March Madness round-up: Rounds of 64 and 32

Shocking upsets lead to no perfect brackets 



WSU guard Justin Powell shoos a 3-pointer during an NCAA basketball game against Oregon State, Feb. 16, 2023, in Pullman, Wash.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Editor-in-chief

We are just now in the sweet 16 of the 2023 NCAA Men’s Tournament, or March Madness, and there is no perfect bracket remaining. The first two rounds of play have been nothing sort of magical, legendary and historical.

In the first round alone, there were seven upsets based on seeding. More importantly, for just the second time ever, a 16-seed beat a top-seeded team. The second round did not disappoint either, albeit having less drama. The Tournament is shaping up to be one of the best in years.

Round of 64 

No. 1 Purdue vs. No. 16 FDU

For just the second time ever and five years after UMBC did the same thing, a 16-seeded team beat a top-seed in March Madness. Rather than the 20-point blowout that the Retrievers had on Virginia, FDU clawed and fought all the way through the game. 

Despite a drastic height disparity, Purdue is ranked No. 1 in effective height and FDU is ranked No. 363 of 363 teams, according to Kenpom. The Knights were able to spread the ball around and find open looks, as well as create several turnovers from the Boilermakers, leading to the big upset. 

No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 13 Furman 

Five years to the date, after becoming the first top seed to lose in the first round, Virginia once again got upset in their opening match of the Tournament. This time, against the Paladins of Furman, back-to-back mistakes in the final 10 seconds of play were the downfall. 

No. 2 Arizona vs. No. 15 Princeton 

After coming up victorious in the Pac-12 Tournament, Arizona was high on momentum entering March Madness, but that did not matter to Princeton, who took them down in a big 59-55 win. Only one Tiger ended the game with double-digit scoring, making the victory even more impressive.

Of the three big upsets in the first round, they were the only team to win their second-round match, finding themselves in the Sweet 16 against sixth-seeded Creighton at 6 p.m. Friday.

Round of 32

No. 3 Baylor vs. No. 6 Creighton

The Bears were on upset watch on several brackets nationally. That upset occurred in the second round as the Bluejays won by 9 behind guard Ryan Nembhard’s 30-point masterpiece. Creighton got the lead with over 15 minutes remaining in the first half. After that, they never looked back en route to their Sweet 16 birth. 

No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 5 Duke 

Duke is always a fan-favorite team in March Madness. However, that support did not affect their loss to Tennessee. Olivier Nkamhoua of the Volunteers had a game-high 27 points and just one other teammate in double-digit territory. 

For Duke, the biggest surprise was Dereck Lively II, who had 0 points in 36 minutes of action. While he is not the focal point of the offense, scoring just 5.2 points per game over the season, his goose egg in the category is certainly eye-popping.

No. 3 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 TCU 

Despite a high-scoring and close affair, Gonzaga pulled out on top to make their eighth-straight Sweet 16. Drew Timme led the way for the Bulldogs, scoring 27 points along with eight rebounds and three assists. Despite not being as dominant as in previous seasons, they are one of the most experienced teams in the Tournament, just from Timme alone. 

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 8 Arkansas 

In the battle of pronunciation, the second top-seeded team to fall was Kansas. The loss marks just the fourth time in the Tournaments history that the Sweet 16 will not see one of Kansas, Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina, according to SportsCenter. 

The game itself was another 1-point difference. Two Razorbacks had over 20 points, as Ricky Council IV had 21 and Davonte Davis had 25. 

The most exciting matchups for the Sweet 16 are No. 6 Creighton vs. No. 15 Princeton, No. 2 UCLA vs. No. 3 Gonzaga and No. 4 Tennessee vs. No. 9 FAU. Here’s hoping the Madness continues.