WISCONSIN UPSET DEFENDING CHAMPIONS VILLANOVA 65-62

In the last game of the day, Villanova squared off with Wisconsin. Wisconsin looking to upset the tournament favorites. Villanova are going to have to come out stronger than they did on Thursday against Mount St Mary’s. While as Wisconsin will look towards senior Bronson Koening and junior Ethan Happ to put points on the board against a strong Villanova defense.

Josh Hart with the games opening basket off tip, goes back down the court shortly and is fouled by Nigel Hayes, he makes one of two from the line.

Vitto Brown gets Wisconsin’s first points of the game from deep. Followed up by Nigel Hayes getting hacked down by Bridges, misses both.

Wisconsin playing tight man to man defense not allowing any shooting room, as for Villanova, they aren’t afraid of the Wisconsin three and focusing on guarding the paint. Both teams forcing each other into long possessions.

Ethan Happs twice now has gotten in deep and Villanova unable to cope with the 6-10 junior. He has four points thus far.

Timeout on the floor with 11:49 left in the half. Wisconsin lead 12-10. Wisconsin being allowed an extra split second on offense and is punishing Villanova for it. Vitto Brown knocking down two uncontested threes. As for Villanova, they’re just technically better on offense and Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo are working the perimeter moving the ball quickly giving little time for Wisconsin to adjust but have managed well.

8:24 left in the half, teams going end to end exchanging baskets. Josh Hart with a quick five points for Nova to bring the game within three.

Opportunities going wayward for both teams. Wisconsin allowing no space for Villanova to shoot but on the other end not always capitalizing on the opportunities they’re getting. Villanova has three offensive rebounds which has either lead to buckets or free throws. If Wisconsin control the boards in the second half, this game could look a lot different.

Overall in the first half, Wisconsin circling the ball a lot better than Villanova and work as a unit. You take Hart and DiVincenzo out of that offense and Villanova might as well go home.

The score at the half is Wisconsin 31, Villanova 27.

Wisconsin being lead by Bronson Koening and Vitto Brown both with nine points. As a team shooting 54.2% from the field but being kept in this game by their strong man to man defense. They are also leading 14-4 in points in the paint not having to rely on shooting deep.

Villanova yet again are going to need a second half to try and crawl their way back. They’re being lead offensively by Josh Hart with 10 points and Donte DiVincenzo who has nine off the bench. As a team they’re 8-27 from the field and have nothing to show for it, most of which being forced shots in bad areas.

Wisconsin are so patient on offense and can afford to be when they’re hitting over 50% of their shots. Nova on the other hand, it’s fast break or struggle badly.

15:33 left in the game. Wisconsin lead 37-33.

Bronson Koening gets his fourth personal foul of the game with over 13 minutes to play. Nova take advantage and the lead.

9:55 to go and Wisconsin took their foot off the gas pedal. Villanova has jumped out ahead and lead 48-43.

Nigel Hayes having a big day especially in the offensive board category. A lot of Wisconsin points coming from second opportunities.

Donte DiVincenzo knocks down two consecutive shots for five points. Nova putting this game to bed up seven with five minutes to go.

Wisconsin fight back and Bronson Koening hits a three followed by an Ethan Happ bucket. Wisconsin back in front.

Bronson Koening steps up big and knocks down another three, Jalen Bronson answers back. Wisconsin winning 62-61 with 1:24 left.

UPSET! WISCONSIN HOLD ON TO BEAT VILLANOVA 65-62.

Bronson Koening coming back into this game was a game changer, he finished with 17 points and Nigel Hayes finished with 19. Four of Wisconsin’s five starters were in double digits for points.

Josh Hart’s 19 points and Donte DiVincenzo’s 15 off the bench were not enough to take down the Badgers.

That’ll do it for my coverage of the March Madness tournament. God Bless.

@JonathanMolik

 

WISCONSIN UPSET DEFENDING CHAMPIONS VILLANOVA 65-62

Mountaineers Take The Fight To The Fighting Irish On Way To 83-71 Win

Second Round March Madness basketball is finally here on another snowy day in Buffalo, New York. Today’s first game is between Notre Dame and West Virginia.

