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NCAA Tournament 2015: Best and misfortune of all of Saturday’s madness

The NCAA Tournament’s initial Saturday featured a No. 1 seed tasting improved for a initial time, Kentucky remaining ideal notwithstanding receiving a small bit of a test, and a finish of a highway for a dual No. 14 seeds that helped make Thursday so fun.

But there was some-more — like, so many more. You substantially need a finish recap.

So here it is:


1. (3) Notre Dame 67, (6) Butler 64 (OT) (Midwest)

For a initial time in 12 years, a Notre Dame Fighting Irish are headed to a Sweet 16. Although it positively didn’t come easily.

After branch a six-point second half necessity into a 3 indicate lead, a Irish unsuccessful to measure a indicate in a final 3:17 of regulation. They never trailed in a additional 5 mins however, as back-to-back three-pointers from Pat Connaughton and Steve Vasturia spurred them to a 67-62 victory.

Despite watchful until overtime to make his initial and usually margin idea of a game, Connaughton felt like a favourite for Notre Dame after swatting divided Kellen Dunham’s intensity game-winning shot in a shutting seconds of regulation. The comparison ensure also successfully calmed down his teammates after a dear double leap by Zach Auguste had given a Bulldogs a final shot to win before overtime.

Despite personification with an harmed left knee, Roosevelt Jones poured in 23 points for Butler, yet eventually it wasn’t adequate to keep Notre Dame from relocating on to face possibly Kansas or Wichita State in a Midwest Regional semifinals subsequent Thursday in Cleveland.

The feat capped a remarkably romantic day for Fighting Irish conduct manager Mike Brey, something we’ll plead some-more in a bit.

2. (8) NC State 71, (1) Villanova 68 (East)

Things usually got genuine in a East, that became a tournament’s initial segment to remove a No. 1 seed following NC State’s 71-68 takedown of Villanova on Saturday night.

There was never any indicate during this diversion where it felt like a normal tip seed descending in a opening weekend event, given there was never any time where it didn’t seem as yet NC State was a higher team. A lot of times in these upsets, a outcome is a product of an dusk or an afternoon where positively all goes wrong for a favorite. While Villanova positively didn’t play a best diversion of a season, it also usually didn’t demeanour to be as good as a Wolfpack group that simply dominated a diversion around a rim.

Jay Wright and association contingency now answer for their third opening weekend exit as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in a final 5 years. The Wildcats, who were bounced by contingent inhabitant champion Connecticut in a Round of 32 a year ago, haven’t been to a Sweet 16 given creation it to a Final Four in 2009.

3. (1) Kentucky 64, (8) Cincinnati 51 (Midwest)

It feels wrong including a 13-point diversion on this list, yet there wasn’t another apparent choice for a final mark here, and Kentucky being concerned in an opening weekend competition that wasn’t totally put divided by halftime is during slightest arrange of significant.

After trailing by 3 with 3:43 to go in a initial half, Kentucky went into a locker room on a 10-0 run. Still, a Bearcats didn’t whither, and scored a initial 4 points after a mangle to lift to within 31-28. They would never get any closer, yet they would also do adequate to stay within distinguished widen until a Wildcats finally stretched a lead to double digits with around 8 mins to play.

Cincinnati’s diversion devise was simple: be unequivocally earthy with Kentucky inside and wish their guards have an off-shooting game. They executed a initial partial of that devise about as good as they could, winning a conflict of a boards, 45-38, and afterwards watched a Cats misfire on 11 of their 15 three-point attempts and fire usually 37.0 percent from a margin for a game. They still mislaid by 13.

The problem for Cincinnati on Saturday was that they didn’t have scarcely a descent firepower to take advantage of Kentucky’s sharpened woes or skip of prevalence on a glass. The problem for a rest of a margin is that a Wildats competence not give a opening that leaves them this exposed again.


1. Utah

Quietly, Larry Krystowiak’s group has put together one of a tournament’s many considerable opening weekend performances. On Thursday, a Utes took caring of smart 12/5 dissapoint collect Stephen F. Austin in a diversion they scarcely led from start to finish. They followed that bid adult on Saturday by digging themselves out of an 11-point hole to eventually win by 11 over a better-seeded Hoyas from Georgetown.

It will be a initial Sweet 16 coming given 2005 for Utah, that is in a contest for a initial time during all given 2009.

2. Arizona

The Wildcats are onto a tournament’s second weekend for a third true year interjection in vast partial to a span of stellar performances from a lead guards. Gabe York buried 5 three-pointers and finished with 19 points, while T.J. McConnell had 19 points of his possess to go along with 6 assists, 6 rebounds and 5 steals.

