NCAA

NCAA Tournament 2017: Six teams you may want to re-think sending far in your bracket

NCAA Tournament 2017: Six teams you may want to re-think sending far in your bracket

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

Opening night of the NCAA Tournament could have been a wake-up call for many.

And while there is still time, one should really reconsider looking at how far they have certain teams advancing in the big dance. 

For some, Wake Forest losing in the First Four to Kansas State came across as a shock.

As early returns on brackets are coming in, surprisingly No. 11 Wake Forest were many people's favorite not only to win their First Four matchup, but jump into the Round of 32 by beating No. 6 Cincinnati. 

Now whether that was mere hope of Demon Deacon fans, the allure of the ACC's strength this year, or simply that Wake Forest is a 'bigger' college basketball name than Kansas State or Cincinnati, Wake Forest was not going to make that run. 

There are other teams that fall into this situation as well, that are big names, or have injuries, that one should look at before brackets become final. Not insinuating that these teams will lose in the opening rounds, but simply that do not expect them to go far past round of 32. 

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— No. 3 Oregon (Midwest, vs. No. 14 Iona)

This should come as no surprise to anyone to those that have followed college basketball throughout the conference championships. Losing one of their key starters, Chris Boucher leaves a giant hole in their lineup. The 6'10" forward, was vital at the stretch four position and the Ducks offense, he was third on the team in points (11.8 per game), second in rebounds (6.1 per game), and blocks (2.5 per game).

Although they nearly pulled out a Pac-12 Championship against Arizona in the following game, it is never easy to pull out a run following an injury. Oregon should not be a First Round exit, but with either No. 6 Creighton or No. 11 Rhode Island waiting for them in the Second Round followed by potentially No. 2 Louisville, it would be tough to pull off even at full-strength.

— No. 6 Maryland (West, vs. No. 11 Xavier)

Sorry Terps fans, but losing four out of the last six games heading into the tournament does not bode well. Although height and size is a minor issue, Maryland just simply is not built for a long tournament run. Every year though they seem to be fan favorites to make the Elite Eight or Final Four no matter where they are seeded. 

Face it, the Big Ten had a rough year this season as a conference and was not as strong overall. The Terps might not be prepared for heavyweight teams night after night. It will not stop one of the best backcourts in the NCAA with Melo Trimble and Anthony Cowan Jr.  from trying though.

— No. 3 UCLA (South, vs. No. 14 Kent State)

UCLA is hyped up right now. Returning to the tournament after missing it last season and one of the most eccentric players in college basketball, Lonzo Ball, the Bruins are favorites to make a run. Partly this is because of their high powered offense that scored more than 90 points in 14 contests this year.

As everyone has learned in the past handful of seasons though, you have to have a good defense to win the tournament. Frankly, if the Bruins cannot score, then their defense will be unable to bail them out. Their potential Second Round opponent, No. 6 Cincinnati, does play defense and limits teams to only 60 points a night.

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— No. 7 Michigan (Midwest, vs. No. 10 Oklahoma State)

Conference champions are easy teams to throw in for a deep NCAA tournament run because they are getting hot at the right time. For the Wolverines though their Big Ten Championship did them no favors in seeding, pulling in at a No. 7 seed. 

First up they play one of the hottest teams in the country, No. 10 Oklahoma State then potentially one of the best teams in basketball for the past several years, No. 2 Louisville. From there it gets only worse and as mentioned earlier, Big Ten teams are not as primed for long tournament runs like ACC or Big East teams.

— No. 10 Wichita State (South, vs. No. 7 Dayton)

The Shockers are another team that suffers from their placement in the bracket, which is one of the most heinous seeding faults of this tournament. First up they play No. 7 Dayton, no slouch in terms of mid-majors, followed by potentially No. 2 Kentucky, which yes everyone wants to see. After that it is then the Sweet 16 and more tough teams are on the horizon.

If by some miracle the Shockers can survive a back-to-back with Dayton and Kentucky, two of the most relentless teams in the country. Wichita State will be gassed out. This is not the same 2014 Wichita State Shockers, who I remind you, lost to Kentucky when the Wildcats were a No. 8 seed in the Second Round.

— No. 3 Baylor (East, No. 14 New Mexico State)

Heading into conference play as a contender for the national championship, the Bears have trailed off toward the end of the year. Losers of six in their past 11 games, Baylor is doing the exact opposite of what you want come tournament time. Wins against Oregon, Michigan State, Louisville, and Xavier are from a team far from what we see now.

