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Men's NCAA Tournament

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The Athletic College Basketball Staff

March 20, 2023 at 4:44 PM EDT

The first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA Tournament are officially in the books after a wild weekend of action. Teams will resume play in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.

Catch up on The Athletic's coverage of the second round:

Sunday's second-round results

No. 3 Xavier 84, No. 11 Pittsburgh 73

No. 3 Kansas State 75, No. 6 Kentucky 69

No. 7 Michigan State 69, No. 2 Marquette 60

No. 4 Connecticut 70, No. 5 Saint Mary's 55

No. 6 Creighton 85, No. 3 Baylor 76

No. 9 Florida Atlantic 78, No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson 70

No. 5 Miami (Fla.) 85, No. 4 Indiana 69

No. 3 Gonzaga 84, No. 6 TCU 81

(Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

March 20, 2023 at 10:42 AM EDT

The NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 is set, but there's questions for all of them

In a frenzied six days of action last week, the NCAA Tournament field was cut from 68 to 16. That's 16 teams that somehow found the answers they needed to find in order to survive and advance (twice). Now that they've come this far, their reward is … more questions. Who will riddle their way to Houston? It depends on the next round of Q&A. Here is the key question that each of the remaining teams will face as the tournament enters its second week.

Seth Davis·

Senior Writer, CBB


The NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 is set, but there's questions for all of them

March 20, 2023 at 12:42 AM EDT

Sweet 16 teams by conference

Notably, that's five teams from outside the Power 6 conferences.

Brian Bennett·

Senior Editor, CBB

March 20, 2023 at 12:40 AM EDT

Epic bad beat for Gonzaga bettors

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

This is the definitive argument against sports gambling. Like, I think it should be legal, but I think you're insane to do it. https://t.co/cGEprmw60i

— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 20, 2023

March 20, 2023 at 12:24 AM EDT

Drew Timme guides Gonzaga back into Sweet 16

Gonzaga is back in the Sweet 16, mostly because Drew Timme made sure of it. On a night when that reality was at least a little in peril, the Zags star went for 28 points and eight rebounds in an 84-81 win over TCU. The margin was not quite that close — the Horned Frogs hit a buzzer-beater 3-pointer — though there were enough nerves generated by poor first-half 3-point shooting for the Zags and the general speed and orneriness of the Horned Frogs.

But as it's wont to do, Gonzaga reset, hitting 52.9 percent from the floor after the break -- making six 3s along the way. Rasir Bolton in particular awoke, going for 13 of his 17 points in the second half. Whatever juice TCU had for about three-quarters of the game petered out in a stretch of miss after miss, and the Zags duly extended the lead by being the vastly more efficient team.

And now we get a Gonzaga-UCLA regional semifinal in Las Vegas, and a rematch of a fateful Final Four matchup in 2021, with Timme's career on the line.

(Photo: Michael Ciaglo / USA Today)

Brian Hamilton·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 11:52 PM EDT

A crazy season of college hoops

Kyle Tucker·

Staff Writer, Kentucky

What a bonkers college basketball season.

UNC didn't make the field. 1 seed Purdue, 2 seed Arizona lost first round. Duke, Kansas and Kentucky out in the second round. Had a 13, 15 and 16 seed win. Got a 15 in the Sweet 16.

Princeton or Creighton will make the Elite Eight.

— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) March 20, 2023

March 19, 2023 at 11:44 PM EDT

Timme nails three as Gonzaga pulls ahead

When the shot clock is running down and you need a shot? Why not Drew Timme for 3?

Probably a lot of reasons why not, actually, but here we are. Gonzaga's star doesn't want this to be his last night in college ball. Timme has 20, including the shot clock-beating 3-pointer that was followed up by an Anton Watson steal and dunk to give the Zags an eight-point lead on TCU. Plenty of time left, but the Horned Frogs are scuffling, having gone four-plus minutes without a made shot from the field.

Brian Hamilton·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 11:38 PM EDT

Sweet 16 schedule, tip times

The Athletic Staff

March 19, 2023 at 11:34 PM EDT

Mike Miles Jr. finding his rhythm

Mike Miles Jr. hit a pullup jumper midway through the second half, then slapped his thigh as he got ready to defend for TCU. It was as ominous as it looked. The next trip down Miles hit a step-back 3, getting him to 20 points on the night with 12 minutes still to play. An in-rhythm Mike Miles is a problem for Gonzaga. He's the kind of singular force that can carry the Horned Frogs on his back. We'll see if Mark Few has any ways to mix things up in a game that seems like it will come down to nothing more than players making individual plays at the end.

