Men's NCAA Tournament West Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns

Men's NCAA Tournament West Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


And so, we have come to the end of another strange round of March Madness. By now you likely have enjoyed dishes like bracket fricassee, prime rib of bracket with horseradish, bracket brulee and flambéed bracket served on a skewer.

In short, you have likely taken your bracket and eaten it with a side of ketchup.

What an unbelievable Thursday and Friday all across the country. Five of the top eight seeds are gone in the West Regional, the victims of some big surprises. Let’s take a look at the four games coming up this weekend in what may be a weekend calmer by comparison.


#1 Gonzaga vs. #9 Wichita State (8:40 p.m. Saturday at Salt Lake City, Utah)

The top team in the West Coast Conference goes up against the runner-up in the Missouri Valley in what should be a fairly competitive contest. Gonzaga (32-2) survived one hell of a scare from 16th-seeded Southern as the Bulldogs only won by six points, 64-58. It took Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk a bit to warm up, but he scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half as Gonzaga finally prevailed. Wichita State (27-8) had a much easier time with Pittsburgh as the Shockers held Pitt’s leading scorer, Trey Woodall, to two points in a 73-55 victory. Malcolm Armstead and Cleanthony Early combined for 43 points in the Wichita State win, which featured the Shockers holding Pittsburgh to 35-percent shooting. If Wichita State can do this again then this game could be very interesting. Chances are Olynyk won’t have a second bad game in a row, but if he does a 9 could topple a 1. This could be an upset alert, although Gonzaga should win.


#12 Ole Miss vs. #13 LaSalle (Time TBD at Kansas City, Missouri)

You can tell when two upsets have happened in one bracket when two lower-seeded teams meet up against each other. Ole Miss (27-8), which was a bubble team as recently as one week ago, tripped up 5-seed Wisconsin in a 57-46 upset. In this game the Badgers forgot that great defense can only take you so far in a tournament. You also have to score. Ole Miss did as Marshall Henderson overcame a 1-for-13 start to his shooting night and ended up with 19 points. Ole Miss made the second round for the first time in 12 years, and it will face a team that shot three free throws in the final 30 seconds to deal a shocking 63-61 upset to 4-seed Kansas State. LaSalle (23-9), which had not been to the NCAA tournament since 1992, has now won two games in the same tournament for the first time since 1955. Jerrell Wright’s free throws were part of a 21-point night for LaSalle, which has a realistic shot at the sweet 16. Don’t be surprised if LaSalle wins another game.


#6 Arizona vs. #14 Harvard (6:10 p.m. Saturday at Salt Lake City, Utah)

So much for everyone getting this upset correct. A lot of people, including myself, thought Arizona would have nothing in the tank following a three-game losing streak at the end of the season. Instead, the Wildcats topped 11-seed Belmont 81-64. Mark Lyons led the way with 23 points as Arizona (26-7) led by 12 at halftime and cruised from there. Arizona faces a Crimson team that won the Ivy League championship and then scored what was undoubtedly the biggest win in program history. Harvard (20-9) took 18 points from Wesley Saunders and five threes from Laurent Rivard to deal 3-seed New Mexico a stunning 68-62 setback. The Lobos were a trendy pick to reach the Final Four, so many people’s brackets were already ripped up. After what Harvard did against New Mexico, I cannot tempt fate. The Crimson are underdogs once again, but if Saunders and Rivard come out and do as well as Thursday, then all bets are off.


#10 Iowa State vs. #2 Ohio State (Time TBD at Dayton, Ohio)

It always seems like the Big East gets a huge number of teams into the tournament every year, and by the end of the second round they are all gone. Only a few remain, as Notre Dame lived up to form and folded in its first appearance of the year. Iowa State (23-11), which possesses one of the deadliest 3-point offenses in the nation, dealt the Fighting Irish a 76-58 setback behind 19 points by Georges Niang and 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists by Melvin Ejim.  Ohio State (27-7) had little trouble with Iona as it silenced the Gaels, 95-70, in another second-round game. Deshaun Thomas led the way with 24 points, but Sam Thompson’s 20 points and 10 rebounds were also huge. This is the first time since 1979 that Ohio State and Iowa State have met, and for the Buckeyes it is once again just like a home game. Still, if the Cyclones can bring out the 3-point shooting like it did Friday, a tornado may go through Ohio instead of a blizzard. Ohio State is not safe in this game.


West Regional Overview


South Regional Overview


South Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


East Regional Overview

East Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region 3rd Round Game Breakdowns


NCAA Tournament Central