Top Returning SEC Guards: #5 – Sahvir Wheeler, Georgia

It may have been easy to watch Georgia basketball last season and solely focus on potential #1 NBA Draft selection Anthony Edwards. However, while Edwards was piling up points, his fellow freshman guard Sahvir Wheeler was quietly putting up an impressive and efficient season for the Bulldogs, and now with Edwards out of the spotlight, Wheeler looks prepared to be one of the top guards in the SEC. He kicks off our top returning SEC guards countdown, slotting in at #5. In his debut season, Wheeler, checking in at 5’10 and 180 pounds, averaged 9 points a game and 2.5 rebounds, along with a team-leading 4.5 assists, a mark that tied him for fourth in the SEC. He did it all while shooting at a red-hot 47% clip, and, as Georgia’s top returning scorer, he figures to get the lion’s share of scoring opportunities in this upcoming season. Check him out torching the Tide in this video:

Last year, although he mainly was a facilitator, setting up Edwards for his scoring chances, Wheeler had a few big games himself. He went off for 19-points in his collegiate debut, and he put up his best performance of the year in an overtime thriller against Alabama, pouring in 24 points and dishing out eight assists. In their lone SEC Tournament clash prior to the cancellation of the season, Wheeler notched 15 points and 8 assists en route to leading the Tide to an upset of Ole Miss.

 With Georgia’s go-to-guys headed for the NBA, Wheeler will be the main man in Athens this upcoming season. Look for him to be one of the top guards in the SEC, as Georgia hopes to return to contention for a postseason tournament. 


Top Returning ACC Guards: #1 – Carlik Jones, Louisville

Our #1 top returning (non-freshman) guard to watch in the ACC hasn’t actually played in the conference yet. Carlik Jones spent three years dominating the Big South with the Radford Highlanders, and now he’s looking to succeed Jordan Nwora as the do-it-all guard for the Louisville Cardinals. While the Big South is no ACC, Carlik Jones was rated as one the most efficient players in the country and, outside of Luka Garza, he was the highest-rated returning Power-5 player. Looking at Jones’ stats and game log, it’s not hard to see why – he quite simply does it all. 

After averaging 11.8 points per game his freshman year, Jones averaged 15.8 in his sophomore year, but he shot just 25% from three-point range. His junior season, the Radford star put it together, shooting 41% from beyond the arc and averaging 20 points a game to go with 5.1 rebounds (3rd on the team) and a squad-leading 5.5 assists. From his 31 point, 6 rebound effort in the season-opener, Jones was on fire out of the gate. He played two games against Power-5 competition (Northwestern and Mississippi State) and combined for 35 points and 14 assists. Against James Madison, Jones was just a single rebound shy of a triple-double – 23 points, 10 assists, and 9 boards.

Against the Big South, Jones tortured virtually every opponent, putting up video game numbers all season. Defensively, he was a lockdown defender, picking the locks on the hands of a bevy of Big South ball handlers. In the conference tournament quarterfinals, Jones poured in twenty-one points, collected nine boards, dished out six assists, and notched four steals. The Radford guard didn’t score under 15 points in the final two months of the season, leading the Highlanders to a 15-3 conference record and split of the regular season title. Now, Jones is on to bigger things, as he heads to Louisville, who certainly knows how to use a versatile guard, after enjoying the talents of Nwora for several seasons. 

Jones has proven over three-years he’s capable of being the go-to-guy for a successful basketball team, and now he’s taking his talents to the ACC, where the dynamic floor general will look to continue to ball out in the best basketball conference in America.

Top Returning ACC Guards: #3 – Jose Alvorado, Georgia Tech

We are officially past the halfway point of our top returning ACC guards countdown, and slotting in at #3 is Jose Alvorado of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. A three-year starter out of Brooklyn, New York, Alvorado shot 45% from the field last season and bumped up his scoring average to 14.4 points per game, to go with a team-leading 4 assists per game, as well as 3.4 rebounds. Alvorado’s bread-and-butter is his defense, as he lead the ACC with 2.2 steals per game, racking up as many as nine in a single contest. His versatility and production on both ends of the court earned him the #3 spot in our countdown of top returning ACC Guards. 

