March Madness: Sweet 16 set to begin for men and women

The Missouri State Lady Bears and Oregon Ducks are the only double-digit seeds left standing for men and women’s Sweet 16 of March Madness.

As natives of Southwest Missouri, the first order of business is to celebrate the Missouri State Lady Bears’ Sweet 16 bid. This is the first appearance at this stage of the tournament for the Bears since the Jackie Stiles days in 2002. To be the top “Cinderella story” at this stage is special not just for the team, but for all Springfield, MO area basketball fans that have been hungry for this kind of success at the national level.

In the same vein, we need to give props also to the Drury Lady Panthers. Drury looked unstoppable all season and made it all the way to the Final Four of the NCAA Division II tourney. They suffered their first loss of the season to Lubbock Christian, but still had an incredible year.

Despite a smattering of upsets, the men’s bracket looks much like how the rankings predicted that it would. The left side of the Sweet 16 bracket has all of the top seeds, 1 through 4 in both quadrants. There were some scares such as Duke’s narrow victory over UCF, but things still shook out predictably.

On the other side, it was almost the same story. The 1, 2, and 3 seeds are still alive in both quadrants. The 4 seeds were the twist, with 5 seed Auburn sliding past Kansas and 12 seed Oregon beating fellow underdog UC Irvine, who knocked off 4 seed Kansas State.

For the women, all four 1 seeds as well as 2 seeds are alive in the Sweet 16 as well. It gets more interesting from there, with Missouri State leading the charge as an 11 seed. Past the Lady Bears, there are just some 5 and 6 seeds making the field interesting.

Coverage begins tonight (2/28) for the men and tomorrow (2/29) for the women. Congratulations to all teams and players for making it to this point. To keep winning through such a grueling and highly scrutinized event is a special accomplishment. Luckily for the viewers it is also one of the most exciting spectacles in all of hoops. Good luck again to the MSU Lady Bears as well! We will all be watching!

March Madness 2019 update

March Madness is half way through the second round of games. Round one featured twelve upsets in two days.

Perhaps the maddest portion of March Madness, the first round features 32 basketball games in a two day stretch. This naturally leads to big moments each year; we see breakout performances, underdog stories begin, and elite teams assert dominance. March Madness 2019 was no different, featuring all of the above.

Perhaps the most impressive individual performance came from Murray State’s Ja Morant, who had the tournament’s first triple double since 2012. Though Murray State upset Marquette as a 12 seed over a 5 seed, this could hardly be considered a breakout game for Morant. He has had the look of a top-3 draft prospect for months.

Murray State did fall back to Earth in round two, losing to Florida State University. We are seeing plenty of the nations top programs plow ahead through the second round such as Kentucky, Michigan, Gonzaga,and Michigan State. Kansas dropped a tough one to a surging Auburn squad, while LSU edged out Maryland. LSU is surprising some doubters after in-season turbulence (death of a player, suspension of their head coach).

Tennessee is underway now against Iowa and are off to a hot start. Other big programs such as Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia tip off this evening.

Villanova will not get to defend their title, losing to Purdue yesterday. All 1 seeds are still alive, but there are many games left to be played. While there have been plenty of upsets, none have been as surprising so far as what we saw last year from UMBC or Loyola. As the Sweet 16 takes shape, that may be subject to change.

Women’s NCAA update

The lady’s bracket only saw five first round upsets to the men’s 12, but still had plenty of exciting games. One of those upsets was the 11 seed Missouri State Lady Bears, who toppled 6 seed DePaul 89 to 78. The Lady Bears play again tomorrow at 8PM Central against Iowa State on ESPN.

A few of the top dogs in this bracket will be tested soon, so there will be plenty of opportunities for more drama. Things have played out as expected so far, so look for change any time now.

UCONN, seeded as a 2 (the lowest they have been in years) plays Buffalo tonight, who had an upset victory in the first round. A chip on the Huskies shoulder could prove dangerous for any team in their way. Will they storm back to the top of the NCAAW world? Or will Lousiville, Baylor, or someone else have their time to shine?

Tune in to find out!

2019 NCAA March Madness is here

Perhaps the most exciting stretch of basketball each year is upon us - NCAA March Madness is set to begin.

