Catching up with the Madness: Day 2


Tommy Yarrish

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The first round of competition is in the books. Yesterday concluded the first round of 64 teams, and now it’s cut down to 32 heading into the second round. There are 16 perfect brackets remaining world wide, which team is going to make or break them? I’ve got you covered on all of yesterday’s action, as well as games to check out today.

Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett combine for 51 points and steamroll North Dakota State

While the #1 seed Duke’s victory doesn’t come as a surprise, it showed that it’s going to be very difficult for anyone to stop them.

North Dakota State gave the Blue Devils a run for their money in the first half, as they headed into halftime trailing 31-27, but Duke quickly expanded that lead thanks to a 54 point second half.

The 6’8 star freshman Zion Williamson once again amazed everyone with his incredible athleticism, to the point where CBS devoted a camera to him the entire game, dubbed “Zion Cam.”

And Zion just did what Zion does. He had 25 points on 12-16 shooting from the field, even expanding his range and knocking down a three. He also had what hall of famer Charles Barkley described as “one of the best basketball plays” he’d ever seen. Williamson stole the ball from a North Dakota guard, then at 285 pounds outran North Dakota’s Vinnie Shahid to grab his steal. He dribbled behind his back, lost his balance, but recovered it with his hand on the floor, and then pushed himself back up for an up-and-under layup.

Zion wasn’t the only freshman with a stellar night, as his partner in crime RJ Barrett had 26 points to go with 14 rebounds, which were both game highs for the Blue Devils. Cam Reddish quietly had a nice game as well, with 12 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Duke will take on #9 UCF in the second round, who’re led by the astounding 7’6 Tacko Fall, an elite rim protector who could pose challenges for Blue Devils when taking it to the basket.

North Carolina, Virginia avoid early scares to advance

“Slow start” isn’t something you hear often when talking about North Carolina and Virginia, but Friday night told a different story.

North Carolina struggled early, trailing by as much as eight to #16 seed Iona. Iona’s Rickey McGill went four-for-four from beyond the arc early in the game, and the Gaels lead 38-33 going into halftime.

But Iona’s glory didn’t last long at all. A 5-0 run in just 39 seconds tied the game, followed by a 18-4 run set the Tarheels up for smooth sailing there on out. North Carolina picked up the win 88-73 behind Cameron Johnson’s 21 points and Luke Maye’s 16 points.

The Tarheels face off against #9 Washington, who came off an upset victory over #8 Utah State.

Virginia, after being the first ever #1 seed to be upset by a #16 seed last year in a loss to UMBC, almost had a deja-vu moment on Friday against Gardner-Webb. .

With 6:42 left in the first half and the Cavaliers down 30-16, it looked like history could repeat itself. Even with finishing the first half out strong, the Cavaliers trailed 36-30 at the end of the first half.

Then, much like North Carolina, the Cavaliers went into the second half on a 25-5 run, thanks to some great defense, causing 11 Gardner-Webb turnovers in the first 12 minutes. The Cavaliers advanced with the 71-56 win courtesy of De’Andre Hunter’s 23 points and six rebounds, along with Mamadi Diakite’s 17 point-nine rebound performance off the bench.

Virginia faces off against #9 Oklahoma next round, the Sooners are coming off a blowout win over #8 Mississippi 95-72.

Liberty and UC Irvine pull off huge upsets

#12 Liberty and #13 UC Irvine pulled off the two major upsets on Friday, by a combined margin of just 10 points, the two schools shocked the NCAA world.

Liberty wasn’t in the ideal position for an upset. #5 Mississippi State had a 10 point lead on them heading into the last seven minutes, but the Flames didn’t give up.

They’re plan to get the win? Give the ball to Caleb Homesley and let him work.

The junior guard dropped 22 of his 30 points in the second half, with 14 of those 22 coming in a span of less than five minutes to propel Liberty to the late game victory. Despite Quinndary Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters combining for 48 points for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs couldn’t hold on, losing 80-76.

Liberty advances to face #4 Virginia Tech, who’re coming off a 66-52 victory over #13 Saint Louis.

For UC Irvine, a 12-0 run midway through the second half helped the Anteaters hold on for the upset win over #4 Kansas State. This was the Anteaters first tournament win, and gets their win streak up to 17 games straight.

Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard both had 19 points for the Anteaters, and forward Elston Jones stepped up with 11 points off the bench. For Kansas State, Kamau Stoke’s 18 points and Makol Mawien’s 14 just wasn’t enough for the Wildcats to get the win.

With the 70-64 win, UC Irvine will face red-hot #12 Oregon in what should be a close game, as both teams haven’t lost in a while.

Games to watch on Day 3:

#2 Michigan vs #10 Florida

#4 Florida State vs. #12 Murray State

#4 Kansas vs #5 Auburn