The First Four are officially over, and the Round of 64 was actually impacted by the results.
The play-in games used to just be to see who would advance to get crushed by a No. 1 seed. Now, there are a couple different play-ins, including one for a No. 11 seed in the second round. While a lot of fans aren’t thrilled about the expanded field, it won’t change the fact that they still exist.
Here’s a look at the First Four games, and how each will impact the round of 64.
North Carolina A&T 73, Liberty 72
The Aggies were able to hold off the Flames, who kept coming back whenever they went down Tuesday night. Jeremy Underwood had a big game off of the bench, scoring 19 points and going 6-for-6 from the field.
Unfortunately, the Aggies will play their next game against Midwest No. 1 seed Louisville. Since a No. 16 has never pulled off this kind of upset, it’s safe to say that this game didn’t do much in terms of affecting the second round.
Saint Mary’s 67, Middle Tennessee 54
This wasn’t much of a contest for the Gaels, who easily handled the Blue Raiders Tuesday night. Everyone’s favorite Australian, Matthew Dellavedova, went off for 22 points in the win.
This game was actually a pretty big deal as Saint Mary’s will next face No. 6 seed Memphis in the second round. The surprising thing is that the Gaels have a pretty good shot. They have an efficient offense, averaging 75.2 points per game and 47.4 percent shooting from the field.
Memphis may be playing a play-in team, but the Gaels are a serious threat. Watch out for an upset in the Midwest region.
James Madison 68, LIU Brooklyn 55
The Dukes were able to get ahead in the second half Wednesday night and never looked back, comfortably beating the Blackbirds. A.J. Davis filled the stat sheet for the Dukes, putting up 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Once again, the play-in winner will face a No. 1 seed in Indiana. This game had little impact on the round of 64 except to see who the Hoosiers will steamroll on Friday.
La Salle 80, Boise State 71
The Explorers opened up a big lead early in the second half that carried them to their win Wednesday night. They had a pair of players score more than 20 points, with Ramon Galloway putting up 21 on 8-for-13 shooting and Tyrone Garland coming off of the bench to for 22 points on 9-for-11 from the floor.
Don’t sleep on La Salle, who will now be playing No. 4 Kansas State. Their odds may be small, but the team has put up some good wins against Butler, Villanova and VCU this season. They can score consistently in the 70s, so watch out for the Explorers if they can play some solid defense.
Which of these winners has the best chance at winning again?
Overall, the play-in games will make a much bigger impact this year than they ever have. Sure, the No. 16 seeds will get crushed, but Saint Mary’s and La Salle have very good shots at pulling off upsets.
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