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Could Fairleigh Dickinson be the greatest Cinderella story in NCAA tournament history?

USA These days Sports’ Paul Myerbeg breaks down why Fairleigh Dickinson has a possibility to be the greatest Cinderella story in NCAA tournament history.

USA These days

When Sunday’s NCAA tournament business enterprise closes, the men’s Sweet 16 will be set though the females will have half of the Sweet 16 field decided. 

Currently two No. 1 seeds have been knocked out on the men’s side, highlighted by No. 1 Purdue’s beautiful loss to No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson. Now FDU aims to do what no 16-seed has ever performed: Attain the Sweet 16. 

The Knights will attempt to make it take place Sunday (7:45 p.m. ET, truTV) against Florida Atlantic, a potent mid-main that is 32-three on the year soon after its dramatic win more than Memphis. But very first, No. 11 Pitt and No. three Xavier get the celebration began at 12:ten p.m. ET on CBS. 

The women’s action began with the defending champs, No. 1 South Carolina, beating  South Florida (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Iowa standout Caitlin Clark then requires the national stage in the subsequent game on ABC has her No. two Hawkeyes take on No. ten Georgia. 

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MEN’S TOURNAMENT:  Complete scores and schedule

WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT:  Complete scores and schedule

SATURDAY’S PLAY:  Catch up on all the men’s, women’s action

Compared to the very first men’s game of the day, this 1 is substantially extra of a slog. 

No. three Kansas State and No. six Kentucky each struggled from the field in the very first half, combining for 22 created field ambitions on 63 attempts (34.9%). Each teams at occasions utilised swarming defenses and halfcourt and fullcourt stress, generating it extra tough for each offenses to ease into their systems. The excellent news is that each offenses settled prior to the finish of the half, with Kansas State major 29-26.

Not coincidentally, three-point shooting let each teams down. Kansas State failed to convert on any of its 12 attempts from beyond the arc, though Kentucky hit just two-of-11.

The game’s major scorer, Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe, currently has a double-double, with an 11-point, 11-rebound very first half. In every of the 3 halves Kentucky has played this tournament, Tshiebwe has recorded at least ten boards.

Kansas State’s major scorer did not crack double figures, as forward Nae’Qwan Tomlin recorded eight points and six rebounds prior to intermission. Point guard Markquis Nowell, having said that, has been locating players and his 5 assists match the complete Kentucky team’s output.

Try to remember when South Carolina was in problems against South Florida? Yeah, me neither.

The prime-seeded, undefeated and defending champion Gamecocks had been tested early by South Florida, trailing by four with 7:36 left in the second quarter. But South Carolina buckled down in response, grabbing handle of the game with a 9-two run, and wound up carrying out what it generally does: Winning in a rout.

Final score: South Carolina 76, South Florida 45. 

Zia Cooke was South Carolina’s only player in double figures till the final three minutes of the game, but it didn’t matter for the reason that the Gamecocks had ten other players with points. Cooke completed with 21 points, Aliyah Boston had a double-double in what could be her final house game with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Laeticia Amihere added ten.

It was South Carolina’s 34th win this season, and 40th going back to final season. 

The Musketeers, for the very first time given that the 2016-17 season, are headed to the Sweet Sixteen.

No. three Xavier (27-9) had all 5 starters reach double figures in scoring in a relatively comfy 84-73 victory against No. 11 Pittsburgh. The Panthers (24-12) had been a second-half group all season lengthy and closed the deficit to eight points late in the second half, but they left themselves as well substantially function to overcome.

Xavier forward Jack Nunge led the way with 18 points and 3 rebounds, although he fouled out with three:19 left in the game. With reserve guard Desmond Claude chipping in yet another 11, Xavier in fact had six players attain double figures in scoring.

Xavier controlled the game in most main offensive categories: the Musketeers recorded assists on 22 of their 30 field aim attempts, compared to Pittsburgh’s 11 assists they had been extra effective from the floor, shooting 47.six% on 30-of-63 shooting, compared to Pittsburgh’s shooting 38.six% and Xavier outrebounded Pittsburgh 44-41.

This marked Xavier’s 16th game this season with 20 or extra assists, which is most in D-I this season. Xavier will now face No. two Texas on Friday in the Midwest bracket.

Soon after a very first quarter largely controlled by South Florida, No. 1 South Carolina took charge in the second quarter to take a 33-29 lead at halftime in their second-round matchup. 

