NCAA Tournament 2012: Winners, Losers, Heroes and Goats of Day 3
The first full day of the NCAA tournament consisted of, as you might expect, quite a bit of madness.
For starters, we very nearly saw a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed for the first time in tournament history. Beyond that, we saw VCU work it's March Madness magic once again, we saw the Big East Player of the Year dominate, and we saw the the nation's best freshman come close to getting a triple-double.
We saw all this and more. For a full recap of Thursday's Round of 64 action, take a stroll through the following slideshow.
No. 11 Colorado State vs. No. 6 Murray State
Murray State 58, Colorado State 41
Hero: Donte Poole
Isaiah Canaan led the Racers with 15 points, but Poole was right there with him with 13 points of his own, and he was much more efficient from the field. The senior guard was 5-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-6 from distance. He was at the center of an 18-2 run that broke the game open in the second half, and he was able to hang tough despite taking a vicious elbow to the face.
Goat: Wes Eikmeier
Wes Eikmeier, Colorado State's leading scorer during the regular season, did not have a good game. He scored just 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting and was 1-of-5 from three. He deserves credit for only contributing one turnover to Colorado State's total of 21, but he just failed to have a significant impact on this game.
What's Next for Murray State
The Racers will take on third-seeded Marquette in the Round of 32 on Saturday. Both teams love to show off their athleticism, so it should be a fun game.
No. 9 Southern Mississippi vs. No. 8 Kansas State
Kansas State 70, Southern Miss 64
Hero: Rodney McGruder
Rodney McGruder exploded for 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting. He scored 18 of those points in the first half, holding up a Wildcats team that was otherwise pretty unspectacular. The rest of the team got rolling in the second half, but the Wildcats wouldn't have won this game without McGruder's contributions in the first half.
Goat: LaShay Page
Hats off to LaShay Page for playing all 40 minutes in Thursday's game, but he wasn't very efficient. He scored 15 points, but it took him a team-high 16 shots to get those points. He only made five field goals and was 3-of-10 from distance. Taking too many threes was a bad habit for him in the regular season, and it held true against Kansas State.
What's Next for Kansas State
The Wildcats will take on the top-seeded Syracuse Orange on Saturday. They'll look to pull off the upset over Syracuse that everyone is waiting for.
No. 13 Davidson vs. No. 4 Louisville
Louisville 69, Davidson 62
Hero: Peyton Siva
The Cardinals are at their best when Peyton Siva is at his best. Luckily for them, Siva led the team with 17 points and pitched in six assists. He had a lot of fun driving through the teeth of the defense, and he got all seven of his field goals inside the arc. Anyone who watched the Big East Tournament will know that Siva is on a heck of a roll.
Goat: Davidson's Guards
The Wildcats typically get good work out of their key guards, but they were hopelessly outmatched against Louisville. JP Kuhlman, Nik Cochran and Chris Czerapowicz combined to go 4-of-18 from the field with 18 points. They were 4-of-12 from distance, and only Cochran had any success getting to the line. The Cardinals shut down Davidson's guards, and the end result speaks for itself.
What's Next for Louisville
The Cardinals will take on fifth-seeded New Mexico on Saturday. The Lobos run a balanced offense that will put Louisville's defense to the test.
No. 13 Montana vs. No. 4 Wisconsin
Wisconsin 73, Montana 49
Hero: Jordan Taylor
As he usually is, Jordan Taylor was pretty awesome on Thursday. All told, he had 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and he committed exactly zero turnovers. He was an efficient 6-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from downtown. It doesn't get much better than that for a point guard.
Goat: Will Cherry
The Grizzlies were going to need a big game from Will Cherry in order to beat Wisconsin, and they didn't get it. Cherry scored nine points on 3-of-14 shooting. He had no assists and committed two turnovers. With him neutralized, it was way too easy for Wisconsin to run away with this game.
What's Next for Wisconsin
The Badgers will play Vanderbilt, vanquishers of Kentucky and Harvard, in the Round of 32 on Saturday.
No. 14 BYU vs. No. 3 Marquette
Marquette 88, BYU 68
Hero: Jae Crowder
Jae Crowder owned this game. He had a double-double with 25 points and 16 rebounds, game highs in both categories. On top of that, he added four assists and four steals. The Cougars had no answer for him.
