March Madness Saturday recap: Kansas is the 6th straight men’s defending champ to exit early

It’s tough for the reigning NCAA men’s tournament champion.

Arkansas’ 72–71 victory over Kansas extended a remarkable streak for the reigning national title holders. The Jayhawks became the sixth consecutive national title winner to be eliminated on the first weekend of the NCAA tournament the following year.

The last defending champion to come out on the second weekend of the tournament was Duke in 2016. That season, the Blue Devils finished 4th and beat 13th-seeded UNC at Wilmington and 12th-seeded at Yale before losing the No. 1 seed in Oregon. Sweet 16. Since then, the tournament performances of the defending champions have been:

  • 2017 Villanova: Lost in the second round to No. 8 at Wisconsin, finishing first.

  • 2018 North Carolina: Lost in the second round to No. 7 Texas A&M runner-up.

  • 2019 Villanova: Lost in the second round to No. 3 Purdue, finishing 6th.

  • 2021 Virginia: Lost in the first round to No. 13 Ohio, finishing 4th.

  • 2022 Baylor: Lost in the second round to No. 8 in North Carolina, finishing first.

  • 2023 Kansas: Lost in the second round to #8 at Arkansas, finishing first.

Kansas kept Arkansas at arm’s length for the first half before the Razorbacks’ erratic style began to give the Jayhawks real fits. There were 23 fouls in the foul-filled game, with four players fouling and four others finishing with four fouls.

The foul fest made it appropriate that the game was decided at the free throw line. Ricky Council IV of Arkansas made five free throws in the last 24 seconds and made four in a row after a key offensive rebound from a missed free throw.

DE MOINES, IOWA - MARCH 18: Bench members
Kansas has a national title and three NCAA Tournament second-round exits in the past five seasons. (Photo by Michael Reeves/Getty Images)

If Kansas was going to be successful in this year’s tournament, it had to be with a team that bore little resemblance to the one that cut the nets in 2022. Jalen Wilson has averaged 20 points per game this season to become the Kansas’ all-time leading scorer. an average of 11 seasons ago. With players like Ochai Agbaji and Christian Brown in the NBA, freshman Grady Dick and Texas Tech transfer Kevin McCallar have played a big role, and big man KJ Adams has gone from five minutes per game a season ago to 27 this year.

This updated team was really good. Kansas won the Big 12 title again in the regular season, but showed some weaknesses that Texas brought out twice in eight days. The talented but not successful Arkansas was also a poor matchup for the Jayhawks, as the Hogs were able to line up well with Kansas all over the court and put pressure on the Jayhawks in the second half.

Here’s what else you need to know to stay on top of everything that happened on Day 3 of the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments.

Princeton continues to fight for 15th place

Princeton became the third No. 15 seed in as many years to advance to the Sweet 16 with a 78–63 win over Missouri.

The Ivy League champions absolutely dominated Missouri on points and led the Tigers by 15 rebounds. Princeton also hit 12 3-pointers, breaking Missouri’s defensive end in the second half. The Missouri team, which relies on losses and shooting from a distance, didn’t get Princeton in possession and shot poorly from 3’s.

Four No. 15 seeds have made the Sweet 16 in NCAA men’s tournament history, all of them in the last decade. Florida’s Gulf Coast was first in 2013 ahead of Oral Roberts in 2021 and St. Peters in 2022.

The Peacoxes were the first No. 15 to make the Elite Eight when they beat Purdue a season ago. And it’s not hard to see how Princeton could do the same if they kept recovering, as they did against Arizona and Missouri.

Louisville avoided the third upset with a score of 12 + 5

Louisville narrowly avoided being the third No. 5 seed, which fell to the No. 12 seed in the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

The Cardinals beat Drake 83–81 after a 54-point fourth quarter. Louisville ended the game on a slick game with 20 seconds left when Hayley Van Lit converted and-1 to give the Cardinals a 4-point lead.

Van Lit scored 26 points on 10-of-20 field goals with Mikasa Robinson adding 14 points.

Earlier in the day, Florida on the Gulf Coast beat Washington State’s Pac-12 champion 74-63 as Sha Carter scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds. The Eagles’ upset occurred just before Toledo defeated Iowa State 80–73. The Rockets pulled away from Iowa State in the second quarter and held off the Cyclones in the second half with a phenomenal free throw.

Louisville guard Hayley Van Lit (10) hugs teammate Mikasa Robinson after their victory over Drake in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas on Saturday, March 18, 2023.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Louisville guard Hayley Van Lit (10) hugs teammate Mikasa Robinson after their victory over Drake in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Austin, Texas on Saturday, March 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

big comeback day

The double-digit lead wasn’t as safe as usual on Saturday at the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

No. 9 Miami played 17 points at halftime to beat No. 8 Oklahoma State 62–61. The Cowgirls had a shot at winning after a five-second foul in Miami, but he bounced off the rim harmlessly.