Alvorado was not exactly on a tear out of the gate last season, but as the calendar flipped to 2020, and ACC play began in earnest, the junior guard turned up the heat. In the first game of the new year, Alvorado, after not scoring more than 14 points in any game to that point, poured in 25 against UNC, while dishing out seven assists for the road victory. 18 and 20-point efforts against Duke and Virginia soon followed, and Alvorado began to tear it up on the court. He posted his lone double-double of the year at #6 Louisville (13 points, 10 rebounds) and torched NC State for 26 points, 9 steals, and 8 boards. 

Georgia Tech spent most of the season wallowing in the bottom half of the ACC standings, but behind the consistent and dynamic play of Alvorado, the Yellow Jackets skyrocketed up the standings in the final weeks of the regular season. Entering that aforementioned NC State game, Alvorado and Co. sat at 3-6 in conference play, but they used that big win as a launch pad, winning 8 of their final 11 ACC contests, and six of their last seven. In that stretch, Alvorado averaged 19 points a game to spur the ‘Jackets, and he boasted a four-game streak of at least 3 steals in each contest, highlighted by a 7-steal effort against Miami. Georgia Tech finished 11-9 in ACC games, their first winning record in conference play since 2003-04. 

Alvorado is evidently an elite defensive contributor, but he brings a versatile set of tools to the offensive end of the court as well, as he can shoot the three decently (35% in that 11-game stretch, 33% on the year), and he’s deadly efficient when he gets inside the arc, making shots at a 53% clip. At the free throw line, Alvorado sinks 80% of his efforts, and he posted some clutch performances at the charity stripe, including a 13-15 outing against Wake Forest to seal a critical road conference victory. A defensive stud and steady offensive contributor, Alvorado could be the driving force behind a potential Georgia Tech run back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.

Top Returning ACC Guards: #4 – Kihei Clark, Virginia

If you’re a real college basketball fan, you will know Kihei Clark from his insane game-saving, high-IQ play in the 2019 Elite Eight. Clark collected a long rebound and fired a half court dime to assist on a game-tying buzzer beater. Virginia went on to take down Purdue in overtime and win their first ever national championship two games later. But Clark was not a one-hit wonder, and he followed up a solid freshman campaign with a far better sophomore season, and he slots in at #4 in our top returning ACC guard countdown. 

The buzzer beater was great…but do you remember the pass

Clark ranked third in the ACC with 5.9 assists per game last season, and on a low-scoring Virginia squad, he was second on the team with 10.8 points per game. Another sneakily impressive statistic is his 4.2 rebounds per game. Not only is that mark quite solid for a guard, but Clark is 5’9, yet he still collects his lion’s share of boards. With UVA’s top scorer and top two rebounders graduating, Clark will be the key to the Cavaliers’ offense in 2020-21. 

Clark’s gritty style of play was on display from Game 1 this season, as in an ugly season-opening 48-34 win over Syracuse, Clark dropped ten points and grabbed 11 rebounds while playing the whole game. The California product was a consistent playmaker for Virginia all year, and he elevated his game in certain big situations, posting a 13 point, 8 rebound, 7 assist slash line in a road overtime win at Wake Forest, a team that slaughtered Duke. In a visit to #5 Louisville, Clark poured in 23 points on the Cardinals, to go with five rebounds and seven assists. When Virginia ended the abbreviated season on a 8-game winning streak, it coincided with Clark’s most consistent stretches of the season, as he averaged 12 points a game with efforts of 17, 17, and 18 points while continuing to be a defensive stalwart for the stingy Cavaliers. It’s hard to quantify the impact that Clark has on each basketball game, but his clutch factor is undeniable, and his numbers are quickly improving. If he makes similar strides in his junior season, Clark will be even better than this #4 ranking in this countdown. Watch out for Kihei Clark in 2020.