Get pumped basketball fans! The 2019 NCAA March Madness tournament bracket has been released. Last year’s tournament delivered generous amounts of madness, so hopefully this year can live up to the hype as well. We may not get another 16 seed toppling a 1 seed, but hey, we can hope to get close right?

Of the 68 teams named to the nation’s top collegiate tourney, 32 are conference champs and the rest were selected by a committee using various algorithms as well as a bit of objectivity per usual. We will get things whittled down to a clean 64 squads after the “First Four” which will be played on March 19 & 20. The first round will begin Thursday March 21st.

The top seeds are ACC heavy: Duke, Gonzaga, Tennessee, and North Carolina. One of the more controversial seedings is that Michigan State is a 2 seed, where many believed they should be a 1. Adding insult to injury, they are in the same bracket as overall 1 seed, Duke. Assuming both teams advance all the way (and assuming is a dangerous game anyway), it would certainly make for an interesting Elite Eight matchup.

To go all the way, you have to beat the top teams anyway, so who can really complain? To be the best, you must beat the best. Michigan St. is set to start the tournament facing Missouri Valley Conference champs, Bradley.

An unfortunate trend over the years with this tourney is that mid-majors are overlooked in favor of middling schools from big conferences. This year’s bracket bucked that trend a bit and we see some smaller universities in the mix. Everyone loves an underdog story and this year is providing some interesting opportunities for that.

Here is a link to NCAA.com if you would like to view and/or print a bracket

Filling in a perfect bracket may be virtually impossible, but taking a stab at it is one of the sport’s most fun traditions. Sports fans love competition, so what could be better then putting your opinions into a bracket ready to compare with family, friends, teammates, and coworkers.

ESPN had some notes on the women’s NCAA rankings, but that bracket has not yet been released. Congratulations though to the Missouri State Lady Bears who won the Missouri Valley Conference and will be heading to the big dance! Stay tuned for coverage on the lady’s side of things soon.

Good luck to everyone on your brackets and good luck to all of the athletes looking to make a splash on college basketball’s biggest stage.

Keep checking back with The Basketball Movement for more tournament coverage as well as local teams, NBA news, and action straight from our home courts. Merry Madness!

NCAA home stretch power rankings

March is closing in, meaning we have a better idea each day of which teams will make the big dance.

With NCAA hoops hitting the home stretch, many teams are undoubtedly wondering where they will stand at the end. ESPN has updated its power rankings following some big games this week. We dive into those rankings to see how things are shaping up near the top with March Madness on the horizon.

Below are ESPN’s ranks for the top 16

  1. Duke (23-3)

  2. Virginia (23-2)

  3. Tennessee (24-2)

  4. Gonzaga (26-2)

  5. Kentucky (22-4)

  6. North Caroline (22-5)

  7. Michigan (24-3)

  8. Houston (25-1)

  9. Michigan State (22-5)

  10. Kansas (20-6)

  11. Marquette (22-4)

  12. Purdue (19-7)

  13. Texas Tech (21-5)

  14. Nevada (24-2)

  15. LSU (21-5)

  16. Wisconsin (18-8)

Despite the upset of North Carolina over Duke in their highly-touted matchup, the needle did not move too far on either team. The impact of Zion Williamson getting injured in the opening minutes had a deeply felt impact on the game instantly.

As Williamson’s shoe exploded and he went down with a knee sprain (not expected to be serious), thoughts naturally turned to other players that were “unable to play due to injury” that were able to go to the NBA unscathed. Duke has seen this before in the form of Kyrie Irving. With Zion set to make millions in the NBA next year, it would be tough to blame him for playing things safe.

In a case of perfect timing, the NBA is currently considering lowering their age of eligibility from 19 to 18.

Anyway, Duke is still set to hold its number one spot on the backs of its touted freshman. Many pundits expected Kansas to be higher on this list so late in the season. They could still make for an unfortunate opponent for some teams should they garner a lower seed come tournament time. Purdue is sitting a bit lower than expected as well.

Nevada and to a greater extent, Houston, are the pleasant surprises on this list. Their strong play has demanded attention and thrust them directly into the mix of the nation’s top teams.

