NCAA Tournament 2013 Scores: How Early Winners Must Improve Before Third Round
One down, five to go.
Several teams avoided early-tournament jitters and earned second-round wins on Thursday, but there is simply no time (there's never any time!) to rest.
Round of 32 matchups await on Saturday, and with spots in the Sweet 16 on the line, the early winners will have to be more crisp to make it to the tournament's second week.
Let's take a closer look at each early victor.
Note: You can find all the NCAA tournament scores right here. A printable bracket and live, updated bracket can both be found at the bottom of this page.
Michigan State (Beat Valparaiso, 65-54): Take Better Care of the Ball
How far will the Spartans go?
The Spartans looked like a major league team toying with its Triple-A counterpart during the day's first game, outmatching Bryce Drew's squad with size and physical play down low.
In the end, Sparty finished with 44 rebounds (17 offensive)—compared to Valpo's 20 (six offensive)—and led by double-digits for most of the game.
However, Tom Izzo's squad needs to play smarter. Point guard Keith Appling didn't record a turnover, which is a major "plus," but Adreian Payne had six turnovers, Travis Trice had three and the Spartans gave the ball away 17 times on the day.
Against an athletic team that is dangerous in transition like Memphis, that number has to be limited.
Butler (Beat Bucknell, 68-56): Better Guard Play
With Bucknell's Mike Muscala struggling immensely early on, Rotnei Clarke was equally as cold and couldn't take advantage.
Clarke, who has no limit on his range, eventually hit some shots down the stretch to hold off the Bison, but in the end, he finished just 5-of-14 from the field (2-of-8 from long range).
Moreover, freshman Kellen Dunham, Butler's crucial scorer off the bench, failed to hit a shot and scored two measly points.
Those two will have to be much more consistent on Saturday.
Wichita State (Beat Pittsburgh, 73-55): Better Shooting
This was easily the biggest statement of the early games. Most pundits were looking forward to the Panthers knocking off Gonzaga in the third round, but Wichita State put together a near-perfect second half to complete the dominant victory.
However, while the Shockers don't usually shoot it all that well from the outside, 2-for-20 from deep won't carry them much further in the tourney.
Cleanthony Early was 0-for-6, Malcolm Armstead was 1-of-6 and Ron Baker was 0-for-5 from three.
Ten offensive rebounds and 19 Pittsburgh turnovers won't always be there to reverse that poor of a performance from beyond the arc.
Saint Louis (Beat New Mexico State, 64-44): Better on the Defensive Glass
This was a pretty classic St. Louis performance. It wasn't always pretty, but the Billikens were far more physical and executed much better than the Aggies.
However, New Mexico State grabbed an amazing 21 offensive rebounds on its 34 misses. While the Billikens aren't going to be facing any more 7'5" giants (Sim Bhullar had four offensive boards), 6'8" Bandja Sy and 6'9" Renaldo Dixon have also caused havoc down low.
Jim Crews' squad, which ranks 220th in rebounding percentage, can obviously win while getting beat on the boards. But it can't continue to get beat this bad on that side of the court. Better teams will convert those second chances.
Memphis (Beat Saint Mary's, 54-52): Better Free-Throw Shooting
The Tigers can improve their play across the board after an ugly win over St. Mary's, but free-throw shooting stands out.
Despite an inconsistent day, Josh Pastner's squad had the game in hand. But it knocked down just five of its 10 free-throw attempts in the final two minutes, allowing the Gaels to work their way back into the game and almost earn a miraculous last-second win.
In the end, Memphis finished an anemic 9-of-18 from the charity stripe.
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