2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament Final Four Schedule
The 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament is nearing its end with just four teams left to this point. The tournament may be close to over, but some of the action will live on for many years (Northern Iowa’s win over Texas and collapse against Texas A&M are just two examples).
The three remaining games will all take place at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas with the National Semifinals on Saturday evening and the National Championship on Monday night. The final three games will all be on TBS, the first time the National Championship game will not be shown on CBS in 35 years. The National Championship will return to CBS in 2017 and alternate between the two channels through 2024.
The Villanova Wildcats and Oklahoma Sooners will play in the first game of the Final Four while the all-ACC battle between the Syracuse Orange and North Carolina Tar Heels will be the nightcap on Saturday evening.
The Good And Bad From The Opening Round Of March Madness 2016
The 2016 version of March Madness has been just that: Madness. Brackets were busted early and then completely blown up by the end of the first round. For as much fun as the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament has been, there have been some bad parts of it as well. Below we will take a look at the good and bad from the first four days of the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament
Upsets Galore – #15 Middle Tennessee defeated one of the National Title favorites and #2 seed Michigan State in the first round. Double digit seeds won left and right (#13 Hawaii over #4 Cal, #11 Wichita State over #6 Arizona, #12 Yale over #5 Baylor, #11 Northern Iowa over #6 Texas, #10 VCU over #7 Oregon State, #10 Syracuse over #7 Dayton, #11 Gonzaga over #6 Seton Hall, #12 Arkansas-Little Rock over #5 Purdue, and #14 Stephen F. Austin over #3 West Virginia). That all made for some great action, particularly on Friday.
The ACC – The Atlantic Coast Conference has put a record 6 teams through to the Sweet 16 (Miami (FL), North Carolina, Notre Dame, Duke, Syracuse, and Virginia). That is incredible to have 38% of the remaining field, but it also came down to some favorable matchups like Syracuse against Middle Tennessee. However, that is no fault of the ACC as their teams delivered.
“Mid-Majors” – This was a good tournament for the upsets (see above), but the “Mid-Majors” got plenty of support in close games and some great stories. Stephen F. Austin got 33 points from Thomas Walkup, who played incredibly against West Virginia and had a solid game against Notre Dame. Yale won their first ever Tournament game against Baylor. Hawaii defeated Cal. Northern Iowa captivated the nation not once, but twice against teams from the state of Texas. First it was Texas and this buzzer beater, but then it was their collapse against Texas A&M. Saint Joseph’s played a great second round game against top seeded Oregon. Finally, Middle Tennessee going toe-to-toe with Michigan State was easily the biggest story of the first round. Mid-Majors should not be discounted in the future when picking brackets.
The #1 Seeds – The top four seeds in the Tournament all looked good on the first weekend, but also faced some competition at times. Kansas took a big lead against UConn before that dwindled, but the Jayhawks fended off that challenge. North Carolina had a close first half against Florida Gulf Coast and Providence, but dominated the second half of those games to pull away. Virginia and Oregon had tough second round games against Butler and Saint Joseph’s, respectively. However, they were able to get through those games and move to the Sweet 16. The top seeds look mighty tough, but this is March Madness afterall and we have seen that anything is possible.
The Referees – The inconsistency of the officials calling the Tournament made it frustrating to watch at times. Between Duke and UNC-Wilmington, the referees called every soft foul imaginable while other games would let them play. Constant foul calling stems the flow of the game for TV viewers, but how frustrating must that be for a player on the floor? One thing that needs to be looked at is how much contact to allow. It does come down to each referee, but how can one game have a foul called 80 feet from the basket for putting a hand on a player’s hip and another not call a push off?
Game Management – You can call this the Northern Iowa Special. The Panthers blew a 12 point lead with 35 seconds left in the game and then lost in double overtime to Texas A&M. They are not the only team to make questionable calls though. Xavier was up three in the final 10 seconds, but opted not to foul the Badgers’ shooters. Wisconsin subsequently tied the game and then Bronson Koenig hit a three at the buzzer to end Xavier’s season. Purdue deserves mention as well for letting Little Rock comeback late in the game and losing in double OT. There was also near comebacks by Wichita State (trailed 27-6 to Miami) and Yale (down as much as 27 to Duke), but those two were not able to complete the miracle comebacks.
Seeding/Selection Committee – The NCAA Basketball Selection Committee did a bad job selecting teams last Sunday. It turns out they did a bad job of seeding the teams as well. Stephen F. Austin deserved better than a 14 seed as did Middle Tennessee at 15. And this was before the games were played. It is easy to pile on the Committee after the fact, but some of the seeding was questionable beforehand. In addition, the scheduling for Wichita State was brutal. The Shockers had a late game on Tuesday, late game on Thursday, and an early game on Saturday, which may have contributed to them starting as flat as they did.
