N2K’s All-Time College Basketball Bracket Challenge: The Round of 64

This will be by far the most disorganized article of the series, due to the fact that there will be 32 game synopsis and box scores littered throughout the body below. Since the tournament is just getting started, there are a few big storylines. Will any 16 seeds beat any 1 seeds? Which Kentucky will come out on top in the Kentucky 2015 and Kentucky 2010 matchup? I guess with 32 games a storyline could be found for each of them so I’ll stop stalling and get right to the matchups.

EAST

Wisconsin 2015 vs Butler 2010

Wisconsin and their strong starting five facing off Butler, led heavily by star forward Gordon Hayward. Although Hayward had a brilliant performance in the First Four matchup with Wichita State, there isn’t much Hayward and company could’ve done to slow down the unrelenting Badger offense. Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker combined for 40 points and 16 rebounds while Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes added 14 points each.

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UConn 2011 vs Indiana 2013

The UConn Huskies, led by Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb, are up against the Hoosiers and the three-headed monster of Yogi Ferrell, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller. Just like their 2011 March Madness run, Kemba Walker took control and chipped in for 11 points in the last ten minutes to slightly edge the Hoosiers 79-77. UConn center Alex Oriakhi also added a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. The Huskies will take on the 2015 Wisconsin Badgers in the Round of 32.

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Kentucky 2015 vs Kentucky 2010

This Wildcat on Wildcat matchup is one of the main storylines of the Round of 64. The 2015 Kentucky Wildcats entered the tourney undefeated, but the 2010 Kentucky roster resulted in an unprecedented five first round picks in that year’s NBA Draft. Although the final score indicates this matchup was a close game throughout, the 2015 Kentucky team had a strong hold on the game throughout, and it wasn’t until a late surge from John Wall was the game trimmed down to a one point game. With less than five seconds left on the clock Aaron Harrison was intentionally fouled and sent to the line where he went 2/2 to take the lead 84-81 and a half-court heave from Eric Bledsoe didn’t find the basket to give the 2015 Wildcats the win.

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Michigan State 2012 vs Syracuse 2014

The 2014 Syracuse Orange were an extremely well-rounded roster led by the floor general point guard Tyler Ennis. The Orange were regular season warriors and went deep into the season undefeated until a massive upset at the hands of Boston College. Michigan State, on the other hand was one of the more overrated teams with one of the more overrated players in the form of Draymond Green. Don’t get me wrong, Green isn’t bad, but his persistence on playing as an undersized power forward hurt the Spartans. Nevertheless, Green and the Spartans won the game, thanks to 16 points and 11 boards from Draymond.

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Oklahoma 2016 vs UConn 2014

Buddy Hield vs Shabazz Napier, both seniors with hopes of dragging their team to the All-Time Bracket Championship, but only one can advance. It is only fitting that his game went to overtime, tied at 81 at the end of regulation. In overtime, Buddy Hield couldn’t be contained as he shot 4/4 with 10 points in an overtime period that the Sooners only got 10 points. Shabazz finished with 24 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds to get the Huskies to OT ,but couldn’t score on Sooner guard Isaiah Cousins in the extra frame.

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Villanova 2016 vs San Diego State 2011

It seems only right that the 2016 National Champions, which won on a buzzer beater over the UNC Tar Heels, would win their first All-Time Bracket matchup by way of the buzzer beater. Forwards Kris Jenkins of Villanova and Kawhi Leonard of SDSU traded buckets throughout the game, but when it came down to the final seconds, the Aztec’s Malcolm Thomas lost a defensive rebound to Daniel Ochefu to give Nova the ball with no shot clock to take the last attempt. Hart drove in but was covered well by Leonard, and he was forced to kick the ball out to guard Jalen Brunson, who drilled a mid-range jumper as the buzzer sounded to send the Wildcats to the Round of 32.

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Louisville 2013 vs Kentucky 2012

The major storyline from the 2013 Louisville title run was the gruesome injury of platoon player Kevin Ware. Although Ware is healthy for this tournament, his impact wasn’t noticed, as he played off of the bench. Kentucky leaned heavily on the play of Anthony Davis during the regular season, but Davis didn’t have his best game, only scoring 12 points and getting outrebounded by Louisville center Gorgui Dieng. For the Cardinals, Peyton Silva, Chane Behanan and Dieng all contributed 11 points each, while guard Russ Smith led the way with 21 points to best the 2012 Wildcats in a rivalry matchup.

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Duke 2015 vs BYU 2011

Brigham Young was heavily carried by the play of guard Jimmer Fredette, while the 2015 Blue Devils had a huge cast of characters, including Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow, but not to forget Grayson Allen on the bench. So, BYU and Duke were basically opposites in that respect. Although Duke was heavily favored, don’t tell Jimmer that; BYU was supposed to lose, as he had a scorching 31 points, including the half-court prayer to win the game at the buzzer and send the 2015 National Champs packing.

