This year’s round of 64 was a great one. From upsets to blowouts, we saw everything.
#15 Oral Roberts 75 – #2 Ohio State 72
Cinderella is here. The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles knocked off Ohio State 75-72 in overtime. This Golden Eagles team is becoming one of America’s favorite teams. I mean, who doesn’t love Oral? This team has one of the best players in the country. Max Abmas was incredible. Abmas finished with 29 points and played 45 minutes. Max is the leading scorer in college basketball averaging 24.6 points per game. Kevin Obanor also had a great day, finishing with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Against a cold Ohio State team, Oral Roberts was able to get the job done. This was the Golden Eagles’ first NCAA tournament win since 1974.
#13 North Texas 78 – #4 Purdue 69
North Texas came out on fire against Purdue. The Mean Green were led by Javion Hamlet to a big upset. Hamlet finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and played 43 minutes. North Texas was up by 8 at halftime but slowly saw that lead slip away in the second half. Purdue tied the game late to send it to overtime. Once overtime began, it was all Mean Green. North Texas started out overtime with a quick three from Thomas Bell. The Mean Green went on to outscore Purdue 17-8 in overtime and secure their spot in the Round of 32.
Javion Hamlet was a 2-star recruit who received no Division I scholarship offers coming out of high school.
Yesterday, he scored 24 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists in 13-seed North Texas' upset over 4-seed Purdue.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 20, 2021
#12 Oregon State 70 – #5 Tennessee 56
The Oregon State Beavers have been one of the best teams in the country lately. After coming off an incredible conference tournament run, the Beavers pulled the Round of 64 upset. This is a very solid all-around team. Oregon State finished with 4 different players scoring 10 or more points. Along with their offense, they played a near-perfect defensive game. Tennessee finished 5 for 26 from the three-point range and only 33% overall. With multiple offensive weapons and solid team defense, the Beavers are dangerous. Roman Silva led the way for Oregon State with 16 points and 4 rebounds. This is not a team you want to be facing right now.
#11 Syracuse 78 – #6 San Diego State 62
This was Buddy Boeheim’s game. Boeheim finished with 30 points and hit 7 threes. San Diego State could not stop him. The game was close throughout the beginning but slipped away very fast. By halftime, the Orange had a 32-18 lead. San Diego State was unable to make any comeback in the second half as Syracuse cruised to an easy win. Although this was an upset, it was not the most surprising one. Syracuse has been playing very good basketball coming into the tournament. They are a team to keep an eye on moving forward.
Along with some upsets, we had some blowouts. Illinois, Baylor, Wisconsin, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Houston all won by 15+ points. Both 1-seeds, Illinois and Baylor, cruised to easy wins. Along with these good teams, we saw some great players. Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is looking like the top NBA prospect. Baylor’s Davion Mitchell is as fast as anyone. Illinois’s Ayo Dosunmu is one of the best point guards in the country. College basketball had a great opening day to the tournament.
#14 Abilene Christian 53 – #3 Texas 52
Along with Oral Roberts, Abilene Christian pulled off the major upset. The Abilene Christian Wildcats shut down one of the top offensive teams in the country. Forcing 23 Texas turnovers and holding the Longhorns to only 24 first-half points, the Wildcats had the recipe for success. The Wildcats were down by 2 points late in the game. After a foul with 1.2 seconds left, Joe Pleasant hit two game-winning free throws. Not only were these the biggest shots of the game, but they were also the biggest shots of Joe Pleasant’s life. Pleasant is only a 58% free-throw shooter but buried both with the game on the line. This team is very fun to watch with Abilene Christian’s bench bringing the energy all night.
The reigning NCAA champions were upset in the first round by the Ohio Bobcats. With Virginia coming out of a Covid-19 quarantine, this was a good spot for the Bobcats. Ohio was led by their star point guard Jason Preston. Preston finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists. Even with some offensive struggles, the team was able to pull through on defense. Virginia has been a great offensive team all season but was held to 58 points by the Bobcats. Ohio has been a tough team to beat in the first round, even as an underdog. The Bobcats have won three straight Round of 64 games.
After beating Michigan State in the First Four round, UCLA picked up another win in the Round of 64. BYU was playing great basketball coming into the tournament but was no match for Johnny Juzang. Juzang finished with 27 points and 5 rebounds. UCLA played electric defense throughout the game which turned into easy points. Coming off an overtime game two nights before, the Bruins still had enough energy to get the win and advance out of the Round of 64.
Johnny Juzang leads No. 11 UCLA to the UPSET over No. 6 BYU 🚨
27 PTS | 5 REB | 10/16 FG | 3/7 3PT
ANOTHER double-digit seed gets a win 😯
— Overtime (@overtime) March 21, 2021
Just like Friday, Saturday had plenty of blowouts. Gonzaga, USC, Iowa, Michigan, LSU, Florida State, and Alabama all won by 10 or more points. Also like Friday, we saw our share of great players on Saturday. Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert is one of the best shooters in college basketball. Iowa’s Luka Garza is great inside-and-out. Alabama’s Herbert Jones can lock down any defender. Saturday was another great day of hoops.
The Round of 64 was great. With some of the best young hoopers and some of the biggest upsets, nothing is better than March. We are only getting started.
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