We’re continuing our top mid-major guard countdown today, and slotting in at #4 is Jhivvan Jackson, of the University of Texas at San Antonio. A rising senior, Jackson has been one of the most prolific scorers in the country regardless of conference, and he has only improved his numbers in each of his three seasons thus far. After 18.4 points per game his freshman year, Jackson improved that mark to 22.4 in his sophomore season, before shooting up to 26.8 points per game, ranking second in the country in the 2019-2020 season. 

Jackson played for a UTSA team that mustered just a 7-11 record in Conference-USA play, leading the team in scoring while ranking second in rebounds (5.6 rpg) and assists (2.4 apg). He recorded five double-doubles last season, scoring 30+ points on 12 occasions with a season-high of 45. Jackson notched some impressive performances against Power-5 competitions, including UTSA’s season opener at a very solid Oklahoma squad, when he dropped 24 points and 13 rebounds on the Sooners. Against Oregon State, Jackson posted a 28 point, 5 rebound, and 5 assist stat line, entering C-USA play on a hot streak that he kept alive for the majority of UTSA’s conference slate. One of his most impressive performances of the season came in a big home game against Louisiana Tech, who finished the year 13-5 in C-USA play and was one of three 20-win teams in the conference. Jackson put up a monster performance, scoring 37 points led by his 8-15 shooting from 3-point range. He also brought down five rebounds and dished out six assists to lead the Roadrunners to an upset victory. In his three chances against the top three teams in the conference  – North Texas, Louisiana Tech, and Western Kentucky – Jackson averaged just under 34 points. 

The scariest thing about Jackson’s prolific output in his junior season is that he was somewhat inconsistent from beyond the arc. As shown in some of his biggest games, when he was hitting long-range shots at a high rate, the UTSA standout was an absolute game-changer and one of the most lethal shooters in the country. In twelve games that Jackson shot the 3 at a 40% clip or better, he averaged over 32 points per game, so if he irons out some of his accuracy issues, he could be one of the best scorers in recent NCAA history. Last season, Markus Howard led the country with 27.8 points per game, and nobody has eclipsed 30.1 for a season since 1997. If Jackson returns for his senior season locked in from distance, he might light up Conference USA and single-handedly push UTSA back towards the top of the conference. 

Ultimately, Jackson’s steady improvement of three collegiate seasons and his prolific scoring ability, even when shooting at less efficient clips, landed him at #4 on our countdown of the best mid-major guards in the country.

2020 March Madness Simulation Starts Final Four on Saturday

After 8 days of simulation, we reached the conclusion of our Elite Eight, and starting Saturday evening, we will play out our Final Four, with the national championship on Monday night. How did we get here? And who is going home with the title? Let’s find out. 

South Region – 3. Duke

Duke’s road to the Final Four was made possible by a series of upsets in the top half of the bracket that took out many of their top challengers. Between #1 overall seed Kansas, 2019 Final Four member Auburn, and a strong Maryland squad, it didn’t appear to be a favorable road for Duke. However, courtesy of 13th-seeded Vermont and 9th-seeded Wichita State, all three of those teams were gone by the Sweet 16 making Duke the favorite. 

The Blue Devils had no issues in their opener, opening up a 14-point lead on Northern Kentucky and never saw that lead dip below twelve in the final twenty minutes, winning 76-54. Their Round of 32 battle was much more challenging, as Ohio State looked primed to pull off the upset. The #6 Buckeyes led by 10 with five minute to go, but a late Duke charge forced overtime, where the Blue Devils took over, holding Ohio State to four overtime points and winning 107-102. 

In the Sweet 16, Duke was matched up against second-seeded San Diego State. The Aztecs were the higher seed, but the Blue Devils were the betting favorite, and they showed why, opening up a nine point lead at halftime and gradually squeezing out their mid-major opponent. San Diego State came within three at one point, but Duke stayed ahead and pulled away, winning 83-72. 

