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‘Cats survive, Terps roll, Rutgers upset: Day 2 at the NCAA Tournament

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A mixed bag on Day 2, but a chance to appreciate something cool that’s been a long time coming in Evanston.

@NUWBBall

With Iowa and Michigan having already punched their tickets to the Round of 32, five Big Ten teams took the court yesterday in the Women’s NCAA Tournament, with four of those entering as the higher seed and favorite to advance.

Like the men’s side of the bracket, though, uh...

(Just kidding, only one upset.)

[11] BYU Cougars 69, [6] Rutgers Scarlet Knights 66

RU in VA: Whoops.

Turns out having a relying on a Freshman to be your second leading scorer and a big COVID pause doesn’t spell tournament success.

Fortunately, they’re loaded with recruiting talent so they’ll be back. Trust in C Viv.

[4] Indiana Hoosiers 63, [13] VCU Rams 32

[2] Maryland Terrapins 98, [15] Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers 45

larry31: The best B1G women’s basketball team beat Mt. St. Mary’s by 53 points. Yikes! The men’s team struggles to score 53 points in most games.

[7] Iowa State Cyclones 79, Michigan State Spartans 75

Green Akers: Here’s my highly detailed analysis: Ashley Joens = real good. Seriously, what else is there to say when your opponent’s star goes for 33/9?

In a show of solidarity with the men’s team, MSU shot below 30% from 3, but really, there isn’t another dramatic statistical disparity here. MSU made it close late, but ISU made the plays to close it out.

[7] Northwestern Wildcats 62, [10] UCF Knights 51

MNW: First NCAA Tournament win since 1993? Doesn’t matter how you do it.

(Actually, though, this game hit the over, so take THAT, everyone.)

These were two frenetic, weird teams who extended zones all over the damn place and harassed ball-handlers and then gave up three straight easy layups and had a really fraught relationship with the concept of boxing out...but damn if Northwestern didn’t find a way to do it on a night where Veronica Burton never fully got going.

Lindsey Pulliam picked up the slack instead, dropping 23 on 9/16 shooting, and Courtney Shaw hit what I believe was the same right-to-left, left-handed layup about four straight times when the Citronauts’ #TrashZone overextended itself.

It was a bummer that this game wasn’t played at full strength—’Nauts star Diamond Battle hurt her knee something awful in the first half, and UCF’s guard play struggled as a result. But when you pull down 16 offensive rebounds (out of 39 possible, with Masseny Kaba pulling down nine by herself!) you give yourself a chance, and that’s what UCF did.

But Lauryn Satterwhite came up with Northwestern’s calling card—a straight theft of a ball from UCF that turned into an awkward half-runout ending in a Pulliam layup. Ballgame.

Next up? Louisville, but really who cares? It’s house money. Joe McKeown danced—by request, and multiple times!—like an old white dude from Philly, and this team is so damn lovable that if you’re not watching them, ‘Cats fans, you owe it to yourself to try:

Because I met the dude a couple times and admire the hell out of him and fuck you, it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want, here’s a recap:

  • Won 10 regular-season A-10 championships and 4 A-10 Tournament championships at George Washington between 1989 and 2008, going to 15 NCAA Tournaments and amassing a .741 win percentage and .828 clip in the A-10.
  • Left all that for a Northwestern program that had gone 24-95 under its previous HC, so his son, Joey—who has autism—could enroll in a school system better suited to his learning needs.
  • Finally got over the hump in 2020, winning Northwestern’s first regular season ever and only Big Ten title since a tournament win in 1990.

This is a fantastic program, he’s a great dude, and they’re playing fun and weird and frenetic basketball. It’s fun to see, man. Go ‘Cats.