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March 20, 2015

March Madness 2015: Recapping Friday's late games

Chalk, chalk, and some more chalk

After yesterday's thrill ride, we had a pretty lackluster early session on Friday afternoon. Judging from Twitter, it seems like there's an actual name for the phenomenon of a less chaotic second day that directly follows the tourney opening with a major bang: Chalk Friday. It's a fitting name for how the night games went, as well. 

One silver lining of an upset-free day like today is that it sets up better matchups in the later rounds. UAB and Georgia State are cool, until you have to watch them play a second time.

No. 8 Oregon dispatches No. 9 Oklahoma State

This was the matchup of subtle uniforms, brought to you by T. Boone Pickens and Phil Knight. I'm now going to write something that I don't believe I've ever said before: Well done, Bleacher Report:

Having not watched Oregon at all this season (no #DuckBias here, thank you very much), I was surprised when Joseph Young won Pac-12 Player of the Year over anybody on that dominant Arizona team. It shouldn't have. This was my first look at the senior guard, and he was very impressive in the win over the Cowboys. Young scored 27 points on an efficient 15 shots to lead the Ducks to a 79-73 victory in the "Battle of the Highlighters." Mighty Joe also pulled off this dunk, which is not easy for a 6-foot-2 guard.

Oh, yeah. Marcus Mariota went Oregon.

No. 1 Duke defeats No. 16 Robert Morris

Good job, good effort, Bobby Mo. The Blue Devils cruised to an 85-56 win over the Colonials. You would have to think that former Penn star (back when Penn was, you know, good at basketball) Andy Toole has earned a chance to move onto greener pastures. May I suggest an Atlantic 10 school in the Bronx that I may or may not have attended and is in desperate need of a young climber to shepherd the program for a few years?

Jahlil Okafor very well might be an excellent NBA player. Heck, I'm not ruling out that he could one of the league's five best guys for about a decade. What I do know is if that happens, Skip Bayless will not be pestering him to appear in the dunk contest like he does to LeBron James. Might want to stick to tapping the backboard, Big Jah:

Coach K threw Marshall Plumlee (yes, we can't get rid of these guys) right into the game for Okafor after that play. My high school coach used to do that a lot when I screwed up, and I called those specific moments, "Get 'em the [redacted] out!" substitutions. We've all been there, Okafor. Quinn Cook scored 22 points to lead Duke, who will play San Diego State in the next round. 

No. 7 Iowa handles No. 10 Davidson

I feel so, so dumb for picking Davidson. Just last week, I saw La Salle (particularly, the big man combo of Steve Zack and Jerrell Wright) dominate the Wildcats only to freeze up for the entire last five minutes and lose at the buzzer. Iowa isn't La Salle, and Davidson still had legitimately no size seven days later:

The Hawkeyes cruised to an 82-53 victory and set a couple of milestones in the process:

The last time Iowa won a tourney game, Reggie Evans was patrolling the glass for the Hawkeyes. If you need more clarification, he has been in the NBA forever! Aaron White was the star, shooting 11-14 from the field and finishing with 26 points. Good for Philly native Fran McCaffrey.

No. 3 Oklahoma outlasts No. 14 Albany

I love the Great Danes, but this type of shooting wasn't going to get it done against the Sooners. Oklahoma has the fifth-stingiest defense in the country for a reason, after all:


Despite not shooting well, Oklahoma felt like the better team for the entire game and earned a 69-60 victory. Star guard and generally good story Peter Hooley made the game-winner in the conference title game, but he couldn't find the range against the Sooners. The broadcast showed his family watching in Australia, which is pretty cool. I bet it's not snowing there:

No. 1 Wisconsin routs No. 16 Coastal Carolina

Like always, the Badgers came out very focused:

I'm rooting for a rematch between a couple of Chester natives, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and Arizona swingman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, in the West Regional final. Those two teams produced one of the tourney's most exciting games in that same game last season, and I want to see if they can provide us with similar theater. 

Coastal battled for the entire game, but they ultimately fell to Wisconsin, 86-72. In their defense, how can you can deal with Frank the Tank's footwork? Bo's teams are all about that fundamental life:

No. 8 San Diego State knocks off No. 9 St. John's

23 years after leading the Fab Five and only four days away from his 70th birthday, it's pretty cool that Steve Fisher is still going strong with SDSU. Jim Nantz had a nice fun fact on the broadcast: The Aztecs haven't lost back-to-back games over a span of 80 games. Fisher knows how to win in the tournament, having won the national title in 1989 with Glen Rice and co while also taking the Fab Five to two Final Fours.

The Johnnies went one-and-done in both the Big East and NCAA tourneys, but at least Philly product (and maybe future Sixer?) Rysheed Jordan did this:

No. 2 Gonzaga drops No. 15 North Dakota State

Didn't see very much of this game, but the Bison made the Bulldogs sweat for almost the whole duration. Kevin Pangos, who scored 18 points and collected five assists, has been in school since approximately 1999. In all seriousness, he might've been a freshman on that Adam Morrison team. Now, the real work begins for the Zags:

No. 11 Dayton "upsets" No. 6 Providence

Who didn't pick Dayton to advance in a de facto home game played in Columbus? This guy. At after 1:00 a.m., the Flyers prevented us from having the chalkiest day of games in tourney history with a 66-53 victory over Providence:

There was some horrible officiating at the end of this game, but that shouldn't overshadow Archie Miller having this tournament thing down pat. I'm going to bed, with some nightmare fuel in my head courtesy of this game: