NCAA Tournament 2018: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for 2nd Round

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2018

NCAA Tournament 2018: B/R Expert Predictions, Updated Results for 2nd Round

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    West Virginia's Jevon Carter
    West Virginia's Jevon CarterDonald Miralle/Getty Images

    There has been no shortage of drama now that the first two rounds of the 2018 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament are in the books.

    For just the first time in history, two top seeds are out before the Sweet 16. Xavier's loss to Florida State on Sunday put the the Musketeers on the sidelines after Virginia's first-round loss on Friday night. No. 2s North Carolina and Cincinnati and No. 3 Michigan State also failed to advance on Sunday, while UMBC's dream run came to an end in a nail-biter against Kansas State.

    The Sweet 16 will kick off on Thursday.

           

    Pregame analysis written by David Kenyon. Advanced statistics current as of March 16 and courtesy of KenPom.com and Sports Reference.

No. 2 Purdue 76, No. 10 Butler 73

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    Purdue's Vincent Edwards and Dakota Mathias
    Purdue's Vincent Edwards and Dakota MathiasGregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Purdue's Dakota Mathias drilled a late three-pointer against Butler to help clinch a spot for the second-seeded Boilermakers in the Sweet 16.

    The Bulldogs attempted to tie the game before the end of regulation, pulling within three points with two seconds left.

    Following a missed free throw by Purdue's P.J. Thompson, Butler's Kelan Martin had a chance to send the game to overtime, but his last-second heave barely missed.

    The Boilermakers achieved the victory without Isaac Haas, who was ruled out with a fractured elbow he suffered against No. 15 Cal State Fullerton in the first round.

           

    Top Performers

    Vincent Edwards led the Boilermakers with 20 points despite battling foul trouble in the first half.

    Martin was the top scorer in the contest, as he produced 29 points in defeat for the Bulldogs.

            

    X-Factor

    Any one of Purdue's role players is deserving of this honor, but Matt Haarms was the most important one, as he provided seven points and six rebounds in place of the injured Haas.

             

    Next Round

    The Boilermakers face No. 3 Texas Tech in the Sweet 16 in Boston.

             

    —Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 11 Syracuse 55, No. 3 Michigan State 53

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    MSU's Joshua Langford and Miles Bridges
    MSU's Joshua Langford and Miles BridgesCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Another high seed went down Sunday as No. 3 Michigan State lost to No. 11 Syracuse 55-53.

    The Orange earned a berth in the Sweet 16, adding to legendary coach Jim Boeheim's legacy.

                   

    Top Performers

    Tyus Battle led Syracuse with 17 points. He was just 4-of-15 from the field but made up for it by going 9-of-10 at the foul line.

    Oshae Brissett added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Orange.

    Cassius Winston's 15 points and six assists led the Spartans.

                     

    X-Factor

    Syracuse's suffocating 2-3 zone held Michigan State to just 25.8 percent shooting from the field (17-of-66).

                  

    Next Round

    Syracuse will face No. 2 Duke in the Sweet 16 on Friday.

                  

    —Updated by Sean Frye

No. 7 Texas A&M 86, No. 2 North Carolina 65

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Another of the top seeds in the NCAA tournament fell in the second round as No. 7 Texas A&M ousted the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels, 86-65.

    The Aggies will head to the Sweet 16.

             

    Top Performers

    TJ Starks led Texas A&M with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting and added five assists. Tyler Davis amassed 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting while pulling down nine rebounds.

    Joel Berry II, in his final game for UNC, led the Tar Heels with 21 points. He also pulled down five boards.

                     

    X-Factor

    There were several X-factors for the Aggies.

    Texas A&M won the rebounding battle 50-36, shot 51.7 percent to UNC's 33.3 percent and put up three times as many free throws (21-7) in the game.

                  

    Next Round

    Texas A&M will face No. 3 Michigan in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.

           

    —Updated by Sean Frye.

No. 7 Nevada 75, No. 2 Cincinnati 73

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    What a comeback! Down 65-43 with 11:34 to play in the second half, the Nevada Wolf Pack charged all the way back to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16 off Josh Hall's jumper with 10 seconds left.

