March Insanity: The perfect and worst of all the pieces from Thursday’s Candy 16


Two No. 1 seeds went down, Duke not solely superior, however injected the worry of Coach Okay going out on high immediately into the veins of each Blue Satan hater on the planet, and Villanova continued to do what Villanova does in March as of late.

Right here’s all the perfect and worst from the night that was Candy 16 Thursday.

(2) Duke 78, (3) Texas Tech 73 (West)

This was harking back to Duke’s second spherical win over Michigan State in that in the event you merely glanced on the field rating, you’d by no means get a real sense of simply how phenomenal the standard of play was.

It was additionally harking back to Duke’s win over MSU for an additional purpose: Identical to towards Sparty, the Blue Devils have been rattling close to good down the stretch … and so they needed to be.

Duke trailed Texas Tech by 4 on the half (and was fortunate to be down solely that a lot), performed from behind for many of the second half, after which flipped the swap into one other gear when the chance of their season (and Mike Krzyzewski’s profession) coming to an finish was staring them immediately within the face.

Duke didn’t miss a shot within the sport’s remaining 8 minutes and 25 seconds, connecting on their remaining eight area aim makes an attempt and scoring on 9 of their final 12 offensive possessions. When the ultimate horn sounded, Texas Tech had allowed an opponent over the 75-point mark for the primary time all season.

Every little thing appears to be coming collectively on the good time for a Duke group that had beforehand been 0-5 all-time in NCAA event video games performed within the Pacific Time Zone. Paolo Banchero is enjoying the way in which you anticipate a high three NBA draft decide to play in these moments, Mark Williams is a monster within the center that nobody appears to have a solution for, and Jeremy Roach is constant his metamorphosis into 2015 Quinn Cook dinner.

The catastrophe state of affairs for Duke/Coach Okay haters is now absolutely on the desk: The Blue Devils are completely able to successful the nationwide championship.

Now they’re simply three Ws away.


Regardless of shedding all 5 starters from final 12 months’s group, the Houston Cougars are actually only one win away from carrying out the identical feat that squad did.

As was the case in every of its first two NCAA event wins: Kelvin Sampson’s group was dominant Thursday night time. Houston by no means trailed and rolled to a 72-60 win over top-seeded Arizona, which entered the night having scored 80 factors or extra in eight consecutive video games.

It’s not troublesome to make the case that by way of two and-a-half rounds, no group within the 2022 NCAA event has been extra spectacular than Houston. The Cougars have been handed an especially harmful 12-seed in UAB, and so they dealt with the Blazers with relative ease (82-68). Two days later that they had even much less hassle (68-53) with Large Ten common season champion Illinois. Then got here Thursday night time, the place Houston held the event’s No. 2 general seed to its least environment friendly offensive sport since mid-February, and compelled it into its second worst defensive efficiency of the season.

A 5-seed is the one 1-8 seed that has by no means gained a nationwide championship. Don’t put it previous Kelvin Sampson. The person is a miracle employee, and it seems like he could be within the midst of his biggest act up to now.


The NCAA event choice committee began naming a No. 1 general seed in 2004. Since then, solely three high canines — Florida in 2007, Kentucky in 2012 and Louisville in 2013 — have gone on to chop down the nets.

Gonzaga has had two consecutive possibilities so as to add its title to that quick record. The second got here crashing down Thursday night time in San Francisco after a dud of a efficiency towards Arkansas.

Arkansas answered all of the pregame questions on how they’d deal with Gonzaga’s two-headed frontcourt monster of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren in two types: 1) They collapsed on Timme and Holmgren defensively, sagged off Gonzaga’s supporting forged and dared them to win the sport with outdoors capturing. 2) They attacked Holmgren relentlessly after they had the ball of their arms.

The technique paid off in each respects. Gonzaga’s guards have been abysmal, and the Bulldogs shot simply 5-of-21 from three. Holmgren, in the meantime, was saddled with foul hassle all night time and finally picked up his fifth after enjoying simply 23 minutes (extra on that later).

Eric Musselman’s gameplan was pristine, but it surely gained’t be the first focus of the nation on Friday. That focus will likely be pointed within the course of Gonzaga, which continued to have achieved all the pieces you may accomplish in faculty basketball outdoors of an important factor.

Haters rejoice.

1. Streaks of futility coming to an finish

Arkansas’ all-time event document towards No. 1 seeds coming into Thursday: 0-10.

Duke’s all-time event document within the Pacific Time Zone coming into Thursday: 0-5.

Performed and completed.

Whereas not an 0-fer streak, the truth that 5-seeds entered Thursday night time with an all-time document of 9-47 towards No. 1 seeds also needs to be identified. Houston bought that win complete into double-digits with its 12-point dealing with of Arizona.

2. Eric Musselman’s Wayne’s World second

To hell with the NCAA cups, it’s my alternative … and the selection of a brand new technology.

A shirtless Musselman not being throughout everybody’s timelines was the largest upset of the night time.