Brian Hamilton·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 11:01 PM EDT

TCU in front of Gonzaga at halftime

Some very 2021 NCAA Tournament final vibes here in the second round of the 2023 event, with Gonzaga on the floor and a different Big 12 opponent looking a lot faster and meaner.

TCU hasn't so far performed quite the evisceration that Baylor did on that night, leading by a modest 38-33 count at halftime. But there's no question which team has been the more assertive, and which team looks a little out of sorts.

The No. 3 seed Zags have missed 12-of-14 3-pointers and have gotten zero consistent offense outside of Drew Timme, who had 11 first-half points but missed the final few minutes with two fouls. The six missed free throws aren't helping, either.

Not when Mike Miles, Jr., looks like he's taking this personally and setting the tone. Miles has 10 points, three assists and a steal, and the Horned Frogs are humming along at 1.027 points per possession so far.

Brian Hamilton·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 11:00 PM EDT

Where would the Big Ten be without Izzo?

And so the Big Ten, which tied the SEC for the most bids in this NCAA Tournament (eight) is down to one school left in the Sweet 16: No. 7 seed Michigan State.

It's yet more fodder for critics of the league, which has continually stumbled in March despite receiving as many or more bids as any other conference. Just think about where the Big Ten would be without Tom Izzo, who led the Spartans to the league's last national title in 2000.

Brian Bennett·

Senior Editor, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 10:59 PM EDT

The legend of Larranaga

Miami has made the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row and fourth time in 10 tournaments.

Prior to Jim Larranaga's arrival in 2011-12, the Hurricanes had made just one.

Mark Cooper·

Staff Editor, News

March 19, 2023 at 10:57 PM EDT

Miami routs Indiana

ALBANY, N.Y. -- After his coach called a timeout, Miller Kopp took an inbounds pass and promptly traveled. Which was only the beginning of the problem.

On Miami's next possession, Norchad Omier missed a layup and then hustled over the weakside of the basket, chased down his own rebound, and saved it from going out of bounds. Jordan Miller than scored.

If a handful of seconds can be emblematic of a game, that was all of it a nutshell. Miami played with verve and swag.

Indiana looked flat and even tight. The Hurricanes chased. The Hoosiers didn't. Isaiah Wong carved up IU's guards. Omier ate up the glass. It's just not complicated.

Miami's 85-69 victory wasn't even as close as the decisive 16-point margin. This was an old fashioned butt whooping by a team.

So effortless did Miami's game seem, I'm not sure Jim Larranaga ever took his hands out of his pants pocket. He was the absolute picture of calm, seemingly well aware that his team had this game in hand from the opening tip.

Nowhere was the difference more glaring than on the boards. Miami flat-out punked the Hoosiers.

Never a great defensive rebounding team, the Hoosiers were thoroughly exposed, dusted 48-31, giving up a ridiculous 29 second-chance points. Some of the rebounding issues were positioning; most were just effort.

Omier finished with 17 by himself, while Isaiah Wong dunked and swished his way to 27 points.

Now, a year after losing to Kansas in the Elite Eight, Miami returns to the Sweet 16. The Hurricanes will take on No. 1 seed Houston in Kansas City.

Dana O'Neil·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 10:34 PM EDT

Miami trying to run away with it

Miami on an 18-3 run, now leads the Hoosiers by 12 at the under 8 time out.

Indiana is in pretty deep.

Seth Davis·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 10:32 PM EDT

Johnell Davis leads FAU past Fairleigh Dickinson

Davis had the game of his life en route to a Sweet 16 berth. In his postgame interview, his reasoning behind his performance was simple:

"I'm just trying to feed my family, that's all."

Hunter Patterson

Johnell Davis is first player with 25+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ steals in a Men's NCAA Tournament game pic.twitter.com/Mpkx57Fsrm

— CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 (@CBSSportsCBB) March 20, 2023

March 19, 2023 at 10:11 PM EDT

UConn redshirt freshman Alex Karaban after the game

"Our confidence as a team is through the roof right now. Even though we experienced that little setback against Marquette (in the Big East tournament), I think our confidence is through the roof."

