The first eight bids for the Sweet 16 in the men’s NCAA Tournament will be locked up Saturday, while the women’s tournament finishes up the first round.
Furman and Princeton took the sports world by storm Thursday with upsets of No. 4 Virginia and No. 2 Arizona, respectively. Both are in action again. The 13-seeded Paladins started the men’s action with a loss against No. 5 San Diego State. The 15-seeded Tigers will face tigers of a different stripe in No. 7 Missouri at 6:10 p.m. ET (TNT).
On the women’s side, No. 1 seed Indiana was in action after top seeds South Carolina, Virginia Tech and Stanford took care of business on Friday. The Hoosiers kicked off Day 2 of the women’s first round with a 77-47 win against No. 16 seed Tennessee Tech, which beat Monmouth in a First Four game on Thursday.
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MEN’S TOURNAMENT: Complete scores and schedule
Follow the madness: Latest Men’s NCAA Tournament College Basketball Scores and Schedules
WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT: Complete scores and schedule
Duke and Tennessee in low-scoring defensive battle
The Blue Devils and Volunteers are finding a tough time finding the bucket as Tennessee leads 27-21 at halftime.
Tennessee is shooting 33% and closed the first half on a 14-2 run and Duke, who have also committed 11 turnovers is doing slightly better, hitting at a 36 percent clip.
Dariq Whitehead leads Duke with eight points, while Santiago Vescovi is pacing the Volunteers with eight points.
Women: No. 3 Ohio State 80, No. 14 James Madison 66
No lead is safe when Ohio State is playing.
The third-seeded Buckeyes rallied from 16 points down to beat 14th-seeded James Madison 80-66. It’s the seventh time this year Ohio State has won after trailing by double digits, including a record-setting comeback against Indiana in the Big Ten tournament semifinals when the Buckeyes erased a 24-point deficit.
Big Ten freshman of the year Cotie McMahon had 18 before fouling out to lead four Buckeyes in double figures. Ohio State also got a big game from Jacy Sheldon, who was playing just her fourth game – and making her first start – after missing much of the last three months with a foot injury. Sheldon had 17 points, nine assists and four steals.
The loss continued the streak of futility for 14 seeds in the women’s tournament.
– Nancy Armour
Women: No. 4 Tennessee 95, No. 13 Saint Louis 50
Rickea Jackson and Jordan Horston combined for 39 of the Lady Vols’ 95 points in a first-round win over the Billikens. Horston (8 rebounds) was two point shy of a double-double. The 45-point win marked Tennessee’s largest margin of victory of the season and the Lady Vols improved to 25-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at home.
Brooke Flowers, Saint Louis’ all-time leader in blocks, added five more to her career total Saturday, in addition to 17 points and nine rebounds in her last collegiate game. The Billikens collectively shot 3-for-20 from 3-point range, had 20 turnovers and were outrebounded 39-28.
San Diego State 75, Furman 52
San Diego State is heading to the Sweet 16 after using a suffocating defensive effort to shut down Furman, ending the Paladins’ Cinderella run in the second round.
The Aztecs advance to the South Regional in Louisville, Kentucky to face the winner of Alabama and Maryland, making their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2014.
Micah Parrish had 16 points for San Diego State, who shot 50 percent and outrebounded Furman by 16 as the Paladins had no answer for the Aztecs and their inside game. Darrion Trammell had 13 points, Lamont Butler scored 12, and Matt Bradley chipped in with 10.
Jalen Slawson, the Southern Conference Player of the Year, had eight points and two rebounds before fouling out with 10 minutes left. Mike Bothwell led Furman with 15 points. The Paladins shot 32 percent, including 6-26 from three-point range.
Alabama’s Brandon Miller expected to play vs. Maryland: report
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama forward Brandon Miller is expected to play against Maryland, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Tuscaloosa News on Saturday. The person was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about Miller’s status.
Miller played only 19 minutes in the win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday and did not score . He is dealing with a groin injury suffered in the SEC Tournament final.
The SEC player of the year, who has been in the headlines because of his involvement in a capital murder case, was held out of live practice drills Friday, Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “I think knowing Brandon and how tough he is, physically, mentally, I think he’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
— Nick Kelly, The Tuscaloosa News
Women: No. 1 Indiana 77, No. 16 Tennessee Tech 47
Sydney Parrish led the Hoosiers to a 30-point win over the Golden Eagles with 19 points, eight rebounds and one steal. Indiana had two other starters in double digits: Grace Berger (17 points) and Yarden Garzon (12 points).
But the star of the show was the Hoosiers’ defense with 11 blocks and seven steals in front of a crowd of 14,000 fans at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. “It’s such an advantage having a sixth man,” Berger said of the home crowd.
Tennessee Tech was held to eight fourth-quarter points. Maaliya Owens had a team-high 17 points.
San Diego State looking to stop Furman’s Cinderella run
San Diego State is 20 minutes from the Sweet 16 as it leads Furman 39-25 at halftime in second-round action in the South Region.
The Aztecs took control with an 18-1 run, holding Furman without a field goal for more than 10 minutes. The Paladins shot 33 percent, including 2-of-11 from 3-point range, in the first half.
Micah Parrish has 14 points off the bench for SDSU, while Furman’s Jalen Slawson has eight points and two rebounds.
– Scooby Axson
Ranking Saturday’s games
Saturday’s winners earn a spot in the Sweet 16, and the eight games feature some of the best teams and players in college basketball. Three No. 1 seeds are in action, and the spotlight is on first-team All-Americans Jalen Wilson of Kansas and Alabama forward Brandon Miller, and potentially Houston’s do-everything guard Marcus Sasser.
Here’s the list of Saturday’s eight games ranked by how watchable they are.
