I’m sure we’re all still going through college basketball withdrawals right now, especially since tomorrow is supposed to be the start of the best three weeks of the year. My way of coping was to still complete what I thought would have been the best possible bracket based on games completed, create a schedule for the tournament, and run a simulation for every game through the whatifsports.com SimMatchup tool. Just like in real life, it’s win and advance, and on April 6th I’ll crown the virtual champ! I’ll be trying to update a few times a day so you can check in for all of the upsets, incredible performances, and buzzer beaters.
I’ve already done simulations for the play-in games:
Midwest – (16) Robert Morris 69-82 (16) NC Central
East – (12) NC State 75-71* (12) Wichita St.
East – (16) Boston University 96-92* (16) Prairie View A&M
West – (11) UCLA 83-89 (11) Richmond
And here’s the schedule for the first full day of games:
Midwest (5) Butler 55-75 (12) Yale 12:15 Tampa. This looked like a close matchup on paper, but the 12 seed ends up running away with it in the second half.
South (3) Seton Hall 83-67 (14) North Texas 12:40 Albany Myles Powell scores 29 points to lead the Pirates to a comfortable victory.
Midwest (7) LSU 81-87 (10) Utah St. 1:30 St. Louis LSU led by as many as 11 in the second half, but Sam Merrill and Justin Bean made key shots to clinch the upset.
West (1) Gonzaga 93-71 (16) Siena 2:00 Spokane The Zags had five players score in double digits on their way to an easy win.
Midwest (4) Louisville 70-79 (13) Akron 2:45 Tampa Another big upset, as Akron takes down the Cardinals. After trailing by 13 at halftime, Louisville cut the lead to 3 with 5:01 on the clock, but three consecutive 3-pointers by Akron took the game out of reach.
South (6) BYU 96-79 (11) Cincinnati 3:10 Albany Another high-scoring game, with BYU riding balanced scoring to the win.
Midwest (2) Creighton 73-63 (15) North Dakota St. 4:00 St. Louis Unusually poor 3-point shooting from Creighton kept this one interesting, but they were eventually able to pull away from the Bison.
West (8) Florida 80-78 (9) Marquette 4:30 Spokane The wildest game of the tournament so far, as Marquette comes back from a double digit deficit to take the lead in the final minute, only to be beaten by an Andrew Nembhard buzzer-beater.
South (7) Arizona 84-74 (10) Oklahoma 6:50 Tampa Arizona pulls away in the second half, as Zeke Nnaji leads the way with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
East (4) Kentucky 69-56 (13) Belmont 7:10 St. Louis A close game until the second half, the Wildcats were eventually able to keep Belmont at arm’s length to take the W.
East (6) Michigan 69-71 (11) East Tennessee St. 7:20 Albany A popular upset pick, the Bucs came back back from down 11 in the second half to send the Wolverines home.
West (5) West Virginia 78-68 (12) Stephen F. Austin 7:27 Spokane 19 forced turnovers helped West Virginia ease to a victory that wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate.
South (2) Florida St. 75-59 (15) Ark.-Little Rock 9:20 Tampa Unexpectedly close midway through the second half, the Noles eventually pull away thanks to 27 points from Devin Vassell.
East (5) Ohio St. 65-73 (12) NC State 9:40 St. Louis A huge game from C.J. Bryce (24 points, 12 rebounds) means the Wolfpack carry their momentum from the play-in game on to the next round.
East (3) Villanova 79-66 (14) Hofstra 9:50 Albany Tied at halftime, a barrage of 3-pointers in the second half helps Villanova to a comfortable win.
West (4) Oregon 87-97 (13) Vermont 9:57 Spokane Going 18 for 26 on 3s is usually a good recipe for an upset, as the Catamounts shock Oregon with their outside shooting and move on to a matchup with West Virginia.