March Madness Tips Off in Style

Thomas Daniels, Editor in Chief

Richmond athlete Jacob Gilyard and Iowa athlete Joe Toussaint compete for ball control. All photos courtesy of AP News.

Local Team: Iowa (5) vs Richmond (12)

The first half was a tightly contested affair with each team trading layups, never allowing the other team to pull ahead for long. With five and a half minutes left to go in the first half, the Richmond Spiders fell behind 24-20, but promptly tied the game three minutes later with a Tyler Burton layup, eventually gaining a 29-28 lead at the end of the half. Richmond gained a six-point lead two minutes into the second half 34-28, but that was quickly answered by Iowa with 11 straight points to put them in the lead 39-34. Momentum shifted yet again with Richmond pulling ahead 45-39 with 11 points over a four-minute span. Richmond would hold this lead for the remainder of the game, with a few scares along the way. With one minute to go and Iowa down by three, Iowa’s Kris Murray attempted a game-tying three, but the ball fell just short, and Richmond regained possession. Up by three, Richmond dribbled the ball down the court, taking their time to run down the clock, and Nathan Cayo put Richmond up by five with a minute to go. Iowa came close to tying it late, coming within two points, but two Richmond free-throws sealed it for Iowa. Richmond won 67-63.

UNC athlete Armando Bacot takes a shot over Baylor forward Flo Thamba.

Underdog Stories to Follow:

The biggest underdog story so far is 15 seed Saint Peter’s Peacocks, who advanced to the sweet 16 and will be playing on Friday, March 25. Saint Peter’s had to battle through second seed Kentucky, who eventually fell in overtime 85-79. Saint Peter’s went on to defeat Murray State 70-60 in the second round, sending them to the sweet 16, marking the second time in a row that a 15 seed made it to the sweet 16. Iowa State (11) and Miami U (10) will be an underdog sweet 16 matchup to look out for. Miami crushed the second seed Auburn 79-61 in the second round after narrowly defeating USC 68-66 in the first round. Iowa State beat LSU (6) 59-54 in the first round and held Wisconsin (3) to 49 points in the second round to advance to the sweet 16.  Michigan (11) cruised through the first two rounds of March Madness, beating 6 seed Colorado State by 12 points and 3 seed Tennessee by 8 points, but will face a difficult opponent in the second-seeded Villanova. UNC (8) pulled off the upset against Baylor (1) 93-86, marking the first seed to get eliminated in this bracket so far.

Illinois athlete Coleman Hawkins takes a shot as Chattanooga athlete KC Hankton attempts to defend.

Great Game: Illinois (4) vs Chattanooga (13)

Chattanooga was dominating early in the game, up 14-3 in the first five minutes of the game, and they continued to hold a comfortable lead heading into the final minutes of the first half. However, Illinois started to chip away at Chattanooga’s lead and managed to cut it down to a four-point deficit at the half. Chattanooga started where they left off and continued to pour it on early in the second half making it a 40-29 ball game. But the momentum drastically shifted, and Illinois scored ten consecutive points to get them within one. Chattanooga would respond with a jump shot making it 42-39, but it was a new ball game with an Alfonso Plummer three-pointer making it 42-42 with ten minutes to go. Chattanooga would again reestablish a small lead 51-46, but this disappeared with 47 seconds to go when Illinois scored six straight points, gaining their first lead of the night 52-51. The two teams would trade free-throw attempts, adding two points to each team’s total, and the game ended with a desperation shot by Chattanooga that ultimately fell short.