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


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

Right here’s all the very best 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 if you happen to 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 cause: Identical to in opposition to Sparty, the Blue Devils had been rattling close to excellent down the stretch … they usually 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 change into one other gear when the chance of their season (and Mike Krzyzewski’s profession) coming to an finish was staring them instantly within the face.

Duke didn’t miss a shot within the sport’s closing 8 minutes and 25 seconds, connecting on their closing 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.

The whole lot appears to be coming collectively on the excellent time for a Duke crew that had beforehand been 0-5 all-time in NCAA match video games performed within the Pacific Time Zone. Paolo Banchero is taking part in the best way you count on a high three NBA draft choose 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 situation for Duke/Coach Ok haters is now absolutely on the desk: The Blue Devils are completely able to profitable the nationwide championship.

Now they’re simply three Ws away.


Regardless of shedding all 5 starters from final yr’s crew, the Houston Cougars at the moment are only one win away from engaging in the identical feat that squad did.

As was the case in every of its first two NCAA match wins: Kelvin Sampson’s crew was dominant Thursday evening. 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 tough to make the case that via two and-a-half rounds, no crew within the 2022 NCAA match has been extra spectacular than Houston. The Cougars had been handed an especially harmful 12-seed in UAB, they usually dealt with the Blazers with relative ease (82-68). Two days later they’d even much less bother (68-53) with Massive Ten common season champion Illinois. Then got here Thursday evening, the place Houston held the match’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 received a nationwide championship. Don’t put it previous Kelvin Sampson. The person is a miracle employee, and it seems like he is perhaps within the midst of his biggest act to this point.


The NCAA match choice committee began naming a No. 1 general seed in 2004. Since then, solely three high canine — 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 identify to that quick listing. The second got here crashing down Thursday evening in San Francisco after a dud of a efficiency in opposition to Arkansas.

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

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

Eric Musselman’s gameplan was pristine, but it surely received’t be the first focus of the nation on Friday. That focus can be pointed within the path of Gonzaga, which continued to have achieved all the pieces you’ll be able to accomplish in school basketball exterior of crucial factor.

Haters rejoice.

1. Streaks of futility coming to an finish

Arkansas’ all-time match report in opposition to No. 1 seeds getting into Thursday: 0-10.

Duke’s all-time match report within the Pacific Time Zone getting into Thursday: 0-5.

Achieved and carried out.

Whereas not an 0-fer streak, the truth that 5-seeds entered Thursday evening with an all-time report of 9-47 in opposition to 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 evening.

3. One other ho-hum Villanova run

It melts your thoughts just a little bit to consider Villanova’s March repute earlier than 2016. The Wildcats had been considered the identical means Gonzaga is at the moment, besides with even much less match success.

After Thursday evening’s workmanlike 63-55 conquer Michigan, Villanova is now 19-3 over the past six NCAA tournaments. That’s the very best March Insanity profitable share of any crew in school basketball over that span. Solely the Zags have extra complete match 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 marvel if Jay Wright’s crew was ever going to have the ability to put the ball within the basket once more. Fortunately, the Wolverines had 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 in opposition to 11-seeds. The Wildcats additionally improved to 3-0 all-time in NCAA match video games in opposition to Michigan.

Bonus Cheer: The outdated Southwest Convention

We had been a Texas Tech win away from three of the 4 groups that superior Thursday evening being former members of the Southwest Convention, which disbanded ceaselessly in 1996.

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

Barnhill South ceaselessly.

1. The offensive performances

Eight fairly succesful offenses took the ground on Thursday evening. Solely certainly one of them (Duke) shot higher than 47.0 % from the sphere. Half of them (Gonzaga, Arizona, Villanova and Michigan) shot worse than 40.0 %.

We’re gonna want Saint Peter’s to hold about 120 on Purdue Friday evening so as to steadiness this out.

2. The Chet Holmgren foul calls

Gonzaga star freshman and potential high NBA draft choose was hampered by foul bother just about all evening on Thursday. With the Zags nonetheless making an attempt to play catchup, Holmgren was ultimately whistled for his fifth and closing foul with 3:29 to play and Arkansas holding a 62-56 benefit.

As various individuals had been keen to level out, greater than a few the whistles that went in opposition to Holmgren gave the impression to be doubtful at finest.

As many had been additionally fast to level out, the official who blew the whistle on the 2 Holmgren fouls that gave the impression to be probably the most egregious was Doug Reveals. Reveals is an SEC official who was working the one Candy 16 sport that includes an SEC crew. 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} truthful whistle on Holmgren would have modified the best way issues performed out in any form of dramatic kind. I do know that it will have added considerably to the sport’s viewing expertise.

Holmgren is certainly one of school basketball’s most original stars and one of many extra intriguing NBA prospects in a while. With Gonzaga taking part in 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 match 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 believe I’ll miss Chet’s dad most of all.

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

3. Jim Nantz’s HALO learn

This man is asking The Masters in two weeks.


Jermaine Samuels, Villanova

The senior ahead was a rock for ‘Nova on a tough offensive evening 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 Ok’s freshman star helped the Corridor of Famer choose up his one hundredth profession NCAA match 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 might 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 might to maintain his school profession alive, scoring 21 factors and snagging 5 rebounds.

Jamal Shead, Houston

The missed shot and turnover numbers had 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 Ok and the Blue Devils at the moment are the match’s major focus … until Saint Peter’s has one other stunner in them Friday evening.

Texas Tech v Duke

Picture by Lance King/Getty Photos

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

Let’s do that once more. Carry snacks. Perhaps a scorching dip or one thing.




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