Elijah Macon with the games first basket for West Virginia. Treyvon Myers hits the corner three and West Virginia pull ahead early 7-0. Followed by Daxter Myles three. 10-0 WV and ND call a timeout with 16:47 remaining in the first.

Notre Dame go on an impressive 11-5 run. Back and forth quick pace game. Notre Dame doing a good job recognizing they have to take their opportunities. Matt Farrell doing a goo job at shooting off the dribble. Virginia collapse into the paint when ball is deep and leaves the runner. Bonzie Colson did a nice job of running in from the arc for the lay in.

At the half, West Virginia lead Notre Dame 42-35. Leading the way for West Virginia is Jevon Carter with 13 and for Notre Dame Bonzie Colson with 9.

Notre Dame frustrated with the press and committing unusual turnovers for them with 10 in the first half, one more than season average and are going to get themselves into foul trouble early. Defensively solid and taking opportunities well on offense.

West Virginia moving the ball well on offense. Moving fast and taking their shots from good angles. The infamous press clearly frustrating Notre Dame and forcing turnover transition points. If they continue to press high, Notre Dame not shooting from deep unless they have too.

When your star player(Bonzie Colson) has three fouls this early, Mike Brey is going to have to rely on his bench to dig them out of this hole.

Jevon Carter knocks the three, Virginia steal it back off the inbound and Esa Ahmad throws it down. It might not seem like it but West Virginia are in complete control of this game.

15:39 remaining in the game. West Virginia lead 48-41.

Teams exchange threes, Notre Dame can’t catch a break. WV lead 57-47 with 11:25 left.

9:47 left in the game and Bonzie Colson on his fourth personal foul. Interesting decision to leave him in, I guess it’s now or never.

Timeout on the floor with 63-54 lead for West Virginia with 7:06 left. Notre Dame continuing to fight offensively taking good shots and making them. Defensively in serious foul trouble.

West Virginia interesting set-up on defense in the 2-1-2 with the big man Elijah Macon in the middle. Man on the ball has two close in on him, if he passes across Macon is their for the steal, if they get in behind, no one down low. Notre Dame are knocking down threes when they can but unable to free the man down low. Mike Brey certainly must be looking to draw something up down by nine with 3:34 to go.

West Virginia late doing a good job of forcing Notre Dame to use all 30 seconds on their shot clock and all 30 on offense. Starting to have less motivation. Settling for mediocre shots banking on fouls. Looks like they’re experimenting with practice court set pieces.

Final Score: West Virginia 83-71 Notre Dame

West Virginia were lead by Jevon Carter with 24 points and a big boost from Tarik Philips who had 12 points off the board. Bonzie Colson had 27 points but wasn’t enough support around him. West Virginia pressed and forced ND into turnovers and frustration and capitalized on early opportunities on the transition. Settled in and shot equally as well not on the break. Deserved win.

@JonathanMolik

Mountaineers Take The Fight To The Fighting Irish On Way To 83-71 Win

Wisconsin outshoot Tech In High Scoring Thriller 84-74

In the fourth and final game today. Virginia Tech gets set to square off against Wisconsin.

Game Thread:

Virginia Tech win the tip and we’re underway….

Justin Bibbs gets the first basket of the game and drains the and one. 4-0 VT lead.

Bronson Koening hits the three for to put Wisconsin on the board quickly followed by a Zach Showalter three.

Zach LeDay gets the offensive board and throws it down for VT. Game tied at 6-6 after a long stretch of back and forth. Both teams look defensively solid. 14:58 to go.

Wisconsin playing tight man to man coverage, VT gonna have to continue to shoot well from the field or there gonna get shutdown.

Ethan Happ gets in behind off a nice feed and has an east lay-in. 15-12 Wisconsin lead with 11:03 remaining. Khadim Sy fouls Khalil Iverson who makes one of two from the line.

Ty Outlaw drive to the basket and gets it to go for VT answere don the other end by Vitto Brown. Only way teams seem to be having success is by putting head down and driving and crashing boards. Perimeter is locked.

Ty Outlaw bangs the three after it looked like Ahmed Hill tried calling an audible. Answered on the other end by Wisconsin and answered again by VT answered by three from Wisconsin answered by Ahmed Hill again. Back and forth action. No defense in the building, that all left with West Virginia. 25-21 Wisconsin with 5:40 left.