Goat: Noah Hartsock
Noah Hartsock did well to score 15 points in just 23 minutes of action, but the reason he was so limited was because he got into foul trouble very early on in this game. He was limited to 10 minutes of action in the first half after picking up three fouls. His absence contributed to a dominant first half for Marquette.
What's Next for Marquette
The Golden Eagles will play Murray State on Saturday. Like I said a while back, it's going to be a fun game.
No. 16 UNC-Asheville vs. No. 1 Syracuse
Syracuse 72, UNC-Asheville 65
Hero: James Southerland
Despite their No. 1 seed and outstanding regular season, finding points can be a problem for the Orange. Against the Bulldogs, James Southerland contributed 14 clutch points on 6-of-8 shooting coming off the bench. He was 3-of-5 from distance and had a season-high eight rebounds. Without him, Syracuse would have lost this game.
Goat: The Refs
The referees cost UNC-Asheville a chance at a historic upset. They made some boneheaded calls at key moments in the game, and the folks packed into CONSOL Energy Center were none too happy about it. Neither were the Bulldogs, who made no secret of their displeasure with the officiating.
What's Next for Syracuse
The Orange will take on Kansas State on Saturday. If they're not sharper than they were against UNC-Asheville, they'll be on upset alert. Again.
No. 12 Long Beach State vs. No. 5 New Mexico
New Mexico 75, Long Beach State 68
Hero: Kendall Williams
Drew Gordon had a double-double, with 18 points and 13 rebounds, but Kendall Williams gets the hero honor because of his work in the second half. Of his 16 points, 14 came in the second half, and he added five assists, three rebounds and two steals. He also played great defense on Casper Ware, who scored over 17 points per game in the regular season.
Goat: Casper Ware
How good was Williams on Ware? In the end, Ware needed 19 shots to score 17 points. He only made five field goals and was 2-of-9 from three. Williams got the better of him in this game.
What's Next for New Mexico
The Lobos will play Louisville on Saturday. They're in for a tough test.
No. 12 Harvard vs. No. 5 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt 79, Harvard 70
Hero: John Jenkins
John Jenkins led all scorers with 27 points, adding six rebounds and three assists. He made some clutch free throws late in the game when Harvard was making a run at a stunning comeback. For the game, he was 10-of-13 from the line. Not a bad day at the office.
Goat: Brandyn Curry
Brandyn Curry didn't have an awful game, but he did more harm than good. He was 5-of-13 from the field for 12 points, including 1-of-5 from three. He had three assists to four turnovers and picked up four fouls throughout the course of the game.
What's Next for Vanderbilt
The Commodores will play Wisconsin on Saturday. The Badgers don't suffer against perimeter shooting, so it's going to be a very tough game for Vanderbilt to win.
No. 16 Western Kentucky vs. No. 1 Kentucky
Kentucky 81, Western Kentucky 66
Hero: Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis messed around and nearly got a triple-double. He had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks. If you haven't noticed, he's really, really good.
Goat: Teeng Akol
I feel bad for picking on Teeng Akol given the fact he had to go up against the most dominant big man in college basketball, but I can't overlook two points on 1-of-7 shooting and a measly three rebounds.
What's Next for Kentucky
Kentucky will take on Iowa State in the Round of 32 on Saturday. The Cyclones knocked off defending champion UConn on Thursday night.
No. 12 VCU vs. No. 5 Wichita State
VCU 62, Wichita State 59
Hero: Bradford Burgess
If the Rams are going to duplicate their Cinderella success from 2011, they need Bradford Burgess to step up. Lucky for them, he stepped up in a huge way against Wichita State, scoring a team-high 16 points. His late three-pointer put the Rams ahead, and they would hold on for yet another dramatic win.
Goat: Garrett Stutz
Garrett Stutz, Wichita State's leading scorer and rebounder in the regular season, was invisible in this game. He had four points on 2-of-11 shooting and just six rebounds. Had he been his usual self, the Shockers would have won this game.
What's Next for VCU
The Rams will play Indiana on Saturday, a matchup between two programs that love to shoot the three.