The Huskies naturally experienced a dip in confidence after losing five of six in January. But they looked unshakeable in Albany against Iona and Saint Mary's, outscoring the Gaels and, well, Gaels, 89-49 in the second half. (UConn has to be the first team to beat two Gaels teams in one NCAA Tournament, right?)

"It felt like a home game in a sense," Karaban said of the team's second half runs — and the MVP Arena crowd was definitely pro-UConn. "It feels like we're unbeatable."

Mark Cooper·

Staff Editor, News

March 19, 2023 at 9:45 PM EDT

Miami holds slight lead over Indiana

Miller Kopp and his baseline gave the Hoosiers' a much-needed injection with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Miami's lead to five, 40-35, at the break. The Hurricanes have played much looser than the Hoosiers, getting out fast on the break and mixing up shots at the rim and booms on the arc.

Miami is shooting 55 percent from the floor, and has contained - if not entirely removed Trayce Jackson-Davis early.

The Hoosiers need to get out on the shooters and find a way to stop the guards from getting to the rim with such freedom if they're getting back in this.

Dana O'Neil·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 9:43 PM EDT

Dayton band, a class act

Nicole Auerbach·

Senior Writer, CFB

March 19, 2023 at 9:37 PM EDT

Close enough to be a home game

We have reached the "discussing NYC traffic and various routes from North Jersey to Madison Square Garden" portion of the FDU-FAU broadcast.

Which means you know there's a very real possibility FDU can win this game.

Nicole Auerbach·

Senior Writer, CFB

March 19, 2023 at 9:35 PM EDT

Gonzaga brings up slippery floor memories for Jamie Dixon

Storytime with Jamie Dixon at Ball Arena yesterday, when the now-TCU coach was asked about being the then-Pitt coach during the infamous Armed Forces Classic game against Gonzaga in 2015. Played on a temporary court at Camp Foster in Okinawa, Japan, the game was called at halftime due to a slippery playing surface.

"I hate to say I saw it coming, but I saw it coming," Dixon said, noting that his Panthers were up at the break. "I knew it because I had coached in Hawaii, and so I knew what happens when it rain — the moisture, no air-conditioning. I remember before the game we were talking about it, and I said, 'Where are the fans? You need air going through this thing.' And they pointed to this one little thing over in the corner there, and I said, 'That's not going to get it done.'

"I told them what was going to happen, and I said you've got to wipe the floor. And they brought out one guy with a round towel. We were in trouble and I knew it."

It was not. Once Dixon watched the film of the truncated first half, he realized the right call had been made, despite his irritation. As a postscript? Dixon recalls former Gonzaga assistant Tommy Lloyd saying he was hitting the recruiting trail in Japan after the game. Going after some kid named Rui Hachimura.

""We got half a win, and they got Rui," Dixon said. "So I think they won out on the deal."

(Photo: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images)

Brian Hamilton·

Senior Writer, CBB

March 19, 2023 at 9:33 PM EDT

Creighton rolls past Baylor

DENVER -- How many teams have reached the Sweet 16 after, at one point, losing six straight games during the season?

Well, start doing the research. And blame Creighton.

Losing a bit in mid-January due to the absence of a centerpiece 7-footer, all the way to celebrating on the Ball Arena floor following an 85-76 win over No. 3 seed Baylor that earned the Bluejays a spot in Louisville and the South Regional next weekend. Call it a bit of a makeup game, too.

In this round last year, Creighton played without center Ryan Kalkbrenner -- the aforementioned lodestar -- and point guard Ryan Nembhard due to injuries.

The Bluejays bowed out then.

They bowed up Sunday.

Nembhard poured in 30 points. Kalkbrenner only had 10 points and seven boards thanks to some second-half foul trouble, but his presence kept Baylor's bigs at bay. (And let us not forget his 31-point night in the first round against N.C. State.)

But it was a complete effort. The Bluejays hit 11 3-pointers, won the rebounding battle, knocked the Bears out of any offensive rhythm (Baylor had five assists, total) and led for nearly 37 of the 40 minutes.

It wasn't necessarily Peak Creighton; 14 turnovers and Baylor shooting nearly 60 percent in the second half precludes us from saying this is as good as it gets for Greg McDermott's club.

But whatever level this was for Creighton was more than enough.

Brian Hamilton·

Senior Writer, CBB

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