Aliyah Boston led the Gamecocks in scoring with nine points, as the group controlled the boards by outrebounding the Bulls 23-16, such as ten offensive rebounds. South Carolina also got the cost-free throw line, going eight-for-12 from the line, though South Florida went 1-for-two.

South Florida’s Elena Tsineke leads all scorers with 12 points, half of which came from behind the three-point line. 

The Bulls jumped out to a 16-12 lead at the finish very first quarter prior to South Carolina took handle of the second quarter, going on a 15-four scoring run to lead by as substantially as seven in the quarter. South Florida ended the quarter on a 7-two run to close the gap.

— Jordan Mendoza

There is some history behind Dawn Staley’s outfit. 

The South Carolina coach sported a Cheyney State jersey for Sunday’s second-round game against South Florida. Cheyney State played in the quite very first women’s NCAA tournament in 1982 regardless of then becoming a Division II group.

Coached by Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer, Cheyney State created it all the way to the title game that year prior to losing to Louisiana Tech. Cheney State is nevertheless the only HBCU to attain a Division I Final 4, carrying out it once again in 1984. 

— Nancy Armour

In their Round of 64 victory against No. 6 Iowa State, No. 11 Pittsburgh permitted 41 points in the complete game. In the Round of 32, it is a distinct story. No. three Xavier had scored 42 points by the five:01 mark … of the very first half. The Musketeers have opened up a 48-34 lead at the half on a torrid 19-of-36 performance (52.eight%) from the field. 

One particular massive aspect of the distinction has been beyond the arc, exactly where Xavier has converted half of its 14 attempts. In unique, guard Adam Kunkel is on fire, going a great five-of-five from three-point variety, with a group-higher 15 points. Forward Jack Nunge is ideal behind him, chipping in 14 points on six-of-ten shooting. 

The Panthers began hot but then cooled off, receiving outscored by a margin of 27-16 to close the half. Creating matters even extra regarding for Pittsburgh, Xavier guard Souley Boum, who led the Musketeers this season with 16.five points per game, has however to score a single point and is -of-six from the field.

The very first game of the day, a matchup in the men’s bracket in between No. 11 Pittsburgh and No. three Xavier, tipped off just soon after noon Sunday. And if the offensive pace to commence is any indication of what is to come the rest of the day, scoring will be on show.

The Musketeers had been the major scoring group in the Major East this season and have separated themselves from Pittsburgh midway by way of the very first half, opening a 28-18 lead. Xavier ripped off a 14-three run and is shooting 57.1% from the field on 12-of-21 attempts. Guard Colby Jones and forward Jack Nunge every have eight points to lead the Musketeers.

Pittsburgh is shooting 7-of-16 from the field, at a clip of 46.7%.

The matchup also gives an fascinating bit of nostalgia and familiarity as Xavier head coach Sean Miller starred as a guard for the Panthers from 1987-92, exactly where he began 124 of the 128 games in which he played. 

All season lengthy, this promised to be the most wide-open NCAA men’s tournament in a generation. The bluebloods weren’t as blue. The prime-ranked teams had clear flaws. The mixture of an added COVID year for older players, an out-of-handle transfer atmosphere and a crop of freshmen that largely weren’t prepared for prime time meant teams’ fortunes yo-yoed from game to game, week to week. 

Now right here we are, practically performed with the very first weekend of March Madness, and there’s an significant query to ask: Who is going to win the national championship? 

Possibly it would be far better to say it yet another way. If you are nevertheless alive by Sunday evening in this crazy tournament, go ahead and dare to dream. Even you, Princeton. It is genuinely that up for grabs.

– Dan Wolken

No, you are not seeing double.

Indiana and Miami will play every other in the second round of each the men’s and women’s tournaments. The men’s game is Sunday evening in Albany, New York, though the women’s teams will face off Monday in Bloomington, Indiana.

“That’s amazing. I imply, what a excellent scenario,” mentioned Katie Meier, coach of the Miami females. “I know our athletic director was on a plane going back and forth with an individual from Indiana as properly.”

The NCAA does not have a record of how numerous occasions schools have played every other in every of the tournaments, let alone in the exact same round. But suffice to say, it hasn’t occurred typically. Meier had been asked about the prospective for the double dip ahead of Saturday’s game, but she didn’t want to answer and jinx herself. Excellent issue, as the Hurricanes fell behind by 17 prior to rallying to beat Oklahoma State.