Wisconsin versus Pittsburgh – This was about as ugly a game to watch in recent tournament memory. The Badgers won 47-43 after scoring only 16 points in the first half. The teams combined to go 35 of 101 from the field and 7 of 30 from beyond the arc. The 90 total points were the fewest since 2000 in the NCAA Tournament. The game was wretched, but Badger fans felt greatest about the result and were lifted in the second round too.
Let’s hope the final two weekends give us as much entertainment as the first weekend provided.
The 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament has been pared down to 16 teams in the span of four days. The second weekend of the Tournament will cut that down to the Final Four teams that will meet in Houston, Texas.
Below is the schedule for the Sweet 16 broken down by region first and then each day. The games for each region will be listed in order of the pairings (i.e. #4 Indiana versus #1 North Carolina in the East Regional will be listed first, then then the other game in the bracket).
What we do know are the matchups and game times for Saturday’s action. Each regional is broken down below while the schedule for each day (broken down by start time) is at the bottom. An updated bracket can be seen here via the NCAA’s website.
Big Second Half Lifts Wichita State Over Vanderbilt
Wichita State fended off Vanderbilt by outscoring them 20-2 to end the game and win 70-50. The top duo of Fred VanVleet and Rod Baker (plus 9 rebounds) both finished with 14 points as the joint-top scorers for Wichita State. Vanderbilt also had joint-top scorers in Joe Toye and Riley LaChance with 10 points each.
The first half was a back and forth affair with neither team able to get an upper hand. Vanderbilt led 30-25 inside the final two minutes, but four points from the free throw line by Baker helped the first half end in a 30-30 tie.
Wichita State started the second half the way the ended the first: on a run. They scored the first 11 points of the final 20 minutes to open a 41-30 lead with Baker and VanVleet scoring all of those points. Vandy was able to battle back to make it a 50-48 deficit with approximately 8 minutes left, but head coach Kevin Stallings was called for a technical foul. While the foul only led to one point, Wichita State was able to seize the momentum and end the game on a 20-2 run. The Commodores only points came via the charity stripe with less than three minutes left to play.
Vanderbilt’s season has come to a close with a 19-14 record. Their performance will leave some to question the Selection Committee’s decision to include them in the field as well. Vandy shot the ball terribly going 16 of 53 (30.2%) and just 3 of 19 from behind the arc (15.8%). They connected on 15 of 26 free throws (57.7%). Behind Toye’s and LaChance’s 10 points apiece, Luke Kornet nearly had a double-double with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
The Shockers have now won a tournament game each year since 2013. Wichita State (25-8) will now move on to face Arizona on Thursday at 9:20 PM Eastern Time in the South Regional First Round. The Shockers went 22 of 59 from the field (37.3%) and 7 of 19 from beyond the three point line (36.8%) including 7 of 12 in the second half. They shot 19 of 25 (76%) from the free throw line as well. Anton Grady finished as the #3 scorer for Wichita State on the night with 11 points and also had 7 rebounds.
Florida Gulf Coast raced out to an early 11-0 in their First Four game against Fairleigh Dickinson and never looked back in a 96-65 win. The Eagles were led by Marc Eddy Norelia’s double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Norelia only missed one field goal.
Florida Gulf Coast started with that 11-0 run and parlayed that into an insurmountable 40-19 halftime lead. The Eagles dominated on the glass in the first half with a 27-17 margin and shot 16 of 27 (59.3%) from the field. They held FDU to 6 of 28 shooting (21.4%) and Norelia went 7 of 7 from the field for 14 points. FDU’s top scorers were Earl Potts Jr. and Darian Anderson with six points apiece.
The second half started well for FDU as they opened with six straight points, but they could not find any defense as they were unable to cut any further into the deficit. The Knights shot much better in the second half at 40.5% (17 of 42), but the lack of defense allowed Florida Gulf Coast to continue to pile on the points. Potts led FDU in the second half with 10 points while FGCU was led by Julian Debose (11 points) and Christian Terrell (1o points).
Fairleigh Dickinson finishes the season 18-15 after winning the Northeast Conference Tournament. Potts led the team with 16 points and 8 rebounds while Marques Townes had 13 points and Anderson finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds. The Knights shot 23 of 70 for the game (32.9%) including 8 of 23 from beyond the arc (34.8%). They struggled from the free throw line going 11 of 18.
Florida Gulf Coast is now 21-13 and will face the top seeded North Carolina Tar Heels on Thursday at 7:20 PM Eastern Time in the East Regional. Norelia’s 20 points was best on the team, but Terrell (14), Debose (14), and Demetris Morant (10 points) also finished in double figures. Antravious Simmons nearly had a double-double with 9 points and 11 rebounds. The Eagles finished 34 of 57 from the floor (59.6%) and 8 of 23 from three point range (34.8%). They shot horrendously from the free throw line in the first half (6 of 17 for 35.3%), but went 14 of 17 in the second half (82.4%).