Males’s March Insanity 2024: Second spherical match updates

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By Calvin S. Nelson

If something, Sunday’s motion taught us that it is actually not over — till it is over. Houston had cruised to what gave the impression to be a straightforward win over Texas A&M earlier than a mixture of unhealthy choices, missed photographs and foul hassle pressured the Cougars to unravel earlier than they salvaged the sport in additional time. Baylor made a late run in a loss to Clemson. Grand Canyon did the identical towards Alabama, and Colorado practically caught Marquette, too.

However Purdue and UConn emerged from the ultimate day of the second spherical as juggernauts within the area. Among the different squads that stamped their tickets to the Candy 16, nonetheless, weren’t as convincing. However they’ve survived. And that is what issues.

Scroll to learn our breakdown of each recreation on the second day of the lads’s spherical of 32. Discover our takeaways to the primary day right here. Test your bracket right here.

Is Houston wholesome sufficient to maintain it rolling? A pretty big purple flag appeared for the Cougars on Sunday: foul hassle. The Cougars had 4 gamers foul out and one other end one in need of becoming a member of them. Coach Kelvin Sampson traced the blowout loss to Iowa State within the Large 12 championship to a battered lineup and compressed convention match timetable, however a big pile of fouls and a brief bench virtually despatched the Cougars packing Sunday. There have been instances when J’Wan Roberts, whom Sampson has known as “most likely our most vital man,” was limping by performs. Roberts, who has handled a shin damage of late, and Ramon Walker, who has returned to the lineup within the match after coping with a proper knee damage, added simply sufficient depth in a recreation they barely superior previous. Houston watched a 13-point lead with 3:39 to play evaporate, exhibiting simply how skinny its margin of error could possibly be if the whistles come once more, particularly with the in-your-face tenacity the Cougars wish to play with on protection. The backcourt of Jamal Shead and L.J. Cryer was disruptive as common on protection and easy on offense, combining for 41 factors and 14 assists — however each gamers fouled out. Emanuel Sharp, who additionally fouled out, led the Cougars with 26 factors, together with six 3-pointers.

What the win means for Houston: The Cougars’ (32-4) nice escape and second win over the Aggies this season — they defeated Texas A&M 70-66 on Dec. 16 — means they transfer on to Dallas, the place they may face Duke (26-8) within the Candy 16. Shead’s defensive wizardry — Texas A&M coach Buzz Williams mentioned in Memphis that Shead might “guard anyone in the US, irrespective of how previous they’re, irrespective of how a lot cash they’re getting paid by NIL or by the Nationwide Basketball Affiliation” — is a significant factor shifting ahead. Texas A&M level guard Wade Taylor IV was 0-for-6 within the first half Sunday, 5-of-27 for the sport with Shead doing a lot of the defending. Taylor had seven 3-pointers within the Aggies’ win Friday over Nebraska.

What the loss means for Texas A&M: It took a bit for Williams to seek out the candy spot together with his lineup this season. However when he added Manny Obaseki extra into the combo — Obaseki performed not less than 20 minutes in 9 of the ultimate 10 video games — issues obtained higher. As soon as the ache wears off from being so near knocking off a No. 1 seed, the Aggies can flip the web page to subsequent season when Obaseki might actually be an enormous a part of the plan. Taylor, nonetheless, is a senior, and guard Tyrece Radford, who led the Aggies with 27 factors within the loss, has closed out his profession as nicely. — Jeff Legwold

