We’re on to Round 2 of the NCAA tournament. Find Saturday’s coverage of the tournament’s scores, schedules, highlights and best moments here.
Saturday marks Day 3 of the NCAA tournament.
Friday saw a few upsets:
• No. 12 seed Liberty surprised No. 5 seed Mississippi State, 80-76, for its first tournament win in school history.
• No. 11 seed Ohio State topped No. 6 seed Iowa State, 62-59, behind 21 points from Kaleb Wesson.
• No. 12 seed Oregon beat No. 5 seed Wisconsin, 72-54.
• No. 13 seed UC Irvine upended No. 4 seed Kansas State, 70-64, in the tournament’s biggest upset to date.
Here’s everything you need to know to get you up to speed for even more basketball.
Liberty’s flame won’t go out
Liberty captured its first NCAA tournament win in school history with a shocking comeback against Mississippi State. Down 10 with 7 minutes to play, the Flames eventually pulled to within one before Lovell Cabbil Jr. drilled a three-pointer with less than two minutes left to take the lead.
The Bulldogs couldn’t answer, frittering away the next two crucial possession with bad missed shots, while Liberty made free throws. Guard Caleb Homesley had a game-high 30 points. Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon countered with 27 points.
The Flames are the third No. 12 seed to knock off a No. 5 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament. They will face Virginia Tech in the second round.
Ohio State survives Iowa State, 62-59
The Buckeyes withstood a pitched battle down the stretch to unseat Iowa State. Ohio State led nearly wire-to-wire behind the dominant play of postman Kaleb Wesson, who scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. But behind the sharp shooting of Virginia transfer Marial Shayok and his game-high 23 points, the Cyclones clawed back to a one-point lead with 3:40 to play.
But Ohio State scored the next five points and never gave back the lead. Down three with time winding down, Nick Weiler-Babb had an open three-point look for Iowa State to tie the game, but his shot clanked off the rim wide as he tried to draw a foul on his follow-through.
The Ducks keep quacking
The Ducks and Badgers were tied at the half before Oregon exploded for 47 points in the second half to shock Wisconsin and hand the Big Ten its first tournament loss, 72-54. Payton Pritchard led Oregon with 19 points. Louis King added 17 more.
Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and sat out great stretches of the second half in foul trouble.
The Ducks have won nine straight games, including four in four days in the Pac-12 tournament, for a streak that dates back to a Feb. 28 win against Arizona State.
Meet UC Irvine, the best team in California
UC Irvine pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament thus far and earned the first tournament win in program history by knocking off Kansas State in San Jose. Guards Max Hazzard and Evan Leonard led the Anteaters with 19 points apiece, while Kamau Stokes had 18 points for the Wildcats.
UC Irvine’s roster is packed with NBA bloodlines, including the sons of Doc Rivers and Caron Butler. The Anteaters have won 17 consecutive games and improved to 10-0 this season in games decided by six points or less.
Kansas State was playing without forward Dean Wade after a recurrence of a foot injury that sidelined the all-Big 12 first-team selection earlier this season. Wade, who averaged 12.9 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game, also missed last season’s NCAA tournament with a broken foot, though the Wildcats still advanced to the Elite Eight.
Kansas State led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but UC Irvine entered the break on a 12-2 run, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Hazzard that tied the game. The Wildcats missed their last 11 shots of the first half, going more than six minutes without a field goal.
Oh, hey, also: Meet Tacko Fall
The height of Central Florida’s 7-foot, 6-inch center Tacko Fall clearly made a difference in the Knights’ win. Fall had 13 points and 18 rebounds. His presence in the middle of UCF’s 2-3 zone befuddled Rams shooters and passers. VCU limped to 31 percent shooting and was out-rebounded, 42-34.
Behind Williamson, Duke throttles North Dakota State
The Blue Devils and Zion Williamson took over in the second half to blow past the Bison, 85-62. Duke opened up a double-digit lead, and Williamson exploded for some highlight-worthy plays.
R.J. Barrett led all scorers with 26 points and 14 rebounds. Williamson finished with 25 points.
The Bison kept things close through the first half, but the Blue Devils used a 7-0 run late to take a 31-27 lead into the break. North Dakota State’s Vinnie Shahid, who entered the game averaging 12.9 points, had 15 points at the half and finished with 20.
