For those still reading, we have more Mid-Major Bracket Madness! Content, content, content!
FIRST FOUR: (which we forgot last time)
(16) Northeastern 70, (16) Chattanooga 69
Nice on Chattanooga’s part, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Huskies. Funnily enough, Northeastern men’s basketball played in the last sporting event that I (TJ) saw live.
(16) Wofford 71, (16) Penn 69
Wofford continued its run with a narrow win over Penn.
(16) Siena 73, (16) Prairie View A&M 68
(16) Robert Morris 66, (16) NC Central 60
Not a good day for southern auto-bids.
Let’s settle down with the South region, where I will prepare you for by saying there are NO UPSETS AT ALL. Not a single one. Why? Because the bracketers did an amazing job of bracketing, that’s why. Get ready for a whole lot of borrrrrrringgg….
*there actually were upsetr
(1) San Diego St. a lot, (16) Wofford less
Well, I guess Malachi Flynn pulling up a few times from behind half-court isn’t boring. Unlike last time we saw him, he hit a couple. Discussions of a four-point shot were raised. Aztecs cruise.
(9) North Dakota St. 65, (8) Pacific 64
Despite having literally everyone from the state of North Dakota in attendance, the crowd decidedly favored UOP, whose campus is not even an hour away. But the Bizon came out with a solid game plan and limited Jahlil Tripp, the only Tiger averaging double digits, to eight points and 12 boards. Pierre Crockrell II and his Asian evasion skills (#AsianBallers) led Pacific all the way back, only to be bested by a Vinnie Shahid running bank shot.
(12) Winthrop 79, (5) Akron 74
Yeah so ummm…this definitely isn’t an upset because like, check the history books and I’m pretty sure a 5-seed has never beaten a 12. Anyway, sorry Akron, your problem was that despite being the Zips, you got out-zipped up and down the floor by Winthrop, and definitely not that you happened to be slotted in basically the worst possible spot for a decent team. ut there will be no more lower seeded shenanigans, I prom—
(13) Valparaiso 73, (4) Furman 71
Ah sh—I mean, ya know, totally not an upset when you think about how well Valparaiso does as the 13-seed. They’re basically a guarantee to win when they’re the 13 seed. Furman played from behind the whole game, only for stud Jordan Lyons (who scored 33) to pull up at the buzzer — only to have it blocked by three defenders, because the Paladins were stupid enough to run Pacer, which the Crusaders have literally known about for 22 years.
(11) Bowling Green 78, (6) Belmont 75
I will deny this as an upset too, because when you have a stud like Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner on the team, you can literally do anything. Though the transfer tornado talks were swirling before tip, Turner put the team on his back in the second half. Belmont, needing a three to tie on its last possession, looked lost without the backdoor cut as an option, and Tyler Scanlon air-balled a desperation triple. Even better, Justin Turner is officially going back to BGSU for next year, if next year still exists as a concept.
(3) Stephen F. Austin 69, (14) Ball St. 66
Some metrics actually had the Lumberjacks as a trendy potential first-round victim, but in the end they scraped by in a low-scoring overtime game. Several fans were escorted from the arena, but the Jacks clawed this one out.
(7) Louisiana Tech 73, (10) Little Rock 69
LA Tech used its 132-man rotation to scrape the Trojans to death in their first tournament game in almost 30 years, but somehow, that’s not the talk of the game. It’s that Tech, a 4.5-point favorite, led by double digits almost all game, only to have Little Rock nail a triple after stealing the ball from the Bulldogs, who were running the clock out. And Scott Van Pelt’s favorite bad beats manufacturer in football gives him brutal content for his next segment on the basketball court.
(2) ETSU 76, (15) Georgia St. 69
After years of never getting a two-bid SoCon, and then somehow getting a five-bid SoCon, the unquestioned class of the conference never trailed in a game that looked closer than it really was.
(1)Gonzaga 80, (16) Robert Morris 70
I don’t have much to report. Gonzaga built an early lead and cruised to victory, as expected.
(8) Bradley 76, (9) Eastern Washington 74
The Bradley Braves may have exiled all reporters to Nebraska before the game, but that didn’t stop them from knocking off Eastern Washington.
(12) Wright State 72, (5) New Mexico State 68
Poor New Mexico State fell victim to the 5/12 upset that it couldn’t pull off against Auburn last year. On the other hand, Wright State redeemed itself from a disastrous Horizon League Tournament with a solid win.
(4) VCU 75, (13) Pepperdine 72
Colbey Ross scored 34 points, but VCU’s talent and offensive output were too much in the end. VCU hit a huge three with 34 seconds left and closed it out at the line. In the long history of terrible Pepperdine losses in big moments, this ranks near the top.
(6) North Texas 65, (11) Texas State 62
In a Texas derby, North Texas, the better team by most metrics, squeaked past by a three-point margin.
(3) Saint Louis 77, (14) New Mexico 67
In one of the few blowouts of the tournament thus far, the Billikens smashed New Mexico without much trouble.
(7) San Francisco 71, (10) UC Irvine, 69
In the best game of the West Region, the Dons emerged victorious after a back-and-forth overtime struggle with a really tough UC Irvine team. The Zoots wee unable to replicate their success from the 2019 NCAA Tournament, as the Dons moved the ball well and found clutch shots when it mattered.
(2) Utah State 73 , (15) Indiana State 62
Indiana State obviously lost because of their new logo change.