Women’s bracket looking familiar

If March Madness started today, we would be seeing a lot of familiar faces near the top. The 1-seeds would be: UConn, Baylor, Louisville, and Oregon. The 2-seeds would be Mississippi State (who can no longer play underdog after consecutive great seasons), NC State, Stanford, and Notre Dame.

Perhaps March Madness’ biggest individual hero last year, Arike Ogunbowale just recently set an all-time scoring record for Notre Dame.

As the regular season winds down, our thoughts are full steam ahead to March Madness. One-and-done tournaments don’t always produce the truest results in terms of the most talented teams. However, the luck factor, heat checks, and meteoric rise of teams and players make it an incredible event to witness.

Who will be this year’s Arike Ogunbowale or Donte Divincenzo? Follow along with us on social media as we dive into one of the most exciting months in basketball. We’ll see you there!

NCAA: It's over, ladies and gentlemen

NCAA basketball is over, with the men and women's National Championships in the books.

Congratulations are in order for the Villanova Wildcats and Notre Dame Fighting Irish for winning the men's and women's NCAA National Championships! Very exciting tournaments culminated in great final games. Deserving champions emerged, though a lot of underdogs scored moral victories along the way. 

Have you learned to pronounce Arike Ogunbowale yet? If not, then you probably missed one of the most impressive spectacles the sport of basketball has had in a while. Ogunbowale not only dropped UConn with an overtime buzzer-beater, but sealed the national championship with another game-ending shot.

Ogunbowale had 18 points and teammate Jessica Shepard had 19 (on 8 of 10 shooting) to lead the Irish. Neither team shot high percentages from the field, but Notre Dame won the free throw contest and got the big shot when it mattered.

Villanova men assert dominance

Things did not come down to the wire on the men's side, but that is okay. Michigan was coming in hot, winners of their last 14 contests; they certainly had the looks of a title contender. We could go into what Michigan could have done differently, but that is not the takeaway here. The Villanova Wildcats simply did to them what they have done to everybody else.

Nova beat everyone they played in the tourney by double-digits, even Michigan. Mikal Bridges had a solid game and was the main story for Villanova coming in, but he was not the most valuable player in this one. Donte DiVincenzo had 31 point, two big blocks, and multiple hustle plays to lead the Wildcats.

DiVincenzo may come of the bench, but he has played a major role all season, averaging 13.4 points and 4.8 boards in 2017-18. He was certainly the most exciting part of the game. While Michigan did not feel truly out of it until late in the second half, Villanova was in control throughout, leaving no doubt as to their place at the top of NCAA men's basketball.

A couple of great games wrapped up two great seasons for men's and women's NCAA hoops. Congrats to both these teams and to all of the teams that made the tournament. We saw some of the greatest upsets (see: 16-seed UMBC over 1-seed Virginia) as well as displays of dominance (you are already on the page for Villanova). If you love buzzer beaters then look no further than Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale. These tournaments had it all.

March Madness finally comes to a close. While NCAA basketball begins its unfortunate hiatus, The Basketball Movement will not. Many of these players are beginning to declare for the NBA draft and the NBA playoffs are right around the corner. Basketball never sleeps, so make sure that you keep checking back with us as we keep you up-to-date on what is happening in the world of hoops.

All statistics per ESPN

Men's 2018 NCAA final four recap and championship preview

Loyola finally falls as the NCAA tournament championship pits streaking Michigan against a dominant Villanova team.

The last hopes of a true underdog story have now faded away, as the 11-seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers fell to the 3-seed Michigan Wolverines. Missouri Valley Conference champion Loyola fought hard every step of the way, with their big man Cameron Krutwig giving Michigan fits in the paint.

Michigan's length and perimeter shooting kept victory at arms length for most of the game, with the Ramblers unable to make enough of a push to take over. Michigan forward, Mortiz Wagner of Germany led the charge with 24 big points. Congratulations to Michigan and to Loyola for repping the Missouri Valley in style!

The second game of the night was not close throughout its entirety. The Villanova Wildcats jumped the Kansas Jayhawks right out of the gate. Down 15 at the half, Kansas played better the rest of the way, but were in too much of a hole to mount a serious comeback. 

