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A Look Back At Saturday’s 2022 NCAA Action

Things are starting to get very real.

Saint Peter’s v Murray State
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 19: Head coach Shaheen Holloway of the St. Peter’s Peacocks looks on against the Murray State Racers in the first half during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 19, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Saturday was a day when the rubber hit the road. The wheat got separated from the chaff. Go big or go home.

You get the idea.

There was only one crushing defeat: Providence hammered Richmond 79-51.

The rest were pretty intense and hard fought.

Starting locally, UNC went up 25 on #1 seed Baylor but then Brady Manek got tossed for an elbow to the head of Jeremy Sochan and Baylor put on an amazing comeback to put the game into overtime.

Sochan seemed to be everywhere. He took that elbow. On another play Armando Bacot, who was on the ground, put his legs in a vise. It’s not the first time Bacot’s done that and that should be a bigger deal than it is. He’s got a dirty streak and a good trail of evidence to support that now. Off the top of our heads he did dirty stuff against Louisville, Baylor, and we think Virginia Tech. It’s really unfortunate that no one has addressed this. Certainly the local and national media was ready to pounce on Grayson Allen. Bacot trips players from the floor and not a word is printed. Not a bit of criticism.

Sochan was involved in almost everything. The guy really reminded us of Dennis Rodman, both in terms of his sheer energy and his ability to be a pest. We love him.

UNC ended up winning though 93-86.

Memphis pushed Gonzaga to the wire before yielding 82-78. We were correct to think that Memphis would push Gonzaga hard as a more athletic team but the Zags know how to win and Memphis really doesn’t. Too many mistakes. It was there for the taking but they weren’t able to do that.

Creighton nearly took out another #1 Big 12 seed, pushing Kansas hard before the Jayhawks ended Alex O’ Connor’s college career. He had 16 points in his finale.

Michigan and Tennessee played passionately before the Wolverines slipped away, 76-68. We really thought the Vols would win this but it’s another early exit for the SEC. And that stuff about being seeded too low? Whatever. They lost to an 11 seed. So that’s Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, LSU all gone. Only Auburn and Arkansas are left.

In fairness, LSU and ‘Bama have some reasons for losing. The Wade Will firing was bad for his team obviously and ‘Bama had critical injuries. But that’s just part of the game.

For all the stuff about Juwan Howard losing it against Wisconsin - which he deserved - that shot of him consoling a weeping Chandler Kennedy shows another side of him that’s deeply touching. Same for the clip of him hugging Fab Five teammate Jalen Rose after the game. The first one was deeply moving. That kid will never forget his compassion.

And Chris Webber even got together with his Fab Five buddies again so there’s that too. All in all a great day for Michigan.

St. Mary’s and UCLA put on a good show before UCLA took control, winning 72-56 and setting up a Sweet Sixteen game against UNC.

Arkansas and New Mexico State put together a first half that a radio crew called “horrid” and wondered if there was any point in switching. They were brutally honest: the halftime score was 26-17 and they were lucky it was that high. Arkansas pulled it out in the end but it was probably the least exciting game in the tournament.

Finally, there was St. Peter’s. What can you say about the new Kings of Kentucky? First they took out Kentucky and then Murray State. This team showed immense guts against Kentucky and it became clear against Murray State that they have some real talent too, and not just on the bench where Shaheen Holloway has made an enormous impression in this tournament.

The late block by KC Ndefo was superb and highly athletic. People are going to have revise their opinion of St. Peter’s.

We did well on Friday but not so much on Saturday:

  • Memphis. No, but it was close.
  • New Mexico State - no.
  • Baylor - no.
  • St. Mary’s - no.
  • Murray State - no.
  • Tennessee - no.
  • Kansas - yes.
  • Providence - yes.

It looks like Maryland is going to hire Seton Hall’s Kevin Willard which will surely mean Seton Hall will pursue Holloway. But he may have bigger fish to fry.

Back to Willard.

Since running Mark Turgeon off, Planet Maryland has been convinced they would land a big fish.

Willard might turn out to be a great catch. We won’t know about that for a while. But Turgeon’s NCAA record at Maryland was this:

  • Round of 32
  • Sweet Sixteen
  • Round of 64
  • Round of 32
  • Covid
  • Round of 32

And Willard’s NCAA record at Seton Hall? First, it took him six years to get to the NCAA tournament (although he has been a regular) but his record is actually worse than Turgeon’s:

  • Round of 64
  • Round of 64
  • Round of 32
  • Round of 64
  • Covid
  • Not invited
  • Round of 64

We listed them previously but here are our picks for Sunday again:


  • Texas Tech over Notre Dame. When in doubt, bet on D.
  • Duke over Michigan State. We don’t bet against Duke.


  • