NCAA Tournament Round of 32: Biggest Winners and Losers from Saturday's Action
The 2013 NCAA tournament has been a wild ride already, and Saturday’s round of 32 action was highlighted by several surprise winners and devastating losers.
That’s why they call it March Madness.
After watching some of the best matchups of the tournament so far, all of the following teams walked away from Saturday’s action as either the biggest winners or the biggest losers of the day.
No. 9 Wichita State Shockers
The No. 9 Wichita State Shockers are a talented team, but a huge win over the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs has given the program the honor of being the biggest winner from Saturday’s wild college basketball action.
Led by the team’s amazingly efficient shooting (a field-goal percentage of 50 and 14-of-28 from three-point range), the Shockers were able to hit timely shots and never give the Bulldogs a chance to breathe.
Wichita State also played a suffocating style of defense, limiting Gonzaga to a 35.6 percent field-goal percentage and 8-of-23 from three-point range. That elite defense can carry the Shockers through the West Region of the bracket as long as they keep shooting this hot.
The No. 12 Oregon Ducks were seeded criminally low in the bracket this year. Now, not only are they defending the honor of the Pac-12, but they are also utterly embarrassing the NCAA tournament selection committee.
The Ducks trounced the No. 4 Saint Louis Billikens 74-57 on Saturday, and they proved that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Midwest Region.
Oregon has an incredibly tough matchup against the No. 1 Louisville Cardinals, but the fact that it made it past the round of 32 is a testament to its raw skill and depth.
Led by the scoring of guard Damyean Dotson (23 points) and the rebounding of forward Arsalan Kazemi (16 rebounds), the Ducks were the stars of Saturday and will give a Louisville team the toughest test of its tournament so far.
No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs
While the Wichita State Shockers were the biggest winners of the day, they also helped contribute to the biggest losers of the day as well when they defeated the No. 1-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Instead of the Bulldogs making a deep run through the West Region toward a Final Four appearance, Gonzaga was stunned by the high-pressure defense of the Shockers, and it hurt the team’s ability to sink its shots.
Instead of withstanding the defensive assault and moving the ball until they found the open look, the Bulldogs forced bad shots, and their field-goal percentage (35.6) showed just how poorly they shot.
Despite having a bona fide college star and a definitive advantage in the low post with Kelly Olynyk, Wichita State lived up to its moniker and shocked the Bulldogs and college basketball as a whole.
No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) Rams
There was a time when the No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth Rams would have been happy to just make it to the round of 32, but under head coach Shaka Smart, the culture of the program has changed.
As great as the Michigan Wolverines were as a No. 4 seed, VCU should not have been destroyed (Saturday's final score was 78-53) the way they were. College basketball fans expect more out of a Rams team coached by one of the hardest workers in the sport.
VCU has been one of the most fundamentally sound squads in the tournament over the last three years, but a bad matchup against a team with a serious inside presence like Wolverines forward Mitch McGary exposed the Rams’ biggest weaknesses.
This was an embarrassing loss, and it will not go unnoticed by Smart and his coaching staff.
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