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This Week in the NCAA Tournament SouthernCollegeSports.com begins this week’s edition of the NCAA Tournament’s weekly update with a look back at last week’s action. We take a glance back at the tournament’s first two days and which games were the best and worst, which teams were the best and worst, and much more. Then SCS.com takes a look at what the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight rounds may have in store for college hoops fans this week.



Maryland vs UNC-Wilmington
UNC-Wilmington pulled an upset in the first round in 2002 but now was trying to oust last year’s national champs. The Seahawks thought they had the job done but UM G Drew Nicholas hit an off-balance three-pointer to give the Terps the win and a second round matchup with Xavier.
Missouri vs Southern Illinois
After pulling a first round upset over Georgia last year, SIU was looking to do the same to Missouri this year. The Tigers and Salukis battled back and forth the entire way. The Tigers got the lead late, and a last-second SIU shot wouldn’t fall, allowing Mizzou to move on to the second round.
Notre Dame vs Wisconsin-Milwaukee
As predicted by SCS.com, this first round matchup was a thriller. The conference tourney champs of the Horizon League, UWM took the Irish to the limit. Milwaukee had a lay-up under the basket with only seconds remaining, but it didn’t fall and Notre Dame advanced to the second round.
Kansas vs Utah State
This was also a matchup that SCS.com projected to be a closer game than most thought...and it was. The Aggies gave KU their money’s worth and then some. After falling behind early, USU battled back and had a couple looks at the 3-point shot just before time ran out that would have sent the game into overtime but failed to convert.
Mississippi State vs Butler
MSU knew that the Bulldogs from Indianapolis had pulled upsets before and were prepared. However, the battle was a fierce and back-and-forth affair. Butler hit a running lay-up with six seconds left to take the lead. MSU failed to score on their end, and BU advanced.
NC State vs California
This was an 8 vs 9 matchup and another thriller. Both teams traded huge three pointers late, but it was the Golden Bears of the PAC 10 who prevailed over the Wolfpack of the ACC and advanced to the second round.

Arizona vs Gonzaga
This matchup will likely go down as one of the best games in NCAA history. The underdog Zags hung with ‘Zona the entire evening and forced overtime on a lay-up that hung on the rim for what seemed like an eternity. Then Gonzaga missed a long shot that would have won the game and a second OT was forced. The Zags failed to score late in the second extra period and the top-seeded Wildcats advanced.
Missouri vs Marquette
The Tigers trailed late in the second half but rallied late to force overtime. However, the Marquette Golden Eagles controlled the extra period, as they had done most of the game, and came out of the second round matchup victorious while advancing to the Sweet 16.
Wisconsin vs Tulsa
After knocking off Dayton in the first round, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane jumped on Wisconsin early and led most of the way. The Big Ten champs, the Wisconsin Badgers, failed to give up and came back to a tight one point win over Tulsa and eliminated the Hurricane one step short of the Sweet 16.
Butler vs Louisville
Butler knocked off Mississippi State in the first round but fell behind to Louisville early. The Bulldogs battled back though, and eventually led at halftime. BU jumped out early on UL in the second half and held on late for a win and a trip to the Sweet 16.
Auburn vs Wake Forest
Almost no one, except maybe the Tigers themselves, expected Auburn to make any kind of run at the Sweet 16. However, after knocking off St. Joseph’s in overtime in the first round, AU earned a second round game with the ACC champs, Wake Forest. Auburn never led until late in the game, but once they did, they hung for a win and a trip to the round of sixteen.


After being possibly the last SEC team and one of the final at-large teams selected for this year’s field, most people the Tigers would bow out in the first or second round. However, the Tigers knocked off both the #7 and #2 seeds in their region and will now battle Syracuse in the Sweet 16.
Everyone knew this team had upset potential, but most figured they didn’t match up all that well with their first and likely second round opponents. Butler knocked off Mississippi State by one point in the first round and then slipped past Louisville by eight points in the second round.
Michigan State
This team isn’t as surprising as some others because the Spartans have much postseason experience. With a win over Colorado in the first round, MSU had a matchup with Florida in the second round. MSU’s experience matched up well with Florida’s young team as the Spartans advanced.

