SportsPulse: While Liberty and UC Irvine busted brackets across the country, Duke and Zion Williamson aced their first tournament test. USA TODAY’s Trysta Krick recaps day 2 and looks ahead to Saturday’s motion.

Ah, madness. The NCAA tournament’s 64 first-round teams had been sliced all the fashion down to 32 over the course of the last two days and Friday’s sixteen games delivered enough upsets to slay brackets and disappear us wanting extra. 

Here’s a see at the 10 ideal takeaways from Day 2:

1. Liberty became the Cinderella we might maybe been looking ahead to. After Thursday’s first-round motion left us Cinderella-much less, Friday gave us the bracket-buster we might maybe been hoping for all alongside. The Liberty Flames upset Mississippi Advise to change into the third No. 12 seed to knock off a No. 5. But it indubitably became how they did it that gave them the tournament’s absolute most sensible One Exciting Moment up to now. March star Caleb Homesley scored 22 of his 30 facets within the 2nd 1/2 to lend a hand rally Liberty from a double-digit deficit. After Lovell Cabbil drained a momentous three-pointer to supply his team a seventy two-70 edge with 1:sixteen left, the senior guard approved with the Liberty pupil section — which traveled antagonistic-country from the college’s Virginia campus.

Whether it became Cabbil finding Homesley for a backdoor dunk or position avid gamers drawing costs and getting gargantuan-time blocks, the last five minutes became March Insanity perfection. 

MORE: Liberty hero started off in coach’s doghouse

NCAA BRACKETS: Watch the winners, losers and upsets

Maybe Mississippi Advise wasn’t a juggernaut blue-blood opponent (making its first tourney look since 2009), but their glaring advantage within the dimensions and athleticism departments made the Bulldogs the ideal villain. And whereas we had been looking ahead to a extra lifeless fashion from this defensive oriented team led by coach Ritchie McKay (he’s a primitive Virginia assistant, accelerate figure), it became the unexpected offensive surges that ended in this program-lifting victory. 

2. ‘Small brother’ UC Irvine’s day became honest as narrative. Earlier within the day, the No. Thirteen-seeded Anteaters grew to change into the day’s first darling by knocking off No. four Kansas Advise, a team that won the Gigantic 12 and developed to last Three hundred and sixty five days’s Elite Eight. UC Irvine head coach Russell Turner told the at the help of-the-scenes trajectory narrative after his team’s first-ever NCAA tournament capture: “UC Irvine, other folks, I make no longer know, are living within the shadow, are living like exiguous brothers to UCLA and (USC) and maybe some others, Cal, Stanford, San Diego Advise. Maybe like exiguous brothers. Successfully, exiguous brother has been within the burden room, getting better, getting prepared for an different like this.” All these teams Turner mentioned are at dwelling whereas the mid-predominant Anteaters are composed dancing. 

UC Irvine had its star, too, with Max Hazzard (19 facets) drilling a buzzer-beating three-pointer sooner than 1/2 time after which a dagger three-pointer with 1:30 left. “The stage would not get distinguished better than this,” Hazzard mentioned afterwards. No, it indubitably would not. 


SportsPulse: Now we gain got our first right bracket buster of the tournament: UC Irvine. USA TODAY’s Scott Gleeson explains how they did it and if they are a threat to get a legit cinderella speed.

three. There became one thing within the water in San Jose. Both these aforementioned upsets took advise in San Jose, as did Oregon’s a exiguous bit expected upset of No. 5 Wisconsin as the Geese proceed to flourish as one among the tournament’s freshest teams that might maybe maybe maybe no longer even be right here had they no longer won the Pac-12 tournament’s auto repeat. Three astronomical upsets in a single day made San Jose the jackpot of all tourney locations for followers who elevate tickets and by no formula know precisely what they’re in for. 

four. Zion Williamson is positively the tournament’s ideal star. The Duke star freshman would narrate so loud after his tenacious dunks in Friday’s first round NCAA tournament capture over North Dakota Advise that spectators across the country watching the game on CBS might maybe maybe also hear (and indubitably feel) the 6-7, 285-pound forward’s vitality and fervour. After starting off shaky within the foremost 1/2 in opposition to the No. sixteen-seeded Bison — absolute most sensible up four at the 1/2 — Williamson passe the 2nd 1/2 to show everyone watching he’s this tournament’s most edifying star (sorry, Ja Morant). Williamson, who done with 25 facets on 12-for-sixteen area targets, mentioned after the game that coach Mike Krzyzewski told the team at halftime to “honest relax and play Duke basketball.” Mission done. Williamson and his participant of the Three hundred and sixty five days teammate R.J. Barrett (26 facets, 14 rebounds) get this team a must-grunt about — even in opposition to an gruesome opponent. 

