Saturday’s March Insanity: Duke’s Loss Busts Extra Brackets

Duke’s loss to Tennessee within the males’s spherical of 32 on Saturday was in no way a stirring shock, in the best way that losses by Purdue, Virginia and Arizona shook up the event.

However in bracket competitions on-line, loads of individuals felt the sting anyway, exhibiting how common Duke stays even in a yr of considerably lowered expectations.

Duke, a No. 5 seed, was among the many hottest picks to win a championship in bracket contests hosted by ESPN and Yahoo, with extra assist than all of the No. 4 seeds, together with Tennessee, and all however one No. 3, the frequent event powerhouse Gonzaga.

The recognition of the Blue Devils got here at the same time as modelers, together with the KenPom and Sagarin scores, signaled extra modest expectations, prompting a variety of predictions — with loads of followers believing that Duke may have an early exit, together with those that anticipated a deep run.

On Saturday towards Tennessee, the Volunteers pulled away early within the second half, and the traditional, nearly anticipated push by the Blue Devils by no means materialized. The No. 5 seed this yr was Duke’s lowest within the subject since being slated as a No. 6 in 2007; the Blue Devils will miss the regional spherical of the event after a Closing 4 run a yr in the past in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final season.

Duke made the N.C.A.A. event for 26 straight years till 2021, when it was at risk of lacking out on the March Insanity festivities, then canceled its season throughout the Atlantic Coast Convention event due to a participant’s constructive coronavirus check. — Oskar Garcia

STORRS, Conn. — If there was any doubt that the College of Connecticut was on steady footing heading into this yr’s girls’s N.C.A.A. event, its 95-52 defeat over the Vermont on Saturday took care of these considerations.

After a tumultuous and injury-filled common season, the second-seeded Huskies lived as much as their dominant fame on their residence court docket, outscoring and outrunning the No. 15-seeded Catamounts at almost each flip. Aaliyah Edwards, the 6-foot-3 junior ahead, led the Huskies with 28 factors, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

“We didn’t have a solution for her,” Vermont Coach Alisa Kresge stated of Edwards. “She’s only a employee, she works so exhausting, she by no means offers up. She’s actually proficient, and that was fairly a mismatch for us.”

UConn ahead Dorka Juhasz recorded a double-double with 15 factors and 10 rebounds. Azzi Fudd made her first begin since Dec. 4 after repeat knee accidents over the yr (she stored a brace and knee sleeve on for good measure), whereas teammate Paige Bueckers, the junior ahead who’s out for the season along with her personal knee harm, cheered from the sidelines.

All 10 of UConn’s gamers scored, in one of many highest-scoring video games of the event to date. The Huskies scored 53 factors within the first half and stored the Catamounts to twenty factors, forcing Vermont to take fast photographs that did not land whereas clearing the paint on offensive drives.

Vermont was led by sophomore guard Catherine Gilwee, with 14 factors and 5 assists. The Catamounts entered the event with a 25-6 file, using a 17-game successful streak; they beat Albany within the America East championship per week in the past to succeed in the N.C.A.A. event for the primary time since 2010.

UConn will face the winner of the Baylor-Alabama sport on Monday. — Remy Tumin

There may be an implicit however unstated deal between underdogs and the month of March: Most goals include fast expiration dates. And two days after the largest victory at school historical past, No. 13 seed Furman’s sell-by date arrived with a 75-52 rout by the hands of fifth-seeded San Diego State within the males’s N.C.A.A. event.

The place the Paladins had been capable of exploit Virginia’s weaknesses in a 68-67 upset on Thursday, they had been overwhelmed by the Aztecs in nearly each facet of Saturday’s sport. Recognized for its robust protection, San Diego State held Furman, which had averaged 81.7 factors this season earlier than the loss, to its lowest single-game whole of 2022-23.

Furman shot simply 32 % from the sphere (whereas the Aztecs hit 50 % of their photographs) and 23.1 % from 3-point vary. For the season, Furman had shot 48 % general and 34 % from 3-point territory.

Furman by no means led after the midpoint of the primary half, and Jalen Slawson, the Southern Convention participant of the yr, was in foul hassle for a lot of the second half earlier than fouling out with solely 8 factors.

“They stored us from driving, stored the ball out of the paint, stored a extremely robust flooring and performed actually exhausting,” Slawson stated.

It was a whole and spectacular efficiency by the Aztecs, who transfer on to their first round-of-16 look since 2014, the place they are going to play the winner of Alabama and Maryland on Friday.

The Paladins, in the meantime, will take residence indelible recollections and tales they are going to inform associates and households for the remainder of their lives.

“It’s an unbelievable story,” Furman Coach Bob Richey stated, “and I couldn’t be extra pleased with our group, at a time the place I’m extraordinarily disenchanted that we didn’t advance. However it’s actually exhausting to not pull the lens again somewhat bit and nonetheless see what that group was capable of accomplish.

“For that, I’ll be eternally grateful.” — Scott Miller

VILLANOVA, Pa. — When Sha Carter of Florida Gulf Coast lined up towards the taller Bella Murekatete of Washington State for the opening tip, it appeared like the primary second of a mismatch. Carter didn’t try and corral the ball, and the Cougars raced to a lead.