When it was all falling aside, Houston turned to Jamal Shead: Simply when it appeared that Houston was headed to a different Candy 16 after the Cougars had loved a double-digit lead late, Texas A&M made a ridiculous run on the finish of regulation to tie the sport. Andersson Garcia’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer despatched the sport into additional time. And that was the excellent news. A minimum of Houston had extra time. But it surely did not have extra gamers. In additional time, three Houston gamers fouled out, together with a pair of gamers (Emanuel Sharp and LJ Cryer) who’d mixed to attain 50 factors within the recreation. Taylor began 2-for-17 from the sector however made large photographs late. Jamal Shead, nonetheless, was fearless, regardless of the circumstances. He hit key free throws and an enormous shot within the closing minute of additional time to ship his staff to the Candy 16. Expertise issues this time of 12 months. Teaching issues, too. However Houston simply wanted a frontrunner, and Shead (21 factors) accepted the function earlier than he ultimately fouled out with 18.2 seconds left. The maturity on Sampson’s roster helped his squad win the sport after it had unraveled on the finish of regulation. It is not straightforward to seek out your method once more in these moments. However Houston did with Shead’s assist. — Myron Medcalf

Why has Clemson immediately turn out to be all people’s match downside? Clemson has an NBA prospect within the submit with PJ Corridor and a willingness to run its offense off the block with others as nicely. Baylor coach Scott Drew had mentioned Saturday “most groups are fortunate to have one to play within the submit, they have 4, 5 guys they’ll run [into the post].” That already gave the Tigers a barely completely different profile from many groups within the bracket. However when the Tigers (23-11) shoot like they did early on Sunday from past the 3-point line as nicely, that makes them a migraine. They have been 6-of-11 on 3-point makes an attempt within the first half Sunday. Toss within the Tigers’ defensive efforts throughout their two video games in Memphis (held New Mexico to 29.7% capturing within the first spherical, Baylor to 38.9%) and a Clemson staff that got here into the match having misplaced three of its previous 4 video games immediately has a great deal of confidence. Chase Hunter led the Tigers with 20 factors and Joseph Girard III added 13.

What the win means for Clemson: The Tigers have been on wobbly legs down the stretch as they virtually let a 15-point lead with 6 minutes, 41 seconds to play slip away, however they’re now within the Candy 16 for the primary time because the 2017-18 season. They transfer on to Los Angeles the place they may face Arizona (27-8) on Friday. Clemson has moved this deep into the bracket with out its common output from Corridor. The 6-foot-10 senior obtained into foul hassle towards New Mexico within the first spherical and once more towards Baylor, ending with 9 and 11 factors, respectively. If Corridor cranks up the offense to his common output — he led the Tigers in scoring this season at 18.7 factors per recreation — Clemson might give the Wildcats a lot to deal with.

What the loss means for Baylor: Drew had spoken on Saturday to the problem of matching the make-up, constant effort and damage luck it takes to get into place to win a nationwide championship. After a troublesome capturing evening ended this 12 months’s run, Drew might face vital roster makeover. Jalen Bridges and RayJ Dennis are seniors and freshmen Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter are on the NBA’s radar as potential first-round prospects. — Legwold

Baylor’s flaws uncovered when the photographs cease falling: Drew’s Baylor squad performed in a Large 12 this season that was much more aggressive than it had been up to now with Houston and BYU becoming a member of the league. However the Bears owned essentially the most environment friendly offense within the league and hit 3-pointers at 39.3%, third within the nation. Additionally they boasted a pair of projected first-round picks, Walter and Missi. In latest weeks, nonetheless, the 3-pointers stopped falling. Outdoors of a stellar effort within the win over Colgate within the first spherical (53%), the Bears entered Sunday with a 15-for-64 success price in three earlier video games and could not discover a rhythm towards Clemson, both. As soon as they have been now not an elite 3-point capturing staff, Baylor’s defensive strain — they completed on the backside of the Large 12 in effectivity — was inadequate to cease Clemson, regardless of a late rally. The Bears completed 6-for-24 from past the arc within the loss. It was one other instance of how every little thing can change quick, for higher or worse, in March. — Medcalf

Can Alabama attain the Ultimate 4?: The brief reply: sure. Coach Nate Oats has the Tide enjoying with confidence they usually imagine deeply of their maximum-tempo offense that resulted within the nation’s highest scoring common. What they realized Sunday was that even after they battle to get beauty and end like they’re accustomed to, they’ll grind issues out in a high-stakes surroundings. Do not be fooled by Grand Canyon’s lack of historical past. The Lopes play like a excessive main energy and have a number of gamers who will play professionally for a very long time abroad. Even so, a extra convincing win would have impressed extra confidence a few potential run however going by this sort of a recreation will pay dividends. If guard play is without doubt one of the keys in March, then the efficiency of Mark Sears is especially encouraging. He has been top-of-the-line gamers within the match, scoring 26 factors towards GCU following his 30-point evening towards Charleston.

