By Joseph Gorman
Wow! These first two rounds have been crazy with many top teams getting knocked out. The First Round had no major upsets, but the Second Round knocked out Florida State, Louisville, Duke, and the defending champs Villanova! Here are some of the biggest games so far.
Notre Dame (5) def. Princeton (12), 60-58
This is where the madness began! Notre Dame v. Princeton was the first matchup of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. This game was back and forth, very close, and no one had clinched the game until it was over. Bonzie Colson led Notre Dame to victory with 18 points and Matt Farrell had another 16 points.
USC (11) def. SMU (6), 66-65
This game might have helped bust your bracket, it certainly helped bust mine! With SMU riding a 15 game winning streak into the game, it all went to waste at the hands of Bennie Boatwright and the USC Trojans. In a game that seemed like it would be a runaway win for SMU, the Trojans just wouldn't go away. Three Trojans finished the game in double figures, with Elijah Stewart, a junior guard, leading the way with 22 points. A Semi Ojeleye led Mustangs team certainly seemed like a tall task for most if not all programs in the country, but the Trojans used a zone defense for the majority of the second half, and stormed back from an eight point deficit at the half to pull of the upset, one of the biggest of the first round.
Michigan (7) def. Oklahoma St. (10), 92-91
What a showdown! Michigan came into the tournament hot after winning the Big Ten! But, the Michigan defense was having trouble guarding superstar Jawun Evans. After getting behind early, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman put up 9 quick points and giving Michigan a 41-40 lead at the half. In the game, Michigan hit 16 threes and Derrick Walton Jr. had 26 points, and 11 assists (a double-double!). Michigan played amazing and barely came out of this game on top.
Michigan (7) def. Louisville (2), 73-69
The Championship Showdown from 2013 all over! The seed 7 Wolverines came in on a roll after beating Oklahoma St. by 1 and winning the Big Ten! After a slow start in the first half, the Wolverines pulled through to take the lead towards the end of the game and never give it up. The sophomores Moritz Wagner and DJ Wilson put up 43 points together. Wagner had 26 and Wilson had 17.
Baylor (3) def. USC (11), 82-78
What a close game! Jonathon Motley put up 19 points with a double-double to lead Baylor to victory! King McClure added on another 17 points and Terry Maston had 19! USC took a quick lead in the second half but did not hold onto it for long. Baylor barely pulled through to the Sweet Sixteen after an epic showdown!
South Carolina (7) def. Duke (2), 88-81
The Blue Devils have lost! The favorite for many brackets, Duke, lost to South Carolina on Sunday Night. After winning the ACC, nothing seemed to be able to stop Duke. But, the way they played Sunday proved otherwise. Duke committed 18 turnovers! and their star player, Jayson Tatum fouled out, two other starters (Luke Kennard, Matt Jones) also fouled out. After being down by 7 at the half. After halftime, the Gamecocks turned the game around and scored 65 points in the second half. Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points, and Chris Silva had a double-double.
Wisconsin (8) def. Villanova (1), 65-62
What an upset! Villanova, the defending champions and the top overall seed in the tournament seemed almost invincible with senior guard Josh Hart, forward Kris Jenkins, and a strong supporting cast. Nevertheless, the Badgers figured them out! The Badgers led a well balanced attack with four of five starters scoring in double figures, with Nigel Hayes leading the way, scoring 19 points, two of which were scored on the game clinching bucket, a sweet reverse layup with a defender right on him. Villanova played okay, but certainly nowhere near their best basketball, and Wisconsin capitalized on a team where the guards Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Donte DiVincenzo were the only ones who got things going in terms of scoring.
Kentucky (2) def. Wichita St. (10), 65-62
The Wildcats got it done in the clutch! Kentucky's freshman heavy team were able to pull through and get to the Sweet Sixteen under Coach Cal. De'Aaron Fox, coming of an ankle injury, and Malik Monk led the way for Kentucky with 14 points apiece, with Bam Adebayo tallying a double-double, with 13 points and 10 boards. Landry Shamet (20 points) and company led a valiant effort for Wichita State, but couldn't hit a three at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.
Oregon (3) def. Rhode Island (11), 75-72
The seed 3 Oregon Ducks knocked out Rhode Island in one of the tightest matchups in the tournament. Sophomore Guard Tyler Dorsey lead the Ducks to victory with 27 points. Oregon trailed by 8 at the half but tied up the game and took the lead 40 seconds left!
Middle School Contest
The Middle School Contest has gotten off to a great start, with lots of tight competition. Emersyn H. is in the lead but there is a very close race behind her. Here are the current standings (we will typically report top ten but due to ties, here are the top eleven):
1. Emersyn H. (A6), 53
2. Owen J. (H7), 52
3. Nate R. (H6), 51
3. Dylan K. (A7), 51
3. Josh V. (H7), 51
6. Neve C. (A7), 50
6. Leo R. (H8), 50
8. Kate C. (A7), 49
8. Clayton B. (H7), 49
8. Kyle M. (H7), 49
8. Davis H. (H7), 49
Good job to all who are participating in the contest!