Saturday in college hoops is typically a spectacle irrespective of the calendar. But the Saturday prior to Selection Sunday? It is anarchy. Comprehensive and overall anarchy.
The festivities that unfolded gave us almost everything you could question for on this kind of a momentous occasion. A to start with-time dancer in Hartford. Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels punching their ticket. Heck, even Georgetown snuck into the area by beating — no, crushing — Creighton to secure the Large East’s automatic berth. But for all the joy introduced by those people victories, there was also some sorrow.
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Even though Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing struck a big victory for the small fraternity of coaches primary the schools exactly where they the moment starred as players, two of his colleagues in that realm had considerably worse times. Penny Hardaway’s Memphis squad experienced its second crushing loss to Houston in the past six times, and Juwan Howard’s Michigan squad bought bounced from the Large 10 Tournament by rival Ohio Point out. In contrast to Memphis, which will need a Selection Sunday wonder to make the area of sixty eight, Michigan will be headed to the NCAA Tournament and may perhaps even now be a No. one seed.
But losing to Ohio Point out was not the only issue troubling the Wolverines on Saturday. Much more on that in a second as we get into a entire rundown of the day’s winners and losers.
Loser: Michigan has issues entering the Large Dance
Michigan performed only two game titles in the Large 10 Tournament this 7 days, but the Wolverines packed a great deal into a limited time, and Friday’s information was extra negative than very good. The method introduced functional senior leader Isaiah Livers will be out indefinitely with a stress personal injury in his correct foot on Saturday morning, and then the Wolverines dropped a sixty eight-67 heartbreaker to Ohio Point out. That suggests the Wolverines will enter the NCAA Tournament acquiring experienced 3 of their four losses in excess of the past five game titles. Toss in the uncertain position of Livers, and Michigan would seem a little bit vulnerable entering the Large Dance. The senior is averaging thirteen.one factors, six rebounds and two helps although making forty three.one% of his 3-place tries, and if he is out for an extended period, it would be a devastating blow to the program’s countrywide title aspirations.
Winner: Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels are dancing
Louisville may perhaps enter Selection Sunday in a chilly sweat in hopes that its identify will be identified as by the variety committee, but its previous coach, Rick Pitino, will not. Pitino and his Iona Gaels punched their ticket to the Large Dance on Saturday by ousting Fairfield in the MAAC title video game to secure the league’s automatic bid. He gets to be the 3rd coach in historical past to choose five diverse groups to the NCAA Tournament all through his career, signing up for Lon Kruger and Tubby Smith.
Winner: Illinois solidifies situation as No. one seed
Illinois entered Saturday as the final No. one seed (and fourth overall crew) in Jerry Palm’s Bracketology. So its situation as a top-seeded squad was without doubt robust. But besting Iowa 82-seventy one likely sealed it up for the variety committee. The Illini guide the country in Quadrant one wins at twelve, so earn or shed Sunday against Ohio Point out, they ought to feel assured about their stellar human body of do the job.
Loser: Tennessee misses probability to put away Tide
In the second 50 percent of the SEC semifinals on Saturday, Tennessee led top-seeded Alabama 48-33. Over the remaining seventeen minutes of video game time, however, the Vols went chilly as Bama turned the heat up defensively. During that extend, the Tide turned in a forty-twenty operate (!) to earn seventy three-sixty eight. Not a negative loss for Tennessee on its confront, but a brutal way to go down right after currently being up by as quite a few as fifteen in the second 50 percent. Not the style you want in your mouth entering the NCAA Tournament.
Winner: Patrick Ewing completes wild 7 days
It was a somewhat eventful 7 days for Corridor of Famer Patrick Ewing, in between calling out MSG safety guards, questioning James Dolan for his procedure and generally creating a stir for — rightfully — questioning aloud why in the universe he was currently being asked to clearly show qualifications within MSG. But it ended on a wonderful note.
Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas secured the Large East’s automatic bid to the Large Dance with a seventy three-48 shellacking of Creighton on Saturday night. The Hoyas did so as an eight seed and trounced Marquette, Villanova and Seton Corridor together the way. The Hoyas were being picked to finish final — indeed, final! — in the Large East in the preseason. Now they are dancing their way into the tourney. Just a wonderful, feel-very good story all the way close to, and a fitting way to conclude a wild 7 days for Ewing.
