Xavier, Pittsburgh kicks off the action
When Sunday’s NCAA tournament closes, the men’s Sweet 16 will be decided while the women will have half of the Sweet 16 field decided.
Already two No. 1 seeds have been knocked out on the men’s side, highlighted by No. 1 Purdue’s stunning loss to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson. Now, FDU aims to do what no 16 seed has ever done: Reach the Sweet 16.
The Knights will try to get there on Sunday (7:45 p.m. ET, truTV) against Florida Atlantic, a powerhouse mid-major who is 32-3 on the year following its dramatic win over Memphis. But first, #11 Pitt and #3 Xavier get the party started at 12:10 p.m. ET on CBS.
Women’s action begins with the defending champions as No. 1 South Carolina tries to go 34-0 against South Florida (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Iowa star Caitlin Clark then takes the national stage in the next game on ABC with her No. 2 Hawkeyes against No. 10 Georgia.
Think you have what it takes to beat your friends? Test your college basketball skills (or your luck) here with USA TODAY’s Survivor Pool. Also add our hooks page to your favorites!
Follow the madness: Latest NCAA Men’s College Basketball Tournament Results and Schedules
MEN’S TOURNAMENT: Complete scores and calendar
WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT: Complete scores and calendar
THE SATURDAY GAME: Find all the action of men and women
Xavier opens up a big half-time lead with attacking momentum
In their Round of 16 win over No. 6 Iowa State, No. 11 Pittsburgh allowed 41 points all game. In the 16th finals, it’s another story. No. 3 Xavier had scored 42 points at 5:01…of the first half. The Musketeers opened up a 48-34 halftime lead on a torrid 19-of-36 (52.8%) performance from the field.
Much of the difference was beyond the arc, where Xavier converted half of his 14 attempts. In particular, guard Adam Kunkel is on fire, going a perfect 5 of 5 from 3 points, with a team-high 15 points. Forward Jack Nunge is right behind him, collecting 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
The Panthers started hot but then cooled, being outplayed by a 27-16 margin to close out the half. Making matters even more concerning for Pittsburgh, goaltender Xavier Souley Boum, who led the Musketeers this season with 16.5 points per game, is yet to score a single point and is 0 of 6 from the field.
Sunday action in progress
The first game of the day, a men’s matchup between No. 11 Pittsburgh and No. 3 Xavier, kicked off just after noon on Sunday. And if the offensive pace to start is any indication of what’s to come the rest of the day, the score will be posted.
The Musketeers were the Big East’s top scoring team this season and parted ways with Pittsburgh midway through the first half, opening a 28-18 lead. Xavier went 14-3 and is shooting 57.1 percent from the field on 12 of 21 attempts. Guard Colby Jones and forward Jack Nunge each have eight points to lead the Musketeers.
Pittsburgh is shooting 7 of 16 from the field, at a 46.7% clip.
The game also offers some interesting nostalgia and familiarity as Xavier head coach Sean Miller served as the Panthers’ goaltender from 1987 to 1992, where he started 124 of the 128 games he played. .
This men’s tournament is really up for grabs
Throughout the season, it promised to be the most open NCAA men’s tournament in a generation. Blue bloods weren’t so blue. The top-ranked teams had obvious flaws. The combination of an extra COVID year for older players, an out-of-control transfer environment and a cohort of freshmen who were largely not ready for prime time meant that the the fortunes of the teams progressed from match to match, from week to week.
Now we’re almost done with the first weekend of March Madness, and there’s an important question to ask: who will win the national championship?
Maybe it would be better to say it another way. If you’re still alive Sunday night in this crazy tournament, go ahead and dare to dream. Even you, Princeton. It’s really up for grabs.
– Dan Wolken
Double trouble? Indiana and Miami will face off in men’s and women’s
No, you’re not seeing double.
Indiana and Miami will face off in the second round of the men’s and women’s tournaments. The men’s game takes place Sunday night in Albany, New York, while the women’s teams face off Monday in Bloomington, Indiana.
“It’s great. I mean, what a great situation,” said Miami women’s coach Katie Meier. “I know our athletic director was on a plane flying back and forth with someone from Indiana. also.”
