The Round of 64 is in the books, and Auburn has advanced after a big win over Jacksonville State on Friday afternoon. The Tigers looked fresh and played well against a tough Gamecocks squad, winning 80-61. Now, it’s on to the Round of 32 with a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on the line for Bruce Pearl’s bunch.
As for the rest of the Midwest Region, let’s take a look at the matchups to see the potential road to the Final Four with half of the contenders now eliminated.
Here’s a look at the second round matchups. All odds listed come via Draft Kings Sportsbook.
(Odds/lines subject to change. Visit DraftKings for more information.)
#1 Kansas Jayhawks vs #9 Creighton Blue Jays
Time/Network: 2:40 pm EST Today, CBS
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Odds: Kansas -11.5; O/U 139.5
Kansas looked the part of the top seed in the Midwest, easily dispatching Texas Southern on Thursday in an easy victory. They hit 50% of their shots from the field and went 11-23 from downtown, and if there was any critique in their win, it was that the Jayhawks only went 4-9 from the free throw line and committed 15 turnovers. That didn’t matter as they built a 47-19 halftime lead and cruised from there.
Meanwhile, Creighton had to come from behind to take out Mountain West foe San Diego State in the opening round, and took down the Aztecs in overtime 72-69. Trey Alexander (former Auburn commit) had a clutch three point play in the extra frame and scored 18 points overall to lead the Blue Jays into the Round of 32.
#4 Providence Friars vs #12 Richmond Spiders
Time/Network: 6:10 pm EST Today, TNT
Location: Buffalo, NY
Odds: Providence -4, O/U 134.5
For a team whose luck was clutch all season long, it continued in the opening round as Providence got by South Dakota State in the 4/13 matchup on Thursday. The Friars nearly gave up the slim lead they held for much of the game, but ended up clinching the win at the foul line late. They snapped SDSU’s 21-game winning streak and sent them home in the process.
As for Richmond, they upset Iowa in a 12/5 affair, taking out the Big 10 Tournament champions thanks to a 24-point performance from Jacob Gilyard. Richmond benefitted from a controversial no-call on a late three-point attempt by Kris Murray, but the Spiders escaped in the end to advance to the Round of 32.
#11 Iowa State Cyclones vs #3 Wisconsin Badgers
Time/Network: 6:10 pm EST Tomorrow (3/20), TNT
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Odds: Wisconsin -4.5, O/U 125.5
If you wanted to see some gross basketball, the majority of the Iowa State/LSU game was just for you. The two teams banged around to a 24-19 halftime score in favor of the Cyclones, but Tyrese Hunter came alive in the second half with a couple of clutch long threes late to seal the win for ISU. Just a 24% perimeter shooter this season, he went 7-11 from downtown last night to bounce the Tigers.
As for Wisconsin, they trailed nearly the majority of the game against 14-seed Colgate, but the Raiders’ three-point shooting failed late and they went on a cold stretch over the final 10 minutes of the game. Wisconsin finally turned Johnny Davis on late and he went for 25 points and the Badgers only committed 5 turnovers on the way to a date with Iowa State.
#2 Auburn Tigers vs #10 Miami Hurricanes
Time/Network: 7:45 pm EST (Tomorrow 3/20), truTV
Location: Greenville, SC
Odds: Auburn -7.5, O/U 144.5
Auburn had little trouble with the 15-seed Jacksonville State, taking a 28-27 lead late in the first before running off an 11-0 spurt before halftime. That turned into an 18-0 run around the intermission, and the Tigers never looked back. Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler went for double-doubles, with Kessler coming one block shy of his third triple-double this season, while Smith had the play of the day with his second-chance dunk to send the Gamecocks packing.
As for Miami, the Hurricanes were a clean team with just 3 turnovers on the game against USC. The Canes only hit a single three-pointer, but held the Trojans at arm’s length until the last second when they tied the game at 66 on a three-pointer. Miami got two foul shots in the waning seconds from Charlie Moore to take a 68-66 lead, and USC’s desperation heave fell off the rim as the Canes escaped and advanced to take on Auburn.
Now, the Tigers will likely be the best defense Miami has seen this year, and Miami’s defense is below average for NCAA Tournament teams. The Tigers will have a huge size advantage with the four-guard lineup that Miami wants to show, so points in the paint should be easy for Auburn.
Auburn sure looked good yesterday afternoon, with Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler playing like the All-Americans they are. Let’s see how they match up against a Power Five team with the matchup coming against the Hurricanes, and if the Tigers can advance to the second weekend! War Eagle!