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WEST

Duke 2001 vs Cal 1994

The Cal Golden Bears are one of the most underrated teams in this tournament as a 16 seed, and if they matched up against another team, maybe they could’ve gained some momentum and made a run. But this 2001 Duke team is just too much for Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray to handle. Although Kidd and Murray made a valiant effort to take down the 1 seed, Jay Williams and Shane Battier were too strong. Williams and Battier combined for 44 points leading the way for a Blue Devils victory.

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Kentucky 1998 vs Maryland 2002

The 1998 Kentucky Wildcats are another one of those teams that many people feel were robbed in the seeding process, but the 2002 Terrapins are no easy opponent and the Cats learned that the hard way. Due to a lackluster production from Kentucky and great performances from Terps Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter, the Terps came out with a 10-point victory. The Wildcats underestimated Maryland and got off to a slow start that they couldn’t climb back from. Maryland opened the game on a 21-4 run. The Terps will take on the 2001 Duke Blue Devils in the Round of 32.

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Arizona 1997 vs UMass 1996

Arizona is led by Mike Bibby, Jason Terry and Michael Dickerson but UMass is led by one of the best college players of his generation, Marcus Camby, and coached by one of the best (just before he became the best) John Calipari. In this Round of 64, Jason Terry didn’t have his best game, only getting 10 points but Arizona forward Dickerson had 20 points complimented well by Bibby’s 11 points. Camby had 26 points with 9 rebounds and, thanks to some supporting efforts from Carmelo Travieso and Donta Bright, the Minutemen were able to edge out the Wildcats thanks to a strong fourth quarter performance from forward Dana Dingle.

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Michigan State 2000 vs UConn 1996

Ray Allen and the Huskies got a little lucky in this game against the 2000 Spartans. I only say that because Ray Allen did not play too well, at least to his standards, and if it wasn’t for the 17 points from Doron Sheffer, then Michigan State would’ve sailed to a win. Ray Allen got a little bit of pass with this one and hopefully for the Huskies’ sake, he’ll be able to play to his talent against the UMass Minutemen in the Round of 32.

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Wake Forest 1997 vs Arizona 2003

Wake Forest boasts the greats and the fundamentals thanks to Tim Duncan, but the 2003 Arizona WIldcats team was stacked with Andre Iguodala, Luke Walton and Channing Frye. Mr. Fundamentals had 19 points with 13 rebounds, but he was outdone Arizona big-man Frye, who had 15 points with a whopping 17 rebounds. Wildcats starters Salim Stoudamire and Walton added another 28 points to the cause leading Arizona to an easy 11-point victory.

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UNC 1998 vs Kansas 1997

We had another buzzer beater in this matchup of future NBA legends Vince Carter and Paul Pierce. For the Tar Heels, Carter, Shammond Williams and Antawn Jamison combined for 53 points and 18 rebounds, while for the Jayhawks, Pierce and Raef LaFrentz combined for 36 and 16. As the final seconds ticked down, Jayhawk center Scot Pollard backed down Ademola Okulaja in the post but as Pollard began his post spin he was double by Antawn Jamison causing Pollard to heave a pass to forward Paul Pierce who isolated on Vince Carter, leading to turn-around midrange jumper that sent the Jayhawks into the next round.

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UCLA 1995 vs UConn 1999

When I saw that these two teams were lined up to play in the Round of 64, I was looking forward to the outcome. Both of these teams are respectively loaded with the Bruins having Charles and Ed O’Bannon while the Huskies play through forward Richard Hamilton. Hamilton finished the game with 21 points and 8 rebounds, but the O’Bannon brothers combined for 37 points and 16 rebounds. UCLA edged out a four point margin of victory propelling them to the Round of 32.

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Kentucky 1996 vs Missouri 1994

Defense was optional in this high scoring affair between 1996 Kentucky and 1994 Missouri. Both teams had pretty even scoring across their starting lineups, but Kentucky point guard Tony Delk had 22 points and forward Antoine Walker had 19 points of his own. For Missouri, point guard Melvin Booker had 19 points and 5 assists, while forward Kelly Thames had 13 points and 9 rebounds. Kentucky ended up taking the win by a nine-point margin but Missouri definitely shocked the fans, as many thought that Kentucky would get an easy win here.

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MIDWEST

Michigan 1989 vs Oregon State 1990

As 16 seeds go, the 1990 Oregon State Beavers might be the most dangerous, thanks to defensive star Gary Payton, but he’d have had his hands full trying to deal with Glen Rice and Rumeal Robinson of the 1989 Wolverines. Payton finished this one with 23 points and 7 assists while holding opposing guard Robinson to 15 points. At the end of the day, the offensive production of Glen Rice was too much for the Beavers, as he ended up with 26 points.

