We’re done with the first four, so the real NCAA Tournament can begin, even if it starts with the second round. The picture of 64 teams was complete as Tennessee beat Iowa in overtime 78-65, while Cal Poly had an excellent shooting performance to overcome Texas Southern, putting them in the bracket despite their losing record.
The big game was the two #11 teams facing off in the later game. It seemed all game long that Iowa were somehow chasing the Vols, even when they were in the lead. Maybe the ripple effect of their head coach dealing with serious personal issues, like his son having to undergo surgery to remove a tumor. Fran McCaffery started the day in Iowa with his teenage son, but was back in Dayton for the start of the game.
Iowa have been inconsistent this season, and didn’t finish the season very well. Only Adam Woodbury put in a decent offensive performance with 16 points and 8 rebounds, while Roy Devyn Marble kind of ruined the game for the Hawkeyes, shooting only 3-of-15 from the field to finish with 7 points. If not for him, Iowa were shooting just under 50% from the field.
The Vols had a bit more balance in their offense with four players scoring in double digits. Jordan McRae had a big game with 20 points, while the big problem for Iowa all game long was Jarnell Stokes, scoring 18 points to go with his 13 rebounds. Josh Richardson added 17 points, as Tennessee outscored Iowa 14-1 in overtime.
In the earlier game, the #16 teams met, with Texas Southern unleashing Aaric Murray onto the world. The 6’10 senior scored 38 points on 14-of-23 from the field, but he was all alone against a team that shoots the ball too well.
Cal Poly hit 56.9% of their field goal attempts and 40% of their shots from beyond the arc. Chris Eversley led the way scoring 19 points, getting plenty of help from Dave Nwaba with 17 points and Reese Morgan scoring 9 points in 10 minutes off the bench with 3 tres en route to the 81-69 win.
Tennessee, despite being the #11 seed, will probably be slight favorites to be UMass in their round of 64 game. Cal Poly will try and live up to what their head coach said (we’ll have a winning record if we win the national title), playing against Wichita State.