Expect the Johnathan Motley show, who comes into the tournament averaging 17.3 points and 9.9 rebounds. If not and the ball can be distributed around then that completely changes the dynamic of this team. In the past several games Motley has taken nearly a third of the teams shots and it is a case of whether or not he is feeling it to determine if Baylor were to win.

RELATED: FIVE DOUBLE DIGITS SEEDS THAT COULD MAKE THE SWEET 16

 

Maryland woman's basketball falls to UCLA in second round of NCAA Tournament

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Maryland woman's basketball falls to UCLA in second round of NCAA Tournament

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Michaela Onyenwere scored a career-high 30 points, Japreece Dean added 22 and UCLA squeezed past No. 3 seed Maryland 85-80 Monday night to earn its fourth consecutive berth in the Sweet 16 of the women’s NCAA Tournament.

Dean, the smallest player on the court, sank two free throws with 25 seconds remaining to make it 83-79, and the Bruins held on to beat the Terrapins on their own court.

No. 6 seed UCLA (22-12) will next face second-seeded UConn (33-2) on Friday in the semifinal round of the Albany Region.

Ranked first in the Pac-12 and third in the nation in offensive rebounding, the Bruins repeatedly gathered in their own missed shots and turned them into baskets. UCLA collected 27 offensive rebounds and finished with 27 second-chance points.

Maryland led 76-74 before UCLA’s Kennedy Burke grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back. Teammate Lindsey Corsaro followed with a three-point play with 3:34 left.

Brianna Fraser answered with a layup for the Terrapins to make it 79-78 with 3:16 remaining, and neither team scored again until Burke hit a jumper with 1:03 to go.

Kaila Charles led Maryland (29-5) with 23 points. The Big Ten regular season champions went 1 for 13 from beyond the arc and 15 for 25 from the free throw line.

UCLA, in contrast, sank seven 3-pointers and made 20 of 21 free throws.

After trailing for nearly the entire first half, the Terrapins scored seven straight points in the opening 50 seconds of the third quarter to go up 47-44, their first lead since 2-0.

The teams then started trading baskets, with neither holding an advantage of more than three points until Maryland’s Channise Lewis had a steal and a buzzer-beating layup to make it 71-66 entering the fourth quarter.

The Terrapins scored 31 points in the third period, 11 by Charles 6-for-9 shooting after a 2-for-9 first half.

UCLA had 17 offensive rebounds and got 15 points from Onyenwere in building a 44-40 halftime lead.

Jones kept Maryland close with 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting, but the Terrapins made only one 3-pointer in seven tries and were 7-for-12 at the foul line.

BIG PICTURE

UCLA: Led by the 5-foot-6 Dean and the very athletic Onyenwere, the Bruins were too quick for Maryland — especially on the boards. UCLA’s fast-paced attack just might work against UConn.

Maryland: With only one senior on the team, the Terrapins should be better next year. That won’t soften the disappointment of losing on their own floor to a lower seed.

UP NEXT

UCLA will be seeking a big upset over UConn, which would put the Bruins in the round of eight for the third time in school history.

March Madness 2019: LSU sinks Maryland on last-second shot to end Terps’ season

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USA Today Sports

March Madness 2019: LSU sinks Maryland on last-second shot to end Terps’ season

For those who put Maryland in the Sweet 16... our sincerest condolences. 

No. 3 seed LSU beat No. 6 seed UMD 69-67 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon. 

With under 30 seconds remaining, Jalen Smith’s 3-point jump shot tied the teams again at 67-67, which stuck for another 25 seconds. LSU’s Tremont Waters’ layup broke that tie and gave the Tigers the win, ending the Terrapins’ hopes of a Sweet 16 game in Washington, D.C.. 

Only three minutes into the game, LSU’s Dorius Days drained a 3-pointer and broke the 4-4 tie, commencing the catch-up game that Maryland was forced to play in the first half, which ended 38-29 LSU.

In the last quarter of the game, the Terps (finally) caught up enough to fight neck-in-neck until the final buzzer. With four minutes remaining, Smith made a 2-point turnaround hook shot to tie up the game 55-55. Under a minute later, Smith’s two free throws gave Maryland the first lead of the game at 57-55. 

Smith racked up the most points for the Terps (15), and LSU’s Skylar Mays had the most for the Tigers (16). UMD shot 33.3 percent, and LSU shot 36.9 percent. Maryland out-rebounded Louisiana both offensively (13-10) and defensively (28-24).

Under head coach Mark Turgeon, this is Maryland’s third first-weekend departure in four tournaments. The Terps made it to the Sweet 16 last in 2016, and as with Saturday’s loss to LSU, 2016 remains to be UMD’s most-recent Sweet 16 appearance. 
 

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