            

    Top Performers

    Junior forward Cody Martin led the way for Nevada with 25 points, seven assists and six rebounds. His twin brother, Caleb, chipped in 10 points and five rebounds. Gary Clark had a double-double for the Cincinnati Bearcats with 11 points and 10 boards.

                      

    X-Factor

    It has to be the comeback, right? The Martin twins took control of the game down the stretch as the Wolf Pack outscored the Bearcats 32-8 in crunch time.

              

    Next Round

    The Wolf Pack will face another Cinderella team, No. 11 Loyola-Chicago, in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.

             

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 5 Clemson 84, No. 4 Auburn 53

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    Auburn's Jared Harper
    Auburn's Jared HarperSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    No. 5 seed Clemson recorded the most lopsided win of the 2018 NCAA tournament, beating No. 4 Auburn by a 31-point margin.

    Clemson took control in the latter stages of the first half, going on a 29-4 run to build a lead that would never be seriously challenged. The Tigers led by 24 at halftime and extended that lead to 41 points before easing up in garbage time.

       

    Top Performers

    Gabe DeVoe scored 22 points and Elijah Thomas added 18 and 11 boards for Clemson. Three Auburn players hit double digits, but no one scored more than 12.

          

    X-Factor

    Auburn simply couldn't get the ball down. The only player on the Tigers' roster to hit 50 percent from the field was Horace Spencer, who was 3-of-6 with 10 points. As a team, Auburn went a dismal 17-of-66 from the field for 25.8 percent.

        

    Next Round

    The Clemson Tigers won't have as easy a time of it when they face No. 1 Kansas in the Sweet 16.

       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 9 Kansas State 50, No. 16 UMBC 43

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    They made history on Friday as the first-ever No. 16 seed to beat a top seed, but the clock struck midnight in the last three minutes as UMBC was eliminated by No. 9 Kansas State 50-43.

    The game was close for 37 minutes—a defensive battle in which both teams struggled to make shots. In the end, the Wildcats got up to 40.9 percent from the field on 18-of-44 shooting, while the Retrievers had to settle for 14-of-47 for 29.8 percent.

       

    Top Performers

    On a night when points were hard to come by, junior Barry Brown went 8-of-8 from the line to lead Kansas State with 18 points. Jairus Lyles was the only UMBC player to hit double digits, with 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

        

    X-Factor

    With Kansas State up by a single point with 6:04 to go, Xavier Sneed hit two clutch baskets down the stretch that allowed the Wildcats to seize control in the dying minutes and secure the win.

        

    Next Round

    The Wildcats will face No. 5 Kentucky in the Sweet 16.

       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 9 Florida State 75, No. 1 Xavier 70

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    Braian Angola led Florida State in scoring in its upset win.
    Braian Angola led Florida State in scoring in its upset win.Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Another top seed is out of the 2018 NCAA tournament after Florida State engineered a massive comeback to dispose of Xavier 75-70.

    The Musketeers held a two-point lead at halftime and built that to 11 off a 12-3 run to start the second half before the Seminoles started to chip away. J.P. Macura fouled out on a charge with the game tied at 68-68 with 2:08 to go, allowing the underdogs to seize control as the clock wound down.

       

    Top Performers

    Four Seminoles hit double figures, led by Braian Angola with 16 points. Off the bench, Trent Forrest went 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-4 from the line for 13 points, and he chipped in four crucial steals and five rebounds.

        

    X-Factor

    Macura's overaggressiveness hurt the Musketeers. The senior guard sent FSU to the line when he was whistled for his first foul just 17 seconds into the game, and the charge that sent him to the bench with the score tied in the dying minutes was a game-changer.

        

    Next Round

    The Seminoles will face No. 4 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.

       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 5 West Virginia 94, No. 13 Marshall 71

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    Jevon Carter led West Virginia with 28 points
    Jevon Carter led West Virginia with 28 pointsGregory Bull/Associated Press

    Finishing off a crazy Sunday of second-round action, the West Virginia Mountaineers calmly disposed of their in-state rivals from Marshall by a 23-point margin.

    After an early push that saw them get up by a score of 16-8, Marshall went quietly. The Mountaineers were up by 17 at the half and only extended their lead in the final 20 minutes.

