The Saturday shows we go to for different kind of March Madness

Instant reaction see what historic day means next month. If the last Saturday of February is tumultuous, the frenetic March can only be enchanting.

For the first time in history, seven teams in the top 10 lost on Saturday, including the top six. Gonzaga, Arizona, Auburn, Purdue, Kansas and Kentucky, one through six, respectively, all fell over a 12-hour period. So does Texas Tech ranked ninth.

We haven’t seen anything quite like it. Social media is on fire as one annoying person follows another. The consensus is that next month’s NCAA Tournament can be a miracle, that anything can happen.

That is true, at one point. But take a closer look. Despite the unexpected results, they were no shockers beyond Arizona’s 16-point defeat to Colorado.

Of the seven losses, four were to other ranked opponents, and that doesn’t include Purdue’s setback to entering the Michigan State NCAA Tournament. All are on the road.

The depth of this season could lead to fewer early round upsets. Limited TV series soon. But it can create chaos later on with so many teams – I’ll put 20 or so – that are likely to win three to four games in the league.

The season’s story has been missing a real favorite. No team will be surprised if it doesn’t make it to the Finals in New Orleans. This is not Baylor and Gonzaga on a collision course to meet in the title game a year ago. But the top teams in the country don’t just lose to anyone.

Colorado fans flocked to the field after their team beat Arizona.

Gonzaga’s setbacks were faced by Duke, Alabama, and St. Mary’s, the teams ranked 23rd nationally and had 24 wins. Auburn lost to Connecticut, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee. In addition to the nasty early-season defeat to Dayton, Kansas has fallen to Texas Tech, Kentucky, Texas and Baylor. Before Arizona’s staggering defeat to Colorado on Saturday, the Wildcats lost only to UCLA and Tennessee.

These are all teams that are likely to go far this March. The majority of programs are unlikely to be phased out anytime soon. This year’s NCAA tournament is extensive to some extent. Saturday offers a fitting illustration: The best teams can be in danger, but only against the teams directly below them with existential depth.

Willard wins

When March arrived, there was only one local NCAA tournament course: Seton Hall. Looks like it’s been going this way for years, Kevin Willard’s Pirates carry the flag into Madness. After a one-year hiatus – Rutgers was crowned last March – Seton Hall basically went through with a 16-point win over Xavier, giving himself a shot to improve his seeding with a powerful kick.

Seton Hall will dance for the fifth time in the last six tournaments, and it’s going on despite the absence of top keeper Bryce Aiken (concussion) for the past six weeks. This is typical Willard. His team hasn’t always been easy on the eyes. It hit a speed bump in January. But when it matters most, the Pirates find a way. They might even end up with a first-round goodbye in the Big East Tournament 2-0 against Georgetown and Creighton last week. Memo for Seton Hall fans: Appreciate Willard and his many quick tweaks.

On Friar

Good for providence. Good for Ed Cooley. Good for Nate Watson. This is what makes college basketball so great. A star player is always by his side despite the struggles. A coach rewarded years of hard work with a season straight from the script. A loyal fan base grows with the occasion. Providence claimed its first Big East regular-season crown Saturday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts center, an unlikely title for a team that has been picked by the league’s coaches to finish second. seven in the Big East. I don’t think Providence is the Finalist team. The brothers have picked up some luck along the way, facing a number of unworked teams and not having to play three of their toughest matches – at Seton Hall and Creighton, home of the team. UConn – because of COVID-19 canceled. But they took advantage. They rested on their own. No matter what happens from here on out, Providence still has the championship.

Big East
Ed Cooley and Providence are your Big East regular season champions.

Game of the week

North Carolina at 7 Duke, 6 p.m. Saturday

This will be an event – the last home game of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s legendary 42-year career at Durham. Fittingly, it’s up against longtime enemy North Carolina. Currently, fans are camping outside to buy tickets. A man of the legendary Dukes is expected in attendance to give the five-time national champion a well-deserved ride. It will be an emotional evening at Cameron Indoor Stadium.


1: Gonzaga, Baylor, Kansas, Arizona

2: Auburn, Kentucky, Duke, Purdue

3: Villanova, Texas Tech, Tennessee, Wisconsin

4: Illinois, UCLA, Providence, Arkansas

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Jared Grasso – Up

The year before his arrival, Bryant had won three games. It didn’t even qualify for the NEC Tournament. Now, in Grasso’s fourth season, the Bulldogs are the top seed in the low-level league with a spot in their first NCAA Tournament. Under the guidance of 41-year-old Grasso, Bryant was just one win behind in his first 20-match campaign in 15 years. A candidate on last year’s coaching carousel at Fordham and Hofstra, Grasso could become a target again this season after rebuilding work he completed at Bryant.

Jared Grasso

Baylor – Up

Around this time last year, Baylor started its ascent, briefly shaking off to find its game into the NCAA Tournament. Well, it’s happening again. After a 10-point win over fifth-placed Kansas on Saturday, the Bears have won five of their last six and four of those doubles despite the absence of leading striker LJ Cryer due to injury. foot. The first seed is back to play for Scott Drew and Co. with a strong showing in the Big 12 Tournament.

Creighton – Down

This isn’t about Saturday’s loss at Providence, or really anything the Bluejays did wrong. The season-end injury of freshman points guard Ryan Nembhard (broken wrist) is fierce news for a team that has significantly exceeded expectations and is heading towards the NCAA Tournament. The goodbye first round in the Big East Tournament is now in jeopardy if Creighton can’t find a way to win either of the final two, at home to Connecticut and Seton Hall. It wouldn’t be the same team without Nembhard, the top contender for the Big East Freshman title.

Purdue – Down

This is still a second weekend team. But that alone is not enough. There are four final expectations in West Lafayette. And this group is showing serious signs that may not be in the cards. It lost to the downhill Michigan State on Saturday. It was recently wiped out by Michigan on the bubble. And it has struggled to beat Northwestern and Maryland. The fourth-tier teams are tending to go in the wrong direction, at the wrong time. The Saturday shows we go to for different kind of March Madness


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