The Elite Eight rolled around and Duke got a very unexpected opponent in 13. Vermont. The Catamounts came brutally close to an upset last year of Florida State, and this year, helped along by Wichita’s upset of Kansas, they had rampaged through the top half of the bracket. They did the same to Duke in the early going, leading 50-37 at halftime and 62-50 with 12 minutes to play. The Blue Devils’ offense picked up, cutting the deficit to six with 8 minutes to play, and then five with four to go. With 2:54 to go, Trae Jones hit the first of his clutch shots, draining a triple to tie the score at 76-76. At 80-80, Duke got the ball with 33 seconds to go and the shot clock off. The Blue Devils let the clock drain before getting the ball to Jones who knocked down the game winner with a buttery step-back jumper. It wasn’t over, as Vermont connected on a full court pass and was fouled on the layup, but they hit just one of two free throws, and Duke survived 82-81 to advance to the Final Four. 

West Region – 1. Kentucky

Kentucky looked nothing like a Final Four team for much of their tournament, as they have truly embodied the ‘survive and advance’ method. Even in the first round, against #16 Siena, the Wildcats only opened up a 6-point halftime advantage, and Siena was as close as four in the second half before Kentucky pulled away to win 87-70. In the Round of 32, the Wildcats looked dead in the water, down twelve to Arizona at half and being outplayed for much of the game. But Arizona never pulled away, and Kentucky pulled back to force overtime, and then Immanuel Quickley hit a runner at the buzzer and Kentucky advanced, 86-85. 

Kentucky got what should have been a welcome gift in the Sweet 16, getting to face #12 Eastern Tennessee State instead of defending national champion Virginia or powerhouse Villanova. However, the game was anything but easy for the Wildcats, who tussled back and forth before hitting another buzzer-beater, this one courtesy of Tyrese Maxes, in a 78-76 win. Their Elite Eight contest was actually probably Kentucky’s best game, or at least their best half, as after trailing Seton Hall by three at half, the Wildcats stormed back to take a 12-point lead. After the Pirates cut it to six, Kentucky held Myles Powell’s squad to just one layup in the final four minutes, winning 80-71 to earn a match-up with Duke in the Final Four.

East Region – 1. Dayton

Dayton had to deal with a lot of pressure as a first time one-seed and our #2 overall seed, but the Flyers handled it admirably, cruising through most of their opening weekend. Obi Toppin was held somewhat quiet by #16 NC Central in the first round, but it was all they could do to silence the AP Player of the Year, and virtually everyone else was open for Dayton, who cruised 77-55. In the Round of 32, Toppin scored 24, and Dayton led wire-to-wire and ended the surprising run of #9 Notre Dame, who made the tournament by virtue of a Cinderella run through the ACC Tournament.

 Dayton trailed for the first time in the Sweet 16, down by two at halftime to a massive underdog in #12 New Mexico State. Both offenses exploded in a thrilling second half, but Dayton couldn’t surge ahead, and the game went to overtime at 80-80. There, however, the Flyers claimed ten of the first eleven points in the period to seize control and take down the Aggies, 93-86. 

The Flyers played a somewhat strange Elite 8 contest against Florida State. They got off to a hot start and led throughout the first half, but the Seminoles narrowed the gap to five points at the break. With 12 to go, Dayton hadn’t surrendered the lead, still up two points. At the Under-4 timeout, Dayton still led by four, and at no point had Florida State so much as tied the game. But at the same time, Dayton didn’t lead by more than five points throughout the half. In the final minutes, the Seminoles came within one point several times, and a game-tying three rimmed out. Trey Landers had 21 and Dayton won an 88-85 game in which they never trailed and never led by more than two possessions in the final 35 minutes. 

Midwest Region – 3. Oregon

After a dicey first game, it’s been largely smooth sailing for Oregon, who did also benefit from the 1-seed in their region falling before the Elite Eight. The Ducks trailed at halftime in the first round to Eastern Washington, but they crawled back to take a small lead, icing the game when Pritchard executed a silky crossover and drilled a jumper for an 86-82 lead with 7 seconds left and the shot clock about to expire. Oregon advanced and got to face #11 Clemson in the Round of 32, but the Tigers never challenged the Ducks, who cruised 78-63, heading into the Sweet 16 with very little second-round drama. 