The NCAA has no record of how many times the schools have faced each other in each of the tournaments, let alone in the same round. But let’s just say it doesn’t happen often. Meier had been asked about the double dive potential ahead of Saturday’s game, but she didn’t want to answer and jinx her. Good thing, because the Hurricanes fell behind by 17 before rallying to beat Oklahoma State.
Top-seeded Indiana rolled earlier in the day while men’s teams IU and Miami both secured their spots on Friday.
“We’re looking forward to playing Indiana,” Meier said, “and hopefully the ‘Canes win in two.”
– Nancy Armor
Princeton men and women win first-round matches in the same year and write Ivy history
It was a memorable tournament for the Ivy League even before Princeton’s men reached the second round.
This is the first year that Ivy teams have won first-round matches in both tournaments. A day after the Princeton men stunned Arizona, the 10th-seeded Princeton women upset NC State Friday night on a 3-pointer with seven seconds left.
“We were watching (the men) in the locker room just before training,” Julia Cunningham said on Friday night. “Watching them, all the media coverage they get, it was so deserved. We looked at each other and thought, we’re next, now it’s our turn.
“It’s special,” she added. “A special week to be a Tiger.”
– Nancy Armor
Sunday match standings
How many teams will you have in your Sweet 16? We’ll know who will qualify after Sunday’s eight-game slate featuring some of the highest seeds still standing after a wacky and unpredictable start to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
But we’ll all be paying close attention to the outlier, as No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson looks to capitalize on Friday night’s historic upset against No. 1 Purdue with a second-round match against No. 9 Florida Atlantic. .
Keep that in mind, though: Of the eight games played on Sunday, six feature the highest possible seeds – No. 6 against No. 3, No. 5 against No. 4 and No. 7 against No. 2.
Here is a list of Sunday’s games ranked by visibility:
1. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic (7:45 p.m. ET)
2. #5 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 4 Connecticut (6:10)
3. Number 6 Kentucky vs. Kansas State No. 3 (2:40)
4. #3 Baylor vs. Creighton No. 6 (7:10)
5. #3 Gonzaga vs. TCU #6 (9:40)
6. No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Marquette (5:15)
7. #5 Miami vs. Indiana No. 4 (8:40)
8. #3 Xavier vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (12:10)
Merrimack’s coach encourages Fairleigh Dickenson
With the surprise No. 1 seed Purdue, the Knights gave the Northeastern Conference its first victory in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tournament in four decades. But the Knights wouldn’t be here without Merrimack, who won the conference title but was ineligible due to a move to Division I – NCAA rules say a school must sit out four years after such a transition.
So Merrimack coach Joe Gallo and the rest of the team stayed home and watched Fairleigh Dickenson pick Purdue – and big man Zach Edey – apart. So is there jealousy among his enemies in the northeast?
“To quote my 6-year-old son, ‘Dad, we beat them, so we want them to win,'” Gallo told CBS Sports. “People have also been tough on our league all year, so I’m happy with the win.”
– Heather Tucker
UMBC finds a friend on Twitter
The UMBC Twitter account finally has a best friend. This is the Twitter account of the Farleigh Dickinson men’s basketball team. What do they have in common? They both thrive on creating absolute chaos and breaking brackets.
The UMBC Twitter account celebrated Fairleigh Dickinson’s victory over Purdue, which likely destroyed many NCAA men’s tournament brackets. The FDU Twitter account caught wind of it and declared their new found friendship together.
It was always going to be difficult for UMBC to find someone who understood him. After all, it’s not often you get a 16 seed upsetting a 1 seed. UMBC was the first men’s program to do so when it knocked out No. 1 Virginia in 2018. But if there to someone who understands this feeling, it’s FDU.
— Mike D. Sykes II, for the win
USA TODAY Sports Final Coaches Poll
Houston entered the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 1 in USA TODAY Sports’ coaches poll, despite losing in the American Athletic Conference championship game just before the unveiling of the brackets last Sunday.
The Cougars, who were without leading scorer Marcus Sasser in the loss to Memphis, retained 21 of 32 No. 1 votes to stave off second-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide received eight firsts after winning the SEC title in impressive fashion.
Houston handled Northern Kentucky in their first-round game and Auburn in their second-round game, while Alabama routed Texas A&M Corpus Christi in their tournament opener. The Crimson Tide knocked out No. 8 seed Maryland late Saturday.