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Georgia Tech 1990 vs Seton Hall 1993

Both the Yellow Jackets and the Pirates have their only representatives in our tournament here in the Round of 64. Only one program will live on after this match, where Georgia Tech is manned offensively by the play of Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Dennis Scott. Seton Hall will lean on guard Terry Dehere, who adds extra value with his rebounding ability as a guard. As for the game itself, Seton Hall finished victorious thanks to the supporting play of forwards Jerry Walker and Arturas Karnisovas who combined for 26. Georgia Tech’s triple threat played well and accounted for 61 of the team’s 71 points, but their teammates couldn’t get the job done as the Yellow Jackets fall to Seton Hall by three points.

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Duke 1992 vs Oklahoma 1988

Coach K’s job security wasn’t very high before he put together the Duke dynasty of the early-90s, led by polarizing center Christian Laettner. Duke went on to win both the 1991 and 1992 dances, but they’re back in our All-Time Bracket to show they’re the best. Another Round of 64 game where defensive wasn’t exactly the number one priority. The Sooners got off to a hot start due to the first half play of Mookie Blaylock and Harvey Grant. In the second half, center Stacey King did the bulk of the damage against the Blue Devils. For Duke, Christian Laettner, Thomas Hill and Grant Hill did the damage as point guard Bobby Hurley added 7 assists.

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Kansas 1993 vs Michigan State 1990

Although 1993 Kansas are the higher seed and therefore the favorites, Steve Smith and the 1990 Michigan State Spartans were National Champions so a possible upset alert was definitely present. The Jayhawks and the Spartans battled for close to two full halves until Kirk Manns of Michigan State had the ball with a chance to tie the game and force overtime. Manns dribbled and pulled up for a deep three that rattled of the front of the rim as the buzzer sounded. The 1993 Jayhawks will take on 1992 Duke in the Round of 32.

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UNLV 1990 vs Boston College 1994

The 1994 Boston College Eagles focused their offense around big center Bill Curley, so a first round matchup with UNLV isn’t ideal for the Eagles due to the presence of Larry Johnson. Although Boston College kept the matchup relatively close UNLV came out victorious in the end thanks to the 21 points and 12 rebounds from Larry Johnson and a strong supporting effort from the rest of the Runnin’ Rebels. Bill Curley finished the game with 19 points and 7 rebounds but the Boston College bench outscored the UNLV bench by 17 points.

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Michigan 1993 vs Arkansas 1994

The Razorbacks and big men Scotty Thurman and Corliss Williamson brought Arkansas a National Championship but on the other side of the court, 1993 Michigan and the famous Fab Five also brought the Wolverines a National Championship. Although the play of Thurman and Williamson was spirited, the overwhelming production of Chris Webber, Jalen Rose and the rest of the Fab Five was too much for the Razorbacks to handle. Both Webber and Williamson recorded double-doubles in points and rebounds. The Michigan Wolverines will face off against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in a marquee Round of 32 matchup.

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Indiana 1987 vs Kansas 1988

This 1987 Indiana and 1988 Kansas game is yet another close game for our All-Time Tournament. Coming down to the wire with the ball in Milt Newton’s hand but the Hoosiers fouled the guard from Kansas for a chance to get the ball back. Newton made the first free throw missed the second on purpose, causing Indiana forward Daryl Thomas to snag the rebound and throw a full court prayer in order to force overtime, and that prayer was not answered. The Jayhawks are moving on to the Round of 32.

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UNC 1993 vs Cincinnati 1992

Many thought that Bearcats of Cincinnati were not quite deserving of a spot in our All-Time Bracket, but in order to prove their worthiness in the challenge, they’ll have to get past a formidable 1993 UNC Tar Heel team. The Tar Heels didn’t rely on one or two main factors since four of their five starters scored over 10 points. As for the Bearcats the work of guards Nick Van Exel and Anthony Buford as well as forward Herb Jones, which all combined for 55 points and 19 rebounds. UNC had a stranglehold on the game for the majority but Cincinnati stayed around and woke up offensively within the final three minutes to take a small lead and come out victorious.

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SOUTH

UNC 2005 vs Davidson 2008

Davidson had a pitiful strength of schedule, but managed to make a solid run into the March Madness Tournament. UNC, on the other hand, won their National Championship with a stacked lineup, including Raymond Felton and Sean May. In order for Davidson to steal a victory from the Tar Heels, Steph Curry would need to have a dynamic performance… which he did not. Curry only had 20 points, which was significantly lower than his season’s average of 25.9 PPG. The Wildcats were able to finish with a respectful 79 points against a stingy Tar Heel defense, but Davidson’s defense was about as useful as a Blockbuster in 2017. The Heels will keep rolling with a strong win.