Against a strong Baylor team whose late-season slide cost them a #1 seed, the Ducks got an early advantage and then clung to a one-point lead at the break. Oregon got up by as many as eleven in the second half, before watching Baylor pull within 69-66 with 1:48 to play. The Bears didn’t score again, and the Ducks went 6-8 at the free throw line to close it out, advancing to the Elite Eight, 75-66. 

Against #4 Louisville, who upset #1 Gonzaga in the Sweet 16, Oregon got off to a horrific start, trailing 25-12 just twelve minutes into the game. However, the Ducks rebounded and ended the half on a 23-12 run to make it a 37-35 halftime deficit. They started the second half on an 8-0 run before the game settled into a tightly-fought battle, with Oregon leading 75-71 with four minutes to play. From there, the Ducks locked down once more, not allowing Louisville a single point in the final four minutes. They recorded two steals, forced two more turnovers, and blocked a shot while ending the game on an 8-0 run to win 83-71, forging on to the Final Four.

25% of our bracket entries still have a champion in the field, with Duke the only team that nobody picked out of the four remaining squads. Who’s bringing home the national title on Monday night?

This Day in March Madness History: Syracuse comes back from the dead

This Day in March Madness History

March 27, 2016
Virginia vs. Syracuse

  • The Setup
    The 2016 NCAA basketball tournament had been somewhat standard outside of the Midwest Region that saw Syracuse and Virginia clash in an Elite Eight match-up. Most people could have predicted Virginia being at that stage, and the Cavaliers had gotten there with few issues, an eight-point win in the Round of 32 their closest call. Virginia was the top-seed in the region, but prior to the first round, they weren’t necessarily the fan favorite to get to the Final Four, as Michigan State, the second seed, was a popular national champion pick among brackets.
    That all changed when the Spartans were stunned by 15th-seeded Middle Tennessee in the Round of 64, leading to absolute chaos on the bottom half of the bracket. Syracuse was the biggest beneficiary as, after beating seventh-seeded Dayton, they got to face Middle Tennessee in the second round. They won by 25 points, heading to the Sweet 16, where they received excellent luck again. Rather than third-seeded Utah awaiting the Orange, they met #11 Gonzaga, who had stunned the Utes by 23 points. Syracuse escaped the Bulldogs, 63-60, and moved on to create a very unlikely Elite Eight contest against the Cavaliers. 
  • How it went down
    Virginia was the higher ranked team, but they hadn’t been in the Elite Eight since 1995. In that time span, Syracuse had reached that stage four times, including going to the Final Four in 2014 and winning a national championship in 2003. Whether it would be Virginia’s talent or Syracuse’s magic and pedigree that mattered was yet to be seen. However, the opening minutes were slow, as nerves showed for both teams. At the first media timeout, four minutes into the game, Syracuse led just 4-2. Both teams awoke, but it was UVA who truly roared to life, as the Cavaliers accelerated past the Orange with a 19-2 run that covered 8 minutes and 8 seconds of clock time. That set the tone, and Virginia’s suffocating defense allowed them to take a comfortable 35-21 lead into the break.
    UVA allowed Syracuse to creep within single digits to start the half, but the Cavaliers quickly re-asserted themselves. With 9:33 showing on the clock, ACC player of the year Malcolm Brogdon drove and kicked it out to London Perrantes. Perrantes buried a three and Virginia took a commanding 54-39 lead. But that’s where things got interesting, as Syracuse started to figure out Virginia’s defense.
    The Orange scored on their next five trips down the floor, but Virginia did manage a pair of layups to keep Syracuse at bay, 58-49. However, Syracuse then really made their move. Malachi Richardson got free at the top of key and he drained a three to make it a six-point game. As UVA pushed down the court, Richardson swiped at the ball and it began to sail out of bounds, but the freshman leapt out of bounds and turned to ricochet the ball off Brogdon to make it Syracuse ball. Tyler Lydon buried another triple on the ensuing possession and it was 58-55. Two layups later, and the Orange had an unlikely lead. Richardson extended it with another three. When all was said and done, it was a stunning 25-4 run for Syracuse that turned a 15-point deficit into a 64-58 lead with 3:27 to play. Virginia’s slow-moving offense got back within 64-62 with 26 seconds to play, but that was as close as they would get. After a Syracuse free throw, the Cavaliers missed a game-tying three. The Orange went 3-4 from the charity stripe in the final 15 seconds to ice the 68-62 upset win. 
  • The Aftermath
    Syracuse’s Cinderella story struck midnight in the Final Four, as they were manhandled by North Carolina. Two years later, the Orange made another surprising run, roaring into the Sweet 16 as an 11-seed before losing to Duke. Meanwhile, Virginia’s fall was the start of a bottoming out that would then lead to their first national title. They lost in the Round of 32 in 2017, and then they became the first 1-seed to lose to a 16-seed, getting routed by twenty points by UMBC. The Cavaliers rebounded and, due to this year’s cancellation, are still the defending champions after winning it all in 2019. 

