In one of the wildest opening days in the history of the NCAA Tournament it took a lot to shock the college basketball world. And 97 points may qualify as "a lot", as in the number of points the MAC champion Ohio Bobcats scored in their 97-83 win over third-seeded Georgetown in a Midwest Region first round game in Providence. One-time Indiana Hoosier Armon Bassett scored 32 points while point guard D.J. Cooper added 23 points and eight assists in a dominant performance for John Groce's squad.
Northern Iowa Panthers
Missouri Valley Conference (28-4, 15-3)
Northern Iowa became the fifth team to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, beating Wichita State 67-52 to win their second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference tournament title. Trailing by three at the half, Ben Jacobson's Panthers outscored the Shockers 39-21 in the second half, holding Wichita State to 23.1% shooting in the final twenty minutes. Kwadzo Ahelegbe led the way with 24 points while Jake Koch added 13 off the bench. Koch's performance highlighted a solid effort from the UNI reserves, who helped spark the decisive 23-3 run.
Tuesday lacks a marquee matchup the caliber of Monday's Texas/Kansas State game but there are some interesting games that could have an impact come Selection Sunday. Purdue hits the road with hopes of ending their three-game losing streak and they'll take on an Illinois squad that saw its' undefeated conference start come to a screeching halt. The big men will likely tell the tale of this contest; JaJuan Johnson's play of late has been well-documented and the Illini look to Mike Tisdale and Mike Davis for their interior baskets.
Watching the Connecticut/Georgetown game should have been enough of a clue that some interesting things were likely to happen on Saturday. In what was essentially two games for the price of one the Hoyas came back to win 72-69 at the Verizon Center, their fourth consecutive win over the Huskies. The first twenty minutes went about as well as the Huskies could have hoped, shooting 50% from both the field and from three (4-8) on their way to a seemingly commanding 40-25 lead. Georgetown shot just 29.6% from the field and had eight turnovers to just four assists.
Betting odds are a great guide to college basketball entertainment. Unlike fans, who often ride the wave of media predictions, betting lines tend to be a bit more focused and can give you an objective picture of how teams matchup (though lines too can get caught up in the wave of human emotion).
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- Bracketology: Saturday Night NCAA Tournament Projection
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