But that impression flipped in a rush, because the smaller Florida Gulf Coast group seized management halfway by way of the primary quarter and delivered a 74-63 win that confirmed why it was a preferred decide to advance — even amongst oddsmakers — regardless of being a No. 12 seed towards a No. 5.

Tishara Morehouse, the main scorer this season for the Eagles getting into the sport, proved too fast for Washington State’s defenders. She used spin strikes and crossovers for scores, tallying 16 factors and serving to arrange Carter to attain at will. Carter led the sport with 24 factors.

The loss was a disappointing end to a exceptional season for Washington State, which had gained 4 straight video games coming into the event to seize the championship within the troublesome Pac-12 Convention, after ending seventh within the common season.

It was the primary Pac-12 event title for the Cougars. However when the brackets got here out, Florida Gulf Coast instantly stood out as a troublesome matchup.

“They’re all the time under-seeded,” Washington State Coach Kamie Ethridge stated Friday as her group ready for the sport.

Florida Gulf Coast has not misplaced since late January (an extra time defeat to Liberty), and prolonged its successful streak to fifteen video games with the victory.

The Eagles weren’t alone as a successful No. 12 seed on Saturday: Toledo took down fifth-seeded Iowa State, 80-73, and can transfer on to face No. 4 seed Tennessee. Florida Gulf Coast awaits the winner of the Villanova-Cleveland State sport. — Kris Rhim

Indiana’s rout of Tennessee Tech put all 4 No. 1s within the N.C.A.A. girls’s event into the second spherical, and maybe highlighted a actuality that has shifted in recent times:

Although a 16-over-1 March Insanity upset is exceedingly uncommon, it’s in all probability even more durable to tug off within the girls’s event proper now than within the males’s.

One night time after the Fairleigh Dickinson males delivered the stunner of those festivities over No. 1 seed Purdue, the Indiana girls romped previous Tennessee Tech by 30 factors, 77-47, becoming a member of fellow No. 1s South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Stanford within the second spherical. All 4 of these groups, taking part in with home-court benefit, gained with ease to start out their event run, with Virginia Tech successful by the tightest margin at 25 factors over Chattanooga.

On Saturday, the Hoosiers pulled away within the second quarter, outscoring Tennessee Tech 21-9 within the interval, and shot a breezy 58 % for the sport as their lead grew and grew. Sydney Parrish led with 19 factors.

The boys’s event had gone and not using a No. 16 defeating a No. 1 earlier than 2018, nevertheless it has now occurred twice previously 5 tournaments. An identical upset has solely occurred as soon as within the girls’s event because it expanded to 64 groups, when No. 16 seed Harvard beat top-seeded Stanford in 1998.

In that sport, Harvard got here in feeling prefer it deserved the next seed, whereas Stanford misplaced two key gamers, Vanessa Nygaard and Kristin Folkl, to extreme knee accidents within the week main as much as the sport.

To beat a No. 1 girls’s group taking part in at residence, or perhaps a No. 2 — which has by no means misplaced to a No. 15 — it might take an identical collection of circumstances. — Oskar Garcia

BATON ROUGE, La. — It’s been a busy weekend for basketball mother Angel Reese.

With two kids taking part in within the N.C.A.A. tournaments, daughter Angel for the third-seeded Louisiana State girls and son Julian for the eighth-seeded Maryland males, she’s touring to attempt to see as a lot basketball as she will be able to.

After flying to Louisiana on Thursday, Reece watched from her resort room as Julian scored a team-high 17 factors within the Terrapins’ slender win over West Virginia.

The following day, she noticed Angel compile 34 factors and 15 rebounds on the Pete Maravich Meeting Middle in L.S.U.’s demolition of Hawaii.

She had deliberate to hit the street at 10 a.m. Central time on Saturday to move to Birmingham, Ala., to see Julian play at night time towards top-seeded Alabama. Then, it will likely be again to Baton Rouge for L.S.U.’s second-round sport on Sunday towards Michigan.

“I’m very proud,” Reese stated in an interview after Friday’s L.S.U. sport. “It’s thrilling, nevertheless it’s very anxious. I’ll admit, it’s very anxious, particularly when you’ve got shut video games just like the one which Maryland had yesterday towards West Virginia.”

Each gamers play essential roles on their groups. Julian is one in all Maryland’s 4 double-figure scorers and its main rebounder, whereas Angel is a first-team all-American. Their mom was an achieved school participant herself, rating second in Division I in rebounds per sport in 1991-92 with the College of Maryland, Baltimore County.

There are different household ties within the event. The Hawaii girls’s group had two sisters, Lily Wahinekapu and Jovi Lefotu. The Iowa males’s group featured Fran McCaffery teaching sons Connor and Patrick. And the Prosper household additionally has a participant in every event, with Cassandre coming off the bench for the Notre Dame girls and Olivier-Maxence averaging 12.4 factors per sport for the Marquette males.

The Reeses hope the whirlwind lasts so long as potential.

“That is an gratifying second for the Reese household,” the youthful Angel stated after Friday’s sport. — Evan Easterling

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