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March 23, 2008
Bracket Breakdown
NCAA Tournament, Day Three

by Ken Pomeroy


Day three of NCAA Tournament action saw the higher seed win six of eight games. However, there was one major upset and a one-seed received a serious scare.

(3) Stanford 82, (6) Marquette 81 [OT, 71 possessions]

Two years ago, Stanford assistant Doug Oliver was leading Idaho State to a 4-10 record in the Big Sky. Yesterday, he led Stanford to the Sweet 16 after head coach Trent Johnson got tossed late in the first half. The Lopez twins were too much for Marquette, but just barely. Stanford needed Brook's baseline hook shot to catch the rim and drop through with just under two seconds left, giving him 30 points and a +13 in 28:10 of action.

(7) West Virginia 73, (2) Duke 67 [71]

So ends year one of the spread offense experiment at Duke. The Blue Devils missed 15 consecutive three-pointers between the 16-minute mark of the first half and the two-minute mark of the second half. WVU grabbed 19 of a possible 39 offensive rebounds. It's amazing the game was as close as it was.

(1) UCLA 53, (9) Texas A&M 49 [56]

The West bracket came within a couple possessions of completely blowing up. This was a maddeningly slow game that turned out to be the slowest of the season for UCLA. Kevin Love finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks. In a game in which counting stats were so hard to come by, those are huge numbers. A&M went up 36-26 with 18:27 to play, then scored 13 points over the game's final 22 possessions. More than half of A&M's two-point misses were blocked.

(3) Xavier 85, (6) Purdue 78 [75]

Xavier's offense thrived despite getting just five offensive boards. Purdue was the second-youngest team in the tourney, so you'll hear a lot more from them next season. Xavier takes on West Virginia in the Sweet 16 and the two teams couldn't be more evenly matched.

(3) Wisconsin 72, (11) Kansas State 55 [63]

The Badgers went 9-of-22 on threes and the Wildcats went 0-of-13. Trevon Hughes scored 25 and Greg Stiemsma racked up 14 points and seven boards in just 14 minutes. Michael Beasley's college career (likely) ended without much fanfare--he had 23 and 13. If Bill Walker follows him, then Frank Martin's second season as a D-I head coach will be infinitely more difficult than his first.

(5) Michigan State 65, (4) Pittsburgh 54 [61]

This game made the old-timers happy as the teams combined to go 27-of-28 from the free throw line. The glaring stat for Pitt was missing 15 of their 17 three-point attempts. Tom Izzo now gets five days to prepare for Memphis.

(4) Washington State 61, (5) Notre Dame 41 [60]

Despite being seeded lower than they were last season, Washington State is improved from last season. This performance has to make that a fact. This game gets a nomination from me for best defensive performance of the season. Notre Dame had been held below a point per possession six times previously, but nothing like this. The Irish shot 27.4% eFG in the loss. Notably, Luke Harangody grabbed 22 rebounds, which is the best performance in a tourney game since Tim Duncan did it in the first round in 1997.

(1) Kansas 75, (8) UNLV 56 [62]

Whenever Conner Teahan makes an appearance, it's a good night for the Jayhawks. UNLV failed to make 30% of its field goal attempts and never made this one interesting.

Ken Pomeroy is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact Ken by clicking here or click here to see Ken's other articles.

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Bracket Breakdown (03/24)

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