The matchup between #10 Florida and Rutgers on Thursday night was hyped up due to the return of Mike Rosario, who transferred from the New Jersey school following two seasons in New Brunswick. But his return was a subplot in what turned out to be one of the best games of the calendar year, with the focus by the end being Mike Rice's young guards. Eli Carter led the way with 31 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Myles Mack knocked down some big shots late in regulation and during the overtime periods to lead Rutgers to the 85-83 double overtime victory.
For a while on Tuesday night it looked as if a Southern Conference team would hand another undefeated team its first defeat of the season. But an important suggestion by Louisville assistant coach Richard Pitino set things in motion for the fourth-ranked Cardinals, sparking a rally that resulted in a 69-62 victory. The idea: instead of relying on the frontcourt tandem of Gorgui Dieng and Chane Behanan to occupy the foul line area against the Charleston zone, use the versatile Kyle Kuric at the four.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have some impressive offensive performers that Washington State likely made themselves very aware of in preparation for their game at midnight. Elias Harris and Robert Sacre are formidable frontcourt players while Marquise Carter is a jet-quick point guard who is more than willing to attack defenses. But if the Cougars had a plan for how to slow down freshman guard Kevin Pangos it sure didn't look like it.
You know it's March where there's midday college basketball to be discussed. Friday afternoon delivered just six games (one in progress) but there hasn't been a lack of drama. The Colonial, Missouri Valley and Southern conferences all had afternoon doubleheaders in their tournaments, with the MVC in the quarterfinals while the other two leagues are playing first round games today.
(8) Georgia State 58, (9) UNC Wilmington 52
Overall Rank: #49
#5 Michigan St Spartans
After a rather routine Friday the hope was that Saturday would provide even more surprises. But few people had in mind what the Northern Iowa Panthers did in Oklahoma City when it came to the shocker of the day. The Missouri Valley champions got off to a quick start early and did not let up until the game was decided, knocking off the top overall seed 69-67 to move on to the Sweet 16 next week in St. Louis. Ali Farokhmanesh led the way with 16 points, knocking down what has to be the shot of the Tournament thus far to give Northern Iowa a 66-62 lead with 34 seconds remaining.