One of the most exciting weekends on the sports calendar came to a dramatic close on Sunday with eight second-round NCAA Tournament games as the field dwindled to just 16 teams. The slate featured a bit of everything, including a Cinderella squad’s attempt to accomplish something that had never been done before.Ultimately, Fairleigh Dickinson’s effort to become the first No. 1 seed to reach the Sweet 16 came up short as No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic bested the Knights 78-70. But the back-and-forth game was one of the day’s highlights as the undersized FDU squad battled back from a double-digit deficit to briefly take the lead in the second half.
FDU’s loss left No. 15 seed Princeton as the only double-digit seed left standing for next week’s Sweet 16, but there were still some surprises on Sunday in terms of teams with less-advantageous seeding emerging as winners. No. 7 seed Michigan State got 23 points from Tyson Walker and upended No. 2 seed Marquette while No. 6 seed Creighton handled Baylor 85-76 without too much trouble
.Before attention turns entirely to the Sweet 16 and what’s ahead, here are a few more takeaways from Sunday’s action.
Fairleigh Dickinson’s run ends
Fairleigh Dickinson finished 4-22 last season and didn’t announce coach Tobin Anderson as its new coach until May 3, 2022. Less than a year later, they were in it until the end against FAU with a chance to reach the Sweet 16. Though the Knights didn’t have quite enough magic to continue their magical Big Dance, their upset of No. 1 seed Purdue will go down in history. FDU was the shortest team in college basketball but gave us one of this month’s best stories.
“Just being here and being in this environment, seeing the crowd…everybody chanting ‘FDU,’ and the TV audience, we were going head to head, the place is going crazy,” Anderson said. “The police escorts, everything. This is a great tournament. It’s great — it makes you want to get back here as much as you can.”
Creighton gets huge performances
In Friday’s win over NC State, center Ryan Kalkbrenner played the hero role for No. 6 seed Creighton with 31 points on 11 of 14 shooting. In an 85-76 win over No. 3 seed Baylor on Sunday, it was Ryan Nembhard’s turn. The sophomore guard put up 30 points on 8 of 13 shooting as the Bluejays kept the Bears at arm’s length for the entire second half.
“It’s been a different person every night, a different guy every night,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “And our guys’ unselfishness to understand if somebody has got it going, let’s figure out a way to get him the basketball and get out of his way. We beat a really good basketball team tonight and we beat a really good team on Friday, and we’re going to play another one next week.”
Down goes Marquette
No. 2 seed Marquette entered Sunday’s game against Michigan State ranked No. 5 nationally in 2-point shooting percentage at 58.6%. But against the Spartans, Marquette wilted inside the arc, making just 9 of 25 attempts (36%). An 11 of 27 performance from deep was not enough to help the Golden Eagles overcame the absence of their normal offensive source, and 16 turnovers hurt Marquette as well. It was a great season for the program in coach Shaka Smart’s second year as the Golden Eagles won both the Big East regular season and tournament titles, but Sunday marked a confounding end for a team that had been elite offensively most of the season.
“That’s probably a record low for us,” Smart said of his team’s 2-pointer output. “We’re normally very good finishing when we get in the paint. Michigan State did a really good job of help defense. They did a great job with their hands. We’re going to look back at that tape, and there’s a lot of plays we’d like to have had back. I thought we got bottled up a little too much on the side. When we were in the middle of the floor, we had a little bit more success. But coach Izzo and his team deserve all the credit in the world for the aggressiveness with which they played.”
2023 NCAA Tournament TV schedule
All times Eastern | LIVE bracket|
CBS Sports will be with you the entire way updating this story with the latest from every second-round game on Sunday. Keep it locked here for scores, analysis and highlights throughout the evening.