What the win means for Alabama: Upsets averted; a blue blood awaits. After going by No. 13 Charleston and No. 12 Grand Canyon, the Crimson Tide could have a job reversal because the underdog towards No. 1-seeded North Carolina in Los Angeles. The Tar heels have received 10 of their previous 11 video games and received convincingly towards Michigan State on Saturday to advance. Will probably be Alabama’s third journey to the Candy 16 in 4 seasons, however the Tide have only one Elite Eight journey in program historical past (2004).

What the loss means for Grand Canyon: The very best season in class historical past has come to an finish. After recording their first-ever NCAA match win towards No. 5 Saint Mary’s on Friday, the Lopes’ athleticism benefit was now not there towards Alabama. After reaching the match for the third time in 4 years beneath coach Bryce Drew, GCU has established itself as an up-and-coming, mid-major power within the West. The following step for GCU — and this may be troublesome — is to line up a more difficult nonconference schedule, because it would not get sufficient video games within the WAC to really put together the college for the trials of the match. — Kyle Bonagura

With Mark Sears, Alabama emerges from the chaos: To anybody who watched Alabama for the primary time Sunday evening in its win over Grand Canyon, you didn’t see something new. All season, Alabama has been a staff with phenomenal scoring expertise, adequate for a top-five mark in effectivity. However the Crimson Tide even have a sub-100 protection you could’t belief. That is why Sunday’s win was vital. Alabama has been in these situations a number of instances this season, but it surely hasn’t all the time survived. But, Mark Sears (26 factors), the Ohio switch, carried this staff to back-to-back Candy 16 appearances at the same time as every little thing gave the impression to be working towards the Crimson Tide. Grand Canyon shot 37 free throws. Alabama misplaced Latrell Wrightsell Jr. to a head damage within the first half. And Oats’ squad completed 8-for-31 from the 3-point line. In these circumstances, the Tide needed to discover out if they may lastly win a type of ugly affairs. On Sunday, they did. — Medcalf

Who can play with the Huskies? Northwestern was a staff that took Purdue, a No. 1 seed, to additional time twice and received a type of video games. It nonetheless by no means actually stood an opportunity towards UConn on Sunday on the Barclays Heart. The Huskies have been too large, too athletic and too proficient for the Wildcats. It makes you surprise simply who can play with the defending nationwide champs if they convey their A-game. The Huskies (33-3) have now received their final eight video games within the NCAA match by double digits. It is the second-longest streak of all time, one shy of the good 2000-01 Michigan State staff. Connecticut will likely be heavy favourite within the Candy 16. It must play a complete dud to lose there, with Iowa State (2) or Illinois (3) probably its solely actual take a look at earlier than the Ultimate 4. With the way in which that sophomore middle Donovan Clingan (14 factors, 14 rebounds, 8 blocks) is enjoying, it is doable this UConn staff is definitely higher than final 12 months’s nationwide champs. That’s hassle for everybody else on their highway to a possible repeat.

What it means for UConn: The defending champs stay the heavy favorites to win all of it. They only waltzed into the Candy 16 whereas barely breaking a sweat towards Stetson and Northwestern. UConn confirmed they’ll do it in so many various methods. They led by as many as 30 towards the Wildcats regardless of hitting simply 3 of twenty-two three-pointers (14%). However the Huskies protection was as soon as once more suffocating. They allowed lower than 60 factors of their first two video games of this match and their dimension is making it robust on everybody. Northwestern’s Boo Buie, the college’s all-time main scorer, did not even document his first made area aim till his eleventh try halfway by the second half on Sunday.

