The sheer quantity of basketball is a part of what makes the opening week of the March Insanity so particular. With a complete of 32 video games throughout Thursday/Friday and 16 extra video games on Saturday/Sunday (to not point out the First 4 earlier within the week), the NCAA event quantities to a tidal wave of high-stakes basketball hitting you within the face.
It’s superior, nevertheless it will also be slightly overwhelming.
Don’t really feel dangerous in case your bracket is already in shambles. You aren’t the one one. Whether or not it was Kentucky’s historic upset by the hands of No. 15 Saint Peter’s, Auburn’s abysmal efficiency in opposition to Miami, or Baylor’s impressed comeback falling quick in opposition to North Carolina, the event discipline has been shaken as much as an excessive diploma by the point we arrive on the Candy 16.
The primary 4 days of the lads’s NCAA event lived as much as the hype as soon as once more. Listed below are the 11 greatest moments from the opening week.
The chaotic ending of Arizona vs. TCU
Arizona was the second hottest decide to win the nationwide championship in ESPN’s bracket swimming pools, however the Wildcats abruptly noticed their season on life help inside the ultimate minutes of their spherical of 32 matchup in opposition to TCU. With the Horned Frogs up three with below 20 seconds left, sophomore star Ben Mathurin drilled a three-pointer from the brand to tie the sport:
What occurred subsequent was even wilder. Arizona blitzed the TCU ball display for level guard Mike Miles. Miles took a bump close to the halfcourt line and fell to the bottom, however the refs didn’t name a foul. Arizona’s Dalen Terry scooped up the ball and raced to the basket as the ultimate seconds of regulation ticked away, however his dunk got here simply after the buzzer.
Arizona would win in extra time with Mathurin making big play after big play down the stretch. There’s a cause we had him pegged as a top-10 NBA draft decide this yr. Past that, should you’re selecting one participant to trip with for the remainder of this event, it’s arduous to go together with anybody over Mathurin.
Props to TCU, who gave Arizona a hell of a problem after profitable this system’s first males’s NCAA event recreation since 1987. We are going to always remember Eddie Lampkin’s “too small” taunts directed at precise big Christian Koloko after scoring on him repeatedly. Additionally, let or not it’s identified March Insanity is the best as a result of for a quick time period somebody like Lampkin can turn into a very powerful athlete in America.
Saint Peter’s stuns Kentucky within the first spherical
Sure, we noticed a No. 15 seed crash Candy 16 simply final yr. Sure, we’re only some years faraway from UMBC profitable the primary recreation in NCAA event historical past for a No. 16 seed. Irrespective of: No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s win vs. No 2 seed Kentucky actually is likely to be the largest upset in NCAA event historical past. The Wildcats spent 12.5x extra money on their program than the little MAAC champ from Jersey Metropolis that performs within the equal of a highschool health club whereas UK commonly fills Rupp Area.
John Calipari went from counting on one-and-dones to constructing by way of transfers this yr, however the added expertise didn’t assist him keep away from essentially the most humiliating lack of his profession. There isn’t a state of affairs the place a Kentucky workforce with nationwide championship aspirations ought to be shedding to Saint Peter’s.
Whereas Doug Ebert’s clutch capturing and ‘70s mustache has gotten some viral buzz, the actual star right here is head coach Shaheen Holloway. The Peacocks have run some stunning offensive units late in video games whereas defending and rebounding at an unbelievable stage given their lack of measurement. With rumors of a much bigger job buzzing, Holloway seems like March Insanity’ greatest winner to this point.
“I’ve received guys from New Jersey and New York Metropolis. You assume we’re afraid of something? You assume we’re fearful about guys attempting to muscle us and hard us out? *We* try this. That is who we’re.”
– Shaheen Holloway pic.twitter.com/1TH93jyyNa
— SNY (@SNYtv) March 20, 2022
Bruce Pearl and Auburn go down in flames
It was simple to see the Auburn’s potential downfall even when the workforce was rolling at 22-1 total whereas hitting No. 1 within the AP Ballot for the primary time in program historical past. Whereas the Tigers had an elite entrance courtroom with the potential the No. 1 total NBA draft decide in Jabari Smith Jr. and maybe one of the best defensive participant within the sport in sophomore heart Walker Kessler, their guards had been inefficient and sometimes misplaced management of video games.
Auburn followers’ worst fears had been realized within the spherical of 32 in opposition to No. 10 seed Miami. The Tigers didn’t simply exit the event early, they went out in embarrassing vogue with a blowout loss. It’s a tough search for Pearl who signed a contract extension that made him one of many 5 highest paid coaches in school basketball in January.
Guards Wendell Inexperienced and KD Johnson mixed to shoot 2-of-12 from three-point vary, with a lot of their makes an attempt being too audacious for the second. In the meantime, Smith and Kessler mixed to shoot 3-of-19 from the sector. It was on Pearl to decelerate the sport and get to the ball to his entrance courtroom stars offensively. It was on Pearl to determine a counter to Miami’s isolation-heavy perimeter assault whereas he had two elite defensive bigs. As an alternative, Pearl confirmed little in the way in which of situational consciousness or tactical changes. His workforce regarded completely unprepared for Miami’s onslaught.