Villanova set a final four record with 18 three pointers in the game. The Jayhawks did not play a bad game, but Villanova's 55 percent shooting was too much to overcome.

Championship bound

Michigan has now won 14 games in a row and are truly rolling into the championship game on a heater. Villanova has won every game of the tournament by double-digits, displaying a dominance that has them as the Vegas favorites in the matchup.

Dominance and talent will be tested when the Wildcats meet one of the hottest opponents in the country in the Wolverines. If Villanova cools of from three, they will be vulnerable to Michigan's versatile attack. The game tips off Monday at 8:20 PM (CST) on TBS.

The women's championship takes place tonight between Mississippi State and Notre Dame at 5:00 PM (CST) on ESPN. Check out our preview of that match right here. As college hoops wind down, keep your eye on The Basketball Movement for all basketball content year-round.

All statistics per ESPN

The women's NCAA championship stage is set

Tomorrow's women's championship game should be a good one, though it does not feature one team most expected to see.

Notre Dame and Mississippi State tip off Sunday on ESPN at 5:00 PM (CST) in a great matchup against two of the nation's best. Unlike the men's bracket, the lady's final four consisted of all 1-seed teams. Both games delivered even more entertainment than we could have hoped for.

Louisville steamrolled everyone en route to their final four match with MSU. They looked strong, but fell to Mississippi State in overtime. MSU moves to 37-1 on the season, casting asides the doubts anyone had as to their rightful spot in the championship game.

Mississipi State made it to this point last year by shocking UConn in the final four with Morgan Williams hitting an OT buzzer-beater. They went on to lose to Baylor. This year they hope to take it all the way against Notre Dame. Louisville and MSU was not the only overtime fans were treated to in the women's final four.

UConn's final four exit mirrors their loss from a year ago

Last year, fans were stunned when Mississippi State dropped the heavy favorites with a buzzer beater in overtime. This year, one day from the one year anniversary of that heartbreak, it happened again.

Notre Dame took the Huskies into overtime, already a little surprising considering how heavily favorited UConn was. UConn was fresh off of a beat down of last year's champs, South Carolina. Overtime ended with Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale sinking a deep two with one second remaining. To go one-on-one in that situation was an incredible task to take on, but Ogunbowale me the challenge like a champion.

To go out in identical fashion from last year's loss had to be crushing for the Huskies, but the focus needs to be primarily on the Notre Dame Irish and what they have just accomplished.

Anyone's game tomorrow

Mississippi State accomplished Notre Dame's feat last year, but were not able to capitalize in the championship. MSU will be hungry after being so close last year. Notre Dame is riding one of the biggest highs possible in women's NCAA basketball, but risks the same fate as MSU a season ago.

This will be a great game between two deserving teams. Even for those fans of the men's games, this should be an exciting game to watch sandwiched between the final four and championship matches.

Speaking of that, the men's final four games are tonight as the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers look to build on their already fantastic run. Let's see what the Missouri Valley Conference champs can do on the big stage. Check out our final four preview here.

 

2018 NCAA final four preview

The madness is winding down with only four teams remaining. Most of the field is not surprising, then there is Loyola-Chicago.

To make it to the final four, Villanova has won every game by double-digits. They can make it rain from deep, but do not live-and-die by the three, with a capable and balanced attack. It is those threes that fuel their big runs; a stark reminder that no lead and no team is safe. They have the looks of a champion.

Kansas entered into the final four in dramatic fashion. An overtime thriller against Duke is all a lot of teams could ask for. This 1-seed has bigger things on their mind, though they must now face one of the best in the country in Villanova. Many could have predicted this matchup at this point between the two tradition-rich teams. The other side of the bracket? Not so much.

Okay, Michigan is not the biggest surprise of the tournament. They were champions of the Big 10 tourney, showing that they had the chops to go toe-to-toe with any team. As far as their path to the final four, some other teams did a lot of lifting for them, knocking out Xavier, North Carolina, and Gonzaga. Now only an 11-seed stands between them and a championship appearance. Their opponent should not be underestimated, however.

How fun are this Loyola-Chicago Ramblers?

When the Missouri Valley Conference saw the departure of Wichita State, a lot of the conference's most recent successes went with it. Northern Iowa became the most recent tourney appearance with the Missouri State Bears picked as conference favorites for 2018. Loyola-Chicago had different plans.