Williamson, wearing custom fighter jet-themed shoes, had 10 points in the first half.
No upset here. The Hokies led wire-to-wire against a Saint Louis team that likely would not have made the field of 68 if not for a gritty four-game run to the A-10 conference tournament title. Virginia Tech’s length and athleticism caused the Billikens offensive fits. They shot 36.5 percent from the field, including 17.4 percent from three-point range. Nickeil Alexander-Walker led all scorers with 20 points for the Hokies, who will face in-state foe Liberty in the round of 32.
Somehow, Iona led North Carolina by five at the half, thanks to some cold Tar Heel shooting. That didn’t carry into the second half. North Carolina scored 55 points in the second half. Four Tar Heel starters scored in double figures and Nassir Little added 19 points off the bench.
Rickey McGill led all scorers with 26 points for Iona.
This one was never in doubt. Four Cougars scored in double digits, including a game-high 26 points from senior guard Corey Davis Jr., who was 7 of 17 from three-point range. Houston held the Panthers to 30 percent shooting. It will face the winner of No. 6 seed Iowa State and No. 11 seed Ohio State.
For all the grief bracket analysts gave the Pac-12 during the regular season, the conference is looking pretty good midway through the NCAA tournament’s first weekend. Washington handled Utah State, 78-61, on Friday. Oregon knocked off Wisconsin earlier Friday, and Arizona State beat St. John’s in the First Four before falling to No. 6 seed Buffalo on Friday.
Buffalo trailed early, but took a 13-point lead into halftime and the Sun Devils never threatened again. Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins led the Bulls with 21 points apiece, while Zylan Cheatham scored a game-high 22 points in defeat.
Arizona State, which beat St. John’s for its first NCAA tournament win in a decade on Wednesday, struggled to find its touch from outside against the Bulls. The Sun Devils were 0 for 9 from three-point range in the first half and 3 for 22 in the game.
Buffalo advances to play No. 3 seed Texas Tech.
After a dreadful start against the Big South champions, Virginia looked the part of a No. 1 seed in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 41-20 to avoid a second consecutive improbable loss to a No. 16 seed.
The Cavaliers committed six turnovers in the game’s first 10 minutes, including five on consecutive possessions, and trailed 30-16 with 6:43 remaining in the first half. The 14-point deficit tied Virginia’s largest of the season. The Cavaliers came into the contest averaging 9.1 turnovers per game, second-fewest in the nation.
Virginia pulled to within 36-30 at the half and took its first lead with 16:16 remaining after a hustle rebound by Kihei Clark led to a De’Andre Hunter dunk and three-point play. The Cavaliers increased their advantage to double digits midway through the second half. Hunter finished with a game-high 23 points.
Before the game, The Post’s Neil Greenberg put Gardner-Webb’s chance at an upset at 0.5 percent.
Tennessee got all it could handle from the Patriot League champions, but Admiral Schofield and the Volunteers ultimately denied Colgate’s upset bid. Tennessee led by 12 points at the half and appeared poised to cruise to a comfortable win, but Colgate went on a 19-4 run to take its first lead of the game with 12 minutes remaining. The Raiders trailed 67-64 with two minutes to play before Schofield, who led the Volunteers with 19 points, drained consecutive three-pointers to ice the game.
Colgate guard Jordan Burns scored a game-high 32 points in defeat, including eight three-pointers. Forward Rapolas Ivanauskas, who averaged a team-high 16.4 points this season, was held scoreless. Ivanauskas missed all four of his field goals in the first half before exiting the game with a contact lens issue. He did not return.
Texas Tech only led 30-26 at halftime, but opened up a 15-point lead nine minutes into the second half and never looked back. Jarrett Culver paced the Red Raiders with a game-high 29 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while the nation’s stingiest defense limited the Norse to 37 percent shooting.
Entering Friday’s NCAA tournament opener against Iowa, Cincinnati had won 23 straight games that it led at halftime, its most recent loss coming when it surrendered a 12-point halftime lead against Nevada in last year’s NCAA tournament.
The Bearcats picked the worst possible time for a repeat, as the Hawkeyes used a barrage of three-pointers to erase a five-point halftime deficit to take a 79-72 victory in Columbus. It was Iowa’s first NCAA tournament victory in three years. Iowa will play either Tennessee or Colgate in the second round on Sunday.
Luka Garza paced Iowa with 20 points. Justin Jenifer had 21 for Cincinnati.
With the score tied at 62 with just more than four minutes left, Iowa scored eight of the game’s next 10 points to assume control. The Hawkeyes made 7 of 10 three-point attempts over the final 20 minutes.
Cincinnati jumped out to leads of 18-5 and 32-21 in the first half, only to see Iowa chip away both times. At halftime, the Bearcats’ lead was five, 36-31.
The Rebels’ first NCAA tournament appearance in four years didn’t exactly go as planned: The Sooners jumped out to leads of 12-0 and 19-9 after making eight of their first nine shots en route to a blowout win.
Christian James and Rashard Odomes led four Oklahoma starters in double figures with 20 points apiece, while Terence Davis paced the Rebels with 17 points. Oklahoma, which advances to play No. 1 seed Virginia, shot 58 percent from the field. The Sooners’ 95 points were their most in an NCAA tournament game since 1989.
Izzo gets after one of his players
One of the more notable images from Thursday’s tournament openers was the sight of Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo yelling at Spartans freshman Aaron Henry to the point where he had to be restrained by guard Cassius Winston. And while the sight of Izzo getting heated on the sideline during a game hardly is unusual, the degree to which he tore into Henry certainly seemed to be. Izzo insisted he simply was being a coach.
“What’s wrong with challenging a kid that makes some mistakes?” he said after Michigan State outlasted Bradley, 76-65, per ESPN. “Aaron Henry — trust me — did some things that you can’t do as a starter on a top 5 team at the end of your freshman year. They were effort-related.
“I did get after him. He did respond. He did make a couple of big buckets. He did make some big free throws but that’s not good enough. It’s one-and-done time. The ‘my-bads’ are out the window.”
Said Henry: “I’ve heard worse from him. I’ve got it worse in practice before.”
- No. 9 Washington 78, No. 8 Utah St 61
- No. 1 Duke 85, No. 16 North Dakota St. 62
- No. 3 Houston 84, No. 14 Georgia St. 55
- No. 12 Liberty 80, No. 5 Mississippi St. 76
- No. 1 North Carolina 88, No. 16 Iona 73
- No. 9 UCF 73, No. 8 VCU 58
- No. 11 Ohio St. 62, No. 6 Iowa St. 59
- No. 4 Virginia Tech 66, No. 13 Saint Louis 52
- No. 10 Iowa 79, No. 7 Cincinnati 72
- No. 9 Oklahoma 95, No. 8 Mississippi 72
- No. 3 Texas Tech 72, No. 14 Northern Kentucky 57
- No. 13 UC Irvine 70, Kansas St. 64
- No. 2 Tennessee 77, No. 15 Colgate 70
- No 1 Virginia 71, No. 16 Gardner-Webb 56
- No. 6 Buffalo 91, No. 11 Arizona State 74
- No. 12 Oregon 72, No. 5 Wisconsin 54
Tournament news and notes
With all-time assists leader Justin Robinson back on the court, Virginia Tech will attempt to win its first NCAA tournament game since 2007. The Hokies already have the highest NCAA tournament seed in program history. (Read more)
Maryland’s tournament is about Maryland’s coach, and the support he either has or doesn’t have in College Park and beyond. The Post’s Barry Svrluga writes that Thursday’s narrow win over Belmont means the pitchforks won’t be at Mark Turgeon’s gate on Friday. (Read more)
Iowa’s coach isn’t like the other coaches in Columbus, for a lot of reasons. Iowa is the fourth school he has taken to the tournament after Lehigh, UNC Greensboro and Siena. He was a head coach at 26. Now approaching 60, he is looked to as one of the leaders in the college coaching community, writes John Feinstein. But it is his temper, especially this season, that often has brought McCaffery unwanted attention. (Read more)
As the annual Sad Locker Room Month in America began again in earnest Thursday, the first sad locker room of the final 64 of the NCAA tournament turned out to be Louisville’s. If the truest fabric of March is its tears, its recurring finality as team after team completes months of collaboration and locker room after locker room goes hushed, Louisville provided a modest example. (Read more)
A North Carolina-Duke tournament matchup? Three No. 1 seeds ousted before the Sweet 16? A team lower than a No. 11 seed in the Final Four? Here are the odds. (Read more)