Photo by J Squared Hoops
Sorry, I promise I didn’t die.
The internet doesn’t slow down for a human virus (only a computer one), and I have put myself back into the swing of things, virtually. But I’m back with the rest of the first round for you.
The Internet doesn’t stop for a virus (a biological one, at least). And we’ve partnered with NCAA GameSim to bring YOU a March Madness experience. It’s nothing like watching the real thing. But heck, we’ll try.
NCAA GameSim takes all factors into account: experience, location, hot and cold shooting nights, injuries, and the craziness of March to make the most accurate predictions possible.
How did we decide who is where, though? We used USA Today/For the Win’s predicted bracket:
So let’s get to it. Here is J Squared Hoops’ NCAA Tournament 1st Round, Southern Division.
First Round - South
1 Baylor vs. 16 Robert Morris
BAYLOR: 81, ROBERT MORRIS: 38
Yeah. This went about exactly how we thought it would. Baylor has been on an absolute tear this season. Add in the fact that most people probably can’t even tell you that Robert Morris is a D1 University, and this was a recipe for disaster. Mark Vital finished with 13 points for the Bears, while nobody on Robert Morris had more than 8 points, and the whole team shot 7.4% from three. Yikes.
8 LSU vs. 9 Colorado
LSU: 80, COLORADO: 73
This was a nice 8-9 match up for fans. The Tigers had an up and down year, still recovering from the departure of Naz Reid to the NBA and their overall young roster. That being said, Colorado had no clear path to success either. They went from an oft forgotten team to a Western staple led by McKinley Wright IV. Ironically, it was Tyler Bey who led Colorado in scoring (16 pts), while the guard pair Skylar Mays and Ja’Vonte Smart also chipped in 16 points each. Overall, a strong performance overall gave LSU the edge over the Buffaloes.
5 Auburn vs. 12 Stephen F. Austin
AUBURN: 94, SFA: 72
The Duke slayers get, well, slayed. The War Eagles looked like a serious downsize from their Final Four team last season, but in the first round, they showed their stripes and looked like they could come for another appearance this year. Samir Doughty and Danjel Purifoy each contributed 17 points, while Stephen F. Austin was led by John Cameuax’s 14 points. We’ll see if Auburn can keep going forwards in the tourney.
4 Wisconsin vs. 13 New Mexico State
WISCONSIN: 87, NEW MEXICO STATE: 59
Wisconsin ends their end of season tear with a win in the first round. Albeit against New Mexico State, this win continued the momentum the Badgers carried into this round and could make them a serious threat from here on out. Brad Davison had 18 points for Wisconsin while NMS was lead by Jabari Rice’s 15 points and 11 rebounds. Don’t sleep on the Badgers for the rest of the tournament, even though they’ll play a rough Auburn team in the next round.
6 Michigan vs. 11 Richmond
MICHIGAN: 89, RICHMOND: 59
There was a point in the season where people said Michigan was the best team in the country. But those moments have since passed, and they find themselves the 6th seed in this tourney. Thankfully, they went up against one of the weaker 11 seeds in Richmond. Senior guard Zavier Simpson puts up 16 points to lead the Wolverines, while Blake Francis added 16 for Richmond.
3 Seton Hall vs. 14 Hofstra
SETON HALL: 71, HOFSTRA: 61
Seton Hall was one of the nation’s most impressive teams this season, but it looked like they were going to drop this one to hefty 14 seed Hofstra. Myles Powell, arguably college basketball’s best scorer, notched 19 points and 4 rebounds. However, the real star performance came from the losing side’s star: Eli Pemberton. He finished with 29 points and 7 rebounds in the loss, closing out an amazing college career for the guard. Seton Hall will face Michigan in the Round of 32.
7 Providence vs. 10 Rutgers
PROVIDENCE: 69, RUTGERS: 75
It’s been a while since Rutgers has really made some noise in the sports world. Well, here they are, getting back into it. Akwasi Yeboah scored 21 points with 3 steals to lead Rutgers, knocking down 3 pointers left and right and blazing through the Providence defense. But the Friars did not lay down. Luwani Pipkins had 18 points and David Duke added 17 to give Providence a strong chance – but it just couldn’t get the job done.
2 Florida State vs. 15 UC Irvine
FLORIDA STATE: 80, UC IRVINE: 68
Florida State is one of the consensus best 2 seeds in the league. And their win over Irvine is nothing more than a step towards a legitimate championship run for the Seminoles. Malik Osborne and MJ Walker combined for 35 points, while Eyassu Worku had 15 for Irvine. Despite them getting the upset last year, Irvine instead packs their bags a little earlier this year.