Where Arizona’s guards unequivocally got things finished was on a other finish of a floor, where they undone Ohio State star D’Angelo Russell into a 3 -for-19 sharpened night, and hold a high-scoring Buckeyes to usually 58 points, scarcely 18 fewer than their average.

Next adult for Arizona is a voluptuous Sweet 16 matchup with Xavier, a module where conduct manager Sean Miller was a front male from 2004-2009.

3. North Carolina

Marcus Paige looked like a actor preseason prognosticators suspicion he would be for a entirety of a 2014-15 season, scoring a team-high 22 points as Carolina knocked off Arkansas to allege to a Sweet 16 for a initial time in 3 years.

Paige did a bulk of his repairs after halftime, scoring 20 points and creation Tar Heel fans forget all about his 1-for-8 sharpened in a game’s opening 20 minutes. Paige was also instrumental in traffic with Arkansas’ streamer pressure, that forced usually 6 UNC turnovers and consistently authorised a Tar Heels to measure easy quick mangle baskets.

The considerable Carolina feat was also poignant for giving manager Roy Williams his 32nd NCAA Tournament feat with a Tar Heels, restraining him with a late Dean Smith for a many in module history.


1. Villanova

There’s not many to be pronounced here that wasn’t already pronounced earlier. You hatred to see an whole 4 months of implausible work thrown out a window interjection to a singular 40-minute bid in March, yet that’s a palm any group in a nation is dealt, and it’s a conditions everybody compared with Villanova basketball knew they were traffic with streamer into this tournament.

A lot of people compared this Wildcat group to a 2013-14 patrol after an embarrassingly biased detriment to Georgetown behind in January. Here’s what we wrote about a scary similarities during a time.

The Wildcats have another tighten detriment to Seton Hall on their resume, one unequivocally considerable non-conference feat (a 24-point trouncing of VCU), and were down outrageous to a struggling Syracuse group before pulling off an implausible comeback. And then, of course, there’s Monday night. Jay Wright’s group was illuminated adult from start to finish, trailing by as many as 26 before eventually circuitous adult on a wrong finish of a many unilateral final measure in a Big East so distant this season. That’s not a good fact to be attributed to a league’s group that was ostensible to be in a category of a own.

Villanova’s record was unfit to ridicule final season, yet 4 of those 29 wins were overtime games that could have usually as simply been losses. Does that meant they were overrated? Maybe. Does it meant they were a group installed with winners that usually had a set-back of using adult opposite a patrol that was improved than everybody over a march of a season’s final 3 weeks? Maybe.

Here’s a thing: just about everybody loses in January, and mostly times it isn’t pretty. Villanova’s 2008-09 group mislaid 3 out of 5 during one widen in January, and also took a 21-point beatdown during a hands of West Virginia in mid-February. That patrol finished a deteriorate in a Final Four, and never had to understanding with any arrange of overrated speak given a discussion was in a routine of producing 3 No. 1 seeds. The college basketball account isn’t always consistent.

The law is that a scary similarities between this year’s Villanova group and final year’s substantially don’t meant too much, yet they’re going to be too apparent and luscious for a college hoops universe to ignore. When story repeats itself on a court, it’s always going to repeat itself in a media, that means Nova Nation is going to have to do a lot of adhering adult for itself over a march of a subsequent dual months. That’s all good and good, yet a existence is a usually thing that’s going to change a notice of a Wildcats in a eyes of some is a successful run in a large dance.

Consider that notice unchanged.

2. Georgetown

Despite carrying an normal seed of 3.3, Georgetown has now unsuccessful to make a tournament’s second weekend in any of a final 6 trips to a large dance. The Hoyas have also been separated in a NCAA or Big East tournament by a worse-seed in any of a final 8 seasons.

Neither of those things are good.

3. UAB/Georgia State

We’re not unhappy in possibly of their performances, were usually unhappy that we don’t get to watch them anymore — and that we still have to watch UCLA.


Tony Parker, UCLA

Parker dominated a small Blazers in a paint, finishing with a game-high 28 points to go with 12 rebounds. He afterwards followed that adult with maybe the most noted postgame talk moment of a contest so far.

Michael Qualls, Arkansas

The Arkansas star scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a loss.

Marcus Paige, North Carolina

Paige had a good understanding to do with that losing bid from Qualls, as he scored 20 of his team-high 22 points in a second half of a UNC victory.

