The top six teams and seven of the top ten teams are eliminated, giving March Madness a head start.
If Saturday was a foreshadowing of March Madness, then our brackets are in even more jeopardy than usual. Seven of the AP top ten teams, including each of the top six, were upset in a crazy day of upsets.
Ls were caught by No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Auburn, No. 4 Purdue, No. 5 Kansas, No. 6 Kentucky, and No. 9 Texas Tech.
No. 7 Duke and No. 10 Baylor, who played fellow top 10 club Kansas, were the only top 10 teams to win. (No. 8 Villanova is probably relieved they didn’t have to play.)
According to ESPN, it was the first time ever that every AP top-six team lost on the same day, as well as the first time that seven of the top ten teams lost on the same day.
When you’re filling out your bracket, keep these games in mind. (I only had the bandwidth to touch on the top six teams below after such an insane day, so please excuse me, Texas Tech supporters.)
No. 23 St. Mary’s defeated No. 1 Gonzaga by a score of 67 to 57.
St. Mary’s is the only in-conference team that has caused Mark Few problems at Gonzaga. For the third time this season, the Zags trailed at halftime, and this game, like the other two, ended in a loss.
Drew Timmie had one of his worst games of the season, and Logan Johnson’s dunking near his head only added to his misery. He chose not to compete for business reasons, but that didn’t stop the already rowdy crowd from rioting.
The fans were also escorted off the court until the clock struck zero, as there was no way they would not end up on the parquet. The Gaels qualify if you’re searching for a squad with a calm, experienced backcourt that can upset a few teams in the tournament.
No. 2 Arizona 63, Colorado 79
After the Wildcats never got going and shot under 40% as a team, Buffs fans flooded the court. Colorado had not beaten a top-two team in 30 years. Tristan di Silva scored 19 points and put an end to any Arizona comeback chances with a 3-pointer late in the second half.
Peele Larsson, the backup guard, was the only Wildcat to make more than three field goals, with four. Arizona’s prospects of winning the Pac-12 regular-season are unaffected by the defeat, and most of the top 10’s chances of earning a 1 seed are unaffected as well.
No. 17 Tennessee defeated No. 3 Auburn by a score of 67 to 62.
Former UT coach Bruce Pearl isn’t wanted in Knoxville, but he didn’t get a farewell from Lane Kiffin because his team couldn’t win.
The Vols came back from an 11-point deficit in the second half, going on a 17-2 run to seize control while the Tigers had an 8-minute period without scoring a basket.
With 27, Auburn freshman Jabari Smith led all scorers, but it was Tennessee freshman Brandon Huntley-three Hatfield’s that fueled the Volunteers’ strong second half.
Pearl and Rick Barnes are the two coaches in the tournament who terrify the crap out of me. Both coaches normally have good-to-great skills on their teams, yet both have games where it appears that their squad is unable to shoot.
No. 4 Purdue 65, Michigan State 68
Sparty rebounded from a poor performance against Iowa this week, as Tom Izzo tied Bobby Knight for the most wins by a Big Ten men’s coach. Tyson Walker, a Michigan State guard, scored a game-tying 3-pointer with three seconds left in the second half to secure the win in East Lansing, bringing tears to his coach’s eyes.
The Spartans were coming off three straight losses and five of six overall, not exactly tournament form. They could’ve ended up on the bubble if they made any more mistakes. They were in desperate need of a good win, and they got it.
No. 10 Baylor defeated No. 5 Kansas by a score of 80 to 80.
Baylor was the only top 10 team to host a game on Saturday, and they used their home court to overcome a 28-15 lead to the Jayhawks early in the game. The red face of Bill Self and Ochai Agbaji’s 27 points were spectacular, but not enough to win. (The latter, though, earned the Kansas coach a technical.)
Last year’s national champion was down by a point at halftime but scored 49 points in the second half to win by ten points. It would have been a joyous plane or bus ride home for Kansas if they had won, as it would have been accompanied by a Big 12 title.
No. 18 Arkansas wins 75-73 over No. 6 Kentucky.
The Hogs kept their hot streak going, handing John Calipari’s club only their second setback in their in ten games. JD Notae of Arkansas and Oscar Tshiebwe of the Wildcats both scored 30 points, but Tshiebwe couldn’t get an offensive rebound in the final seconds, allowing Arkansas to win at the line. (Those who had Kentucky +3 were only interested in a banked-in 3 at the buzzer cut.)
Pig Sooie chants erupted throughout Bud Walton Arena, and coach Eric Musselman tried his best to enthuse the audience while having one arm in a sling. Arkansas last defeated Kentucky in back-to-back games in 2013-14. If the UK had won, they would have been tied for first place in the conference with Auburn. Regardless, both teams remain in contention for the SEC regular-season championship.