It was a tough night time for Smith. First he received dunked on by Isaiah Wong:
Then he received packed on the rim by Sam Waardenburg.
There are higher days forward for Jabari Smith. Pearl then again will probably be regretting losing such a proficient workforce with an early event exit.
The ridiculous technical foul referred to as in opposition to Illinois
No. 4 seed Illinois led in opposition to No. 13 seed Chattanooga for precisely 25 seconds earlier than someway escaping with a primary spherical win. A spherical of 32 matchup in opposition to No. 5 seed Houston was all the time going to be harder, however the Illini did effectively to maintain the sport aggressive into the second half.
With simply over eight minutes left in regulation, the Illini protection received a steal which led to a breakaway dunk for freshman RJ Melendez to trim the Cougars’ result in 4 factors. Sadly, he was referred to as for probably the most bogus technical fouls within the historical past of the game for hanging on the rim.
Ridiculous and unacceptable. Melendez was merely attempting to guard himself from his ahead momentum so he wouldn’t get damage, however the ref thought it was showboating.
Houston went on an enormous run from there to punch their ticket to the Candy 16. That silly technical feels prefer it modified the tide of the sport.
Baylor’s historic comeback bid falls quick vs. UNC
No. 1 seed Baylor trailed No. 8 seed North Carolina by 25 factors with 10 minutes to go in regulation. Then Tar Heels star Brady Manek was ejected on a foolish flagrant-2 name for catching Jeremy Sochan with an inadvertent elbow. Baylor went on a large run from there, utilizing a full courtroom trapping protection and a few questionable no-calls from the officers to power OT.
The Bears had all of the momentum going into extra time, however UNC made sufficient pictures to take management. RJ Davis iced the win with this circus layup:
It felt like the entire world had complaints about how a lot contact the Baylor protection was getting away with, however credit score UNC for holding on in a recreation that appeared prefer it was certain to finish in a historic loss.
Gonzaga needing to dig deep vs. Memphis
There weren’t many groups within the nation taking part in higher ball coming into the event than Memphis. They aren’t many groups with extra expertise, both. That mixture meant No. 1 total seed Gonzaga was going to have its work lower out for them within the spherical of 32, and for the primary half it actually felt just like the Tigers had been going to drag the upset.
What modified within the second half? Veteran heart Drew Timme went bonkers, scoring 22 of his 25 factors within the closing 20 minutes. This was a clinic in old skool, inside scoring. With seemingly all of their high bigs in foul hassle, there wasn’t something Memphis might do to cease him.
Gonzaga can be sitting at house proper now with out Timme’s scoring explosion. Memphis had them sweating.
Murray State vs. San Francisco was a mid-major shootout for the ages
School hoops diehards instantly groaned when a matchup between No. 7 seed Murray State and No. 10 seed San Francisco was introduced. These had been two of one of the best mid-majors within the nation, and it might have a lot enjoyable to see them every get a shot at one of many sport’s massive boys. Irrespective of: Murray State’s extra time win over San Francisco was nothing lower than probably the most entertaining video games we’ll see all event lengthy.
Dons senior guard Jamaree Bouyea was phenomenal in defeat, going off for 36 factors highlighted by a number of cold-blooded daggers late. Tevin Brown and the Racers had been just a bit bit higher. I want we might have watched a seven-game collection.
A close to halfcourt game-winner in USC vs. Miami
Earlier than Miami dominated Auburn within the spherical of 32, they received a nail-biter in opposition to No. 7 seed USC. Trojans ahead Drew Peterson caught fireplace on the finish of the highest, hitting two three-pointers within the closing 40 seconds to offer his workforce an opportunity to win.
As USC inbounded the ball below its personal basket with three seconds left, Peterson received off a halfcourt shot that almost went in.
Shades of Gordon Hayward at Butler. In fact our buddies at Secret Base have a video about that:
The Indiana cheerleader that saved the day
Bless the Hoosiers cheerleaders for offering us with a superbly healthful March second:
Kelvin Sampson received shirtless within the locker room
Houston has quietly turn into one in every of school basketball’s high packages. The Cougars superior previous the primary weekend for the third straight yr by beating the Illini, and when it was over head coach Kelvin Sampson took off his shirt to occasion along with his workforce within the locker room.
Duke was on the ropes vs. Michigan State
Was Coach Okay’s final dance actually going to finish within the spherical of 32 to Tom Izzo? It regarded prefer it.
Duke trailed No. 7 seed Michigan State by 5 factors with 5 minutes left. With their season on the road, the Blue Devils rose to the event. Freshman star Paolo Banchero made a number of massive performs down the stretch, and level guard Jeremy Roach — whose play was maligned all through the season — hit a very powerful shot of the night time to maintain Duke shifting by way of the bracket:
The second weekend of the event simply has a lot extra intrigue realizing every recreation could possibly be Coach Okay’s final. Will he get the storybook ending Duke followers need, or will the haters get another second within the solar?