Like Michigan, Loyola has definitely had a few strong potential opponents knocked out for them. However, the 11-seed Ramblers have still been underdogs in every game they have played. Their most impressive win came against 3-seed Tennessee in the second-round.

One more 3-seed stands between them and an appearance in the national championship. Most of the nation (barring the state of Michigan) will likely be on their side as they look to complete their historic and unbelievable run.

Women's bracket

Mississippi State defeated UCLA last night to clinch a spot in the final four. This was not a big surprise and neither is their opponent, fellow 1-seed Louisville. Louisville had a surprise opponent in their last game after 6-seed Oregon State knocked of 2-seed Baylor.

The other two final four teams will be determined tonight. Heavy-favorites, the UConn Huskies will play 2-seed South Carolina at 7:00 PM (EST). The University of Connecticut has looked untouchable so far, to no one's surprise.

The other game tonight will be much less predictable. Another 1-seed vs. 2-seed game, Notre Dame will face stiff competition from Oregon. Being a slight underdog seed-wise, the Ducks have dismantled each of their opponents so far, and an upset would not be surprising in this one. It tips off directly following the UConn game.

If you could not guess, The Basketball Movement plans to stay on top of these and other happenings all-over the realm of basketball. Remember to keep checking in as we continue to break down the greatest sport on Earth!

Quick NCAA tourney update

The men's elite 8 games games are underway tonight - let's dive in

The 1-seed Kansas Jayhawks held strong against a late comeback by the 5-seed Clemson Tigers to secure their spot in the elite 8. Fellow 1-seed Villanova took care of business against 5-seed West Virginia. It appears that March is not completely mad.

11-seed Syracuse played tough, but finally fell in a close one to Duke (2-seed), so their "Cinderella story" comes to a close. 3-seed Texas Tech handled 2-seed Purdue in a slight upset. The stage is now set for the elite 8, which begins tonight.

Saturday (that's today, people!)

We will see some pretty low seeds that managed to survive go head-to-head this evening. The 11-seed Loyola Ramblers will be taking on 9-seed Kansas State, to see who gets to continue their surprising run all the way to the final four. That one tips of at 5:09 PM (CST).

9-seed Flordia State University is striving to execute yet another upset, this time against 3-seed Michigan, whose championship odds have steadily been increasing. That one will follow the Loyola vs. K-State game at 7:49 PM (CST).

The women's sweet 16 finishes up today, with South Carolina already knocking off 11-seed Buffalo to end their improbable run. UConn is at halftime vs. Duke on ESPN, already having doubled Duke's score.

Keep it locked to The Basketball Movement for more on the tournaments and all basketball action.

Sweet 16 success for MVC's Loyola Ramblers

The first games of the sweet 16 have ended and the rest are on deck tonight. We have some surprising teams in the mix.

Many from Southwest Missouri, or really anywhere associated with the Missouri Valley Conference likely have some bracket similarities. Over the past few years they may have had Wichita State winning a game or two more than they should. Wichita (not a state) is not in the conference anymore, however.

There is a new sheriff in town. After winning the MVC title, the Loyola Ramblers headed into the tourney as an 11-seed. Now, they just keep winning. The Ramblers are elite 8-bound, and are surely surprised to see 9-seed K-State as their opponent instead of Virginia, Arizona, or even Kentucky.

A few spots down on the bracket, 9-seed Florida State has clawed their way into the elite 8 as well, with arguably one of the tougher schedules to get there. They have gone through Missouri, one-seed Xavier, and now Gonzaga, who was coming off a trip to the final. They will meet 3-seed Michigan. The left side of the bracket has been WILD.

Tonight's matchups

Who knows what will happen, really. The tournament is crazy each year; hence the name "March madness". The East and Midwest quadrants of the bracket have been comparatively more predictable thus far.

1-seeds are still alive over here with Villanova (who will play 5-seed West Virginia) and Kansas (who plays 5-seed Clemson). That means there are likely a few brackets out there that may be ugly, but still have a chance to be decent.

