March Madness Saturday: Lost Duke Smashes More Brackets

Duke's loss to Tennessee in the men's last 32 on Saturday was by no means a big surprise, as losses to Purdue, Virginia and Arizona rocked the tournament.

But in online bracket competition, many people feel the sting nonetheless, showing how popular Duke has become even in a year of somewhat low expectations.

Duke, the No. 5 seed, was one of the most popular picks to win the championship in the bracket contest hosted by ESPN and Yahoo, with more endorsements than any other No. 5 seed. frequent powerhouse Gonzaga tournaments.

The Blue Devils' popularity came as even modelers, including KenPom and Sagarin ratings, hinted at more modest expectations, prompting various predictions – with many fans believing Duke could make an early exit, along with those expecting a deeper run. run.

On Saturday against Tennessee, the Volunteers pulled away early in the second half, and the classic push the Blue Devils almost hoped for never materialized. Featured No. This 5 years is Duke's lowest on the field since being assigned No. 1. 6 in 2007; The Blue Devils will miss the regional rounds of the tournament after the Final Four run a year ago in Coach Mike Krzyzewski's final season.

Duke entered the NCAA tournament for 26 straight years until 2021, when he threatened to miss the March Madness celebrations, then canceled his season during the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament due to a player's positive coronavirus test. —Oskar Garcia

STORRS, Conn. — If there was any doubt that the University of Connecticut was stable going into the women's NCAA tournament this year, its 95-52 loss to Vermont on Saturday resolved those worries.

After a tumultuous and injury-plagued regular season, the second-seeded Huskies lived up to their dominant reputation on their home court, outplaying and outperforming the No. 1 seed Catamounts. Aaliyah Edwards, a 6-foot-tall junior forward, led the Huskies with 28 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

“We don't have an answer for him,” Vermont Coach Alisa Kresge said of Edwards. “He's just a worker, he works very hard, he never gives up. He's very talented, and it really doesn't suit us.”

UConn forward Dorka Juhasz recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Azzi Fudd made her first start since December 4 after a yearlong recurring knee injury (she's kept knee brace and sleeves on for good measure), while teammate Paige Bueckers, the junior forward who has missed this season with her own knee injury, cheered from the sidelines. .

All 10 of UConn's players scored, in one of the highest scoring matches of the tournament so far. The Huskies scored 53 points in the first half and held the Catamounts to 20, forcing Vermont to a fast shot that failed to land while cleaning the paint on an offensive drive.

Vermont was led by sophomore guard Catherine Gilwee, with 14 points and 5 assists. The Catamounts entered the tournament with a 25-6 record, riding a 17-game winning streak; they beat Albany in the America East championship a week ago to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.

UConn will face the winner of the Baylor-Alabama game on Monday. — Remy Tumin

There's an implicit but unspoken agreement between the underdog and the month of March: Most dreams come with a fast expiration date. And two days after the biggest win in school history, 13th seed Furman arrived with a 75-52 loss at the hands of fifth seed San Diego State in the men's NCAA tournament.

Where the Paladins were able to exploit Virginia's weakness in Thursday's 68-67 loss, they were beaten by the Aztecs in almost every aspect of Saturday's game. Known for his strong defense, San Diego State held Furman, who had averaged 81.7 points this season before losing, to his lowest single-game total in 2022-23.

Furman shot just 32 percent from the field (while the Aztecs hit 50 percent of their shots) and 23.1 percent from 3-point range. For the season, Furman has shot 48 percent overall and 34 percent from 3-point territory.

Furman never took the lead after the halfway point of the first half, and Jalen Slawson, Southern Conference Player of the year, was on offense for much of the second half before going on offense for just 8 points.

“They kept us from driving, kept the ball out of the paint, defended a really strong floor and played really hard,” said Slawson.

It was a complete and impressive display from the Aztecs, who went on to make their first round of 16 appearance since 2014, where they will play the winners Alabama and Maryland on Friday.

The Paladins, meanwhile, will take home indelible memories and stories they will tell friends and family for the rest of their lives.

“This is an amazing story,” said Furman Coach Bob Richey, “and I am so proud of our team, at a time when I was so disappointed we didn't progress. But it's really hard not to pull the lens out a bit and still see what the bunch can achieve.

“For that, I will be eternally grateful.” —Scott Miller

VILLANOVA, Pa. — When Sha Carter of Florida's Gulf Coast lined up against Washington State's taller Bella Murekatete for the opening tip, it seemed like the first moment of mismatch. Carter made no attempt to box the ball, and the Cougars ran for the lead.

