Big Loss for Iowa State, Morant Shines, and Duke Boys Prevails
While Round 1 of March Madness did not have any mind-shattering 15-seed or 16-seed upset, it did have a little bit of everything.
The Duke boys showed out, led by projected lottery picks Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, Ja Morant of the 12-seeded Murray State had his coming out party in front of a nationally televised audience, and a big loss for Big-12 champions Iowa State laid waste to thousands of brackets.
There were upsets and then there were dominant performance.
In this year’s tournament, all four nine-seeds went onto dominate the eight seeds, while Liberty, Murray State, and a vastly underrated Oregon all completed 12-to-5 upsets.
While Liberty was able to escape against an overrated Mississippi State team, it was Oregon, a team that has turned a lot of heads in the latter half of the collegiate season that showed absolutely no mercy to a Wisconsin team that past Ethan Happ, offered little resistance.
Of course, we cannot forget about Morant’s incredible triple-double performance, allowing the Racers to blow past Marquette.
Outside of Williamson, Morant is the biggest name to know ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft. The lanky and explosive sophomore point guard continues to shoot up draft boards, with many evaluators seeing him as the clear-cut number two.
UC Irvine was another team that shocked the basketball world, picking up their first tournament win in program history over a four-seeded Kansas State team.
But there was no bigger shocker in Round 1 than the Buckeyes upsetting the Cyclones.
Led by a monstrous 21-point, 12-rebound performance from Kaleb Wesson, Iowa State were outmuscled on the glass and ultimately fell just short of advancing to the Round of 32. Cyclones star Marial Shayok led all scores with 23 points playing all 40-minutes, but ultimately Iowa State, a team many had advancing to the latter rounds were unable to complete their comeback, and fell by a score of 62-59.
That being said, the next round starts today!
All four one-seeds, two-seeds, and three-seeds have advanced. While the four-seed Virginia Tech, 10-seed Florida, four-seed Kansas and seven-seed Wofford are all teams that logged in impressive first round performances.
As we set our sights to the Round of 32, some intriguing matchups to watch out for are Wofford (7) vs. Kentucky (2), Murray State (12) vs. Florida State (4), and Villanova (6) vs. Purdue (3).
Let the madness continue!