What it means for Northwestern: Their season as soon as once more involves an finish earlier than the Candy 16. That has been the case in every of the college’s solely three match appearances, the primary being in 2017 after coach Chris Collins took over. There isn’t a disgrace in dropping to Connecticut although. Be a part of the membership. The Huskies have been the higher staff, and that confirmed from begin to end. The Wildcats (22-12) have been fully out of kinds offensively till halfway by the second half after profitable a troublesome first-round recreation over FAU in additional time. Northwestern’s high two scorers, Buie and Brooks Barnhizer, mixed to shoot 0-for-14 within the first half towards UConn. The Wildcats will likely be a distinct trying staff subsequent season with out Buie and grad switch Ryan Langborg. — Jordan Raanan

Historical past and the Huskies: UConn is making an attempt to turn out to be the primary staff to win two consecutive nationwide championships since Florida defended its title in 2007. By making it so far as the Candy 16, the Huskies have already outperformed most champions of the final 17 years. 5 defending champions since 2007 have reached a regional semifinal: Kansas in 2009, Duke in 2011, Louisville in 2014, the Blue Devils once more in 2016 and now UConn. No defending champion has superior to the Elite Eight because the Gators in 2007.

The Huskies have additionally averted one other pitfall. Of the 4 post-2007 champions that earned No. 1 seeds the next 12 months, three have been upset within the Spherical of 32: Villanova misplaced to Wisconsin in 2017, Baylor fell to North Carolina in 2022 and Kansas was defeated by Arkansas final 12 months. — John Gasaway

Can Jaedon LeDee hold carrying the Aztecs?: In his first 4 seasons of school basketball at Ohio State (2018-19), TCU (2019-20, 2020-21) and SDSU (2022-23), Jaedon LeDee scored a complete of 601 factors. Contemporary off his 26-point efficiency within the win towards Yale, LeDee is at 754 simply this season. Few gamers ever have made this sort of year-over-year soar. He is a posterchild for improvement in school basketball. Faculty basketball legacies, nonetheless, are actually made this time of 12 months. That is the primary time SDSU has ever reached back-to-back Candy 16s, so it’s already in rarified air. LeDee will all the time be related to that. If the Aztecs win once more? That ensures legendary standing.

What the win means for San Diego State: After reaching the championship recreation final season, it is a stage of the match the Aztecs anticipated to achieve — particularly as soon as Yale upset Auburn. However now the stakes are raised: SDSU has to journey to Boston to play UConn, the match’s No. 1 total seed and the staff that beat it to win the nationwide title. Historical past repeats. Final 12 months, SDSU was a No. 5 seed, beat the No. 12 seed (Charleston), then a No. 13 seed (Furman) earlier than squaring off with the match’s No. 1 total seed (Alabama). For that motive, it could be foolish to jot down off the Aztecs.

What the loss means for Yale: Yale obtained its second. Its gamers will bear in mind the win towards Auburn endlessly, a win that’s arguably the perfect in program historical past. In opposition to SDSU, the Bulldogs had an off evening towards a greater staff that was on its recreation. A nightmare mixture. They will take solace in the truth that as their recreation wound to an in depth there have been solely 17 groups remaining within the match. They’re going to proceed to be a power within the Ivy League, which has proven nicely within the match the previous two years. — Bonagura

Can San Diego State pull off a repeat of final season? San Diego State is in the identical actual spot within the bracket as final season. Prime-left area, 5-seed, about to play towards the general 1-seed within the Candy 16. Final time round, the Aztecs erased a nine-point second-half result in topple Alabama and made a run all the way in which to the nationwide championship. On Thursday, San Diego State could have a rematch towards the staff that beat it in that title recreation as total 1-seed UConn awaits in Boston. Sunday’s win over Yale offered some optimism that the Aztecs’ vaunted protection hasn’t completely disappeared. Coming into the weekend, San Diego State ranked No. 73 within the nation in adjusted defensive effectivity over its previous six video games — a far cry from the top-10 items which have often been produced beneath coach Brian Dutcher. However on Sunday, SDSU held Yale to 37% capturing and 57 factors, its greatest defensive efficiency in weeks. — Jeff Borzello