3. One other ho-hum Villanova run

It melts your thoughts somewhat bit to consider Villanova’s March repute earlier than 2016. The Wildcats have been seen the identical approach Gonzaga is this present day, besides with even much less event success.

After Thursday night time’s workmanlike 63-55 overcome Michigan, Villanova is now 19-3 during the last six NCAA tournaments. That’s the perfect March Insanity successful proportion of any group in faculty basketball over that span. Solely the Zags have extra complete event victories.

This was not a classic Villanova efficiency just like the one we noticed from the Wildcats the final time they confronted Michigan — a 79-62 masterpiece within the 2018 nationwide championship sport. ‘Nova prevailed regardless of a 5-minute drought late within the second half that made you surprise if Jay Wright’s group was ever going to have the ability to put the ball within the basket once more. Fortunately, the Wolverines have been much more anemic on the opposite finish of the ground.

With Villanova’s win, 2-seeds improved to 16-3 all-time in video games towards 11-seeds. The Wildcats additionally improved to 3-0 all-time in NCAA event video games towards Michigan.

Bonus Cheer: The outdated Southwest Convention

We have been a Texas Tech win away from three of the 4 groups that superior Thursday night time being former members of the Southwest Convention, which disbanded perpetually in 1996.

With Texas A&M at present within the Last 4 of the NIT, the league nonetheless has a shot at sweeping each main postseason tournaments.

Barnhill South perpetually.

1. The offensive performances

Eight fairly succesful offenses took the ground on Thursday night time. Solely considered one of them (Duke) shot higher than 47.0 p.c from the sector. Half of them (Gonzaga, Arizona, Villanova and Michigan) shot worse than 40.0 p.c.

We’re gonna want Saint Peter’s to hold about 120 on Purdue Friday night time with a view to stability this out.

2. The Chet Holmgren foul calls

Gonzaga star freshman and potential high NBA draft decide was hampered by foul hassle just about all night time on Thursday. With the Zags nonetheless attempting to play catchup, Holmgren was ultimately whistled for his fifth and remaining foul with 3:29 to play and Arkansas holding a 62-56 benefit.

As various folks have been keen to level out, greater than a few the whistles that went towards Holmgren appeared to be doubtful at finest.

As many have been additionally fast to level out, the official who blew the whistle on the 2 Holmgren fouls that seemed to be essentially the most egregious was Doug Reveals. Reveals is an SEC official who was working the one Candy 16 sport that includes an SEC group. On the very least, that’s a nasty look.

Arkansas actually deserved to win the sport — you’re contractually obligated to say or write one thing like this everytime you’re criticizing the officiating — and I’m not sure {that a} honest whistle on Holmgren would have modified the way in which issues performed out in any kind of dramatic kind. I do know that it will have added considerably to the sport’s viewing expertise.

Holmgren is considered one of faculty basketball’s most unusual stars and one of many extra intriguing NBA prospects in a while. With Gonzaga enjoying in a mid-major convention —have you ever guys seen this? have you ever heard about this? — there was much more intrigue for Holmgren on this event than there would have been had he suited up for Duke or Kansas or one other faculty with video games on nationwide tv all through January and February. The truth that we solely bought to see him for 23 minutes on Thursday was a travesty, and an simply avoidable one at that.

I feel I’ll miss Chet’s dad most of all.

You understand he went straight to the lodge room after the sport to view his private camcorder footage of these foul calls. Prime tier March Insanity dad.

3. Jim Nantz’s HALO learn

This man is looking The Masters in two weeks.


Jermaine Samuels, Villanova

The senior ahead was a rock for ‘Nova on a tough offensive night time for many of his teammates. Samuels completed with a game-high 22 factors to go together with seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals.

Paolo Banchero, Duke

Coach Okay’s freshman star helped the Corridor of Famer decide up his one hundredth profession NCAA event win by scoring 22 factors, handing out 4 assists and notching three steals.

Hunter Dickinson, Michigan

Michigan’s man within the center did all he may to maintain the Wolverines dancing, ending with 15 factors, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks.

Bryson Williams, Texas Tech

The senior ahead did all he may to maintain his faculty profession alive, scoring 21 factors and snagging 5 rebounds.

Jamal Shead, Houston

The missed shot and turnover numbers have been a tad too excessive, however we’ll nonetheless go together with Shead right here due to his dogged protection, 21 factors and 6 assists.

1. Mark Williams, Duke

This hammer shook the Golden Gate Bridge.

I’m sorry. That was terrible. Sadly my delete button is damaged.

Benefit from the dunk.

The present rolls on

It actually seems like Coach Okay and the Blue Devils are actually the event’s major focus … until Saint Peter’s has one other stunner in them Friday night time.

Texas Tech v Duke

Photograph by Lance King/Getty Photos

“I assumed tonight we have been strong. We weren’t good or actually good.” —Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson after his group beat the event’s No. 2 general seed by 12

Let’s do that once more. Deliver snacks. Perhaps a sizzling dip or one thing.







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