March Madness Blog – Observations from Sunday’s night games

Another great set of games tonight. Richard R. is still leading the Sports Spectrum bracket. Let’s get to the breakdown…

#12 South Florida vs. #13 Ohio MIDWEST REGION

Final Score: 62-56 Ohio

Observations: 

- This game was back and forth all the way with the two teams trading leads.

- Ohio will have a tough time dealing with North Carolina’s frontcourt, but if Kendall Marshall’s broken wrist prevents him from playing, it will be tougher getting them the ball.

Key Stats:

- South Florida shot just 13 percent from behind the arc. Ohio shot 50 percent.

- Ohio got to the free throw line 25 times, making 19 (76 percent). South Florida got there 19 times and made 14 (72 percent).

Proud Papa: Clark Kellogg was calling the Xavier/Lehigh game and was unable to watch his son, Nick, play for the Bobcats. But when he heard the news, he was quite proud and congratulated his son on air. Very cool moment.

Player of the Game: D.J. Cooper. Cooper had 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists.

Up next for Ohio: North Carolina

#10 Xavier vs. #15 Lehigh SOUTH REGION

Final Score: 70-58 Xavier

Observations:

- Lehigh lead Xavier 35-20 with 3:18 left to play in the first half. It was 37-33 at halftime. Xavier had all of the momentum going into the lockerroom and rode it throughout the second half.

- Xavier took the lead early in the second half, and Lehigh only managed to tie it twice, at 50, and at 52, with 8:12 left to play. But Lehigh only scored six more points the rest of the way.

- Xavier Seniors Kenny Frease and Tu Holloway were playing like it was their last for the Musketeers, which is why it won’t be.

Key Stats:

- Kenny Frease had 25 points and Tu Holloway had 21, the only two in double figures for the Musketeers.

- C.J. McCollum shot just 5 of 22 from the field. Not good for a guy who was the best player on the court against the Duke Blue Devils.

Blue Blob:  The A-10 has some strange mascots. The Saint Louis Billiken, the Hawk who flaps its wings the entire game at Saint Joseph’s, and Xavier’s Blue Blob, who apparently eats Hall of Fame jackets.

Player of the Game: Kenny Frease. Frease was the matchup problem for Lehigh. They had no one to defend him.

Up next for Xavier: Baylor

#2 Kansas vs. #10 Purdue MIDWEST REGION

Final Score: 63-60 Kansas

Observations:

- I didn’t really key in on this game until the Xavier game finished, when there were about 12 minutes left. But those 12 minutes were phenomenal!

- Redshirt senior Robbie Hummel had a great finish to his career, scoring 26 points and getting nine rebounds. He should have no regrets. He gave it everything he had.

Key Stats: 

- Elijah Johnson: one steal. But it was the steal and following layup with 30 seconds left that made the difference.

There’s Crying in Basketball: The theme of the weekend was the outpouring of emotion from players and coaches. But if anyone had the right to shed a few tears, it was Robbie Hummel. Hummel missed his senior season last year, tearing his ACL late in his junior season, and another ACL tear early last season. He was able to get a medical redshirt and played this full season healthy. But considering his rehab process and all of the hard work it took just to get back to this point, if anyone should cry a little, it’s him.

Player of the Game: Robbie Hummel. Hummel had the game of his life, carrying Purdue to the near upset of the much more talented Kansas Jayhawks. He came so close to hitting the game-tying three that would have sent the game into overtime, but it came up just short.

Up next for Kansas: NC State

#3 Florida State vs. #6 Cincinnati EAST REGION

Final Score: 63-60 Cincinnati

Observations:

- Florida State made some crucial mental errors down the stretch. There was a play where Luke Loucks was pushed, and no foul was called, so he stood there yelling at the refs and they called traveling. He should have passed the ball before they could blow the whistle.

- Cincinnati made their free throws down the stretch. That’s how you survive and advance.

- With the Bearcats’ win, all schools from the state of Ohio are undefeated. Coming up next though is Ohio State, so that streak will have to end.

- Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati, and Ohio are all in the Sweet 16.

Key Stats:

- Thirteen steals for Cincinnati

- Biggest lead of the night was five for Florida State, until Cincinnati closed it out with free throws and winning by six.

Fight Night: It’s great to see that for Xavier and Cincinnati, they did not let their brawl define their season.

Player of the Game: Sean Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick had 18 points and six rebounds and hit some game sealing free throws down the stretch.

Up next for Cincinnati: Ohio State

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