Is Jared McCain the perfect freshman within the match? He is not less than within the dialog, and would possibly even be on the high of the listing after Colorado’s Cody Williams obtained despatched residence Sunday. McCain, a 6-3 guard, got here into the match as Jonathan Givony’s Twentieth-ranked prospect for the 2024 NBA draft. If something, he has improved his inventory, particularly with the primary half he had in Sunday’s second-round blowout of an excellent James Madison staff. McCain scored 22 factors within the first half towards the Dukes, hitting 7 of 11 photographs and 6 of 8 3-pointers. He completed with 30 factors, going 8-of-11 from past the arc, regardless of sitting the ultimate seven-plus minutes. It was fairly the efficiency, essentially the most factors by any participant in the course of the first half of this 12 months’s match. It got here on the heels of a 15-point, six-rebound efficiency within the opening spherical towards Vermont. McCain was a couple of inches from that being an enormous scoring evening as nicely. He had two or three 3-pointers midway down earlier than they popped out in that contest. That is what the Blue Devils want from McCain to make an enormous run within the match.

What it means for Duke: The Blue Devils reached their twenty ninth Candy 16 because it formally started in 1975. Solely North Carolina (31) has extra. Duke goes into the Candy 16 with confidence after blitzing James Madison with a dominant effort, led by McCain. But it surely was greater than that. Duke outrebounded the Dukes 21-13 within the opening half, moved the ball nicely whereas aiding on 11 of 17 area objectives and performed suffocating protection that resulted in 5 steals. That continued within the second half because the Blue Devils’ lead ballooned to as a lot as 38. A few of that was from hitting 14 of 28 from past the arc on this recreation. If this model of Duke exhibits up the remainder of the way in which, it is most likely able to profitable a nationwide championship.

What it means for James Madison: The Dukes’ dream season concludes with 32 wins. They’d their second 14-game win streak of the 12 months finish Sunday within the second spherical of the match by the hands of a nationwide powerhouse. From the beginning, nothing went proper for James Madison. Main scorer Terrence Edwards Jr. picked up two fouls within the opening two minutes. Though the Dukes (32-4) failed to achieve their first-ever Candy 16, this stays one among their most profitable seasons in class historical past. — Raanan

Duke exhibits youth can nonetheless win in 2024: When Kentucky was upset by Oakland within the spherical of 64, Wildcats head coach John Calipari mentioned the game of school basketball has modified. “Swiftly, it is gotten actually previous,” he mentioned. “So we’re enjoying groups — our common age is nineteen. Their common age is 24 and 25.”

Calipari was right in saying UK was younger this 12 months, with a mean age weighted for minutes of 20.7 years.

Coincidentally, Duke is identical age: 20.7. The Blue Devils are going to the Candy 16 two years after reaching the 2022 Ultimate 4 with a mean weighted age of 20.0.

Youth is now not the default strategy within the portal period. However when a rotation is each younger and proficient, it may well nonetheless win in March. — John Gasaway

Is Purdue constructed for a deep run? The Boilermakers are greater than middle Zach Edey. Certain, Edey had a monstrous opening weekend and one other 20-point, 10-rebound efficiency Sunday. However Purdue additionally knocked down a ton of photographs from behind the arc. Purdue was 11-of-23 on its 3-point capturing. Myles Colvin hit three 3s coming off the bench and guards Fletcher Loyer, Braden Smith and Lance Jones every had not less than one 3-pointer, together with the one Jones banked in proper earlier than halftime. That type of capturing will hold groups sincere as they struggle to determine cease Edey, who has been as dominant as marketed.

