in the Midwest on Friday night. Miami opened the game on a 10-0 run, as the Spartans seemed to be committing turnovers on nearly every possession. Just seven minutes into the game, MSU had seven turnovers as Tom Izzo called a timout with a score of 17-5. After this is when the lights turned on for the Spartans. Michigan State went on a 24-5 run to end the first half; and just like that, they led 38-27.
Coming out after halftime, it turned into a now or never for the Hurricanes. They needed defensive stops, but struggled to get any as Michigan State continued on a roll. Josh Langford had nine points for the Spartans in the first 6 minutes of the second half, as the full court pressure began from Miami. MSU was doing what they had been expected to do all season – be aggressive and attack the rim. Miami on the other hand, couldn’t get their spark back. Freshmen Miles Bridges (18 PTS, 9 REB) and Nick Ward (19 PTS, 7 REB) led the Spartans to a 20 point victory.
FINAL: Michigan State 78, Miami (FL) 58
Round of 32 Matchups:
(4) Purdue vs. (5) Iowa State – 9:40PM, TBS
(2) Louisville vs. (7) Michigan – 12:10PM, CBS
(3) Oregon vs. (11) Rhode Island – 2:40PM, CBS
(1) Kansas vs. (9) Michigan State – 5:15PM, CBS