A few hours later, in the Seattle Regional 3, No. 7 Baylor cut Alabama’s lead to 18 points in the second quarter to win 78-74.

Baylor trailed 22-4 at the end of the first quarter before cutting their lead to 11 at halftime. The Bears then dominated the fourth quarter and took the lead from 3:30 to a three-pointer from Sarah Andrews. Alabama scored six straight points and reclaimed the lead before Baylor scored 7 straight points in the last 53 seconds to take the win.

Miami’s comeback was the fifth biggest in NCAA women’s tournament history before Baylor’s comeback jumped to third place.

We also can’t forget Ohio State. The No. 3 Buckeyes fell to No. 14 James Madison 35–19 with 4:01 left in the second quarter before coming back in the second half to lead the Dukes by 30 points to go. Ohio State beat JMU 80–66 as Coty McMahon scored 18 points and Jaycee Sheldon scored 17.

UCLA Holds Back the Northwest

The UCLA No. 2 thwarted a failed attempt by the Northwestern in a 68–63 win over the Wildcats.

The Bruins hit 50% from the field as Northwestern never took the lead after taking a 3–0 lead early in the game. Tiger Campbell shot a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line and Jaime Jacques scored 24 for the Bruins.

However, there are some concerns about UCLA. The Bruins returned Adem Bona to the starting lineup on Saturday, but defenseman David Singleton looked like he twisted his right ankle badly in the last minute on the court. Singleton was helped by the court after writhing in pain, although he was able to lean on his leg.

“He didn’t break his ankle, which I was worried about,” UCLA head coach Mick Cronin said of the injury.

Singleton’s absence from the Sweet 16 and a potential Elite 8 showdown would be a huge blow to a UCLA team that is missing Jaylen Clark due to a calf injury.

Maddy Sigrist dominates

Villanova’s Maddie Siegrist entered Saturday’s first-round game against Cleveland State as the nation’s top scorer with 29 points per game. She easily surpassed that average with 35 points in Villanova’s 76–59 win.

Siegrist leads the nation in field goals and ranks second in field goals per game. She was 15 of 28 from the field, as no other Wildcat had more than 10 shots.

Villanova made sure to make his mark early and beat Cleveland State 42–21 in the first half. At the end of the third quarter, the difference was 29 points, but Siegrist played all but four minutes.

The victory opens up the Florida Gulf Coast matchup in the second round on Monday.

Maddie Sigrist (20) scored 35 points in Villanova's win over Cleveland State.  (Photo by Eric Hartline/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Maddie Siegrist (20) scored 35 points in Villanova’s win over Cleveland State. (Photo by Eric Hartline/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Rick Barnes has been looking for the first Elite Eight since 2008

Rick Barnes is in his 36th season as head coach at the top level of college basketball. His teams have won 778 games in those 36 seasons and he has coached 20 winning teams in 23 of those 36 seasons.

However, Barnes never had much success in the NCAA Tournament. His teams consistently do very poorly with postseason spread and have made it to the Final Four just once. It happened in 2003 when Texas reached the national semi-finals.

And Barnes’ last appearance with the Elite 8 came five years after his 2008 stint with the Longhorns. Since then, the Texas and Tennessee teams coached by Barnes have appeared in nine NCAA Tournaments. But none of those teams have won three games in any of those matches.

Tennessee has a great chance to win three games in 2023 after beating Duke 65-52. The Vols got 27 points from Olivier Ncamhua and just outplayed the Blue Devils on glass. And thanks to Purdue’s upset loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday, the Tennessee will have to beat either the Knights or Florida Atlantic next Thursday for a shot at Barnes’ second Final Four.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes announces the game against Louisiana during the first half of the first-round college basketball game at the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2023, in Orlando, Florida.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Teams coached by Rick Barnes have not competed in the Elite Eight since 2008. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Furman can’t move to Sweet 16

Furman’s NCAA tournament streak ended on the opening weekend.

On Thursday, the No. 13 Paladins stunned Virginia, but dominated No. 5 San Diego State in the first game of the day on Saturday. fields.

JP Pegues hit the game-winning shot against Virginia and was just 3-for-15 from the field against San Diego State. The Aztecs had four players in double figures and scored 23 of 38 from beyond the arc.

San Diego State snapped Mountain West’s NCAA Tournament losing streak with Thursday’s win and is now in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014.


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