INDIANAPOLIS – The Latest on the first round of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
Abilene Christian’s win over Texas means each seed line from 1 through 15 in this NCAA Tournament will have at least one team in the round of 32. The Wildcats were the first 14 seed to advance this year.
This has only happened three times previously since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. In 2016, 2013 and 1991, seed lines 1-15 all had a team reach the second round. That 1991 tournament was the first time a 15 seed beat a 2, when Richmond knocked off Syracuse.
UMBC in 2018 is still the only 16 seed to make the round of 32, but no 15 seed won that year.
The loss by Texas spoiled the Big 12’s attempt to stay undefeated. The league is 6-1 so far. The Big Ten also put six teams in the second round despite exits by second-seeded Ohio State and fourth-seeded Purdue.
The Pac-12 is undefeated still after putting all five of its tournament entries into the round of 32. That includes UCLA, which had to start in a First Four matchup with Michigan State, and Oregon, which advanced when its matchup with Virginia Commonwealth was called off for coronavirus-related reasons. The Pac-12 didn’t have a team seeded higher than fifth.
Don’t expect a track meet when Villanova and North Texas play in the second round of the South Region on Sunday.
The matchup between the fifth-seeded Wildcats and 13th-seeded Mean Green features two of the most deliberately paced teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Villanova ranks No. 331 in kenpom.com’s advanced metrics that looks at adjusted tempo. North Texas checks in at No. 350. The Wildcats are 11-0 this season when giving up fewer than 70 points in a game and haven’t faced many teams with a slower pace.
Villanova coach Jay Wright says his Wildcats don’t get caught up in tempo as much as they probably talk about it, and he figures when the opportunity presents itself the Mean Green will play fast.
The NCAA Tournament’s single-elimination format creates plenty of emotional scenes in virtually each game as the losing teams cope with the reality that the season is over.
St. Bonaventure guard Jaren Holmes spoke eloquently on that subject while discussing teammate and good friend Kyle Lofton, who was in tears at the end of a 76-61 loss to LSU.
“The quote is like men don’t cry, but I believe real men cry,” Holmes said “Real men show emotion, and that’s the true showing of a man, one who wears their heart on his sleeve. He does that every time he goes on the court and every time he’s in the locker room with us.
“It’s a tough loss, but we’re going to become better from it ... and we’re going to remember this for the rest of our lives, sharing this moment together. We’ll probably laugh about it 20 years from now ... about how we were crying.”
The loss came nearly three weeks after university president Dennis DePerro died from complications of COVID-19.
Michigan standout Isaiah Livers wore a shirt with #NotNCAAProperty written on it at the top-seeded Wolverines’ NCAA Tournament opener against Texas Southern.
The hashtag is part of a social media effort to raise awareness about inequities in college sports.
Livers, who is out with a foot injury, is one of a few prominent Big Ten players leading the movement. Players have pushed for the NCAA to change rules banning college athletes from earning money for things like endorsements, sponsorship deals and personal appearances.
The National College Players Association released a statement Wednesday detailing the players’ goals, which included meetings with NCAA President Mark Emmert and the opportunity to meet with lawmakers who are working on passing laws that could set parameters for the association’s rules on name image or likeness.
Colorado forward Jabari Walker had his mind set at ease by some sage advice from a longtime NBA player who just so happened to be his father.
Samaki Walker told his son to simply go have some fun.
This would definitely count as fun: Jabari Walker went 5 for 5 from 3-point range and finished with 24 points as the fifth-seeded Buffaloes rolled past Georgetown 96-73.
“He called me and said, ‘I’m not going to fill your ear with nothing. Just tell you to play your game and play stress-free,’” Walker recounted. “That’s what I went out there and did.”
Samaki Walker played at Louisville before embarking on a 10-year NBA career that included a championship with the 2002 Los Angeles Lakers.
More advice from dad: “He just told me that it was a big platform, and not to come out here with any pressure. Just do what I’m supposed to do, play the game I play. Nothing special. Do the little things like I always do and eventually everything will work itself out.”
Florida State advanced with a 64-54 win over UNC Greensboro despite being only the eighth team since 2009 to not make a 3-pointer in an NCAA Tournament game.
The Seminoles missed all nine attempts from beyond the arc. Prior to Saturday, the last team not to make a 3-pointer was Kentucky in its first-round win over Davidson in 2018.
Teams are 5-3 since 2009 in NCAA games when they don’t make a 3-pointer. Kansas has done it twice and won both games.
The last time Florida State didn’t hit from the perimeter in any game was a 2018 loss at North Carolina State.
Florida guard Tyree Appleby “seems fine, seems normal” after suffering a head laceration in the opening round, but coach Mike White said he will be a game-time decision against 15th-seeded Oral Roberts on Sunday in the South Region.
Appleby took an inadvertent elbow early in the second half while playing defense against Virginia Tech and ended up bleeding all over the court. He wobbled to the locker room and returned to the bench area in overtime to see the No. 7 seed Gators pull out a 75-70 victory at Hinkle Fieldhouse. The 6-foot-1 junior finished with six points and five rebounds in 22 minutes.
White said Saturday that Appleby had a “happy smile on his face" and a bandage over his forehead.
White offered less information about suspended forward Omar Payne, who sat out the NCAA opener because of an “in-house situation.”
Payne was ejected from the SEC Tournament quarterfinals early in the second half for a flagrant-2 foul against Tennessee’s John Fulkerson. Fulkerson suffered a concussion and facial fracture and did not play in Tennessee’s opening-round loss to Oregon State.
White declined to say if Payne’s suspension was related to elbowing Fulkerson.
NCAA spokesman David Worlock says in a tweet that Colorado's Jabari Walker is the 16th player in NCAA Tournament history to shoot 100% from 3-point range in a game while making at least five attempts. Walker was 5 of 5 from long range in a 23-point, first-round win over Georgetown.
UNC Wilmington’s John Goldsberry holds the record for most 3-point attempts without a miss in an NCAA Tournament game. He made all eight tries in a 75-73 loss to Maryland on March 21, 2003.
Georgetown's late-season surge is over. Fifth-seeded Colorado took command with 11 3-pointers in the first half and cruised to a 96-73 win over the Hoyas in the East Region.
Freshman Jabari Walker had a career-high 24 points to lead Colorado, which went 16 for 25 from long range — that's 64% — was 34 of 56 from the floor. Colorado also had 27 assists. D’Shawn Schwartz had 18 points and made four of his five 3s in the first half to put Colorado into cruise control.
Coached by former star Patrick Ewing, Georgetown made March Madness with a four-wins-in-four-days streak through the Big East Tournament but was no match for the Buffaloes.
The second full day of the NCAA Tournament is underway. Georgetown started it by kneeling during the national anthem.
The Hoyas locked arms and took a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” ahead of their opening game against Colorado.
Coached by former star Patrick Ewing, Georgetown is a 12 seed after making March Madness with a four-wins-in-four-days streak through the Big East Tournament.
No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and Michigan will also be in action Saturday.
Friday’s action featured three big upsets — pulled off by No. 12 Oregon State, No. 13 North Texas and No. 15 Oral Roberts. Two of the upset victims — Ohio State and Purdue — were from the Big Ten.
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