       

    Top Performers

    Senior Jevon Carter dominated the game offensively, with 28 points for West Virginia. As a team, Marshall shot below 40 percent from the field, but Adjin Penava was 7-for-9 from the field and led his team with 18 points.

        

    X-Factor

    After just their first-ever NCAA tournament win, Marshall may have played too timidly for such an intense situation. Only one player from the Thundering Herd picked up more than two fouls.

    Next Round

    The Mountaineers will face the impressive No. 1 Villanova in the Sweet 16.



No. 1 Villanova 81, No. 9 Alabama 58

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    Villanova's Jalen Brunson
    Villanova's Jalen BrunsonJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Donte DiVincenzo carried a cold-shooting Villanova squad with 18 first-half points, but his teammates came alive after the break.

    Mikal Bridges scored 22 of his game-high 23 points in the second half, matching DiVincenzo with five triples for the day. The Wildcats buried 17 trifectas and outscored Alabama 49-31 in the second frame to win 81-58.

    Despite holding a No. 1 or 2 seed in each of the last five NCAA tournaments, Villanova garnered only its second Sweet 16 appearance during that span.

              

    Top Performers

    Bridges and DiVincenzo combined for 41 points, and Jalen Brunson provided 12 points for the Wildcats. DiVincenzo and Phil Booth both dished five assists, and Brunson added four. Collin Sexton scored 17 points and was the only Bama player in double figures.

            

    X-Factor

    "Thank God for Donte DiVincenzo," Villanova coach Jay Wright said in his halftime interview. The sharpshooting guard connected on five triples during the opening half and scored 18 of the team's 32 points before entering the locker room. Without "The Big Ragu," the Cats would've been playing from behind.

               

    Next Round

    Villanova will challenge either No. 13 Marshall or No. 5 West Virginia in the Sweet 16 next Friday.

           

    —Updated by David Kenyon

No. 2 Duke 87, No. 7 Rhode Island 62

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The Duke Blue Devils cruised into the Sweet 16 with an easy 87-62 win over the Rhode Island Rams in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Each player in Duke's starting five scored in double digits as the Blue Devils dominated in every statistical category—led by 56.9 percent shooting from the floor, including a 10-of-21 success rate from three-point territory.

             

    Top Performers

    Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III led the way offensively with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including several spectacular dunks. Shooting 4-of-8 from long range, EC Matthews was the Rams' offensive engine with 23 points.

              

    X-Factor

    As usual, Duke's Grayson Allen was disruptive, contributing 10 points along with three assists and two steals. His tenacious defense was part of the reason only three Rhode Island players hit double digits in scoring.

               

    Next Round

    The Blue Devils will face either No. 3 Michigan State or No. 11 Syracuse in the Sweet 16 on Friday.

                    

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 5 Kentucky 95, No. 13 Buffalo 75

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    Kentucky's Kevin Knox
    Kentucky's Kevin KnoxEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    The Buffalo Bulls gave it a valiant try but couldn’t extend their Cinderella March Madness run to the Sweet 16 as they fell to the Kentucky Wildcats by a 20-point margin.

    The Bulls stayed within striking distance for much of the game and were down by nine at halftime, but veteran coach John Calipari dialed up the defense in the second half, slowing what had been a fast-paced game and successfully managing his bench in spite of plenty of early foul trouble for both teams.

       

    Top Performers

    Freshman Shai Gilgeous-Alexander started strong for Kentucky and finished with a team-leading 27 points. Senior guard Wes Clark drove the Buffalo offense with 26.

        

    X-Factor

    Strong defense by the Wildcats limited the Bulls to 33 points in the second half. Buffalo finished with just a 39.4 field-goal percentage. Kentucky outrebounded Buffalo 42-30, and Wenyen Gabriel led the way on the glass, finishing with 12 rebounds to go along with 16 points for a double-double.

      

    Next Round

    The Wildcats will face either No. 9 Kansas State or the Cinderella No. 16 UMBC team in the Sweet 16.

       

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 11 Loyola-Chicago 63, No. 3 Tennessee 62

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Clayton Custer hit a runner that got a friendly bounce with just 3.6 seconds remaining to lift No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago to a 63-62 victory over No. 3 Tennessee.

             

    Top Performers

    Aundre Jackson scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Ramblers, but Custer hit the clutch shot that sent his team to its first Sweet 16 in 33 years.

            

    X-Factor

    Loyola is a well-coached team that slows the game down and gets contributions from every guy who sees the floor. The Ramblers were too quick and disciplined—Tennessee only got to the free-throw line six times in 40 minutes—for the Vols to overcome.

            

    Next Round

    Loyola-Chicago will meet either No. 2 Cincinnati or No. 7 Nevada on Thursday.

         

    —Updated by Kevin McRae

No. 1 Kansas 83, No. 8 Seton Hall 79

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    The No. 1 Kansas Jayhawks overcame a tremendous effort by Seton Hall's Angel Delgado to hold off the Pirates 83-79 and advance to the Sweet 16.

           

    Top Performers

    There were so many great individual performances. Delgado had the first 20-20 NCAA tournament game since 2012 with 24 points and 23 boards. Khadeen Carrington dropped 28 and scored 13 straight for the Pirates in the closing minutes to keep them in the game. Malik Newman led all scorers, picking up the slack for Devonte' Graham, with 28 points for the Jayhawks.

           

    X-Factor

    It's gotta be Newman. Most of the talk coming into this contest was about Graham, but he contributed just eight points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field. Newman picked up that slack in part by going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line, helping ice things down the stretch.

         

    Next Round

    Kansas advances to the Sweet 16 and a matchup with either No. 4 Auburn or No. 5 Clemson on Friday.

          

    —Updated by Kevin McRae

No. 4 Gonzaga 90, No. 5 Ohio State 84

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    No. 4 Gonzaga is off to the Sweet 16 once again after blowing a big lead and coming from behind late in the second half to beat No. 5 Ohio State 90-84 Saturday night in Boise, Idaho.

           

    Top Performers

    Zach Norvell Jr. was the embodiment of a highlight reel from behind the arc. The Zags freshman guard from Chicago led all scorers with 28 points to go with 12 boards and six lasers from long range to help put his team in the Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row.

          

    X-Factor

    Gonzaga didn't fall apart when things got tough. The Bulldogs led by double digits for much of the game, including a 13-0 run to begin the first half. But they trailed by five with just under six minutes to play. How'd they respond? Scoring 28 of the final 45 points.

           

    Next Round

    Gonzaga advances to the Sweet 16 and will face either No. 1 Xavier of No. 9 Florida State. 

          

    —Updated by Kevin McRae

No. 3 Texas Tech 69, No. 6 Florida 66

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    No. 3 Texas Tech reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005 with a hard-fought 69-66 victory over No. 6 Florida on Saturday night in Dallas.

         

    Top Performers

    Zhaire Smith emphatically slammed the door on the Gators with 18 points and nine boards, including a back-breaking alley-oop slam in the closing minute, to propel his team to the sixth Sweet 16 in school history. Senior guard Keenan Evans added 22 points.

          

    X-Factor

    This was a game of runs, where neither team could pull away. The Red Raiders got the last run of the night when it mattered the most, scoring five straight points to open a 69-64 lead that was enough to hold off the Gators.

         

    Next Round

    Texas Tech advances to the Sweet 16, where it will face No. 2 Purdue on Friday.

           

    —Updated by Kevin McRae

No. 3 Michigan 64, No. 6 Houston 63

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    Michigan coach John Beilein
    Michigan coach John BeileinJamie Squire/Getty Images

    No. 3 Michigan got a miracle buzzer-beating three from freshman Jordan Poole to beat No. 6 Houston 64-63 in a dramatic slugfest on Saturday night in Wichita, Kansas.

       

    Top Performers

    Houston's Rob Gray led all scorers with 23 points, which seemed to be good enough to propel Houston to the Sweet 16 before Poole's dagger sent the Cougars packing. Moritz Wagner led Michigan with 12 points and seven boards.

       

    X-Factor

    You have to hit your free throws! Devin Davis hit nine of his 12 attempts on the night, but he missed three in the closing minutes—including two with 3.9 seconds remaining—opening the door for Poole's game-winner.

       

    Next Round

    No. 3 Michigan awaits the winner of No. 2 North Carolina and No. 7 Texas A&M in the Sweet 16.

           

    —Updated by Kevin McRae