NBA Notables
Syracuse – NONE
Virginia – Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks, Pacers)

This Day in March Madness History: Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s first encounter

This Day in March Madness History

March 26, 1979
Michigan State vs. Indiana State

  • The Setup
    If someone had suggested this national championship match-up even two years prior, they would have been laughed at. Indiana State was hardly removed from their DII days, making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1979. Meanwhile, Michigan State had only returned to relevance a year prior, when the Spartans made it to the Elite Eight. Before that run, Michigan State hadn’t made the tournament since 1959. However, in 1979, both teams were powerhouses, each led by a star that would become an NBA legend. Indiana State got a one-seed in the tournament, led by the exploits of Larry Bird, who averaged 28.6 points per game that season. Heading into the title game, the Sycamores had a 33-0 record, having survived consecutive two-point games to squeak into the final round.
    Meanwhile, Michigan State had been a little less dominant at 25-6, but they had their own stud at the helm in Magic Johnson, averaging 17.1 points per game. He actually was only second on the team in scoring to Greg Kelser. The Spartans had actually had it far easier than the Sycamores, not winning a single game by less than twelve points. That game was an upset of #1 Notre Dame, 80-68. In the Final Four, they faced a huge underdog in Penn, a nine-seed, and dismantled them by 34 points. 
  • How it went down
    Michigan State knew the game would come down to whether they could stop Larry Bird, especially in the paint. The Spartans flocked to Bird when he got the ball, and they crowded his passing lanes, limiting him to just 7 of 21 shooting, and only two assists. The Spartans went up 37-28 at the half. Johnson made one exceptional play late in the half, driving to the baseline, faking out Bird with a pump-fake pass, and laying the ball in for two points. The Sycamores had rallied several times throughout the year, and they had recent experience in close games, but they started off the second half slow. Michigan State rattled off seven straight points and led 44-28 just minutes into the second half.
    Out of all their comebacks, Bird’s squad had never trailed by more than eleven points, and the 16-point deficit proved too much a struggle to overcome. Michigan State continued to fluster the mid-major star with a spectacular zone defense that minimized his efficiency and playmaking ability. Bird scratched out 19 points, and Carl Nicks chipped away for 17, but that was as good as it got for Indiana State, which was doomed by poor free throw shooting. The Sycamores were 10-22 from the charity stripe, including 5-17 from players not named Larry Bird. Michigan State battled through their own foul trouble and avoided any ejections, closing out the Sycamores, 75-64. 
  • The Aftermath
    The season was done after that, but the future of these programs went in very different directions. Having won the title in just their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance, the Spartans eventually became a March regular, although it took a while. They missed the next five tournaments, and they struggled to establish a pedigree, but in 1995, Michigan State hired Tom Izzo as head coach. The Spartans won a title in 2000, and they’ve qualified for 23 straight NCAA Tournaments.
    Meanwhile, Indiana State has made just three tournament appearances since Larry Bird left the team, and they’ve won just one contest in that time. Ironically, the next tournament they qualified for, it was in 2000, when the Spartans won their next championship. They last played in the NCAA Tournament in 2011. 
  • NBA Notables (Teams they played 100+ games for)
    Michigan State – Magic Johnson (Lakers), Greg Kelser (SuperSonics), Jay Vincent (Mavericks)
    Indiana State – Larry Bird (Celtics), Carl Nicks (Jazz)