Darrun Hilliard, Villanova

Hilliard did all he could to keep a Wildcats from being a initial No. 1 seed to crawl out of a tournament, scoring a game-high 27 points and conflict 3 late three-pointers to give Nova a possibility to take a victory.

Roosevelt Jones, Butler

The Butler large male with one of a some-more engaging ability sets in college basketball did all he could to get a Bulldogs to a Sweet 16, scoring 23 points, grabbing 5 boards, dishing out 3 assists and notching a span of steals.


1. The Kentucky fan dance contest

The group is undefeated. The fan bottom is not.

2. The skip of mixed games to start a day

I get that there’s a process to a stupidity of a day 3 radio setup (which has back-to-back singular games on from 12:30-5:30 ET before flooding viewers with 6 games during night), yet a risk fundamental in a setup was on full arrangement Saturday. For a initial 4 hours or so of a day, viewers had no other choice yet to watch UCLA and UAB play, hopefully, a lowest altogether peculiarity diversion we’ll see in a turn of 32, and afterwards Kentucky and Cincinnati rivet in a stone quarrel whose ultimate destiny was always simply apparent. That’s a flattering impassioned transition to make when you’ve gotten accustomed to carrying no reduction than 3 games on concurrently during all hours of a day.

3. Sad Ron Hunter

Because happy Ron Hunter was so, so many some-more fun and didn’t make us cry right along with him.


1. Mike Brey

Saturday was ostensible to be special for Mike Brey, shedding a opening weekend onslaught gorilla (that’s a thing) from his behind and heading Notre Dame into a Sweet 16 for a initial time in 2003. Instead, we found out after a diversion that a feat was even some-more special for Brey than we could have ever illusory while it was holding place.

Minutes after a Fighting Irish had wrapped adult an already romantic overtime feat over Butler, Brey announced during his postgame press discussion that his mother, Betty, had died that morning of a heart conflict during a age of 84.

Brey could have had a whole spotlight to himself Saturday night, and he could have used a news to fuel his players. Instead, he chose to keep a news to himself, permitting jaunty director Jack Swarbrick to broach a news to a players after a game. Brey pronounced he designed to residence a group himself on Sunday.

Even in a postgame press conference, Brey kept his emotions in check. He spoke of his mother’s rival suggestion — she was an Olympic swimmer who once held a universe record in a moth — and her enterprise to see him and his group succeed.

“It was kind of a reverence to her,” Brey pronounced of a victory. “It was unequivocally a special night. we consider she was unequivocally with us down a stretch.”

The strength it took to uncover no signs that anything was wrong wasn’t mislaid on his players.

“The strength he has to go by something like that though mentioning it or behaving like it, he hasn’t skipped a beat,” comparison Pat Connaughton said. “He’s been here for us large times, and we wish he knows that this group is with him.”

Pretty special.

2. Wisconsin basketball’s stenographer love

On Saturday, members of a Wisconsin basketball group were introduced to a ASAP Sports stenographer reserved to a West Region’s Omaha pod, and it blew their friggin’ minds.

Nigel Hayes wasn’t 100 percent assured though, and so he chose to start his Saturday presser like this:

Just wonderful.

3. D’Angelo Russell

He competence have shot usually 3-for-19 in what will positively be his final college game, yet this is since we’re still all going to skip D’Angelo Russell so, so much.


1. Willie Cauley-Stein

I consider it’s protected to call this a asperse of a contest so far.

Unless we disagree, in that box we determine with you, given you’re overwhelming and we usually don’t feel like arguing right now.


1. Mark Gottfried and Cat Barber

Dancing on.

Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

2. Villanova flute/piccolo lady and Joe Biden

We had to include at slightest one of a photoshops.

3. Coreontae DeBerry finally total out how to kick a Kentucky defense

Don’t tell me ’cause it hurts.

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images


1. “I’m looking down during his hair like, ‘This dude unequivocally jumped. What is this man doing?’ It competence be worse than ol’ dude’s from Florida. we don’t consider they put a child behind in a game. It was nasty.” — Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein articulate about his asperse on Cincinnati’s Quadri Moore

2. “I usually told a guys in a locker room: `Man, if you’re crying, it’s tears of joy. Because we usually incited a enlightenment during Georgia State.'” — Georgia State ensure R.J. Hunter

3. “I know we have to answer to a fact that we did not get to a second weekend again. We have to possess that. But it’s not going to conclude us within a program. It’s going to conclude us outward of a program, and we accept that.” — Villanova manager Jay Wright


Almost there. Finish strong, bro.


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