Takeaways from The First Two Rounds of March Madness


Round 1 – Day 1

Furman shocks Virginia with last second three pointer

The Cavaliers and the Paladins squared off in the second game of the first round of the NCAA March Madness tournament. Virginia, led by double digits numerous times throughout the game, fell to first-timer Furman. 

With 2.4 seconds left, Virginia turned the ball over due to Furman’s intense trapping defense. The ball landed in the hands of Garrett Hein, who kicked it out to JP Pegues for the game-winning three-pointer. 

Again another year of disappointment for the Cavaliers, who haven’t won a game in March Madness since winning the tournament in 2018. 

Princeton deservedly beats an uninspired Arizona

The 15-seed Princeton Tigers defeated the second-seed Arizona Wildcats in a stunning game. The Tigers went on a 20-6 run to close out the game and erase a ten-point deficit with 10:59 left in the second half. It is the Tigers’ first win in an NCAA tournament game since 1998 when coach Mitch Henderson was a player on the Tigers.

Down three with under 20 seconds remaining, Arizona had possession and shot two three-point field goals, both of which missed. With three seconds left, Tigers forward Tosan Evbuomwan hit a free throw to make it 59-55, effectively icing the game. 

The Wildcats look to next season as they search for a National Championship, while the surprising Tigers record only the eighth win by an Ivy League school in March Madness. 

Favorites Houston, Alabama, and Kansas take care of business

Squad depth proved immeasurable for the Alabama Crimson Tide in a 96-75 win against 16-seed Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Star freshman Brandon Miller did not score in the game. After losses suffered by Virginia and Arizona, Alabama is now a resounding favorite in the South region. 

Jalen Wilson and Gradey Dick led the way for the Kansas Jayhawks against the Howard Bison 96-68. Head coach Bill Self was not on the coaching bench after suffering a heart catheterization and was unavailable for Kansas’ second-round game against Arkansas. 

The Houston Cougars won in a narrow game against Northern Kentucky 63-52. Star senior Marcus Sasser only played 14 minutes in the win after aggravating a groin injury suffered during the regular season. 

Round 1 – Day 2

16-seed FDU defeat one seed, Purdue

“The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them, let’s shock the world.” Well, head coach Tobin Anderson and his FDU Knights did shock the world after they beat Big Ten Champs and No.1 seed Purdue. 

The Knights are only the second 16 seed to defeat a one seed, deservedly so. The smallest team in college basketball swarmed 7’4″ center Zach Edey, forcing him to trust his teammates, who crumbled under pressure.

FDU’s achievement is even more remarkable because they didn’t even win their conference. Merrimack College beat FDU 67-66 in the NEC conference final. Still, per NCAA rules, a college transitioning to DI must complete four years at the DI level before being eligible to compete in March Madness. 

FAU shocks Memphis with game-winning layup 

The Florida Atlantic University Owls stunned Memphis on a layup by Nick Boyd with under five seconds remaining. The Owls were down one point when Boyd took it aggressively to the rim and laid it in for the win. 

It was a complete team effort by the Owls, with four different players scoring in double-digits. The game was incredibly close, as both teams made the same field goals and had eight turnovers.

“I thought our guys did a great job staying together, staying the course, finding a way to grab enough rebounds,” FAU coach Dusty May said. 

Round 2 – Day 1

Princeton’s dance continues into Sweet 16

The Princeton Tigers continued to dance as they easily made their way past Missouri to advance to the Sweet 16. After they put the world on watch, they came out to play on Saturday. Senior guard, Ryan Langbord, led the Tigers with 22 points to a 78-63 blowout win. 

Princeton came out hot in the 1st half as they led at half 33-26. The Tigers had some confidence after taking down No. 2 seeded Arizona in the first round. They played calmly and collected throughout the entire game against Missouri. When Missouri started to make shots and gain some momentum in the second half, Princeton also ramped it up. Missouri put up 37 2nd half points, but Princeton kept outplaying them and outscored them by eight points to seal their spot in the Sweet 16.