Buzz Williams fired up after Vitto Brown levels Justin Robinson. Timeout on the court.

Timeout with 3:27 left in the first half. Wisconsin up 28-21. VT ball out of the break, go down and win the ball underneath and Ty Outlaw drains a three off the inbound.

Khalil Iverson goes over top of everyone with a monster dunk, Zach LeDay goes down and answers. Tech can’t catch a break to get back into this.

Zak Showalter bangs a three and Wisconsin win back the ball and take it back down and out of bounds, Badgers retain.

There’s the halftime whistle. Wisconsin lead Virginia Tech 34-30. Bronson Kroening leads the way with 11 points for the Badgers while Ty Outlaw leads Tech with 10.

Ethan Happ inbounds the ball and the second half is underway, he gets it back and off a nice spin move kisses it off the glass. Khadim Sy responds with his own layup.

Vitto Brown left wide open on the top of the arc and drains the three. Tech needs to watch their marking. Down on the other end, Ty Outlaw responds with his own three. Which is responded by another Wisconsin three this time by Bronson Koening.

Tech is letting Wisconsin shoot and it’s probably not the best game plan with a hot Bronson Koening. Wisconsin on their game are going to punish you in and outside the arc.

Ball jammed between backboard and rim, that does’t happen everyday. Leads to timeout with 15:42 remaining. Wisconsin lead 44-37.

Seth Allen drives, hacked on the way up. Couldn’t get the roller to go. Shooting two from the line and makes one.

Tech is spending this entire game trying to cheat on their guarding and drop their man and double up on someone else leaving players wide open in the corner Wisconsin doesn’t have the eyes to see. This game should be a lot worse than it really is.

D’Mitrik Trice drains the three for Wisconsin and Ty Outlaw answers right back with one of his own. Timeout with 13:15 left. Wisconsin lead 47-45.

Bronson Koening continues to be hot dropping another three. Tech answer back through Seth Allen. Neither team able to catch a break.

Bronson Koening again from deep. Tech can’t guard the perimeter to save their lives. Once again Zach LeDay goes down and answers right back. Tech win back the ball and feed LeDay who throws one down one handed.

Bronson Koening hits another three to give the Badgers a four point lead. He’s now 6-12 from beyond the arc with a total of 20 points.

Wisconsin with nine team fouls with 6:46 to go. Those one and ones could be the difference maker and Tech just drained two to make it 67-63 Wisconsin.

Seth Allen just walks to the line, pulls up and drains a three uncontested. Ethan Happ answers with a bucket of his own. Three point game.

Zak Showalter fouls out with 5:37 left. LeDay brings it within one.

Zach LeDay fouled on his way up. Goes to line and makes one. Three point ballgame. 4:39 left.

Bronson Koening misses the three, Tech bring it up the other way and draws the foul. Robinson going to line to shoot two. One point game now.

Nigel Hayes with the offensive board and draws the foul from LeDay. He’s to the line for two and makes them both.

Nigel Hayes again gets down low and gets it to go and draws the foul. He sinks the free throw. Four point game. Ethan Happ follows that up with a put back. Six point lead for the Badgers.

Final Score: Wisconsin 84-74 Virginia Tech

Bronson Koening lead the way with 28 points for the Badgers and Zach LeDay although fouling out ended his career with 23 points.

@JonathanMolik

Wisconsin outshoot Tech In High Scoring Thriller 84-74

Villanova Thrash Hopeful Mount Saint Marys 76-56

Villanova vs. Mount Saint Mary’s Game Thread:

In the third game of the day here in Buffalo, its the defending national champion’s turn to play as they look to start their journey to go back to back against 16th seeded Mount Saint Mary’s.

Two minutes in and already two block buster swats. One from Chris Wray and Mawdo Sallah. Mount St. Mary’s with the fist basket of the game from freshman Miles Wilson.

Kris Jenkins airs a shot for Villanova and Mary’s resets. Mary’s doing well to not let any shot go uncontested.

Junior Robinson drains a three after a quick transition for Mary’s. Villanova being pressed and frustrated. Mary’s playing a tight man to man defense and winning the rebound battle and looking for their opportunities on the fast break. Excellent through the first five minutes so far.

