Unlike many on the internet, we don’t dislike Boilermakers – we just think they peaked in December. They certainly didn’t look to be having their best Friday, becoming only the second No. 1 seed to drop to 16 as Fairleigh Dickinson shocked the nation with a 63-58 loss.
If there’s a winner beyond every FDU graduate and fan, it’s probably Virginia coach Tony Bennett, who is now not the only coach to lose to the No. 16 seed. Damn. Talk about a club you don’t want to join.
FDU’s victory now makes the overall record of 16 seeds 2-150. It was also FDU’s first victory in the regular 64-team tournament (they’ve won it three times in the first four, including this year).
Perhaps the biggest winners are college basketball fans. The fact that we’ve seen two 16-seeds beat 1-seeds in the past five years is proof that parity continues to grow in college baskets, which makes the NCAA tournament more unpredictable and, ultimately, more fun.
And here’s more good news – we’re only two days into it.
No big deal, Marquette’s second point guard just made a 17-point scoring blitz in the second half. Jones, who also grabbed four rebounds and two assists, exploded after the break to finish with 19 points. He is directly responsible for Marquette’s second-period breakup, which ultimately resulted in a 78-61 victory for the No. 2 Golden Eagles. He was also one of five Marquette players in double figures.
MEN’S CALENDAR, RESULTS: Full 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournament schedule, results and schedule
For the 11th time in 12 years, a First Four team advanced in the main tournament. The Panthers embarrassed Iowa State, winning 59-41 just two days after outlasting Mississippi State 60-59 in Dayton, playing incredible defense and making the Cyclones look more than beaten. So much for the ACC being soft. Pitt’s win sets up an intriguing showdown with Xavier, who is coached by former Pitt star Sean Miller.
The Gaels limped into the NCAA Tournament after a 77-51 loss to Gonzaga for the WCC Tournament Championship. VCU, a 12 seed, was a popular choice, but someone forgot to tell the Gaels. SMC scored 34 points in the paint and four players scored 12 points or more as St. Louis won. Mary 63-51 and advanced to the second round.
Trailing two points at halftime to No. 13 Iona and struggling to find a rhythm, No. 4 UConn exploded in the second half with an 87-63 victory that shows the Huskies’ chances of making a run until March. The second half says it all: UConn outscored Iona 50-24 past junior forward Adama Sonogo, who scored a game-high 28 points. Sophomore point guard Jordan Hawkins was very quiet in the first half, but finished with 13 points.
Another loss to a double-digit seed turned Purdue into college basketball’s biggest postseason joke. Doomed for foul after foul by every player except center Zach Edey, the Boilermakers lost 63-58 to Fairleigh Dickinson. This is a trend: Purdue was eliminated at No. 15 Saint Peter’s last March, No. 13 North Texas in 2021 and No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock in 2016.
The so-called “Conference of Champions” had a good Selection Sunday, with four teams entering (Arizona State and USC had been bubble teams in the month leading up to the tournament), but that was short-lived. After Arizona laid an egg against 15th-ranked Princeton on Thursday, USC followed that up with a 72-62 loss to Michigan State in a game the Spartans mostly controlled, from start to finish.
state of iowa
The Cyclones shot 23% from the field in the NCAA Tournament. Twenty-three percent! This is just plain embarrassing. Yes, Pitt is a good defensive team, but – isn’t this the ultimate college basketball event? With kicks like that, it’s no wonder Iowa State lost 59-41. But it makes you wonder why the Cyclones were a 6 seed to begin with.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NCAA Men’s Tournament Winners and Losers: Purdue… oof.