A preview of what’s happening in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday:
GAME OF THE DAY
NORTH CAROLINA VS. BAYLOR
Just a month ago, it looked like North Carolina and freshman coach Hubert Davis might be on the wrong end of the NCAA bubble. Now the eighth-seeded Tar Heels are aiming to cause trouble for Baylor.
Eliminating the defending national champion Bears takes a lot, but there have been bigger upsets in this tournament already and the Tar Heels are hot with wins in seven of their last eight games.
This is not uncharted territory for Davis. He played on the eighth-seeded Carolina team that knocked out No. 1-seeded Oklahoma in 1990. He was also on Roy Williams’ staff for two national title games.
Davis’ first tournament game as head coach, a 95-63 win over Marquette, was the most lopsided encounter ever between the No. 8 and No. 9 seeds.
Baylor made quick work of 16th-seeded Norfolk State in an 85-49 first-round win and won six of its last seven games.
Anyone worried about the Tar Heels being overwhelmed by a pro-Baylor crowd in Fort Worth should relax. Two weeks ago, they won at Duke by double digits over the “Cameron Crazies” in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final home game.
In all likelihood, the Saint Peter Peacocks should have been back on campus in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Friday, and not in Indianapolis to prepare for a second-round game against Murray State.
Few outside of the 15th-seeded Peacocks’ travel group believed that a first-round upset No. 2 seeded Kentucky was possible. Carefree. They brought a change of clothes – a few, in fact.
“We came here on a mission,” coach Shaheen Holloway said. “Not many people believed that we could come here and do what we do. We came out here packed ready for Sunday. We said to ourselves that we were leaving on Sunday with two victories.
Creighton will miss 7-foot-1 center Ryan Kalkbrenner for the rest of the tournament after injuring his left knee late in the overtime win over San Diego State on Thursday.
Kalkbrenner is the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and the team’s second leading scorer and would have been Creighton’s counter against big man David McCormack in a second-round game against No. 1. Keyshawn Feazell, a 6-foot-9 transfer from McNeese State, is in line to make his first start for Creighton.
The Bluejays are already without Big East Rookie of the Year and starting point guard Ryan Nembhard, who suffered a wrist injury three weeks ago. Trey Alexander, the hero of the first-round victory, took Nembhard’s place.
Starting forward Arthur Kaluma also missed time in February with a knee injury, and defensive scorer Shereef Mitchell has been out all season with an undisclosed injury.
HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN
DeVante’ Jones, who moved from Coastal Carolina to Michigan to improve his chances of playing in the tournament, will get his chance.
Jones took an elbow to the face in practice this week and had to sit out the Wolverines’ win over Colorado State. Coach Juwan Howard said his starting point guard was cleared to play against Tennessee at Indianapolis.
A SPECIAL SPIDER
Jacob Gilyard has played all 40 minutes in each of Richmond’s last eight games, and his total of 1,389 minutes for the season is by far the most in the country. After being upset by Iowa, coach Chris Mooney likely won’t let the fifth-year guard rest when the 12th-seeded Spiders take on No. 4 Providence in Buffalo, New York.
“I think the last time I walked out of a game I told him to walk me out,” Gilyard said. “I couldn’t remember the last time he tried to get me out. It would probably be crazy.
“I was just wondering what he was thinking, why he did that,” he said. “I’d be interested to know what the logic behind it was, but at the end of the day I trust him. If he thinks knocking me out is going to give us the best chance of winning, then I’m all for it. .
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