Six Pack of Major Upsets on Friday
Control Top, song “Chain Reaction”
Performed at SXSW, single on streamable sites such as Spotify and Apple Music
Six number one seeds lose, while a few other schools came close, and Purdue is tripped up in Chicago
Among the 44 games on Friday, a half dozen really stuck out the most:
First off during the afternoon in Brooklyn at the ACC Tournament, the day started out with Jeff Dowtin scoring 22 points as the 8 seed out of Rhode Island knocked out the top seed of VCU 75-70. Next up for the Rams is the 4 seed of the Bonnies from St. Bonaventure in a semifinal on Saturday.
In Nashville at the SEC Tournament, Andrew Nembrand hit a straight on three with exactly one second left to upset the top seed LSU 76-73. The Gators rallied from 13 points down in the second half to keep their season alive. Most bracketologists have them safely in the field, and I agree. They should be in the field of 68. They will next play 5 seed Auburn at 1 p.m. Saturday, who upended the 4 seed of South Carolina 73-64 behind Jared Harper scoring 19 of 27 points in the second half. He was tied for high scoring honors with Chris Silva of the Gamecocks.
At the Southland in Katy, Texas–Jorge Rosa had 18 while Troy Green chipped in with 14 points as New Orleans toppled the top seed Sam Houston State 79-76. UNO held Sam Houston State to 23 of 60 shooting (38.3) while they shot 27 of 51 (52.9 percent). Even more remarkable was that Sam Houston State was perfect in 22 attempts at the charity stripe. Next up will be the 2 seed of Abilene Christian, who held off the 3 seed from Southeast Louisiana 69-66. Jaren Lewis compiled a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds with Abiline Christian moving to 26-6 on the season.
At the Big 12 in Kansas City, Iowa State rode on the hot shooting of Marial Shayok in the closing seconds. First, he rattled in a game tying trey with 53 seconds to go. After Nick Weiler-Babb hit a pair of freebies with 17 seconds left, Xavier Sneed of the Wildcats was fouled outside the three point line by Michael Jacobson. Sneed all three attempts from the charity stripe to pull Kansas State within two. But Shayok was the man of the hour, nailing down a pair of free throws for the winning margin of 73-69. The Cyclones held a huge advantage of rebounding, 39-26, and they will definitely need to clean up on the turnovers coughing up the ball 17 times if they want to beat the resurging Kansas Jayhawks. Even though Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk came into this tournament as a 3 seed, they seem to play their best ball when the chips are down. Bill Self always come with a game plan to let his shooters shoot the rock when they notice gaps in the defense, so Iowa State better be careful in the Big 12 title game and the automatic bid on the line.
At the ACC Tournament in Charlotte, the 4 seed of Florida State dictated the tempo and never looked back. A 13-1 run midway through the second half punctuated by a graduate transfer from Albany in Chicago native David Nichols, he scored 14 huge points off the bench as the nightmares continue for Virginia losing their third straight postseason game in Charlotte 69-59. Besides the Cavaliers losing to the 16 seed in Maryland Baltimore County in 2018, they also lost a second round game as a 2 seed in 2015 when Tom Izzo made his March magic as a 7 seed that year.
Next up for the Seminoles will be Duke, who won a great back-and-forth game with their in-state rival North Carolina. The difference again was Zion Williamson. Instead of dunking the ball in the final seconds, he did the smart thing and tipped in his own miss with 26 seconds left to give Duke a 74-73 lead. Even though RJ Barrett missed a pair of freebies with 12 seconds remaining, the Tar Heels still had a pair of shots to win. Coby White had a jumper go in and out. According to the North Carolina Learfield/IMG College Sports radio network, White briefly slipped as he was trying to set himself to make the shot. A split second later, Nassir Little immediately grabbed the rebound, but his tip-in was missed. Duke can now play for a potential Number 1 seed on Saturday night, but Virginia will still have the overall number 1 seed for the second straight year.
The final top seed to go down on Friday was in the Mountain West, as Nevada was stunned by San Diego State by a score of 65-56. Even though the Wolfpack stormed back from a double digit deficit for the second straight game, they ran out of gas in the last seven minutes. Without key starter Jordan Caroline out due to an injury, the Aztecs took full advantage led by Devin Watson’s 20 points to go along with 5 assists. Jalen McDaniels was also a factor in this upset compiling a double-double in scoring 12 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Nevada awaits its’ tournament fate come Sunday, as their 29-4 record should merit at least a 3 or maybe a 4 seed depending on the results of the remaining games this weekend.
With other high seeded schools escaping by small margins from the likes of Michigan State 77-70 over Ohio State in Chicago, Old Dominion 61-59 over UAB in Frisco, Texas; Buffalo upending 85-81 over Central Michigan in Cleveland, Villanova surviving Xavier 71-67 in overtime at New York, and Washington winning over Colorado 66-61 in Las Vegas–there was another key upset of note in Chicago.
Minnesota as a 7 seed surprised the co-Big Ten champions and the second seed from Purdue 75-73, as senior forward Jordan Murphy had a game high 27 points on 10 of 19 shooting in 38 minutes. Also coming up huge for the Golden Gophers was junior guard Amir Coffey chipping in with a hard earned 21 points in playing all 40 points.
The Boilermakers simply could not find the basket, missing plenty of open jumpers and converting on only 6 shots from deep out of 24 attempts. Carsen Edwards, the Big Ten’s leading scorer was held to 11 points on 4 of 17 shooting, and only 1 of 8 from long distance.
Twelve Automatic Bids Will Be Decided on Saturday
The fun starts at 11 a.m. Eastern, as UMBC tries to make it back to the Big Dance at top seed Vermont on ESPN2. The remaining title games will be at night, starting with the 2 seed of Utah State hoping to get in against the 4 seed of San Diego State in the back end of the CBS tripleheader at 6 p.m. Eastern. The Big Ten semifinals will air starting at 1 p.m. from the Mansion on Madison, the United Center in Chicago as four northern teams will compete for the title: Michigan State/Wisconsin in game one, and Minnesota/Michigan in game two.
The other title games to watch will be on ESPNU beginning at 8 p.m. in the Big Sky as the 3 seed of Eastern Washington goes up against the top seed of Montana in Boise, Idaho. Two hours later, Grand Canyon will be looking to make the Big Dance for the first time in their young school history as they go up against the perennially tough squad from New Mexico State for the WAC title in Las Vegas. Finally, the last bid will be late at night in the East/9 p.m. in the West as the 3 seed of Cal State Fullerton plays the top seed of UC Irvine. That game will be on ESPN2 and can also be heard on Westwood One via the TuneIn app.
If there any upsets, I will again be mentioning about the key upsets which could shake up the brackets one last time. A long Friday for me indeed, so I hope everyone gets plenty of rest. See you with this being the last wall-to-wall crazy Saturday in college basketball until November.