That impression changed in a hurry, however, as the smaller Florida Gulf Coast team took control midway through the first quarter and put up a 74-63 win that showed why it was a popular choice going forward – even among oddsmakers – despite being No. 1 in the first quarter. seed against No.5.

Tishara Morehouse, the season's leading scorer for the Eagles entering the game, proved too fast for the Washington State defenders. He used spins and crosses to score, tallying 16 points and helping set Carter to score at will. Carter led the game with 24 points.

The loss was a disappointing finish to a stellar season for Washington State, which had won four straight games entering the tournament to capture the championship in the struggling Pac-12 Conference, after finishing seventh in the regular season.

It was the first Pac-12 tournament title for the Cougars. But by the time the brackets were out, Florida's Gulf Coast immediately stood out as a tough fight.

“They're always the underdogs,” Washington State Coach Kamie Ethridge said Friday as his team prepared for the game.

Florida's Gulf Coast has not lost since late January (an overtime loss to Liberty), and extended its winning streak to 15 games with the victory.

The Eagles are not alone as the No. 1 seed. 12 wins Saturday: Toledo beat fifth seed Iowa State, 80-73, and will face the No. 12 seed. The Florida Gulf Coast awaits the winner of the Villanova-Cleveland State game. —Chris Rim

Indiana's loss to Tennessee Tech put all four No. 1 in the NCAA women's tournament into the second round, and perhaps a highlight of the reality that has shifted in recent years:

While 16-over-1 March Madness is extremely rare, it's probably harder to pull it off in the women's tournament now than it is in the men's.

One night after Fairleigh Dickinson's men pulled off the surprise of this celebration over the No. 1 seed. 1 Purdue, Indiana woman edged out Tennessee Tech by 30 points, 77-47, joining fellow No. round. All four teams, playing with home advantage, won easily to start their tournament, with Virginia Tech winning by the tightest margin of 25 points over Chattanooga.

On Saturday, the Hoosiers pulled out in the second quarter, outscoring Tennessee Tech 21-9 in the period, and shot 58 percent for the game as their lead grew and grew. Sydney Parrish leads with 19 points.

The men's tournament took place without a No. 16 beats No. 1 before 2018, but has now happened twice in the last five tournaments. It has only come once in the women's tournament since it was expanded to 64 teams, when 16th seed Harvard beat top seed Stanford in 1998.

In that game, Harvard felt it deserved a higher seed, while Stanford lost two key players, Vanessa Nygaard and Kristin Folkl, to serious knee injuries in the week leading up to the game.

In order to defeat the No. 1 playing at home, or even No. 2 — which never lost to No.15 – a similar set of circumstances may be required. —Oskar Garcia

BATON ROUGE, La. – Busy weekend for basketball mom Angel Reese.

With two children playing in the NCAA tournament, daughter Angel the third-seeded women's Louisiana State and son Julian the eighth-seeded men's Maryland, she was traveling to try to see as much basketball as possible.

After flying to Louisiana on Thursday, Reece watched from his hotel room as Julian scored a team-high 17 points in the Terrapins' narrow win over West Virginia.

The following day, he saw Angel rack up 34 points and 15 rebounds at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in the destruction of LSU in Hawaii.

He had planned to leave at 10 a.m. Central time on Saturday to head to Birmingham, Alabama, to see Julian play in the evening against top seed Alabama. Then, it will return to Baton Rouge for LSU's second-round game on Sunday against Michigan.

“I'm so proud,” Reese said in an interview after Friday's LSU game. “It's exciting, but very stressful. I'll admit, it's very stressful, especially when you have a tight game like Maryland did yesterday against West Virginia.

Both players play an important role in their team. Julian was one of Maryland's four doubles scorers and leading rebounder, while Angel was a first-team all-American. Their own mother was an accomplished collegiate player, ranking second in Division I in rebounds per game in 1991-92 with the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

There are other family ties to the tournament. The Hawaii women's team has two sisters, Lily Wahinekapu and Jovi Lefotu. The Iowa men's team featured coach Fran McCaffery's sons, Connor and Patrick. And the Prospers also have players in every tournament, with Cassandre coming off the bench for the women's Notre Dame and Olivier-Maxence averaging 12.4 points per game for the men's Marquette.

The Reese family hopes the whirlwind lasts as long as possible.

“This is an exciting moment for the Reese family,” said young Angel after Friday's game. —Evan Easterling