5. Virginia is no longer last Three hundred and sixty five days’s Virginia. It became a painful spell of déjà vu for a Virginia team that is certain to silence doubters. The Cavaliers gave themselves a apprehension in opposition to one other inspired No. sixteen seed in Gardner-Webb, and their disastrous first 1/2 that noticed them trailing by six at the 1/2 had the nation gasping for a repeat of history. But indirectly the 2nd 1/2 showed why this Virginia team is a a long way cry from the actual individual that obtained jumpy by UMBC last Three hundred and sixty five days. UVA’s De’Andre Hunter (23 facets) is the final X-component for this team, and Mamadi Diakite passe his size to fleet put this sport away within the 2nd 1/2. So the memoir continues for a team that uses coach Tony Bennett’s pack-line protection and patient offensive machine to beat extra athletic teams: Can Virginia avenge last Three hundred and sixty five days’s heartbreak?

What All-American Kyle Guy mentioned in November composed rings honest this present day — maybe better than ever now: “Gorgeous certain they are going to get an ESPN ’30 for 30′ on the (UMBC loss). We would as smartly get it a better narrative for us. … For me, a nationwide championship is the ideal arrangement to shut everyone up.”

6. The Gigantic Ten is ruling the tournament. The convention went 7-1 within the foremost round honest one Three hundred and sixty five days after striking absolute most sensible four teams within the NCAA tournament. In step with ESPN Stats & Files, the seven teams ties a epic first situation by the Gigantic East in 2008 and 2011 for berths from a single convention within the 2nd round.

“It’s the ideal league I’ve ever been a chunk of, this Three hundred and sixty five days within the Gigantic Ten. I will’t show how sophisticated it is on a given evening,” Ohio Advise Chris Holtmann mentioned after the No. eleven seeded Buckeyes took down Iowa Advise expressionless Friday. Both No. 10 seeds Iowa and Minnesota also beat better-seeded teams, whereas the relief of the league (open air of Wisconsin) beat their greater-seeded opponent to advance to the 2nd round. 

7. Texas Tech and Buffalo both peep like Closing four contenders within the West. The apparently primitive West continues to no longer peep so primitive anymore, striking Choice Sunday first impressions to bed. Texas Tech shook off Northern Kentucky at the help of Jarrett Culver’s 29 facets, whereas Buffalo dominated its first-round opponent, Arizona Advise. Now, both teams meet every reasonably a couple of within the 2nd round, with the winner a viable Closing four threat. 

“We are in a position to play with somebody within the country,” Buffalo guard Jeremy Harris mentioned after his team’s ninety one-seventy four capture over ASU. “It’s correct to get a capture but we’re no longer performed but.”

eight. Tennessee looked beatable and unhealthy; No. 10 seed Iowa is subsequent. The Volunteers barely staved off No. 15-seeded Colgate in a sport that noticed them get flashbacks to last Three hundred and sixty five days’s upset to Loyola-Chicago as a No. three seed. “I grunt a sport like this present day is what makes the NCAA Match the NCAA Match,” coach Rick Barnes mentioned. Proper, but it also begs the quiz as as to whether this team’s Closing four — and even Candy sixteen — stock is as correct as marketed. While the belief going into the tournament became that the Vols would get a worthy arrangement in opposition to Cincinnati within the 2nd round, as an different they are going to be seeing an Iowa team that looked awfully spectacular in ousting the Bearcats.

9. Houston marksman Corey Davis Jr. can carry his team to the Candy sixteen and extra. The Cougars guard drained six consecutive three-pointers, ending with seven on the day in his capturing barrage that encapsulates how correct this Houston team is. Coach Kelvin Sampson mentioned after the capture, “right here is this kind of special team of youngsters in the case of their preparation and leadership. We’re animated in the direction of out impartial. Our level of interest is honest to are living to war one other day.” That’ll reach Sunday vs. Ohio Advise.

10. Can UCF direct Duke? The Knights, one other AAC darkish-horse, took care of exchange in dispatching VCU within the foremost round Friday. But now they arrangement Duke on Sunday. Can they hang with the closely-liked Blue Devils? Successfully, one component is definite and or no longer it is that we might maybe maybe maybe be seeing two otherworldly humans.

1-seed Duke vs. 9-seed UCF

6-foot-7, 285 lbs. vs. 7-foot-6, 310 lbs.

Lift on Zion Williamson vs. Tacko Fall 👏

— ESPN (@espn) March 23, 2019

Apply USA TODAY Sports activities’ Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.


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