When NCAA Tournament business wraps up on Sunday, the men’s Sweet 16 will be set, while the women’s Sweet 16 will decide half of the field.
Two No. 1 seeds have already been knocked out on the men’s side, highlighted by No. 1 Purdue’s shocking loss to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson. FDU now aims to do what no 16-seed has done: reach the Sweet 16.
The Knights will try to do just that on Sunday (7:45 p.m. ET, truTV) against Florida Atlantic, a strong mid-major 32-3 on the year after a dramatic win over Memphis. But first, no. 11 bit and no. 3 Xavier kicks off the party at 12:10pm ET on CBS.
Women’s action goes with the defending champions as No. 1 South Carolina tries to go 34-0 against South Florida (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Iowa standout Caitlin Clark then puts her No. 2 Hawkeyes on the national stage against No. 10 Georgia in ABC’s next game.
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Follow the madness: Latest Men’s NCAA Tournament College Basketball Scores and Schedules
Men’s Competition: Complete Marks and Table
Women’s Competition: Complete Marks and Table
Saturday’s Match: Know about the actions of all men and women
Xavier open up big half-time lead with attacking flourish
In a Round of 64 win over No. 6 Iowa State, then-No. 11 Pittsburgh allowed 41 points in the entire game. In the Round of 32, it’s a different story. No. 3 Xavier had 42 points with 5:01 left in the first half. The Musketeers went 19-of-36 from the field (52.8%) to lead 48-34 at the half.
A big part of the difference is beyond the arc, where Xavier has converted half of his 14 attempts. In particular, guard Adam Kunkel went 5-for-5 from 3-point range with a team-high 15 points. Forward Jack Nunge is right behind him, chipping in 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Panthers started hot, but then cooled off and were outscored 27-16 to end the half. For Pittsburgh, Xavier guard Sauli Bohm, who led the Musketeers with 16.5 points per game this season, has yet to score a point and is 0-for-6 from the field.
Action takes place on Sunday
The first game of the day, just after noon on Sunday, was No. 11 Pittsburgh and no. 3 Men’s match between Xavier. If the attacking pace to start was any indication of what was to come the rest of the day, the scoring showed.
The Musketeers were the leading scorer in the Big East this season and pulled away from Pittsburgh 28-18 midway through the first half. Xavier went on a 14-3 run and shot 57.1% from the field on 12-of-21 attempts. Guard Colby Jones and forward Jack Nunge each had eight points to lead the Musketeers.
Pittsburgh is shooting 7-for-16 from the field at a 46.7% clip.
As Xavier head coach Sean Miller played guard for the Panthers from 1987-92, he started 124 of 128 games played.
This men’s competition is truly a hit
All season long, it promised to be the most expansive NCAA men’s tournament in a generation. Bluebloods are not blue. The top teams had glaring flaws. The combination of an extra Covid year for veterans, an out-of-control transfer environment and a crop of freshmen often unprepared for prime time dictates teams’ fortunes from game to game, week to week.
Now here it is, the first weekend of March Madness is over, and one important question must be asked: Who is going to win the national championship?
Perhaps it would be better to put it another way. If you’re alive until Sunday night in this crazy competition, go ahead and dream. You too, Princeton. It really comes in handy.
– Dawn clouds
Double trouble? Indiana and Miami will face off in the men’s and women’s games
No, you’re not seeing double.
Indiana and Miami will play each other in the second round of the men’s and women’s tournaments. The men’s game is Sunday night in Albany, New York, and the women’s teams will face off in Bloomington, Indiana, on Monday.
“It’s wonderful. I mean, what a great situation,” Miami women’s coach Katie Meyer said. “I know our athletic director was on a plane going back and forth with someone from Indiana.”
The NCAA does not keep track of how many times schools have played each other in each tournament, let alone in the same round. But it has to be said that it doesn’t happen often. Meier was asked about the possibility of a double dip ahead of Saturday’s game, but declined to answer. Good thing, as The Hurricanes trailed by 17 before rallying to defeat Oklahoma State.