Texas Tech (3-seed) will face Purdue (2-seed) tonight. Both teams have looked sharp. The biggest surprise on this side of things has been 11-seed Syracuse, owners of back-to-bck upsets after making the tourney via play-in game. They have another tall task ahead, facing 2-seed Duke.

NCAA women's tourney

The first wave of sweet 16 games starts this evening on the ladies' side of things. 1-seed Mississippi State faces off with 4-seed NC State. 1-seed Louisville is set to play 4-seed Stanford. All 1-seeds are still accounted for to this point, so the madness has not quite affected the women as it has the men.

Oregon State (6-seed) faces Baylor (2-seed), who has dominated their competition so far. The other matchup tonight should be a good one with UCLA (3-seed) and Texas (2-seed) set to play in Kansas City. Our next look at UConn will wait until tomorrow, when they face Duke.

For more NCAAM and NCAAW basketball, check back tomorrow on The Basketball Movement for more updates and previews as the tournaments move forward.

 

Madness - The insanity continues in a memorable March

The men's NCAA tournament is off to an even more wild start than could have been predicted.

March Madness is in full swing, with as mad a March as there has been in recent memory. The Missouri Valley champions - the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers just keep rambling along with another pulse-pounding upset. Two days after Dante Ingram's buzzer-beating three to drop Miami, Clayton Custer rattled home a game-winning bucket with 3.6 on the clock to drop 3-seed Tennessee.

The Ramblers, now in the sweet 16, are a fantastic "Cinderella story". There are a lot of those stories underway this year, but somehow Loyola's upsets now seem mild in comparison with the biggest in history.

Introducing UMBC, which is not a bank or a TV station

For the first time in the era of the modern bracket, a 16-seed has defeated a 1-seed. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County stunned the nation Friday night with their win over the number one team, Virginia. They will now face 9-seed Kansas Sate, which promises to be a very entertaining game.

After knocking off Arizona, 13-seed Buffalo fell to Kentucky, taking a little hope away from some of these lower-seeded teams to continue their winning ways. 13-seed Marshall upset 4-seed Wichita State, and will now face 5-seed West Virginia.

Syracuse has been a surprise, but now faces a 3-seed Michigan State team that many believe has what it takes to go all the way. The Mizzou boys and girls teams both experienced early outs. The Sunday games are already underway and will likely to continue to yield some wild results.

On the ladies' side of things, 11-seed Buffalo had a nice upset just like there men's team, defeating the 6-seed South Florida team. Another 11-seed, CMU dropped 6-seed LSU. For the most part, things are falling into place as expected, at least in comparison to the men's bracket.

UConn dropped a whopping 140 points on 16-seed St. Francis (PA) in their first game, setting records for scoring in a period (55) and half (94). Not bad for a game with no overtime. UConn is looking for its 12th title - 5 coming in the last six years.

Keep it locked to The Basketball Movement for more tournament details.

Madness - Day one is in the books

March madness is officially underway with upsets, dominant displays, and a game-winning shot.

The Missouri Valley Conference may only have one representative in the tournament, but they kicked off the March madness in epic fashion. The 11-seed Loyola-Chicago Ramblers upset 6-seed Miami with a game-winning deep three at the buzzer by Donte Ingram. They will have another tough contest ahead, facing 3-seed Tennessee tomorrow in Dallas.

The other big upset of the day did not come by way of buzzer-beater. The 13-seed Buffalo Bulls thoroughly outplayed 4-seed Arizona for their entire game. Not a good look for potential top NBA pick Deandre Ayton of Arizona. The only other upset of the day was minor, with 9-seed Alabama defeating 8-seed Virginia Tech. Everyone else took care of business.

Looking ahead

Things kick off on the women's side of thing with a chance to see 1-seed Louisville in action at 11:00AM (CT). Another familiar team in the tourney, Baylor kicks their tournament off at 6:00PM (CT).

For the men, former Missouri Valley Conference team, Wichita State kicks things off as a 4-seed against Marshall this afternoon. Mizzou (8-seed) gets another chance to see Michael Porter Jr. in action against Florida State tonight.

Tune in for what will surely be another wild night of March madness and one of the most exciting times of the year for basketball. This is a great time to watch some of the best go at it and use their examples as ways to improve your own game. Step up this offseason with some tips from The Basketball Movement here.