• Carsen Edwards dominated defending champion Villanova last night in a 81-67 victory for Purdue. The junior made 9 three pointers, and finished with 42 points in game that was not close for very long after the jump. Purdue will play the winner of Iowa and Tennessee in the sweet sixteen.
• Brandon Clarke was virtually unstoppable against Baylor in the always a possible trap 1 seed vs 9 seed game. He finished with 36 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 5 blocks. He became on the third player in NCAA tournament history to finish with 35 points and 5 blocks in a game. Teammates Zach Norvell Jr. and Rui Hachimura were did not put up big numbers, but it didn’t matter with Gonzaga winning the game 83-71. Gonzaga takes on the on Florida State next.
• Projected first round pick Jontay Porter tore his ACL ligament in his right knee for the second time in the last 6 months, bringing into question whether or not the sophomore should return to school next season. We currently have him at #29 in our 2019 mock draft, but he more than likely will fall out of the first round in the next update.
• Ja Morant put up big numbers in what turned out to be his last collegiate game, assuming he will enter the draft, which it would a complete shock if did not. Morant scored 28 points to go with 5 rebounds and 4 assists in a 90-62 blowout loss to Florida State. We all know what he can do with his athleticism and passing ability, but he went 5-6 on three pointers against Florida State showing that the potential is there for his outside shot to become more consistent. The Murray State point guard is currently projected at #3 in our mock draft, but he could end up at #2 behind Zion Williamson by the time the draft rolls around. On the other side of the matchup, Mfiondu Kabengele played great, scoring 22 points to go with 7 rebounds. The center went 2 for 2 from deep, showcasing his outside shooting abilities which when you couple with his mobility and inside scoring skills, it is easy to see why he is being looked at as a legit NBA prospect. Terance Mann scored 18 points, continuing to play well, and doing his best to prove that he can be a solid 2 way player at the next level.
• Maryland lost a heart breaker to LSU on a buzzer beating layup by Tremont Waters. Naz Reid struggled shooting the ball going 5 for 14 finishing with 13 points to go with 4 rebounds. For Maryland, Jalen Smith had 5 blocks and hit a big game tying three before the Waters game winner, but he did struggle shooting the ball going for 4 for 11 from the field and 1 for 5 from deep. Smith falls in the category of players that will have a tough decision now that the season is over, he could leave and possibly be a first round pick, or he could return to Maryland and attempt to raise his stock to top ten status. Bruno Fernando finished with a double-double with 15 rebounds, and the smart money would be on Fernando being a lock to enter the draft with the Maryland sophomore being considered a possible lottery pick.
• Kentucky took down Wofford 62-56, closing out Fletcher Magee’s college career. Unfortunately for Magee and Wofford, the senior shot 0-12 from three, which is definitely not the way he wanted to go out. Nonetheless, he leaves college as the leader in three’s made in a career topping names like J.J. Reddick. His NBA future is uncertain, but Magee will be on a summer league team and will play pro ball, it is just a matter of what level. It was a relatively quiet night for the Kentucky draft prospects, with Johnson, Herro, and Hagans finishing with 9, 9, and 12 respectively. PJ Washington missed another game, and at this point it still remains unclear if he will be returning when Kentucky takes on the winner of Ohio State and Houston next week.
Games To Watch Today:
#1 Duke vs. #9 Central Florida (5:15 pm on CBS)
Tacko Fall is coming off an impressive 18 rebounds and 5 block performance in the first round against VCU, but Duke is a different animal. It should be interesting to see the 6’7″ Zion Williamson going up against the 7’6″ Fall considering that Williamson does most of his work inside and in transition.
#12 Liberty vs. #4 Virginia Tech (7:10 pm on TBS)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker is the NBA prospect to watch in this one, and the sophomore will be looking to continue his strong play after his 20 point game in the first round win over Saint Louis. Liberty guard Caleb Homesley scored 30 points in their first round victory over Mississippi State, however the junior only averages 12.5 points for the season, so a repeat will be a tough feat for both Homesley and Liberty.
#6 Buffalo vs. #3 Texas Tech (6:10 pm on TNT)
Senior CJ Massiburg leads the underrated bulls team against Jarrett Culver and the red raiders. Buffalo has some legit talent in Massinburg to go with Nick Perkins and Jeremy Harris. On the other side, Jarrett Culver is no doubt their best player, but Davide Moretti and Matt Mooney can play as well. It will be an interesting matchup with two stars on the perimeter, especially if Chris Beard elects to use Culver on defense against Massinburg.
#1 Virginia vs. #9 Oklahoma (7:45 pm on TruTV)
After trailing at halftime to a 16 seed for the second straight tournament, many were wondering if UVA was going to allow history to repeat itself and ultimately lose the game to 16 seeded Gardner Webb. Deandre Hunter put the team on his back in the second half, clearly knowing he was the best player on the floor, which prevented the upset bid from coming to fruition. Oklahoma will be trying to push the ball, and Virginia will be attempting to play their usual brand of somewhat boring, but effective patient offense.
#12 Oregon vs. #13 UC Irvine (9:40 pm on TBS)
Oregon comes in as one of the hottest teams in the country after winning the Pac 12 tournament championship and pulling the upset over #5 seeded Wisconsin in the first round. Louis King is a legit NBA prospect, and Kenny Wooten is an athletic freak down low. UC Irvine took down Kansas State in the first round, and will be looking to make an improbable sweet sixteen run.
#10 Iowa vs. #2 Tennessee (12:10 pm on CBS)
Iowa is that crafty but not flashy team that can come out of the Big Ten at times, and Tennessee seems like they have had this team together for 10 years. Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams are looking to make a deep run before mulling his NBA career in the case of Williams, and Schofield is looking to close out his career on a high note with a final four and possible championship.
#1 North Carolina vs. #8 Washington (2:40 pm on CBS)
UNC got all they could handle in the first round against 16 seed Iona, but with the help of Cameron Johnson and Luke Maye, they pulled away in the second half. This game will be much different. with Washington being a great defensive team, especially on the perimeter with Matisse Thybulle. If UNC gets hot from behind the arc this will be a difficult one for the huskies considering the amount of offensive firepower on the roster from Chapel Hill. Washington will need a big game from Thybulle and their other NBA prospect Jaylen Nowell.
#11 Ohio State vs. #3 Houston (8:40 pm on TNT)
Many did not give Ohio State a great chance of taking down a loaded Iowa State team in the first round, but this is the NCAA tournament, and ultimately before the ball is tipped no one knows what will happen. Kaleb Wesson is a big man that can step out and hit the three, or play inside on the block, and he will need to have a big game to give the Buckeyes their best chance. For Houston, Corey Davis Jr. is their catalyst and leading scorer, while Armoni Brooks is their sharpshooter on the wing. This is a talented Houston team that feels they can make a deep run, and it only gets tougher with the winner of this game facing #2 seeded Kentucky.