NCAA Tournament 2021 scores, takeaways: Sweet 16 field set as teams combine for highest seed total in history
Recapping all the action from the second round on Monday as we look ahead to the Sweet 16
The opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament was littered with upsets, dramatic finishes and underlying feel-good stories, leaving us with an historically irregular Sweet 16. While Sunday's slate saw the only No. 1 seeds survive and advance, we're pushing ahead to the Sweet 16 with plenty of Cinderellas and a number of highly-seeded teams headed home.
Between No. 15 seed Oral Roberts, No. 12 seed Oregon State and No. 11 seeds UCLA and Syracuse, the four double-digit seeded teams in the Sweet 16 came two shy of the NCAA Tournament record of six. But this year's field set its own record in a different way by eclipsing the highest seed total to reach this point in the tourney -- with a sum of 94 besting a long-held record of 89 that was set in 1986. Casualties that made that possible Monday included surprising outs by No. 2 seed Iowa and No. 3 seed Kansas, which took lopsided losses to No. 7 seed Oregon and No. 6 seed USC, respectively.
Biggest opening-weekend takeaways and setting the Sweet 16 table: Listen to the latest episode of Eye on College Basketball now.
Though there were plenty of upsets, it wasn't all madness. Three of the four No. 1 seeds advanced to the second weekend, with only Midwest Region No. 1 seed Illinois ducking out after a Round 2 romp at the hands of Loyola Chicago. Michigan and Gonzaga, the top seeds in the East and West Regions, respectively, both overcame deficits on Monday to secure Sweet 16 spots. Baylor, the No. 1 seed in the South Region, cruised past Wisconsin on Sunday to become the first No. 1 seed to clinch a spot in the Sweet 16. No. 2 seeds Alabama and Houston also survived opening weekend.
Here are few quick takeaways from the action on Monday as we look ahead to the Sweet 16 this coming weekend.
No. 1 seeds survive scares
Both No. 1 seed Gonzaga and No. 1 seed Michigan trailed by eight points on Monday. Both wound up winning comfortably with the Zags cruising to a 16-point win and the Wolverines to an eight-point victory.
For the top overall-seeded Bulldogs, it was an early scare endured. Oklahoma led by eight points in the opening few minutes, but Gonzaga quickly rallied. It led by a dozen at halftime and never really lost the reins despite OU star Austin Reaves keeping things mildly interesting.
For Michigan, it withstood an incredible -- near flawless -- first half from LSU to grind out an 86-78 win. The Tigers did not commit a single turnover in the opening 20 minutes and got 19 first-half points from Cameron Thomas. But Michigan's Chaundee Brown was the difference late as he had 14 of his 21 in the second half to pace the Wolverines to the Sweet 16 for a fourth consecutive tournament.
Alabama shoots its way to an easy win
When Alabama is locked in from distance, it has the most potent attack in college basketball. Look no further than what it did to No. 10 seed Maryland on Monday. The Tide went 16 of 33 from 3-point range and obliterated the Terrapins. Maryland actually had a nice day on offense, but when Alabama makes nearly half its 3s and takes in excess of 30 of them, it's almost always a losing proposition for the other team. Nate Oats and his Alabama team next face red-hot UCLA, a No. 11 seed that had to participate in a play-in game to advance into the first round. It feels like they're on a collision course to face No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga so long as they can shoot the way they did on Monday.
Luka Garza's college career comes to an end
Iowa star Luka Garza played his final game at the college level on Monday as the second-seeded Hawkeyes bowed out of the tournament with a 95-80 loss to No. 7 seed Oregon. But, whoo boy, did he go out with a bang. Garza went for 36 points and nine boards on 14-of-20 shooting in the losing effort, putting a bow on a brilliant college career.
"It's heartbreaking," Garza said through tears after the game. "It's so surreal that it all just hit me once, that this is the last time I'll put on this jersey. That hurts a lot. I feel bad that I wasn't able to lead this team where it needs to go. We did a lot of really good things this year, it just hurts that we weren't able to do it when it mattered most. That's something that's going to haunt me forever."
NCAA Tournament scores on Monday
- (7) Oregon 95, (2) Iowa 80 -- Recap
- (1) Gonzaga 87, (8) Oklahoma 71 -- Recap
- (11) UCLA 67, (14) Abilene Christian 47 -- Recap
- (5) Creighton 72, (13) Ohio 58 -- Recap
- (1) Michigan 86, (8) LSU 78 -- Recap
- 4) Florida State 71, (5) Colorado 53 -- Recap
- (2) Alabama 96, (10) Maryland 77 | Recap
- (6) USC 85, (3) Kansas 51 -- Recap
- NCAA Tournament schedule | Live bracket
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest from every second round game on Sunday. Keep it locked here for scores, analysis and highlights throughout the evening.
What a collegiate career it was for McKinley Wright IV— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) March 23, 2021
• Started all but 2 games in his 4-year career
• Colorado all-time leader in assists
• 6th-most points in school history
• 3x First-Team All-Pac-12
• Led Buffaloes to first NCAA Tournament win since 2012@CUBuffsMBB pic.twitter.com/7lOOhN7og2