Miles Wilson off the dribble fades and drops it in from close range. Villanova go down the other end and get their first bucket of the night through Donte DiVincenzo.

Elijah Long drops a three to extend Mary’s lead to 10-2 until Villanova go down the other way and score through Jalen Brunson. Greg Alexander goes up and swats away a Villanova attempt.

Senior sensation Josh Hart gets his first points of the night on a long three. Play goes back the other way and Elijah Long draws the foul on Josh Hart, already his second of the game less than nine minutes in.

Teams exchanging points and opportunities. End to end action here with just under eight minutes to go. Mary’s up 16-11.

Miles Wilson so far is 2-6 from the field. Kid has a lot of learning to do to keep his head up. Caught up in the moment a little. Villanova are making it easy for him being all over the place on defense, letting Mary’s shoot.

Kris Jenkins goes to the line to shoot three and makes all three to draw the game level. Mary’s goes up the other end and Miles Wilson drains a three to make it 21-18 with five minutes to go.

Elijah Long draws two and with a beautiful no look pass dishes off to Chris Wray wide open underneath canceled out by a Dante DiVincenzo bucket. 23-22 Mary’s with 3:10 left.

Teams exchanging possession and baskets and the half ends Villanova 30, Mount Saint Mary’s 29. Leading the way in scoring for Mary’s is Miles Wilson with 13 and for Villanova Jalen Brunson with 10.

Three minutes into the second half and Villanova go on an 8-2 run. Timeout called. Jay Wright clearly lit some fire under his players, can’t take anyone lightly in this tournament.

Eric Paschall strips Mary’s and throws down an emphatic dunk to extend the lead to nine points with 15:13 left in the game. Play resumes and Nova rush down the court and find a wide open Dante DiVincenzo in the corner for three.

Pick six for Elijah Long, high press for Mary’s actually working for a brief moment. Nova are too good of a team who are finding ways to split Mary’s open. Nova drawing two into the high ball carrier leaving men wide open in the corners.

No organizations leads to a Josh Hart drive and finish. Nova up 51-35 with 12:24 left. Mary’s calls a timeout. Out of the timeout, Elijah Long knocks down a three.

Villanova holding that line high along the arc forcing Mary’s to shoot, excellent defense. Elijah Long being taken out of the game or how much you can actually take him out.

Donte DiVincenzo on a break all alone, tries to throw it down one handed and misses but follows it up next time down the floor with a three. 59-45 Nova with 5:40 left.

Under four minutes to go, Mikal Bridges drives and on the reversal gets it to and one. Villanova moving the ball and transitioning like national champs again.

Under a minute to go now and it looks like Villanova have this one in the bag.

Final Score Villanova 76-56 Mount Saint Mary

Leading the way in points for Villanova was Donte DiVincenzo with 21 points off the bench and for Mary’s was Miles Wilson with 22.

@JonathanMolik

 

Villanova Thrash Hopeful Mount Saint Marys 76-56

West Virginia Route Bucknell On Way To 86-80 Win

The second game of the day sees West Virginia taking on Bucknell here at the Key Bank Center. West Virginia lead by head coach Bob Higgins and Bucknell lead by head coach Nathan Davis. The anthems are done and we are set to go for more exciting March Madness as Bucknell wins the tip and we’re underway…

Bucknell off to a great start with Niana Foulland working down low making things happen. “Press Virginia” and Bob Higgin’s infamous full court press is Bucknell’s worse nightmare, can’t make anything happen and West Virginia just clinical. Not looking like it’s gonna be a very good game for Bucknell fans.

10:00 left in the half and end to end action. Both teams converting but West Virginia far out ahead enough. Daxter Miles a force to be reckon with, good on and off the ball. Gets himself and his teammates into good positions.

Bucknell starting to break down the press. Getting opportunities and capitalizing. Stephen Brown and Kimbal MacKenzie working the perimeter making room for Niana Foulland in behind.

As for West Virginia, Senior forward Nathan Adrian is taking good opportunities and scoring. Canceling Bucknells scoring.

The only reason Bucknell are as close as they are is their man to man defense forcing shots West Virginia don’t want to take. Good awareness from team.

