NCAA Brackets 2013: Statement Wins from Day 3
We're less than 24 hours into the round of 64, and we've already seen heart-stopping endings and eye-popping blowouts. Regardless of how it transpired, certain teams have come out and surprised the field with their quality of victory.
So, which teams have logged statement victories on Day 3?
Certain teams were faced with trendy picks for an upset but overcame those odds to pull off a convincing victory. Others were favorites but hadn't yet proven their worth on a national stage.
In one case, we had an upset bid turn into a decimation.
West Region: No. 9 Wichita State over No. 8 Pittsburgh, 73-55
Not only were the Pittsburgh Panthers a favorite entering this game, but they were becoming a trendy pick to upset No. 1 Gonzaga in the round of 32. Well, not only did the Panthers lose, but they were also absolutely decimated.
Wichita State made the ultimate statement with a 73-55 victory.
The Shockers have a history of NCAA tournament success, dating back to their Sweet 16 appearance in 2006. This year's squad appears intent on duplicating that success, as they came out with one of the greatest second-half performances you'll ever witness.
Forty-seven points in the second half against a defense that allowed 55.4 per game on the season.
Malcolm Armstead dropped 22 points, while Cleanthony Early finished with 21 of his own. Despite making just two three-pointers all game, Wichita dominated offensively.
An unbelievable statement win by the Shockers.
Midwest Region: No. 3 Michigan State over No. 14 Valparaiso, 65-54
The final score may appear as if this were a close game, but it wasn't. Valparaiso may have scored 10 points in the final 1:58, but it was already trailing by 21.
The Spartans made a very good Valpo team look as if it didn't belong in the tournament en route to a 65-54 win.
Entering Valparaiso's game against MSU, star forward Ryan Broekhoff was averaging 15.9 points on 43.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Spartans held Broekhoff to eight points on 2-of-11 shooting from the field and 1-of-9 from beyond the arc.
That's what you call a statement win.
There's no denying that the Spartans need to close out better than this in future games. With that being said, the Spartans pounded it inside, took control on defense and controlled the pace.
Derrick Nix finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds to lead the way.
East Region: No. 6 Butler over No. 11 Bucknell, 68-56
The Butler Bulldogs and Bucknell Bison played one of the ugliest games you'll see all tournament. Both squads shot below 40.0 percent and neither played defense in the second half.
With that being said, the Bulldogs made a statement by shutting down star center Mike Muscala and overcoming a poor shooting performance by Rotnei Clarke.
Clarke, Butler's leading scorer, shot just 5-of-14 from the field and 2-for-8 from beyond the arc. Even still, the Bulldogs managed to come together and prove that no individual is of more importance than another.
They did that by holding Muscala to 4-of-17 shooting.
This has been the story of head coach Brad Stevens' tenure, as the Bulldogs simply find a way to win. With a game against Marquette looming in the round of 32, they'll need that mentality.
Marquette shares it.
Midwest Region: No. 4 Saint Louis over No. 13 New Mexico State, 64-44
Entering the 2013 NCAA tournament, most people were torn on the Saint Louis Billikens. While they may be an elite defensive team with momentum on their side, they're also a mid-major team with a high seeding.
With a 64-44 win over New Mexico State, however, Saint Louis quieted the critics.
This one was as close as 39-33 with 12:47 remaining in the second half. To close out, however, the Billikens dominated defensively and went on a 25-11 run behind Cory Remekun's scoring prowess.
The Billikens now move on to the round of 32, where they will play either Oregon or Oklahoma State. Their thrashing of New Mexico State suggests that they're ready for the challenge.
Rick Majerus is smiling down from heaven after this one.
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