Princeton is the third 15 seed in a row to reach the Sweet 16. Princeton faces a dominant Creighton squad on Friday night at 9 PM. 

Tennessee defeats tournament favorite Duke

The Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Duke Blue Devils 65-52 in a highly anticipated second-round matchup. The Volunteers were led by a sensational Olivier Nkahmhoua performance, who scored 13 points in a row during the second half.

Duke looked dominant in a first-round win by 23 over Oral Roberts, but their offense was stagnant for much of the game against Tennessee. They scored just 21 points in the first half. The Volunteers looked extremely prepared for Duke after narrowly beating 13-seed Louisiana in round one. 

The Blue Devils’ first March Madness without coach Mike Krzyzewski ends in disappointment, while the Volunteers advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019. 

No repeat title for Kansas as the Razorbacks get one over on the Jayhawks

The Kansas Jayhawks exit the tournament in a back-and-forth game against the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Razorbacks were led by a 25-point effort by junior guard Davante Davis, who scored 21 out of 25 points in the second half. 

The celebrations were magical, with head coach Eric Musselman taking off his shirt in celebration. Davis, who is from Jacksonville, Arkansas, teared up during his post-game interview and recapped the game by saying, “that was crazy.”

Kansas becomes the sixth consecutive March Madness champion not to reach the Sweet 16. 

Round 2 – Day 2

FAU Survives Cinderella-Storied FDU

No. 9 Seed, Florida Atlantic University, never expected to face No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson in the second round. Most of the basketball world never saw this coming. But after FDU shocked the world by beating No.1 Purdue in the opening round, everyone watched this possible Cinderella story.

FDU knew they weren’t supposed to be in this spot, but Coach Tobin Anderson constantly reminded his team, “We’re here.” so why wouldn’t they give it their all and see how far they can run? 

They came out with confidence and speed in the opening half of their matchup vs FAU. FDU had mostly everything going for them in the first half. They were playing good defense, creating good shots, and playing their pace. But they weren’t hitting their shots. 

The Knights’ missing these open looks allowed FAU to take advantage of this, and they led 32-25 at the half. FDU stepped up their game in the second half as Demetre Roberts tore up FAU’s defense finishing with 20 points. 

Although FDU got it going offensively, FAU maintained its lead and prevailed through the possibility of a Cinderella story.

FAU survived and picked up the win 78-70 to advance to the Sweet 16. The Owls will continue their tournament run against No.5 seed Tennessee. FAU will have their hands full with this matchup 

“Dont Pick Us” – Miami rolls to the Sweet 16

Before the tournament even started, Miami made its voice heard in the world of college basketball. With millions of people starting to fill out their brackets, the Hurricanes offered simple advice, “Don’t Pick Us.”

That mentality has carried them through to the Sweet 16 after beating Indiana 85-69. Isaiah Wong, ACC Player of the Year, led the way with 27 points and eight rebounds. 

The remaining ACC team will challenge the one-seed Houston Cougars on Friday. 

Kansas St. win all wildcat affair against Kentucky

The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 75-69 in the second round of March madness. Guard Markquis Nowell led Kansas St. with 27 points and nine assists. 

Forward Keyontae Johnson contributed 13 points for Kansas St. Johnson has a remarkable story as he collapsed during a game on Dec.12, 2020, while playing for the Florida Gators. Johnson was in a coma for three days and didn’t appear for the Florida Gators until March 2022, when he was named as an honorable starter for the Gators’ senior night. 

After collapsing on the court, Johnson had the chance to accept a $5M insurance payout from the NCAA. However, Johnson entered the transfer portal and played college basketball again. 

He is now contributing to a Kansas St. team in search of their first-ever NCAA championship. 

Kansas St. will face coach Tom Izzo and Michigan St. on Thursday. Meanwhile, Kentucky will continue into the offseason in search of their first NCAA championship since 2012, when they defeated Kansas in the championship.