- No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Duke (2:40 p.m. ET)
- No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 8 Maryland (9:40 p.m.)
- No. 7 Missouri vs. No. 15 Princeton (6:10 p.m.)
- No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 Arkansas (5:15 p.m.)
- No. 1 Houston vs. No. 9 Auburn (7:10 p.m.)
- No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 7 Northwestern (8:40 p.m.)
- No. 2 Texas vs. No. 10 Penn State (7:45 p.m.)
- No. 5 San Diego State vs. No. 13 Furman (12:10 p.m.)
– Scooby Axson
Bill Self out again
Kansas head coach Bill Self will not coach in the team’s second-round game against Arkansas on Saturday, the school announced. Self continues to recover from a heart catheterization, which caused him to miss the Big 12 tournament. The 60-year-old Self did attend the Jayhawks practice on Friday, but mostly sat and watched.
Assistant Norm Roberts will once again serve as acting head coach for Kansas. He coached the Jayhawks to a 96-68 win over Howard in the first round.
The defending national champions will tip off against the Razorbacks at 5:15 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Did that really happen?!?!
In case you missed it Friday night (though we can’t imagine how), Purdue became just the second men’s No. 1 seed to fall to a 16 since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985, when Fairleigh Dickinson shocked the nation with a 63-58 upset.
If there’s a winner besides current Fairleigh Dickinson players and first-year head coach Tobin Anderson — not to mention every single FDU graduate and fan — it’s probably Virginia coach Tony Bennett, who is now not the only coach to lose to a No. 16 seed. Yikes. Talk about a club you don’t want to join.
But perhaps the biggest winners are fans of college hoops. That we’ve now seen two 16-seeds beat 1-seeds in the last five years is proof that parity continues to grow in men’s college basketball, which makes the NCAA Tournament more unpredictable and ultimately, more fun.
— Lindsay Schnell and Paul Myerberg
Sisters could face off in second round with Saturday wins
Lior Garzon’s initial excitement during Sunday’s selection show was over Oklahoma State receiving No. 8 seed in the NCAA women’s tournament opposite No. 9 Miami (Fla.). It took the junior forward less than a minute to realize not only were the Cowgirls dancing, they were heading to Bloomington, Indiana, where her younger sister, Yarden Garzon, is a freshman guard for No. 1-seed Indiana.
At their respective schools by way of Ra’anana, Israel, the Garzon sisters never discussed the possibility of ending up together in the bracket prior to Sunday, but they knew it could at least be in play. Indiana tip-off against Tennessee Tech at 11:30 a.m. ET, followed by Oklahoma State-Miami at 2 p.m.
Thursday’s reunion at the team hotel marked the first time the sisters have seen each other since Yarden visited Stillwater, Oklahoma over winter break.
“I’m really excited to watch her play,” said Lior, who averages 11 points and shoots 43% off the bench.
As for the possibility of an Indiana-Oklahoma State second-round matchup — and Lior was quick to point out they still have to win their first-round games — it would mark the first time the sisters have gone head-to-head since they played in a club game shortly before Lior left for the United States.
— Brian Haenchen, Indianapolis Star
Princeton partying like it’s 1996
No. 15 seeded Princeton dominated inside and threw the South Region into chaos with an upset of Arizona.
Maybe this wasn’t exactly like when the Tigers pulled off a memorable upset of UCLA in 1996, when they were seeded 14th and beat the third-seeded and defending champion Bruins 43-41. There was more offense and given how common upsets are now, it probably didn’t shock as many people. But it’s still a big deal. And it’s the just the second tournament win for Princeton since that game. The Tigers beat UNLV in the first round in 1998.
— Lindsay Schnell
What’s a Paladin?
Princeton might have pulled off the biggest upset Thursday, but 13-seeded Furman’s downing of No. 4 Virginia was a fun (unless you’re a Cavaliers fan, of course) start to the 2023 men’s NCAA Tournament.
It’s been a long wait for Paladins men’s basketball fans. It was more than 40 years since Furman was last in the tournament, and over 45 years since its last March Madness win.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines a Paladin as a “paragon of chivalry” or “a heroic champion.” A Paladin was also one of the 12 legendary peers or knightly champions in attendance on the court of Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, in the 8th century.
— Jordan Mendoza
Alabama’s biggest opponent may be exhaustion from unending chaos
The athletics director issued a statement at halftime. The most scrutinized 20-year-old in basketball couldn’t make a shot before eventually going to the bench to rest a sore groin. The walk-on nobody had heard of before Wednesday night threatened to sue the New York Times. And the coach is losing his mind on every dribble for two straight hours of a game he didn’t come close to losing.
In other words, it was just another day in Alabama basketball.
— Dan Wolken
Houston ruins title hopes by playing Marcus Sasser before he was ready
That backfired in spectacular fashion.
Just five days after Marcus Sasser strained his groin in the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals, he was back in the Cougars’ starting lineup Thursday night. For a first-round game against a No. 16 team.
In a surprise to pretty much no one, Sasser didn’t even make it to halftime. Now top-seeded Houston might not make it to the second weekend, let alone to the Final Four in its hometown.
— Nancy Armour
Final USA TODAY Sports coaches poll
Houston entered the NCAA Tournament with the No. 1 ranking in the USA TODAY Sports coaches poll, despite its loss in the American Athletic Conference championship game just prior to the unveiling of the brackets on Sunday.
The Cougars, who were playing 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 on Sunday.
Houston handled Northern Kentucky in its first-round game, while Alabama routed Texas A&M Corpus Christi in its tournament opener. The Cougars clash with No. 9 seed Auburn on Saturday, while the Crimson Tide take on 8-seed Maryland.
— Eddie Timanus