Monday, March 20, 2017

Trevon Bluiette, Sindarious Thornwell, Moritz Wagner Lead Xavier, South Carolina, Michigan to Sweet 16

Editor's Note: Due to car issues and internet unavailability (when we say "off the grid" we mean it) College Basketball Daily fell flat on the most critical of weekends, but, happily, we're almost back in business. The vehicle is under repair, and the internet is well, available. We did manage to keep track of events as they unfolded over the past three days and are presenting the last three players of the day for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus the updated Conference Tournament Scoreboard, in this bonus posting. More as the week unfolds... we hope!

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, March 17, 2017

South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell was not only the high scorer in the Gamecock's 93-73 rout of Marquette, he was the high scorer of any of the 16 winning teams in the NCAA tourney on Friday. Only one player scored more. Norbertas Giga of Jacksonville State had 30 in a losing effort to Louisville.

Beyond his 29 points, Thornwell was also busy on the boards, collecting 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. The 6'5" senior from Lancaster, SC, was on target, making 10 of 19 shots from the floor, including a 3-for-6 effort from beyond the arc, adding 6-for-7 from the foul line.

Thornwell and his South Carolina teammates matched up with Duke on Sunday in a classic in which Thornwell had 24 points as the #7 seed Gamecocks ousted the #2 Blue Devils from the East Region. The result left the low seed in the region as #3 Baylor, who faces South Carolina Friday night in one of the two regional semi-final games.



College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, March 18, 2017

Junior swingman Trevon Bluiett helped Xavier defeat Maryland, 76-65, in Thursday night's "First Four" play-in game with 21 points, but he and his teammates made sure nobody underestimated them as the Musketeers slaughtered Florida State, 91-66. Bluiette led all scorers with 29 points, pitching in three assists and six boards in 36 minutes of floor time.

Bluiette was 8-for-14 from the field with three 3-pointers and canned 10 of 14 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Musketeers shot 55.6% from the field (30-54) and an amazing 64.7% from three-point land (11-17). The Seminoles were completely outplayed and outclassed, outscored by 10 at the end of the first half, and going down 47-32 in the second half.

Xavier, the #11 seed in the West region is the highest seed remaining in the tournament's Sweet 16. They face #2 seed Arizona Thursday night in San Jose, California.



College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 19, 2017

In a day replete with upsets, one of the biggest (and the earliest) was Michigan's stunning 73-69 defeat of #2 seed Louisville in the Midwest region. The seventh-seeded Wolverines hung with their ACC rivals throughout, and forged to a late lead to hang on for the victory.

Playing his best string music, 6'11" sophomore from Berlin, Germany, Moritz Wagner, scored a career-high 26 points in the effort, knocking down 11-for-14 from the field, including his lone three-point attempt, and hitting three of six from the foul line.

As winners of the Big Ten tournament, the 26-11 Wolverines received the automatic bid to the NCAA and are making the most of it, advancing to the Sweet 16 where they will face the region's #3 seed, the Oregon Ducks.

As the Wolverines set the stage for a memorable day of upsets, including South Carolina's 88-81 win over Duke in the East Region, as mentioned above.

The losses by Duke and Louisville, along with previous losses by Notre Dame, Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Wake Forest, left the North Carolina Tar Heels as the only team remaining from the ACC, now bearing the moniker of "overrated", the tournament selection committee with egg on all of their faces.

Of the major conferences, the team with the smallest representation (four teams) has the best record, that being the PAC-10 at 8-1, with only USC out of the mix. UCLA, Arizona and Oregon all advanced to the Sweet 16 round. The Big 12, which sent six teams to the tourney has an 8-3 record and three teams (Kansas, Baylor, West Virginia) advancing, along with the 7-2 SEC (Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina) and the 8-4 Big Ten (Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue).

NCAA Tournament Conference Scoreboard
Through Sunday (3/19) Games
Conference (# of teams) Record Winners (# of Wins)
ACC (9) 7-8 Notre Dame (1), Florida St. (1), Virginia (1), Louisville (1), Duke (1), North Carolina (2)
Big East (7) 5-5 Villanova (1), Butler (2), Xavier (2)
Big Ten (7) 8-4 Purdue (2), Wisconsin (2), Northwestern (1), Michigan (2), Michigan State (1)
Big 12 (6) 8-3 Kansas State (1), West Virginia (2), Iowa St. (1), Kansas (2), Baylor (2)
SEC (5) 7-2 Florida (2), Arkansas (1), Kentucky (2), South Carolina (2)
PAC 12 (4) 8-1 USC (2), Arizona (2), Oregon (2), UCLA (2)
Atlantic 10 (3) 1-3 Rhode Island (1)
American (2) 1-2 Cincinnati (1)
West Coast (2) 3-1 Gonzaga (2), St. Mary's (1)
All Others (23) (4-23) Mt. St. Mary's (1), UC Davis (1), Middle Tennessee (1), Wichita State (1)

ESPN Tournament Bracket (updated)

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