College Basketball

Buckets' Bracketology: NCAA Tournament taking on a local flavor


Buckets' Bracketology: NCAA Tournament taking on a local flavor

Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at Comcast SportsNet -- will take a look at the world of college basketball. From now until Selection Sunday, he'll be picking brackets heading into the tournament:

1. Villanova
16. NC Central/Mt. Saint Mary’s

8. Dayton
9. Virginia Tech

5. Cincinnati
12. Middle Tennessee

4. Purdue
13. Valparaiso

6. Notre Dame
11. Marquette/TCU

3. Kentucky
14. Akron

7. Minnesota
10. Kansas State

2. Louisville
15. Furman

1. North Carolina
16. Sam Houston State

8. VCU
9. Iowa State

5. Creighton
12. Nevada

13. Belmont

6. Maryland
11. Syracuse/Providence

3. Florida
14. Princeton

7. South Carolina
10. USC

2. Oregon
15. North Dakota State

1. Kansas
16. Texas Southern

8. Wichita State
9. Miami

5. Wisconsin
12. Vermont

4. Butler
13. Monmouth

6. Saint Mary’s
11. California

3. Florida State
14. UNC-Asheville

7. Oklahoma State
10. Michigan

2. Duke
15. Florida Gulf Coast

1. Gonzaga
16. UC-Davis/North Dakota

8. Northwestern
9. Arkansas

5. Virginia
12. UNC-Wilmington

4. West Virginia
13. Bucknell

6. SMU
11. Michigan State

3. Arizona
14. Arkansas State

7. Xavier
10. Clemson

2. Baylor
15. Cal-Bakersfield


Seton Hall
Georgia Tech
Illinois State
Wake Forest


Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.

NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

AP Photo

NCAA: Duke ends URI's run emphatically, 87-62

PITTSBURGH - Mike Krzyzewski might want to stop worrying about his team's inexperience. The loaded if young Blue Devils hardly seemed intimidated by NCAA Tournament's bright lights.

If anything, they're thriving under them.

Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Marvin Bagley scored 22 points to go with nine rebounds, fellow freshman big man Wendell Carter Jr. added 13 points and second-seeded Duke rolled by seventh-seeded Rhode Island 87-62 in the second round on Saturday to earn the program's 26th trip to the Sweet 16. Freshmen guards Gary Trent Jr. and Trevon Duval combined for 29 points and 11 assists for the Blue Devils.

Duke (28-7) will play either Michigan State or Syracuse in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska on Friday. The victory gave Krzyzewski 1,098 wins during his Hall of Fame career, breaking a tie with Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt for the most ever by an NCAA basketball coach.

The Rams (26-8) and their senior-laden roster never threatened after the opening 10 minutes. E.C. Matthews led Rhode Island with 23 points but the Rams were never really in it after the Blue Devils revved it up midway through the first half.

Krzyzewski's relationship with Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley dates back to when Krzyzewski recruited Dan's older brother Bobby to Duke 30 years ago. Krzyzewski praised the Hurley family for their love of the "dignity of work," an ethos that has helped Dan turn the Rams into a force in the Atlantic 10.

Work ethic is one thing. Talent is another. The Rams have plenty of the former. When the young but rapidly maturing Blue Devils are as fully engaged as they were on Saturday, they have a staggering amount of both.

The proof came in a clinically efficient opening half in which Duke picked the Rams a part. If Allen and Trent weren't knocking down 3-pointers then they were getting the ball inside to Bagley or Carter, the program's "other" potential lottery pick who is dealing with an achy Achilles. Though he winced at least once while trying to set up on the block, when Carter had the ball in his hands, the grimace disappeared. He scored nine of Duke's first 11 points to establish the Blue Devils' dominance in the paint and when the backcourt got going, the Rams simply couldn't keep pace.

A 23-5 surge midway through the first half put the Blue Devils firmly in command. Their extended zone defense with Allen at the top disrupted Rhode Island's rhythm, at one point forcing Matthews it put up an off-balance, one-handed airball from the 3-point line as the shot clock expired.

By the time Duval's second 3-pointer of the half went down, the Blue Devils were up 45-28 at the break.

As the Rams came out for the second half, junior guard Will Leviton went over to a section of Rhode Island fans and urged them to "get up, I still need you! It's still a game."

Not really. A pair of Bagley dunks shortly after intermission pushed Duke's advantage to more than 20 and the Blue Devils were on their way to Omaha.

Rhode Island: The Rams lose five seniors to graduation, including Matthews, Terrell and forward Andre Berry but have a solid nucleus returning. Whether Hurley is there to guide them is another matter. He acknowledged his name has been mentioned in connections with other jobs, including UConn. He said no last spring. It may be more difficult this time around.

Duke: For all of its offensive brilliance, the biggest difference for the Blue Devils over the last month has been their work at the other end of the floor. Duke held Rhode Island to 40 percent shooting (25 of 63).

The Blue Devils are 14-9 in Sweet 16 games under Krzyzewski.

© 2018 by The Associated Press. 

UMBC stuns Virginia, becomes first No. 16 seed ever to beat No. 1 in NCAA tournament

AP Photo

UMBC stuns Virginia, becomes first No. 16 seed ever to beat No. 1 in NCAA tournament

For the first time in NCAA tournament history, a No. 16 seed has beaten a No. 1.

UMBC (University of Maryland-Baltimore County) pulled off the impossible Friday night, beating No. 1 seed and tournament favorite Virginia, 74-54.

The Retrievers ended the seemingly never-ending streak of 135 matchups in which the No. 16 seed fell in the first round. They'll move on to the Round of 32 to take on No. 9 Kansas State.