This Day in March Madness History: K-State and Xavier duke it out in a double-OT classic

This Day in March Madness History

March 25, 2010
Xavier vs. Kansas State

  • The Setup
    Kansas State and Xavier met in West Regional Sweet 16, and the winner would be in the driver’s seat to get to the Final Four with top-seeded Syracuse having been eliminated by #5 Butler. Xavier was in their first season under head coach Chris Mack, but they were making their ninth straight tournament appearance and third straight appearance in the Sweet 16. They weren’t a favorite to get there in 2010, but the Musketeers pulled an upset in the Round of 32 over #3 Pittsburgh to reach this game.
    Meanwhile, Kansas State could hardly match Xavier’s tournament experience, but the Wildcats had been the better team in 2010. They had only one tournament win since 1988, which was also the last time they had been in the Sweet 16. They had had no issues in getting there this time around, having beaten North Texas by 20 and BYU by 12. 
  • How it went down
    For a while, it looked like the higher-ranked Wildcats may absolutely bury Xavier in the first half. Just over eight minutes into the game, Wally Judge tipped in a rebound, and Kansas State went up 19-4. However, Xavier ripped off an 8-0 run to make it a competitive game. Later in the half, the Musketeers repeated the feet to close within a point, and then they grabbed their first lead in the final minute on a free throw. Xavier led 32-31 at the half.
    Kansas State jumped back in the lead right at the start of the half, and they kept Xavier at bay for a long time, but the Musketeers never went away. Xavier crawled back into the lead at 59-58 with 5:31 to play, but they never extended their lead beyond the one-point advantage, and the Wildcats pushed back in front, 72-69 with 10 seconds left. Terrell Holloway of Xavier was fouled on a three-point attempt, and he calmly drained all three free throws to tie the game and send it to overtime.
    In a very competitive overtime, Xavier needed another late comeback to survive. After getting an initial layup to take their biggest lead of the game at two points, the Musketeers surrendered their advantage once more. With under ten seconds to go, Xavier found themselves down three again, but this time it was Jordan Crawford draining a game-tying triple with seven seconds left. For the second time, Kansas State saw a game-tying effort go off target.
    However, Xavier’s tightrope act could not continue for another overtime.  They took a two-point lead twice, but they couldn’t sustain their desperate comeback efforts. Down 99-96, Xavier’s game-tying three was off the mark this time, and Kansas State drilled a pair of shots from the charity stripe to ice the result. It was Jacob Pullen who knocked down the game-winning three for the Wildcats with 35 seconds left. 
  • The Aftermath
    Kansas State’s win made them the favorite in their Elite Eight matchup, but they were just another domino to fall in Butler’s Cinderella run to the national championship. Kansas State lost in five straight opening weekends after that, but in 2018, the Wildcats made a re-appearance in the Elite Eight, losing to another Cinderella story in Loyola-Chicago.
    Xavier continued to struggle to get past the Sweet 16, not doing so until 2017 as an 11-seed. The Musketeers welcomed in a new era with Travis Steele taking over as head coach upon the departure of Mack, and they were firmly on the bubble prior to the cancellation of March Madness. 
  • NBA Notables (Teams they played 100+ games for)
    Xavier – Jordan Crawford (Wizards)
    Kansas State – None

2020 March Madness Simulation: Round of 64 set to start tomorrow

ESPN ran their somewhat predictable BPI simulation. They then followed it up with a wacky version where they took the 2,020th simulation and posted those results. Joe Lunardi is running his own “Twitter Tourney”, which is currently in the Sweet 16. With everyone doing their own simulations, we are introducing the most thorough one yet!

We’ve spent the last week simulating the remaining conference tournaments and creating a bracket based off those results. We’ve opened up our own bracket challenge, and it’s your last chance to get in on it! The winner will appear on our podcast and receive a T-shirt with our logo on it (not yet designed). 2nd place gets a T-Shirt. Message us on Instagram @College_Talking to get a copy of our bracket, fill it out, and send it in! Check out our Instagram page for the selection show if you have questions about how this bracket was created!