Prime-seeded Indiana had rolled earlier in the day though IU and Miami’s men’s teams each secured their spots Friday.

“We’re seeking forward to playing Indiana,” Meier mentioned, “and hopefully the ‘Canes come out on prime in two.”

Nancy Armour

This was a tournament to recall for the Ivy League even prior to Princeton’s guys reached the second round.

This is the very first year the Ivy’s teams have won very first-round games in each tournaments. A day soon after the Princeton guys stunned Arizona, the 10th-seeded Princeton females upset N.C. State on Friday evening on a three-pointer with seven seconds left.

“We had been watching (the guys) in the locker space ideal prior to practice,” Julia Cunningham mentioned Friday evening. “Watching them, all the coverage they are receiving from the media, it was so properly deserved. We looked at every other and believed, we’re subsequent, now it is our turn.

“It is particular,” she added. “A particular week to be a Tiger.”

– Nancy Armour

How numerous teams will you have in your Sweet 16? We’ll know who advances soon after Sunday’s eight-game slate featuring some of the highest seeds nevertheless standing soon after a wacky and unpredictable commence to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

But we’ll all be paying close focus to the outlier, as No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson appears to make off Friday night’s historic upset of No. 1 Purdue with a second-round matchup against No. 9 Florida Atlantic.

Hold this in thoughts, although: Of the eight games played Sunday, six function the highest achievable seeds — No. six against No. three, No. five against No. four and No. 7 against No. two.

Here’s a list of Sunday’s games ranked by how watchable they are:

1. No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. No. 9 Florida Atlantic (7:45 p.m. ET)

two. No. five Saint Mary’s vs. No. four Connecticut (six:ten)

three. No. six Kentucky vs. No. three Kansas State (two:40)

four. No. three Baylor vs. No. six Creighton (7:ten)

five. No. three Gonzaga vs. No. six TCU (9:40)

six. No. 7 Michigan State vs. No. two Marquette (five:15)

7. No. five Miami vs. No. four Indiana (eight:40) 

eight. No. three Xavier vs. No. 11 Pittsburgh (12:ten)

– Paul Myerberg 

With its upset of No. 1 seed Purdue, the Knights gave the Northeast Conference its very first win in the very first round of the NCAA men’s tournament in 4 decades. But the Knights would not be right here with out Merrimack, which won the conference title but was ineligible for the reason that of its shift to Division I – NCAA guidelines state a college need to sit out 4 years soon after such a transition.

So Merrimack coach Joe Gallo and the rest of the group stayed house and watched Fairleigh Dickenson choose Purdue – and massive man Zach Edey – apart. So is there jealousy amongst its Northeast foes?

“To quote my six-year-old, ‘Dad, we beat them, so we want them to win,’ ” Gallo told CBS Sports. “Folks have also been challenging on our league all year, so I am pleased for the win.”

– Heather Tucker

The UMBC Twitter account lastly has a very best pal. It is the Farleigh Dickinson men’s basketball team’s Twitter account. What do they have in widespread? They each thrive in developing absolute chaos and busting brackets.

The UMBC Twitter account celebrated Fairleigh Dickinson’s victory more than Purdue, which likely destroyed many NCAA men’s tournament brackets. The FDU Twitter account caught wind of this and declared their new friendship collectively.

It was constantly going to be difficult for UMBC to uncover an individual who understood it. Soon after all, it is not typically that you get a 16 seed upsetting a 1 seed. UMBC was the very first men’s system to do it when it knocked off No. 1 Virginia in 2018. But if there’s any person who understands the feeling, it is FDU.

— Mike D. Sykes II, For the Win

OPINION: Why never NCAA schools spend college athletes who make them billions?

Houston entered the NCAA Tournament with the No. 1 ranking in the USA These days Sports coaches poll, regardless of its loss in the American Athletic Conference championship game just prior to the unveiling of the brackets final Sunday.

The Cougars, who had been playing with out major scorer Marcus Sasser in the loss to Memphis, retained 21 of 32 No. 1 votes to stave off second-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide received eight firsts soon after winning the SEC title in impressive style.

Houston handled Northern Kentucky in its very first-round game and Auburn in its second-round game, though Alabama routed Texas A&ampM Corpus Christi in its tournament opener. The Crimson Tide knocked off No. eight seed Maryland late Saturday.

— Eddie Timanus