Elijah Macon can setup baskets and run the channels, making it hard for Bucknell to adjust.

Kimbal Mankenzie doing an excellent job in transition for Bucknell. Helping to make opportunities.

The first half comes to a close with West Virginia winning 42-33

First half standouts for me from Bucknell include sophmore guard Kimbal Mackenzie and junior forward Nana Faulland. Nana finished the half with 13 points and was the main scoring threat for the Bison’s. As for West Virginia, no one in particular stood out and that isn’t uncommon. They play great as a unit and are good players who make their teammates better.

Halftime statistics would show West Virginia are the better team shooting 47.2% from the field and 3-7 from three point range compared to Bucknell shooting 38.7% from the field and 1-7 from three point range. They key difference, West Virginia has 20 first half points off the bench compared to Bucknell’s two.

Five minutes into the second half and not much to say. Teams exchanging opportunities and points. West Virginia retain their lead 52-43.

12:12 remaining in the game and Bucknell have pulled it within three. Drastic improvement of shooting and finishing. West Virginia has been broken down numerously on their full court press and have been punished for it. When they have a chance to set, they’d focus on Nana Faulland leaving other player’s lanes wide open.

Second half consisted mainly of a lot of end to end action. Bucknell would go on a good run but be canceled out by West Virginia and could never catch a break. Bucknell were lead in scoring by Kimbal Mankenzie with 23 and Nana Faulland with 18. Little help from their bench with only a collective five points. Defensively they were as solid as they could be against a good West Virginia program.

As for West Virginia, the full court press was the difference and asserted their dominance early. Leading the way was Tarik Philips off the bench with 16 and Esa Ahmad and Lamont West with 15 each. Not much to say about a team that is well disciplined and works well as a unit.

Final Score: West Virginia 86- Bucknell 80

@JonathanMolik

 

West Virginia Route Bucknell On Way To 86-80 Win

Notre DameTop Princeton 60-58 In Last Minute Thriller -Recap/Live Thread

Players line-up for anthems with ten minutes to go in warm-ups and then Notre Dame goes back into locker room while Princeton continues to warm-up. Also an interesting decision to award Notre Dame band the honor to play the anthem but leaves Princeton in the dust. Anyone know why? I certainly don’t.

Princeton win the tip and we’re underway…

No team really dominating, Notre Dame just taking their chances better and are rewarded with a 7-3 lead with just under five minutes into the first half. Matt Farrell is 2-2 from three point range. Bonzie Colson 1-2 from the foul line. Princeton aren’t allowing anything in deep, just need to start capitalizing on chances early.

Princeton came out of that first timeout more settled in and started putting up points. Myles Stephens splitting Notre Dame apart and working the perimeter and paint. Spencer Weisz adding to his point tally and they lead 16-15 with 11:24 remaining in the first half.

Princeton looking to get in behind Notre Dame but just can’t break the 3-2 zone. Notre Dame not relying solely on Bonzie but he is starting to get comfortable. Will Gladson doing an okay job marking him down inside but looks lost. Mitch Henderson gonna have to draw something up at halftime.

Teams exchanging opportunities. Princeton getting back to back threes from Weisz and Cannady to draw the game to a four point gap with 4:34 to go.

Notre Dame go into the half with a 36-30 lead over Princeton. Bonzie Colson with 10 points lead the way for Notre Dame while Spencer Weisz leads the way for Princeton with 11 points. Princeton is 5-17 from three point range after Notre Dame doing a fantastic job of forcing Princeton out. As a whole they’re only shooting 37.5% from the field and if want any chance at getting ahead in this game need to get into those lanes and need to start capitalizing on the good opportunities given to them by Notre Dame.

As for Notre Dame, they’re shooting 46.7% from the field with 22 points coming from in the paint. Princeton who have been so lock down all season need to play their game and ot adjust to Notre Dame. They’re obviously focusing highly on Bonzie Colson and it’s creating lanes for easy opportunities in behind.

Notre Dame get us underway in the second half with a Matt Farrell drive and layup. Princeton switching into a 2-3 man defense and forcing Notre Dame into bad shooting areas. Then on the other side of the court still not moving off the ball well but getting chances. 40-34 Notre Dame with 15:47 left.