While IU and Miami’s men’s teams both earned their spots on Friday, top-ranked Indiana rolled up earlier in the day.
“We’re looking forward to playing Indiana, and the ‘canes will come out on top,'” said Meyer.
– Nancy Armour
The Princeton men and women made Ivy history by winning first-round games in the same year
It was a matchup for the Ivy League before Princeton’s men made it to the second round.
This is the first year that Ivy teams have won first-round games in both tournaments. A day after the Princeton men stunned Arizona, the 10th-ranked Princeton women beat NC State on a 3-pointer with seven seconds left on Friday night.
“We were watching (the guys) in the locker room before practice,” Julia Cunningham said Friday night. “Looking at them, all the coverage they get from the media, it’s well deserved. We looked at each other and thought we’re next, now it’s our turn.
“It’s special,” he added. “A special week to be a tiger.”
– Nancy Armour
Ranking of Sunday’s games
How many teams will be in your Sweet 16? After a wild and unpredictable start to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, we know who advances after Sunday’s eight-game slate that still features some high seeds.
No. As No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson looks to build on Purdue’s historic loss Friday night with a second-round matchup against No. 9 Florida Atlantic, we’ll all be focused on the outside.
Keep this in mind, though: Of the eight games played on Sunday, six have the highest seeds — No. 3 against no. 6, no. 4 against no. 5 and no. 2 against no. 7.
Here’s a list of Sunday’s games, ranked by viewership:
1. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. no. 9 at Florida Atlantic (7:45 p.m. ET)
2. Number 5 St. Mary’s vs. No. 4 Connecticut (6:10)
3. Number 6 Kentucky vs. No. 3 Kansas State (2:40 p.m.)
4. Number 3 Baylor v. No. 6 Creighton (7:10)
5. Number 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 TCU (9:40)
6. Number 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Marquette (5:15)
7. Number 5 Miami vs. No. 4 Indiana (8:40)
8. Number 3 Xavier v. No. 11 Pittsburgh (12:10)
– Paul Myerberg
Merrimack coach for Fairleigh Dickenson
Upsetting No. 1-ranked Purdue, the Knights gave the Northeast Conference their first win in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tournament in four decades. But the Knights wouldn’t be here without Merrimack, which won the conference title but didn’t qualify because of its move to Division I — NCAA rules say a school must sit out four years after such a move.
So Merrimack coach Joe Gallo and the rest of the team stayed home and watched Fairleigh Dickenson avoid Purdue — and big man Zach Eddy. So is there jealousy among its northeastern rivals?
“To quote my 6-year-old, ‘Dad, we beat them, so we want them to win,'” Gallo told CBS Sports. “People have been tough all year in our league, so I’m happy for the win.”
– Heather Tucker
UMBC Finds a Friend on Twitter
The UMBC Twitter account finally has a best friend. This is the Twitter account for the Farleigh Dickinson men’s basketball team. What do they have in common? They both thrive on creating absolute chaos and breaking brackets.
The UMBC Twitter account celebrated Fairleigh Dickinson’s win over Purdue, which could have ruined several NCAA men’s tournament brackets. The FDU Twitter account picked up on this and announced their new friendship together.
UMBC will always have a hard time finding someone who understands that. After all, it’s not often that a 16 seed upsets a 1 seed. UMBC was the first men’s program to do so in 2018 when it knocked off No. 1 Virginia. But if there’s anyone who understands that feeling, it’s FDU.
— Mike D. Sykes II, for Victory
The final USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll
Houston entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll, despite losing in the American Athletic Conference championship game just before the brackets were released last Sunday.
The Cougars, who played without leading scorer Marcus Chaucer in a loss to Memphis, held off second-ranked Alabama with 21 of 32 No. 1 votes. The Crimson Tide picked up eight firsts after winning the SEC title in impressive fashion.
Houston handled Northern Kentucky in its first-round game and Auburn in its second-round game, while Alabama defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi in its tournament opener. The Crimson Tide beat No. 8 Maryland late Saturday.
– Eddie Dimanus