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UConn 2004 vs Florida 2007

When the bracket was first released, two games that I circled in the South Bracket were the UCLA and Arizona State game, as well as this UConn-Florida matchup. Both teams were National Champions and both teams boast future NBA standouts. UConn has Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon while Florida has Corey Brewer, Al Horford and Joakim Noah. The game itself was a battle of team depth with the Gators coming out on top. The battle for rebounds was one to watch as opponents Okafor and Noah combined for 24 rebounds. The Gators are moving on to face the UNC Tar Heels.

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UNC 2009 vs Texas 2007

Psycho T against KD. A headlining matchup of two modern college basketball greats. The only difference between the success of these two teams was that the Heels had some useful support in the form of guard Ty Lawson and forward Danny Green. UNC might have the depth, but the Longhorns have the execution it seems. Kevin Durant dropped 27 points and 12 boards for an emphatic double-double while Tyler Hansbrough on the other side had 21 points and 8 rebounds. The Longhorns are moving on to face either 2008 Kansas or 2008 Xavier.

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Kansas 2008 vs Xavier 2008

Mario Chalmers hit a huge shot against Derrick Rose and Memphis, but the Musketeers are another animal for the Jayhawks. Xavier matches up well against Kansas due to their guard depth, but the brute force and production of the Jayhawks might be too much for the Muskies to handle. Both teams traded baskets for both halves and the largest lead of the game was only six in the favor of Kansas which occurred just before the end of the first half. Kansas had the basketball with about 20 seconds left in the game and Chalmers anticipating an intentional foul picked up his dribble as a defender approached, but the Muskies didn’t foul. They swarmed Chalmers sending triple coverage towards him, blocking pass options and eventually stripping the ball and calling timeout. Xavier had a play set up for Josh Duncan to take a game-winning jumper but his options were limited and he found an open Stanley Burrell cutting towards the basket, converting a layup for the win.

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Syracuse 2003 vs Marquette 2003

Carmelo Anthony vs Dwyane Wade in a battle of future adversaries and all-stars. Marquette got off to a hot start, leading the game 43-31 at halftime but Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick came out with winning on their mind in the second half to tie the game up with under five minutes to play. Syracuse’s comeback was valiant but Dwyane Wade wouldn’t let Marquette’s run end in the Round of 64. Wade converted 7 of his 23 points in the final five minutes of the game to outgun Anthony and Warrick for the win.

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Ohio State 2007 vs Saint Joseph’s 2004

When Saint Joseph’s got an at-large bid into our All-Time Bracket, I figured that many readers would sleep on them, forgetting about their strength at the guard position. Jameer Nelson and Delonte West led the way for the Hawks, but a matchup against Greg Oden and Mike Conley might be a first-round game that provides nightmare matchups for the smaller Hawks. Greg Oden got the ball rolling or just got the ball in general since he ended with 11 rebounds and 18 points. As for the Saint Joe’s upset hopes, Nelson and West combined for 42 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds. The score of the game was not as close as it seemed as the Buckeyes score the first basket of the game and didn’t look back. Ohio State didn’t trail once in the game, the Buckeyes will take on Marquette in the Round of 32.

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UCLA 2008 vs Arizona State 2009

The other matchup I circled on my bracket was the Bruins and Sun Devils, pitting Russell Westbrook against James Harden. Harden would’ve need a miraculous individual performance to outperform the loaded lineup of UCLA including Westbrook, Kevin Love, Luc Mbah a Moute and Darren Collison. James Harden only got 20 points, while the UCLA starters barely left the court as they got 72 of the 74 points. UCLA will look to keep their train rolling against either 2010 Duke or 2005 Gonzaga.

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Duke 2010 vs Gonzaga 2005

Duke shouldn’t have won the 2010 National Championship in my opinion, although I was really high on the unlikely Butler team. Three Duke starters finished with over 20 points, Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler. The high efficiency of the Blue Devils propelled them to a convincing 16-point victory over Adam Morrison and Gonzaga. The Blue Devils will face a well-rounded UCLA team from 2008 in the Round of 32.

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What did you think of today’s games? How did you bracket do? Keep on keepin’ on with our All-Time Bracket Challenge and be on the look out for the Round of 32 results that gets released tomorrow. The rest of our result releasing schedule is as follows…

3:00PM MARCH 7, 2017- ROUND OF 32
3:00PM MARCH 8, 2017- SWEET SIXTEEN
3:00PM MARCH 9, 2017- ELITE EIGHT
3:00PM MARCH 10, 2017- FINAL FOUR
3:00PM MARCH 11, 2017- CHAMPIONSHIP

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Cover Photo via Pintrest

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