NCAA Tournament 2013: Top Seeds That Must Play Better Quickly
Several top seeds received wake-up calls in the round of 64 on Thursday in the 2013 NCAA tournament. In fact, they are lucky they received wake-up calls instead of losses.
Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, is probably still wondering what happened in the narrow victory over No. 16 seed Southern.
But the Bulldogs aren't the only top seed that came out flat in the round of 64. Here's a look at top seeds that must regroup if they expect to last much longer in the NCAA tournament this year.
Memphis (No. 6 Seed, Midwest Regional)
Memphis utilized its athleticism to get off to a 32-22 lead against St. Mary's on Thursday, but the Tigers allowed the Gaels to get back in the game. St. Mary's sharpshooter Matthew Dellavedova actually had a chance to win it with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Memphis committed 15 turnovers in the game while shooting just 41 percent from the field and going 9-of-18 from the free-throw line.
The Tigers ranked 16th in the nation in field-goal percentage during the regular season, so there's still a chance they shoot the ball better in the round of 32 against No. 3 seed Michigan State. Then again, Michigan State ranked 32nd in defensive efficiency this season.
The turnovers also mark a trend for Memphis. The squad ranked 221st in turnover rate during the season.
Memphis better get it together. Tom Izzo's Spartans figure to be a tough test in the next round.
Marquette (No. 3 Seed, East Regional)
Marquette may rank 34th in field-goal percentage, but the Golden Eagles have fallen apart on offense at times during the season.
That happened against No. 14 seed Davidson on Thursday. Marquette shot 35 percent from the field in the 59-58 nail-biter, narrowly avoiding what would have been an embarrassing defeat.
The Golden Eagles mopped up on the glass on Thursday (38-23 advantage), which was the only reason they survived. That's going to be a lot more difficult to do against round-of-32 opponent Butler, which ranks sixth in the nation in rebounding rate (14th in defensive rebounding rate).
Butler wasn't a great defensive team during the season, but the Bulldogs did hold Bucknell to 37 percent shooting in the round of 64. Plus, it's best to never underestimate Butler head coach Brad Stevens.
Gonzaga (No. 1 Seed, West Regional)
Who should be most worried?
Gonzaga—which has been questioned this season due to a soft schedule—narrowly avoided becoming the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed on Thursday.
What was particularly startling in the narrow 64-58 victory over Southern was the fact that the Bulldogs shot 42 percent from the floor, despite shooting 50.3 percent (third in the nation) during the regular season.
On the other hand, Southern did rank second in the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage this season. Perhaps the fact that the Jaguars played in the weak SWAC Conference didn't matter that much.
It's also worth noting that Gonzaga went 10-of-15 from the free-throw line on Thursday. The Bulldogs ranked 113th in free-throw percentage during the season, so that could come back to bite them in another close game.
The Bulldogs face Wichita State in the round of 32, a No. 9 seed that blew out Pittsburgh on Thursday. In the 73-55 thumping, the appropriately-named Shockers scored 47 points in the second half against the Panthers.
They also held Pittsburgh to 35 percent shooting, which is significant considering Pittsburgh ranked 18th in the nation in field-goal percentage during the regular season.
Wichita State ranked 41st in the nation in opponents' field-goal percentage.
Gonzaga cannot take the Shockers lightly, especially after almost losing to a No. 16 seed.
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