What the win means for Purdue: On Sunday, the Boilermakers confirmed what they’d been saying all weekend in Indianapolis. That is certainly a greater staff than final 12 months’s group that misplaced within the first spherical as a No. 1 seed. Purdue completely dominated a Utah State staff that thumped TCU within the first spherical. Now, the Boilermakers will advance to the Candy 16 and face a troublesome fifth-seeded Gonzaga staff in Detroit.

What the loss means for the Utah State Aggies: On Saturday, Purdue coach Matt Painter praised first-year Utah State coach Danny Sprinkle for his staff’s communication. Painter initially known as Sprinkle top-of-the-line younger coaches within the recreation earlier than eradicating the age qualifier. The consensus seems to be that Utah State’s program is in good arms with the 47-year-old after profitable its first NCAA match recreation in 23 years. — Ben Child

Sprinkle’s subsequent job will likely be …: Although the ultimate recreation of the season will not be remembered fondly, Sprinkle produced an unbelievable first-year teaching efficiency at Utah State. The Aggies did not return a single level per recreation from final season, however Sprinkle led them to their first Mountain West regular-season title in program historical past after which their first NCAA match win since 2001. This was Sprinkle’s third consecutive journey to the Large Dance, after he went back-to-back with Montana State. But it surely’s more likely to be solely a one-year layover in Logan for Sprinkle. He has been strongly linked to the emptiness at Washington, though athletic director Troy Dannen departing for Nebraska might depart the door open. If Sprinkle does depart, can Utah State strike gold once more with its subsequent teaching rent? The Aggies’ previous three hires have been Craig Smith, Ryan Odom and Sprinkle — who all led this system to the NCAA match in a short time and have been pursued by larger faculties virtually instantly. — Borzello

Is Tyler Kolek the perfect guard within the nation? Maybe. When Marquette wanted a spark within the second half, it went to Kolek each time. As Colorado clawed again from an 11-point halftime deficit and compelled the Golden Eagles to take the lead again, Kolek assisted or scored on practically each journey down the ground. He completed with 21 factors and 11 assists, his second double-double in as many video games this weekend. If Kolek is scoring and creating at this stage, Marquette will likely be in each recreation for the remainder of the match.

What the win means for Marquette: The Golden Eagles are headed to the Candy 16 for the primary time since 2013. For the second straight 12 months, Marquette was a 2-seed within the match. This time, nonetheless, coach Shaka Good’s staff averted being bounced in the course of the first weekend. Marquette will face 11-seed NC State within the Dallas Regional and can attempt to cool off the Wolfpack, who went on a run to win the ACC match and at the moment are making an attempt to be the newest double-digit seed to wreak havoc on the bracket.

What the loss means for Colorado: The Buffaloes have been a couple of buckets away from reaching the Candy 16 for the primary time within the trendy period. Freshman Cody Williams, who battled accidents all 12 months, is probably going headed to the NBA as a possible lottery decide. But when KJ Simpson returns for one more season, Colorado could have an vital participant for a possible tourney run in 2025. — Ben Child

Marquette’s guards give them an opportunity to get to Phoenix: There won’t be a pair of guards within the nation enjoying higher than Kolek and Kam Jones. Jones has been on an unbelievable offensive run over the previous month, averaging 23.8 factors and capturing 52.2% from 3-point vary in his previous 10 video games — together with three 30-point outings. Within the first half Sunday, he scored 16 factors in 14 minutes earlier than foul hassle pressured him to the bench. However that merely allowed Kolek to take over. His second half was a masterclass in manipulating the protection, attending to his spots and consistently discovering methods to make use of his left hand for finishes within the lane.

The six video games Kolek sat due to an indirect damage have been vastly useful; he is averaging 19.5 factors and 11.0 assists in his two NCAA match video games. If Kolek and Jones proceed enjoying like this, they’ll get Marquette to its first Ultimate 4 since Tom Crean and Dwyane Wade managed the feat in 2003. A Kolek vs. Jamal Shead battle within the Elite Eight can be a matchup between the 2 greatest level guards within the nation. — Borzello

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