The first week of the NCAA Tournament has come and gone, and we have cut down the field to the Sweet 16. Northern Iowa, Stephen F. Austin and Middle Tennessee tried their best to play the role of Cinderella, but the clock has struck midnight on the mid-majors, as the Sweet 16 has turned into a battle of the college basketball big boys — including a record six ACC teams.
Day one of the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament brought us a smattering of exciting upsets and fantastic finishes. From Arkansas-Little Rock's double overtime rally against Purdue to Yale's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, college basketball fans got to enjoy the type of moments that make March Madness so captivating. And that was just on Thursday.
The careers of Fred Hoiberg and Kevin Ollie have been connected nearly from the start.
On Friday, they’ll meet in the Sweet 16, the first trip to the regional semifinal for both coaches.
The pair met in high school when they took a visit to Arizona. Then-coach Lute Olson offered a one scholarship to the first of the pair who would take it. Neither did. Hoiberg went to Iowa State while Ollie went to Connecticut. After their careers, they carved out niches in the NBA as bench players, playing on the same Chicago Bulls team in 2001-02.
No one is going to confuse today’s game with Paul Westphal’s Loyola Marymount teams, but the tide may be turning.
Scoring had been creeping lower and lower in recent years, to a point where the NCAA Basketball Rules Committee hoped an emphasis on calling hand checking and reinterpreting the block/charge would open up the game.
The returns so far indicate scoring is up, in part because of more free throws and improved efficiency.
At the end of January, Iowa State appeared to be falling back to earth after a 14-game wining streak to start the season.
After a 2-4 swoon, the Cyclones may be playing some of their best basketball of the season thanks in part to the play of Melvin Ejim.
Ejim set a Big 12 record with 48 points in an 84-69 win over TCU on Saturday, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors. By adding 18 rebounds, Ejim joined Blake Griffin and Michael Beasley as the only three players to have 40 points and 15 boards in a game in Big 12 history.
Let’s face it: There aren’t many reasons college basketball would dominate the SportsCenter conversation these days. Even with the Super Bowl over, there’s the NBA and the Winter Olympics to dominate coverage.
Then, Marcus Smart shoved a fan in the final seconds of a loss to Texas Tech. The weekend could have been spent celebrating Iowa’s first major win of the season, Melvin Ejim’s record breaking day at Iowa State or Marcus Foster’s one-man wrecking ball performance against Texas.