March Madness 2019: Three storylines to follow in Round of 32 | NCAA Basketball

Simply over 48 hours into the NCAA Match and greater than half the sphere has been eradicated.

The attrition continues Saturday when the 32 remaining groups start play.

The primary spherical introduced 4 massive upsets. The No. 13 seeded UC Irvine Anteaters superior — and have become Twitter celebrities due to their colourful nickname — and No. 12 seeds Liberty, Murray State and Oregon are additionally nonetheless alive.

Can any of these 4 groups preserve it going within the Spherical of 32? Will another underdog slay a blue-blood program and march into the Candy 16? Listed below are three storylines to look at heading into the Spherical of 32.

1. Can Ja Morant proceed his magic and carry Murray State to the Candy 16?

Ja Morant had an exceptional recreation in No. 12 Murray State’s upset of No. 5 Marquette on Thursday. The sophomore All-American posted a triple-double with 17 factors, 16 assists, and 11 rebounds, the primary triple-double within the NCAA Match since Michigan State’s Draymond Inexperienced turned the feat in 2012.

Now Morant and the Racers tackle a deep and gifted No. four Florida State squad Saturday at 6:10 p.m. ET. It would not take a lot creativeness to suppose the 6-Three Morant may do what one other 6-Three All-American did within the 2008 NCAA Match, when Stephen Curry carried mid-major Davidson to the Elite Eight earlier than a two-point loss to Kansas within the regional ultimate. To not say Morant will go on to match the two-time MVP Curry’s feats within the NBA, however he’s a projected top-five decide within the 2019 NBA Draft, and presents matchup issues for anybody on the faculty stage. However the Seminoles have gained 15 of 17 and appeared stable in beating No. 2 ranked Virginia within the ACC Match semis.

2. Latest historical past suggests one of many No. 1 seeds will lose — however which one?

No. 1 seeds as soon as appeared to have a transparent path to the NCAA Match’s Candy 16. For instance, all 4 No. 1 seeds superior to the 5 Candy 16s between 2005 and 2009. It has been a special story in recent times. At the least one No. 1 seed has did not make the Candy 16 in seven of the previous 9 tournaments. Placing apart Virginia’s historic first-round loss to No. 16 seed UMBC in 2018, six No. 1 seeds have fallen in Spherical of 32 motion since 2010.

Duke, Gonzaga, North Carolina and Virginia have all appeared invincible at instances this season, however have proven weaknesses. North Carolina and Virginia particularly appeared shaky early of their first video games. If you happen to needed to decide a type of 4 prime seeds to falter this weekend, Virginia is perhaps the most effective wager. The Cavaliers have misplaced their first or second event recreation 4 of the previous seven years. However once more, the Cavaliers completed ranked No. 2 within the nation this season, and will properly put collectively a run to the nationwide championship.

3. Which LSU staff will present up within the Spherical of 32?

No. Three seed LSU entered the event arguably the toughest staff to determine. The Tigers’ expertise is unmistakable. They gained 19 of their final 21 video games within the common season. However that momentum skidded to a halt after head coach Will Wade was suspended indefinitely earlier than the final regular-season recreation. (Wade was suspended after information surfaced of an FBI wiretap involving attainable recruiting violations.) The Tigers misplaced their SEC opener to Florida, they usually squeaked by No. 14 seed Yale, 79-74 of their NCAA Match opener.

Sophomore guard Tremont Waters, the staff’s main scorer at 15.1 factors per recreation, informed reporters Wednesday the staff is utilizing Wade’s suspension as a rallying level.

“All season we’ve been saying, ‘We’re a household. We’re going to develop collectively. Maintain pushing by all the pieces, all of the adversity that’s been thrown at us,’” Waters said Wednesday. “We all know we have now to come back collectively as a household much more now as a result of we don’t have our head coach.”

No. 6 seed Maryland (23-10) poses a troublesome problem for LSU Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET.

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