The final day of the first weekend in the 2017 NCAA Tournament had some expectations to live up to. The first three days of action had your usual first round upsets, crying fans and big name stars show out for their programs. But in the second day of the round of 32, six basketball powerhouses took the court and four survived.
Moritz Wagner, aka Moe Wagner, scored a career-high 26 points and made the basket that spurred Michigan’s furious second-half rally against the Louisville Cardinals. He also capped his big day with a 3-pointer to give the Wolverines the lead for good as they knocked off second-seeded Cardinals, 73-69, to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014. Donovan Mitchell finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead Louisville while Deng Adel had 16 points and Mangok Mathiang added 13. Wagner wasn’t alone in the scoring efforts, D.J. Wagner also put up 17 points and Zak Irvin scored 11 as star guard Derrick Walton Jr scored 10 but struggled shooting going 3-13 from the field.
The youngest team in the 2017 NCAA Tournament played liked a crew of seniors in the final minutes on Sunday and sent Wichita State to yet another second-round defeat, 65-62 in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. De’Aaron Fox scored 14 points and came up with a clutch steal, Malik Monk scored 14 points, blocked a shot and made two free throws in the final 13 seconds. But Bam Adebayo put the final touches on the Wildcats win. The big man had 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and he finished it off with a game-winning block. Landry Shamet, who scored 20 points to lead the Shockers, saw his potential game-tying 3-point attempt get rejected by Adebayo as the shot left his hand with less than a second remaining.
Standout Kansas freshman Josh Jackson scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half, finishing 9 of 16 from the field and eliminating a Spartans team from the NCAA Tournament that he grew up cheering for and nearly joined before signing with the Jayhawks. Jackson’s stellar performance helped top-seeded Kansas advance to the Sweet 16 for a second straight year with a 90-70 victory over Michigan State on Sunday. Frank Mason III added 20 points for the Jayhawks and Devonte Graham scored 18. Fellow freshman phenom Miles Bridges finished with 22 points to lead Michigan State, doing so despite leaving the game briefly in the first half with a hip injury but he eventually returned. Nick Ward scored 13 points and Joshua Langford had 10 for the Spartans. Jayhawks shot 53.1 percent (34 of 64) in the win and now have advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in nine of coach Bill Self’s 14 seasons at the school.
Kennedy Meeks had 16 points and a huge tip-in with 44.2 seconds left, helping the top-seeded UNC Tar Heels barely avoid a huge upset by rallying late to beat Arkansas 72-65 in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament’s South Region. UNC blew a 17-point first-half lead against the Razorbacks. Justin Jackson added 15 points for the Tar Heels and point guard Joel Berry II, who was reportedly battling an ankle injury, scored 10 points for UNC. For the eighth-seeded Razorbacks, Daryl Macon came off the bench and scored 19 points before battling leg cramps.
Oregon Ducks guard Tyler Dorsey made 9 of 10 shots with four 3-pointers, including a contested go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 38.4 seconds to play, as he finished with 27 points. Rhode Island’s E.C. Matthews air balled a long 3 in the waning moments trying to force overtime, and third-seeded Oregon rallied in the second half to beat the pesky 11th seeded Rhode Island Rams 75-72 on Sunday and reach the Midwest Regional. Dillon Brooks eventually found his shooting stroke and scored 19 points despite a 7-for-20 shooting day. Rhode Island’s Stanford Robinson matched his career-high of 21 points as the Rams saw their nine-game winning streak snapped to end their season.
Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Manu Lecomte scored all 12 of his points in the final 5 minutes, and Baylor defeated USC 82-78 on Sunday in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Terry Maston scored 19 points and King McClure added 17 and for the Bears who advance to the Sweet 16 in New York. Chimezie Metu scored 28 points and Bennie Boatwright added 16 for USC which was trying to make its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2007.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 20, 2017
The South Carolina Gamecocks are making their first appearance in the regional semifinals since the bracket expanded after a shocking 88-81 victory Sunday night over the heavily favored No. 2 seed Duke in the East Regional. Sindarius Thornwell led South Carolina with 24 points, Chris Silva scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and Duane Notice had 17 points including 14 in a 65-point Gamecocks second half. South Carolina rallied from 10 points down for their second straight NCAA victory. The 65 points scored by South Carolina in the second half were the most given up in a half by a Mike Krzyzewski-coached Duke team. Duke’s Leading scorer Luke Kennard had his second straight less than stellar shooting game, finishing 1 of 6 for 11 points before fouling out. Grayson Allen led Duke with 20 points, freshman standout Jayson Tatum, who possibly played his final game for Duke, scored 15 and senior big man Amile Jefferson scored 14 and grabbed 15 rebounds.
The finale of the evening saw Lonzo Ball score 19 points as sparked UCLA’s rally from a subpar start with nine second-half assists. Ball lifted the third-seeded Bruins to a 79-67 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday in the South Regional. The coach’s son Bryce Alford scored 16 points in the Bruins win while freshman forward T.J. Leaf put up 11 points of his own. Jarron Cumberland had 15 points to lead Cincinnati and Bearcats big man Jacob Evans had 13 points.