No. 10 West Virginia vs. No. 7 Gonzaga
Gonzaga 77, West Virginia 54
Hero: Kevin Pangos
Truth be told, the "hero" label could go to several different Bulldogs players. Kevin Pangos gets it because he was as good as he usually is, scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. He added five assists and two steals. He definitely put his stamp on this game.
Goat: Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game during the regular season, but he managed just 13 points and four rebounds in this game. He failed to have an impact on this game, though he admittedly didn't get a whole lot of help from his teammates.
What's Next for Gonzaga
Gonzaga will play Ohio State, which means they better get ready for the wonderfully boring efficiency of Jared Sullinger.
No. 14 South Dakota State vs. No. 3 Baylor
Baylor 68, South Dakota State 60
Hero: Brady Heslip
Brady Heslip picked a good time to have his best game since December. He scored 17 points, which came primarily thanks to his five three-pointers. Take him out of the equation, and Baylor is headed home on the heels of a dreadful offensive performance.
Goat: Perry Jones III
Yes, Perry Jones III plays for the team that won the game. But, he needs to do better than two points on 1-of-6 shooting. He added 11 rebounds, but Baylor needs more from him if it wants to advance.
What's Next for Baylor
The Bears will play Colorado in the Round of 32. The Buffaloes are a hot team, but they're going to have to be better in the second half to beat Baylor.
No. 9 UConn vs. No. 8 Iowa State
Iowa State 77, UConn 64
Hero: Royce White
With all due respect to Chris Allen and his 20 points, the hero of this game for the Cyclones was Royce White. He had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds and was an efficient 6-of-10 from the field. That's a solid game against a UConn team that features some pretty solid bigs.
Goat: Andre Drummond
UConn's star big man was basically invisible in this game, scoring just two points and pulling down just three rebounds. He did have four blocks...but he also had five fouls. He was outplayed by White, who stands a couple inches shorter than him. Not a good showing for Drummond at all.
What's Next for Iowa State
The Cyclones get to take on the No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats. Lucky them.
No. 13 New Mexico State vs. No. 4 Indiana
Final Score: Indiana 79, New Mexico State 66
Hero: Jordan Hulls
Jordan Hulls had an outstanding game for the Hoosiers, scoring 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He was 4-of-6 from distance, and added 3 assists, two rebounds and a pair of steals. He made a huge difference in this game, leading a dominant Hoosiers attack.
Goat: Tyrone Watson
Tyrone Watson is not a huge part of this Aggies team, but he stood out on Thursday night. Unfortunately, he stood out because of his six turnovers, all of which came in the first half. He added only six points and two rebounds. Not a good performance at all for junior forward.
What's Next for Indiana?
The Hoosiers will take on VCU in the Round of 32 on Saturday.
No. 15 Loyola (MD) vs. No. 2 Ohio State
Final Score: Ohio State 78, Loyola (MD) 59
Hero: Deshaun Thomas
Deshaun Thomas went off for 31 points and 12 rebounds against the Greyhounds. Of his 12 boards, seven came on the offensive end. He was 13-of-22 from the field, adding a pair of blocked shots for good measure. In short, he dominated.
Goat: Robert Olson
Robert Olson had seven points and five rebounds. That doesn't look to bad, but the fact that he was 1-of-11 from the floor does look bad. He couldn't buy a bucket from distance, shooting 1-of-6 from beyond the arc.
What's Next for Ohio State?
The Buckeyes will play seventh-seeded Gonzaga on Friday. Should be a fun game to watch.
No. 11 Colorado vs. No. 6 UNLV
Final Score: Colorado 68, UNLV 64
Hero: Andre Roberson
Sophomore forward Andre Roberson had a fantastic game, recording a double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds. He did have five turnovers, but I'm not going to single him out for making too many turnovers. The Buffaloes made too many of them as a whole.
Goat: Chance Stanback
Mike Moser, the Rebels' leading scorer and rebounder, did his part to keep UNLV in the game. He had 10 points and nine rebounds. Chance Stanback wasn't quite as effective, scoring eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. He was just 2-of-8 from downtown.
What's Next for Colorado?
The Buffaloes advance to face Baylor in the Round of 32 on Saturday. They might just pull off the upset if they catch Baylor on one of its bad days.