This year’s tournament has been one of the tamest in recent memory. The last few years have brought on plenty of upsets during the first weekend. Outside of the second day of the first round giving us a few the 2019 NCAA Tournament has brought about mostly chalk.
The second day of the second round brought us a few nailbiters, including the tournament’s first overtime game. At the same time, it’s been exactly what many thought was possible with the top of the field being so strong. Many of these top seeds are advancing oftentimes with little to sweat about. Coming in it was abundant the top two to three seedlines were much stronger than the rest. And we are seeing that play out.
Iowa Stages Massive 2nd Half Comeback, Falls in Overtime
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
Two seed Tennessee came out firing in the first half, at one point building a 25 point lead. The Volunteers looked like the jitters they showed in their first game were a thing of the past. They went into halftime leading 49-28 and looked as if they’d cruise to the Sweet 16. Iowa, a 10 seed had different ideas though.
Just like they did versus Cincinnati, Iowa exploded offensively in the second half. The Hawkeyes had a lot further to go than versus the Bearcats two days but nonetheless put their opponent on their heels. Iowa was able to battle all the way back to tie the game but never could gain a lead at any point during the game. The game went to overtime making it the first overtime of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Tennessee was able to control overtime and escape with a six-point win, winning 83-77 to punch a ticket to the Sweet 16.
North Carolina Cruises to Kansas City
North Carolina had no troubles moving past Washington. The Tar Heels showed why they are the top seed in the Midwest Regional and have punched their ticket to the Sweet 16. The game was never truly in doubt and now they get to head to Kansas City for a matchup with Auburn. That game next week is going to be an absolute track meet and should be a fun one to watch.
Duke Survives an Instant Classic
Nobody expected this one to come down to one point, let alone a last-second missed tip. But the number one overall seed (Duke) in the tournament survived an Aubrey Dawkins missed tip-in to move on. This game was back and forth all night. Duke would grab a six to eight point lead only for UCF to storm back and tie it.
All night Duke could never hit 8th seeded UCF with a knockout blow to put them away. UCF took the lead with four minutes to go and held it until an R.J Barrett put back a missed free throw by Zion Williamson in to take the lead with 11.8 seconds left. UCF, down one, had a chance to tie but B.J Taylor’s floater from the right side was a little strong. Aubrey Dawkins, whose father Johnny not only coaches UCF but played for Coach K at Duke was just a tad strong on the tip-in allowing Duke to escape.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
Texas Tech Handles Buffalo with Ease
Jarrett Culver once again showed off his all-around game leading his third-seeded Red Raider past Buffalo. Texas Tech like they have the past two months were dominant in handling another opponent. Chris Beard has now taken Texas Tech to its second Sweet 16 in a row in just third season in Lubbock
Virginia Tech Sets Up an ACC Rematch Versus Duke in Sweet 16
Virginia Tech with Justin Robinson back has looked good in winning their first two games. This game versus 12th seeded Liberty wasn’t easy as Liberty kept it close for most of the game before Virginia Tech pulled away late.
Now the Hokies get another chance at Duke who they beat earlier in the year. Now Duke was without Zion but Virginia Tech was also without Robinson. With both teams healthy it should be a fun one out east next week.
A Balanced Effort Leads Virginia to the Sweet 16
After getting past their first round demons on Friday, Virginia came out ready from the jump. Virginia had virtually no problem moving past Oklahoma as the game was at a comfortable length all night. The Cavaliers, one of three one seeds from the ACC now move two wins away from Tony Bennett reaching his first Final Four.
Houston’s Dream Season Continues
Kelvin Sampson’s Houston team will continue on to the Sweet 16, a year after they were denied the opportunity by Jordan Poole’s famous buzzer beater. Houston’s has had a stingy defense all year and they put it on display against 11 seed Ohio State in this one. Houston will now advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1984.
This win sets them up for a date with Kentucky which will be a classic case of youth versus experience. Houston is made up tons of juniors and seniors while Kentucky, as usual, is made up of the opposite. The Midwest regional is shaping up to be a great weekend of games.
Oregon’s Hot Streak will Roll on Another Week
Kenny Wooten elevates for the big oop slam ? pic.twitter.com/0e7BZT6Lnu
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) March 25, 2019
In the last game of the day, it featured two of the rare teams to pull off upsets in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Two double-digit seeds in 12 seed Oregon, and 13 seed UC Irvine fighting for the right to take on 1 seed Virginia next week.
Payton Pritchard has had himself a March, leading Oregon to a surprising Pac 12 Tournament title. It’s continued right into the 2019 NCAA Tournament pushing his team to the Sweet 16. His play along with the emergence of a healthy Kenny Wooten and contributions from other role players have Oregon starring as this year’s Cinderella.