Well, we finally got our first true upset of the 2017 NCAA Tournament withon Saturday.
That was one of our five second-round upsets to watch last night.
Here are the other four:
No. 10 Wichita State vs. No. 2 Kentucky (Sunday 2:40 ET)
It wasn’t easy, but the Wichita State Shockers advanced past No. 7 seed Dayton in round one. Thing is, a close result against the best team in the A-10 doesn’t concern me. I’m looking at Wichita State, a team that boasts a top-20 offense and defense, and I’m thinking this is the most well-rounded team Gregg Marshall has ever coached.
As I’m sure most people remember, in 2015 the Shockers were a No. 1 seed that landed in the same pod as an 8-seed Kentucky team that made a run to the national title game, handing Wichita State its first loss of the season and in heart-breaking fashion in the process. A win here for Wichita State as the lower seed would be the ultimate revenge, and it certainly could happen. The Shockers, as you’ve probably heard by now, are not a 10-seed -- except on paper.
No. 11 Rhode Island vs. No. 3 Oregon (Sunday 7:10 ET)
If you’re looking for a team that might have been under-seeded, look no further than Rhode Island. And it’s no fault of the selection committee. Lingering injuries to key players threw a wrench in a regular season with high expectations for the Rams. But they are looking more and more like the team many thought they would be in the preseason.
Rhody put away a solid No. 6 Creighton team on Friday, and they got excellent production out of its two-headed duo in E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin who combined for 28 points. The big surprise was a 23-point explosion from Jeff Dowtin, who averaged just 4.9 points this season.
Oregon is without its reserve shot-blocking star Chris Boucher who tore his ACL prior to the NCAA Tournament. While he wasn’t in a starting role, he was a vital member who could protect the rim and step out and hit the three-ball. That basically levels the playing field for Rhode Island, a team with a lot of athleticism but slightly undersized. So if they can get production from Matthews and Martin once again, I like the Rams as a potential upset in round two.
No. 7 Michigan vs. No. 2 Louisville (Sunday 12:10 ET)
Hello, Louisville. Meet the hottest team in the entire country: Michigan.
The Wolverines rolled into the NCAA Tournament on a five game winning streak including a Big Ten tourney title, and on Friday they might have literally shot it so well the lights may never come back on in Indy. Like, really. Someone should check on that.
They hit 55.2 percent of their three-pointers, and connected on 16 throughout the game to oust Oklahoma State.
Derrick Walton Jr. is playing as well as any guard in the tournament right now. He’s averaging 25.6 points over his last three games, including 26 against the Pokes. He might just go full Kemba and get revenge on Louisville, the team that won the national title game in 2013 over Michigan.
No. 9 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Kansas (Sunday 5:15 ET)
The young Spartans turned a double-digit first half deficit into a 20-point win over Miami on Friday, and if that isn’t enough to have you considering picking Michigan State as a legit threat to KU in round two, then maybe this will: Tom Izzo has more wins with a lower-seeded team than any coach in NCAA Tournament history. That’s ahead of Rollie Massimino, Jim Boeheim and Lute Olson.
Sparty is young, fun, and the freshmen of the team are coming into their own at just the right time. They scored a combined 57 points against Miami, the most in NCAA Tournament history, and have a superstar freshman in Miles Bridges who has the ability to go for 20+ points with ease on any given night. From a talent perspective, they can hang with No. 1 seed Kansas despite the youth. And from a coaching perspective, I’d say it’s a pretty level playing field, if not leaned in the favor of MSU.