The talk after Selection Sunday centered on the selection committee favoring the Big Ten Conference, particularly near the bubble line, sending nine teams to the NCAA Tournament.
So far, the Big Ten has had a mixed showing, with Purdue and Ohio State’s convincing first-round wins on Friday the latest of the conference’s successes. No. 11 seed Michigan upset Colorado State to advance Thursday, while Iowa (upset by Richmond), Indiana (lost to Saint Mary’s) and Rutgers (lost in play-in to Notre Dame) weren’t so fortunate.
That makes the Big Ten 4-3. How will Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan State hold up?
Following a scintillating first day Thursday – that saw three overtime games and four double-digit seeds pulling off upsets – here’s a look at the winners and losers from Friday’s first-round action.
The No. 3-seeded Boilermakers (28-7) put Yale away early and didn’t look back for a 78-56 win in which All-American Jaden Ivey scored 22 points. Coach Matt Painter has been on the wrong side of a bracket-buster, with Purdue getting upset by North Texas as a No. 4 seed last year. This team wasn’t having any Cinderella stories and looked like a team with Final Four potential, advancing to the second round in the East Region.
The No. 3-seeded Red Raiders (26-9) hammered Montana State 97-62 to advance to the second round in the West Region. This TTU squad looks poised to go on a deep run, sporting six players in double-figures for this easy victory that saw the Red Raiders shoot 12-for-20 (60%) from beyond the arc.
The No. 2-seeded Tigers (28-5) watched their SEC counterpart Kentucky lose to a No. 15 seed Thursday, but made sure to pull away from Jacksonville State late in the first half. Jabari Smith’s 20 points and 14 rebounds (including this tenacious dunk) helped lift the Tigers to an 80-61 victory and a spot in the second round of the Midwest Region.
The Ramblers (25-8) were absolutely dreadfully offensively in a 54-41 loss to an Ohio State team that finally got healthy. Credit that to the Buckeyes’ defense or perhaps a 1-for-10 shooting line from Loyola star Lucas Williamson, an original member from the Ramblers’ memorable Final Four team in 2018. He also managed just 1-for-6 from the free- throw line and OSU forced Loyola into 14 turnovers. Not an impressive debut for first-year coach Drew Valentine in the post-Porter Moser era.
The No. 7-seeded Trojans (24-10) fought back from a 31-20 halftime deficit to make it a seesaw battle throughout the second half before falling 68-66 to No. 10 seed Miami (Fla.), bowing out in the Midwest Region. The culprit in this game for coach Andy Enfield’s group was turnovers, with USC giving the ball away 18 times as compared to just three turnovers for the Hurricanes.
The No. 15-seeded Blue Hens (22-13) were no match for a seasoned Villanova team that hit another gear in the second half. Delaware would’ve had a shot at competing or staging an upset if it shot the ball well. Instead the Hens managed 3-for-20 from three-point range (15%). Defensively, coach Martin Ingelsby’s group couldn’t stay in front of ‘Nova’s guards, especially Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore, in the 80-60 loss.
Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism