NCAA Tournament 2022: Sunday's Round 2 Winners and Losers of Men's Tourney

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystMarch 21, 2022

NCAA Tournament 2022: Sunday's Round 2 Winners and Losers of Men's Tourney

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    Wisconsin wasn't the only Big Ten team disappointed on Sunday.
    Wisconsin wasn't the only Big Ten team disappointed on Sunday.Ben Solomon/Getty Images

    The second round of the 2022 men's NCAA tournament on Sunday hasn't been so much a day of wrecking brackets as it has been a day of reckoning for the Big Ten.

    We'll dive into it more in a bit, but each of the first four games resulted in a loss by a Big Ten team.

    You never want to go full Mountain West in the NCAA tournament, but that's what happened to the Big Ten, which has already lost seven of its nation-best nine teams selected to the dance.

    Of course, there are two sides to every coin. A bad day for the Big Ten has meant a great day for Houston, Villanova, Duke and Iowa Statethe last of which has now won as many games in this tournament as it won in the entire 2020-21 season.

    And in the second half of the day, a No. 2 seed went down, a No. 1 seed was taken to overtime and a pair of No. 3 seeds had to rally late to survive an upset.

    Read on for our full list of Sunday's winners and losers.

Winner: Predictive Metrics

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    Houston's Fabian White Jr.
    Houston's Fabian White Jr.Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    From a quality of wins and losses perspective, a No. 5 seed might have been a bit generous for Houston. Prior to beating Memphis in the AAC championship on Selection Sunday, the Cougars did not have a single Quadrant 1 win, and they had twice been blown out by Memphis.

    But from a quality of play perspective, Houston probably should have been a No. 1 seed. The Cougars ended the year at No. 3 in the NET rankings and entered the NCAA tournament rated as the fourth-best team on

    So, the big unknown on Sunday afternoon against Illinois was whether Houston would live up to the hype of the predictive metrics or whether it would come up short yet again when facing a "real" opponentone that swept Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State during the regular season.

    As such, Houston's 68-53 victory was a big feather in the cap of computers and analytics.

    The Cougars didn't just beat the Illini; they suffocated the Big Ten regular-season champs with aggressive defense and relentless pursuit of offensive rebounds. They mitigated Kofi Cockburn (19 points, eight rebounds) with help defense and active hands. They kept Alfonso Plummer from getting his usual supply of open looks from the perimeter. And they basically dared Illinois to try to beat them with freshman reserves Luke Goode and RJ Melendez.

    Plain and simple, Houston looked like the better team throughout. And if Arizona can get by TCU tonight, what a raw deal for the No. 2 overall seed Wildcats, who would need to face this under-seeded Houston team in the Sweet 16 in what is going to feel like a home game about 200 miles from the Cougars campus.

    Because as far as KenPom is concerned, No. 2 Houston vs. No. 4 Arizona should probably be a national championship game.

Loser: Brad Underwood, Illinois

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    Illinois' Brad Underwood
    Illinois' Brad UnderwoodGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    At a certain point, coaches get a reputation for being unable to get past a certain hurdle in the NCAA tournament. Mark Few can't win the big one. Sean Miller couldn't get to the Final Four. And prior to last March, it felt like Mick Cronin's teams were incapable of winning multiple games in a single tournament.

    For Illinois' Brad Underwood, the second round seems to be that glass ceiling.

    He did pull off first-round upsets in both 2014 and 2016 with Stephen F. Austin. However, those Lumberjacks were unable to get the double dip.

    With Illinois last year, Underwood got a No. 1 seed before losing by 13 to Loyola University Chicago in the second round. And now this year, the Illini won a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, only to get ousted by No. 5 seed Houston by a 15-point margin.

    All told, Underwood now has a 4-6 record in the NCAA tournament and has never been to a Sweet 16, even though this year's team and certainly last year's team should have gotten there based on their seeds.

    Maybe he can make it one more year before it becomes a major talking point that we bring up every March like we do with, say, Rick Barnes, considering each of Underwood's first four trips to the dance were all as double-digit seeds. But this is officially becoming a trend.    

Winner: Collin Gillespie, Villanova

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    Villanova's Collin Gillespie
    Villanova's Collin GillespieGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    As a true freshman in 2018, Collin Gillespie played a small role for Villanova's national championship team. But 2020 was supposed to be the year that he led the Wildcats to the promised land.

    Of course, there was no tournament that year, so Gillespie had to bide his time until the following spring. However, he suffered a torn MCL in March 2021 and was forced to miss yet another postseason.

    At long last, the fifth-year senior is back in the dance, and it's clear he has no interest in squandering this long-awaited opportunity to shine.

    After going for 14 points, four rebounds and four assists in Friday's opening win over Delaware, Gillespie made a huge early impact in Sunday's victory over Ohio State. He scored 10 points plus a steal in the span of five possessions, pacing Villanova to an early 10-point lead from which the Buckeyes were never able to recover.

    He didn't make another three-pointer after that hot start, but he did hit a huge mid-range jumper in what was a three-point game with four minutes remaining. He also found a wide-open Eric Dixon for the game-sealing dagger triple.

    Gillespie finished with a team-high 20 points and four dimes. And this time, he'll actually get to play in Villanova's Sweet 16 game instead of watching from the stands.   

Loser: The Big Ten

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    Wisconsin's Johnny Davis
    Wisconsin's Johnny DavisAndy Manis/Associated Press

    Last year, the Big Ten was deemed a great big failure in the NCAA tournament. Nine teams got in, resulting in an overall record of 8-9. No. 1 seed Michigan was the only one to even reach the Sweet 16, and the Wolverines got bounced in the Elite Eight by No. 11 seed UCLA.

    And after the first four games Sunday, it seems the Big Ten is on the fast track to a similar destination of sadness.

    In the matchup game of the day, No. 4 seed Illinois was ground to a pulp by No. 5 seed Houston. The two teams were tied at 40-40 with a little over 11 minutes to go, but the Cougars closed the game on a 28-13 run for a 15-point victory. Since reaching the 2005 national championship, Illinois has now been knocked out in either the first or second round in seven tournament appearances.

    In game No. 2, No. 2 seed Villanova led No. 7 seed Ohio State from start to finish. The Buckeyes did finally make things interesting with five minutes to go, but the Wildcats outscored them 11-3 the rest of the way for a 10-point victory. In their last six trips to the dance, the Buckeyes have been eliminated before the Sweet 16.

    Game No. 3 looked a lot like Game No. 2, except No. 7 seed Michigan State temporarily rallied all the way back for a five-point lead over No. 2 seed Duke with five minutes to go. However, the Blue Devils finished with a 20-6 flourish to live to see another round.

    To that point, none of the results were upsets. (Illinois had the better seed, but Houston was favored by 4.5.) But No. 3 seed Wisconsin losing to No. 11 seed Iowa State is where the day went from bad to awful for the Big Ten.

    The Johnny Davis-led Badgers could not buy a bucket against the Cyclones defense, starting out 1-of-21 from three-point range before finally hitting a too-little-too-late triple. Iowa State pulled off a 54-49 stunner.

    Four games. Four Big Ten losses. At least Purdue won, right?

Winner: The Secondary Ticket Market in San Francisco

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    Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
    Duke head coach Mike KrzyzewskiLance King/Getty Images

    With all due respect to Michigan State, there's no question that ticket scalpers in the greater San Francisco area were ecstatic with the result of the Duke-Michigan State matchup.

    Because now they can get top dollar to get into the building for what might be the final game(s) of Mike Krzyzewski's career.

    Duke led Michigan State for most of the afternoon, but every time the Blue Devils threatened to pull ahead for good, the Spartans responded with a clutch three-pointer. With five minutes remaining in regulation, Michigan State was 11-of-19 from downtown and had actually jumped ahead by a 70-65 margin.

    But Duke's litany of stars took over.

    AJ Griffin was on the bench with a rolled ankle, but Paolo Banchero had a grown-man spin-move bucket to start the comeback. Jeremy Roach had a big layup and a bigger three-pointer. Trevor Keels also had a humongous triple and several free throws down the stretch. And on the defensive end, both Banchero and Mark Williams came up with big blocks.

    Meanwhile, Michigan State's three-point prowess evaporated in a heartbeat. Sparty missed each of its final three perimeter shots and made just a pair of layups down the stretch. Duke finished the game on a 20-6 runmuch to the chagrin of everyone holding a Michigan State +6.5 ticket that sure looked like a winner with five minutes to go.

Loser: Fans Who Like to Watch 1st-Team All-Americans

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    Illinois' Kofi Cockburn
    Illinois' Kofi CockburnGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    It didn't take long in this tournament for National Player of the Year candidates to start hitting the cutting room floor. We lost both Iowa's Keegan Murray and Kentucky's Oscar Tshiebwe before the last batch of games even tipped on Thursday night.

    It looked like we might at least get into the second weekend with Ochai Agbaji, Kofi Cockburn and Johnny Davis still in the bracket, but two of those three also bit the dust Sunday.

    To their credit, both Cockburn and Davis did everything they could to avoid going home.

    Illinois' big man fell a bit shy of his season averages in finishing with 19 points and eight rebounds against Houston, but he got no help whatsoever from the rest of the Illini. The other four starters (Trent Frazier, Alfonso Plummer, Coleman Hawkins and Da'Monte Williams) combined for the same number of points as Cockburn, although the big man did it on 11 field-goal attempts, while the other four needed 23 shots to get there.

    The star of the Badgers also led his team in points (17), rebounds (nine) and blocks (four) and got little help. Some of that was out of Wisconsin's control, as losing freshman point guard Chucky Hepburn to an ankle injury late in the first half limited what the offense could do the rest of the way. It basically became Davis or bust against a very good Iowa State defense, and they busted 54-49.

    So, if you like watching first-team AP All-Americans, here's hoping you enjoy watching Kansas from here on out. Agbaji is your only remaining option.    

Winner: A Second No. 11 Seed, Yet Again

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    Iowa State's Gabe Kalscheur
    Iowa State's Gabe KalscheurMorry Gash/Associated Press

    For the longest time, multiple No. 11 seeds reaching the second weekend of the tournament was something that never happened. It did transpire in the very first dance with at least 64 teams (1985) but then not again until, fittingly, 2011.

    Just in the past 11 tournaments, though, it has happened almost as often as not.

    It was VCU and Marquette in 2011, Dayton and Tennessee in 2014, Loyola and Syracuse in 2018, UCLA and Syracuse last March and now Michigan and Iowa State this year.

    Michigan got there yesterday by upsetting Tennessee, but Iowa State made it at the expense of a Big Ten team Sunday, shutting down Wisconsin in a 54-49 game that wasn't exactly pleasing on the eyes.

    That low-scoring affair wasn't a surprise, though. Iowa State has a great defense, and though Wisconsin has a bona fide star in Johnny Davis, it was one of the worst shooting teams in the entire tournament. The Badgers were exceptionally bad in this one, though, shooting 29.8 percent from the field and 9.1 percent from three-point range.

    Normally a turnover-averse offense, Wisconsin ended up with more giveaways (17) than made field goals (14).

    But Cyclones not named Gabe Kalscheur shot a combined 10-of-39 (25.6 percent) from the field, so it's a good thing the Minnesota transfer made 10 buckets all by lonesome. Otherwise, this could have been something like a 35-35 game heading into overtime.

    As that game was mercifully drawing to a close, it looked like Notre Dame might give us three No. 11 seeds in the Sweet 16 for the first time ever. The Fighting Irish led 52-49 with less than two minutes remaining, but Texas Tech closed out the game with eight consecutive free throws for a 59-53 victory.

Loser: No. 2 Seed Auburn Tigers

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    Auburn's Walker Kessler (13) and Jabari Smith Jr. (10)
    Auburn's Walker Kessler (13) and Jabari Smith Jr. (10)Associated Press

    On paper, Auburn should have dominated Miami in the paint.

    The Tigers have a pair of frontcourt phenoms in Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith Jr., while the Hurricanes basically don't have a frontcourt. Sam Waardenburg is a stretch 4 masquerading as a 5, and Jordan Miller is much more of a guard than a forward.

    Miami has one of the worst rebounding margins in the nation for a reason, after all.

    But what we didn't account for was Kessler picking up two fouls before the first media timeout and having no impact whatsoever on the game. Nor was there any way to know that Smith would shoot 3-of-16 from the field in his final predraft combine audition for the NBA.

    Those two stars shot a combined 3-of-22 for 12 points and five blocks. Just unfathomable, especially given the opposing frontcourt situation. And it opened the door for Miami to not only win but to also cruise to a 79-61 upset victory, despite shooting just 3-of-15 from three-point range.

    All season long, Auburn had issues playing away from home. The Tigers lost to Florida and Texas A&M. They almost lost to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Georgia and Missouri. And in my bracket, I had them losing to USC because of it.

    Even armed with that information, I didn't think there was much of a chance for the 'Canes to pull off this upset.

    But what do I know? Miami was just so much scrappier than Auburn from start to finish and will now be headed to the Sweet 16 for the third time under Jim Larranaga (2013 and 2016).

Winner: Purdue Gets at Least One B1G Team into the Winning Column

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    Purdue's Jaden Ivey (23) and Trevion Williams (50)
    Purdue's Jaden Ivey (23) and Trevion Williams (50)Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    The Texas Longhorns have played great defense all season long and felt like a team that might be able to stifle Purdue's Big Three of Jaden Ivey, Trevion Williams and Zach Edey.

    Instead, Williams racked up 22 points off the bench, Ivey scored 18 with a pair of dagger threes late in the second half and Edey had an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double in leading Purdue to an 81-71 victory.

    Early on, the story of the game was Texas' inability to make anything. The Longhorns quickly pulled ahead 14-8 before going into a deep freeze. They were held scoreless for almost 10 full minutes by a defense that I have been casting aspersions on for most of the season. Texas did miss a lot of open jumpers during that time, but credit where it's due: Purdue got it done with defense early.

    Texas battled back, though, and briefly took a 44-42 lead with about 15 minutes remaining. It was still all tied up at 52-52 with less than 10 minutes to go. But that's when one of the most efficient offenses in the nation took over.

    Purdue scored at least one point on 14 of its final 18 possessions, ending the game on a 29-19 run. Edey was on the bench for all of it, but Ivey and Williams either scored or assisted on 23 of those 29 points. (The other six were all free throws.) Basically, Purdue went with its playmaking offense for the final 10 minutes and dared Texas to keep pace, and the Longhorns could not.

    Purdue will now join the Big Ten's Michigan in the Sweet 16, and the Boilermakers certainly should make it to the Elite Eight with Saint Peter's on deck. (Though, with apologies to Purdue fans everywhere: Go, Peacocks, go!)

Loser: TCU in Controversial Fashion

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    TCU's Eddie Lampkin Jr.
    TCU's Eddie Lampkin Jr.Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    For the record, I think it was a flop.

    With time winding down in regulation in a tie ballgame, TCU's Mike Miles Jr. got trapped in the corner near half court and ran into Arizona's Dalen Terry when he tried to both cut back toward the logo and avoid committing an over-and-back violation. Miles hit the floor like he got speared by an NFL linebacker, but the referees didn't call anything.

    Was there contact? Sure.

    Did Miles initiate it while trying to tightrope walk the center line? At least to some degree.

    Either way, they played on, and Terry scooped up the ball before going in for what looked like the game-winning dunk. However, the ball was still in his hands when time expired, resulting in overtime.

    And in that extra session, TCU seemed to run out of gas. Emanuel Miller had one tip-in bucket (and subsequently ran nose-first into Christian Koloko's elbow), and Miles hit an and-1 floater in the lane. Everything else the Horned Frogs threw up in the extra session was a brick.

    Meanwhile, Bennedict Mathurin put the finishing touches on a 30-point gem by outscoring TCU 6-5 by himself in overtime, while Christian Koloko also added four points and three offensive rebounds in the extra period for an 85-80 victory.

    It's a shame for TCU, which was seeking the first Sweet 16 appearance since 1968, but what an incredibly entertaining way to end the first weekend of the tournament.

    Can't wait until things get rolling again on Thursday.