Matt Farrell continuing to be the life of the second half in this Notre Dame offense knocking down another three and finding Bonzie Colson down low wide open. On the defensive side, tight man to man marking and awareness on the court just showing Princeton up.

Princeton comes out of a few timeouts firing with back to back steals but can’t capitalize on all the opportunities. Devin Cannady beginning to really work the perimeter and finding Weisz.

Notre Dame keeping Princeton in this game by doing minimal offensively. Princeton slowly starting to knock down more shots to pull it within four points with 4:09 to go.

Spencer Weisz and Myles Stephens the real difference makers in this second half for Princeton. Both have great awareness on the court and can make shots go when they have too.

Princeton really upped their game, bringing the game within three with 19.7 seconds to go, their ball. Notre Dame doing everything right but shots starting to fall for Princeton.

Princeton pulled within one but couldn’t make the last shot count. Notre Dame hold on to win 60-58.

Both teams had their highs and lows but Princeton waited just a little too long to show up.

@JonathanMolik

 

 

Notre DameTop Princeton 60-58 In Last Minute Thriller -Recap/Live Thread

IT’S FINALLY MARCH MADNESS TIME- BUFALO DAY ONE PREVIEWS

Buffalo always does a great job at hosting major tournament events especially when it comes to sports and the March Madness tournament is no different. Today we’re in for a host of four unbelievable games that will be sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. For those of you unfortunately unable to attend the games, all four Buffalo games will be live on CBS.

Game 1: Notre Dame vs. Princeton:

The first game of the day will see the fighting Irish take on Princeton. Notre Dame finished the regular season 25-9(12-6) are looking to come out with the same intensity they had in a narrow 75-69 loss to Duke in the ACC Championship game. Leading the way will certainly be no other than junior Bonzie Colson who lead the way in the championship game with 29 points and will look to continue to put this team on his back. As for Princeton, they finished the season 23-6(14-0). They defeated Yale in the Ivy League Championship 71-59. Princeton aren’t known for their scoring but know how to keep games close ranking 10th in the nation in points allowed per game with 61.6. If Princeton can keep Bonzie quiet, I wouldn’t be shocked to see this game come down to the final wire.

Game 2: West Virginia vs. Bucknell:

The second game we’ll see West Virginia take on Bucknell. West Virgina finished the season 26-8(12-6) which was good enough for second in the Big 12 only losing out to Iowa State in the Championship game 80-74. Bob Huggins has players who can score consistently from the one spot all the way down through the early bench and against a weaker Bucknell team will have no issues looking for players to score. Bucknell on the other hand finished the season 26-8(15-3) and capped it all off by defeating Lehigh in Patriot League Championship game 81-65. The team will certainly look towards Junior forward Zach Thomas who leads the team in scoring averaging an astounding 16.0 points per game.

Game 3: Vilanova vs. St. Mary’s

Defending champions Vilanova will look to get their championship defending run off to a great start coming off another impressive season finishing 31-3(15-3) winning the Big East Championship game 74-60 against Creighton. Vilanova are lead by senior points leader Josh Hart as well as a flury of other great talent. A 16th seed has never defeated a number one seed and I don’t for see that changing today. Mount Saint Mary’s defeated New Orleans 67-66 to get their way into the tournament. They finished the season 20-15(14-4).

Game 4: Wisconsin vs. Virginia Tech

In the late game, Wisconsin will battle it out with Virginia Tech. Wisconsin finished the season 25-9(12-6) and finishing runner-up in the Big 10 bracket losing in the championship game 71-56 to Michigan. The Badgers were lead in scoring this season by senior guard Bronson Koenig who averaged 14.1 PPG but only shooting just over 41% from the field. Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes are both averaging over 13.0 PPG a big reason They’re averaging over 72 PPG as a team. They also rank 8th in the nation in points allowed per game with a mere 61.1 on average. They should have no difficulty defeating the 9th ranked seed Virginia Tech who are making their first tournament appearance in a decade. Virginia Tech finished 22-10(10-8) during the season and lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament falling 68-74 to Florida St.

Follow me on Twitter @JonathanMolik for post game reactions and more from all the games here today.

IT’S FINALLY MARCH MADNESS TIME- BUFALO DAY ONE PREVIEWS