Kansas was a favorite to win the NCAA tournament by many, but the play by Ali Farokhmanesh, capped by a huge 3-pointer with 30 seconds to go, pulled an extremely surprising upset with a 69-67 win. Farokhmanesh led Panthers with 16 points, including four 3-pointers.
The quick Kansas exit is the major story of the day, but it wasn’t the only big upset of the day. St. Mary’s asserted their presence in the paint and hit 20 free throws in a 75-68 win over Villanova, a team many had going to the Final Four. Omar Samhan had a monster game with 32 points to lead the Gaels.
Butler was a little luckier in a close game with No. 13 Murray State. They edged the Racers 54-52 to make the Sweet 16 for the third time in school history and avoided the upset. The game ended on a poor pass from Isaiah Canaan with three seconds left in Murray State’s attempt to tie. The ball rolled and the clock ran out as the players dove for possession.
Ohio, the No. 14 seed, didn’t have the same success as the other double-digit seeds. They were outplayed by Tennessee in an 83-68 loss. The Volunteers shot 56 percent from the field, while the Bobcats shot 37 percent.
Baylor also had a great second round day shooting the ball. They shot 51 percent from the field and hit eight 3-pointers in a 76-68 win. It was tied with two minutes to go, but Baylor hit some outside shots and Old Dominion couldn’t knock down the shots down the stretch. The Sweet 16 appearance will be the first in Baylor school history.
In one of the non-eventful games of the day, Washington crushed New Mexico State 82-64 to become the second double-digit seed to move to the Sweet 16. The Huskies led by as much as 22 points, and the Lobos hit only nine of 20 free throws while shooting 40 percent from the field.
In the last two games of the evening, Kansas State and Kentucky both took care of their business and easily moved on to the Sweet 16. The Kansas State Wildcats defeated the Cougars 84-72, led by Jacob Pullen with 34 points. Kentucky crushed Wake Forest 90-60, led by Darius Miller with 20 points.
The impressive aspect of the game was the 60 percent shooting percentage of Kentucky. If they continue to shoot the ball well, they will be nearly impossible to beat. The Demons struggled to defend after a miss. Cornell or Wisconsin should have a better transition defense than Wake Forest, but the Wildcats can hit the 3-pointer as well. They have 22 3-pointers in the two games of the tournament so far.