Wake Forest
With an ACC championship and a number two seed under their belt, the Deacons looked capable of making a run behind star player Josh Howard. However, the Auburn Tigers got the best of Wake Forest in the second round and sent the Deacons home early.
The Four Seeds
None of the four seeds advanced to the round of sixteen this year. The Dayton Flyers lost to Tulsa in the first round while each of the other three lost in round number two. Illinois fell to Notre Dame, Louisville was upset by Butler, and Stanford was knocked off by Connecticut.
Mississippi State
Many experts had MSU advancing as far as the Final Four, but MSU ran up on a pesky Butler team that refused to lose. The Bulldogs had a tough night shooting, and following a Butler lay-up, the Bulldogs failed to convert and were sent home following their first round game.


Here’s a glance at what the Sweet 16 matchups look like this Thursday and Friday and a brief preview by SCS.com on each of those games....
(1) Kentucky vs (5) Wisconsin
The Kentucky Wildcats have really shown no weaknesses throughout the SEC or NCAA Tournaments so far. The Wildcats got through the conference tourney fairly easily and have so far not had much of a problem from either IUPUI or Utah. Wisconsin got by Weber State in the first round before knocking off Tulsa in the second round. I expect this game to be fairly close at the half but for Kentucky to pull away early in the second half and win by double digits.
(3) Marquette vs (2) Pittsburgh
The Golden Eagles slipped past Holy Cross in a tight game to start things off and then knocked off Mizzou in overtime. Pittsburgh crushed Wagner and then got by Indiana to advance. Both of these have been ranked in the top ten at times throughout the season. Pitt was even ranked as high as two. This should be a great battle, especially between the two point guards, Travis Diener of the Eagles and Brandin Knight of Pitt. I expect a close contest won by Pitt as they pull away slightly in the final few minutes.
(1) Arizona vs (5) Notre Dame
After easing past Vermont in the first round, UA fought a hard, double-overtime battle with Gonzaga but pulled out the victory. Notre Dame escaped in a thrilling contest with Wisconsin-Milwaukee before sliding past Big Ten Tourney champs Illinois. Following their escape against the ‘Zags, I expect Lute Olson’s team to turn it up a notch and make a run at the Final Four, beginning this weekend against Notre Dame. However, if the Irish shoot from the outside like they did against Illinois, the Wildcats could be in trouble.
(3) Duke vs (2) Kansas
Duke won a hard-fought battle with Colorado State in the first round before knocking off Central Michigan to advance to the Sweet 16. The Jayhawks escaped a near-upset against Utah State and then easily knocked off Arizona State in the second round. This, again, should be a tremendous matchup of two good teams, and two teams that are traditionally two of the best in the country. KU seems to struggle at times winning the big Tourney games, while Duke thrives in these situations. KU probably has the experience factor in their favor, but I’m going with Duke in an extremely close game.
(1) Texas vs (5) Connecticut
The Longhorns defeated play-in winner UNC-Asheville before sliding past Purdue in a tough, hard-fought second round game. Meanwhile, UConn knocked off BYU and then got past the Stanford Cardinal to advance. This is yet another super matchup of top teams. Before the Tournament, I picked the Longhorns to make it to the Final Four and championship game. I’ll stick with that pick and predict UT to get past Connecticut in the Sweet 16.
(6) Maryland vs (7) Michigan State
Maryland got a late, off-balance three-point shot at the buzzer from Drew Nicholas to slip past UNC-Wilmington in the first round. The Terps then defeated Xavier to advance to the Sweet 16. Michigan State knocked off Colorado before upsetting the second-seeded Florida Gators. Both of these should be surprises in that they didn’t get great seeds, but both have great tournament experience and shouldn’t be that much of a shock. Gary Williams’ team won the title last season, and they continue their run at another with a victory over Michigan State.
(1) Oklahoma vs (12) Butler
The Oklahoma Sooners breezed by South Carolina State to begin the Tourney and then knocked off Cal in the second round. The Butler Bulldogs upset Mississippi State before doing the same to Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16. Most might at first think the Sooners walk away with an easy win here, but so did MSU and UL fans. I’m not all that big on the Sooners, so I’ll go with yet another Butler upset, this time over Oklahoma.
(3) Syracuse vs (10) Auburn
The Orangemen knocked off Manhattan to begin the Tourney and then rallied late to slide past Oklahoma State in the second round. Auburn claimed two upsets in their Tourney run, victories over St. Joseph’s and Wake Forest, champions of the ACC. Syracuse is playing within two hours of their campus in Albany, NY, which should provide SU with a tremendous advantage. The Tigers’ impressive NCAA run ends here as Syracuse wins fairly easily over the Tigers.