Winner: Ohio Point out coach Chris Holtmann’s mom
Right after Ohio Point out fell seventy three-sixty eight to Illinois final Saturday to extend its losing streak to a time-lengthy of four, Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann bought a tip from a most unlikely resource on how to cure the team’s problems.
Did the assistance choose? Nicely, you be the choose. Ohio Point out has now gained 3 straight given that Holtmann’s mother fired off the textual content. Now, right after using treatment of rival Michigan on Saturday, it is just one earn away from profitable its to start with Large 10 match title given that 2013.
Loser: AAC’s bubble groups
Wichita Point out experienced a brutal 60-59 loss to Cincinnati in the AAC Tournament semifinals. The No. one seed Shockers had crept off of the bubble entering the working day, according to Palm, but were being just a projected No. 9 seed prior to the defeat. It is Wichita State’s to start with Quad 3 loss of the time and will encourage at least some panic for the method on Sunday as the NCAA Tournament variety committee tends to make its remaining determinations of who is deserving of an at-huge bid.
Memphis had a probability to decide up the slack for Wichita Point out in the AAC’s other semifinal video game, but the Tigers experienced their second heartbreaking to loss to Houston in a six-working day span. Right after losing 67-64 on a buzzer-beater to the Cougars final Sunday, the Tigers bought their hearts ripped out yet again in a gut-wrenching seventy six-74 defeat.
It sets up a large Sunday for the AAC. If Cincinnati upsets Houston and the variety committee looks favorably upon Wichita Point out, the league could get 3 groups in the Large Dance. But if Houston wins the match title and the Shockers are remaining out of the area, it could conclude up as just a just one-bid league.
Pitino is acquiring a great deal of focus, and rightfully so, but he was not the only previous ability convention coach to access the Large Dance with a new squad on Saturday. Former LSU coach Johnny Jones is heading to the NCAA Tournament with Texas Southern. Now in his 3rd time primary the method, Jones has a bodily, veteran crew that gained 14 of its final fifteen game titles to secure an automatic bid out of the SWAC. This is the 3rd faculty Jones has taken to the NCAA Tournament (North Texas and LSU). This just one is absolutely sweet for Jones, however, right after an unceremonious ending to his LSU tenure following the 2016-seventeen time.
Winner: Hartford dancing for to start with time
Hartford appeared to be biking down under coach John Gallagher when it concluded 9-23 in 2016-seventeen for the program’s 3rd straight losing time. But the Hawks’ faith in Gallagher compensated off in a historic way on Saturday, when the method clinched its to start with NCAA Tournament overall look by knocking off UMass Lowell in the America East Tournament title video game. This tends to make four straight profitable seasons for the method now, and at just forty three, Gallagher out of the blue looks like just one of the profession’s soaring stars in his 11th time.
“They were being firing me four yrs ago,” Gallagher stated. “Rightfully so. Wasn’t acquiring it accomplished. And then we just buckled down. Maybe I need my again against the wall. Maybe that is just element of the Irish-Catholic in me.”
Winner: Norfolk Point out dancing for second time ever
Norfolk Point out secured its second NCAA Tournament berth in method historical past at the Division I level on Saturday right after defeating Morgan Point out seventy one-63. It was the fifth time (!) the Spartans confronted the Bears on the time, and their fourth earn in the sequence gave them the MEAC title and an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. The final time this crew went dancing was 2012, when it shocked No. two seed Missouri in the to start with round as a No. fifteen seed.
The Aztecs have not garnered almost the volume of countrywide acclaim this time that they did final time all through a 26- start out. But this team did one thing that final year’s crew could not on Saturday when it gained the Mountain West Tournament title. This model of San Diego Point out will not likely get to 26 straight wins, but the Aztecs are at thirteen straight correct now, and with they are actively playing, the Aztecs search all set to extend that streak by at least a pair of game titles in the NCAA Tournament.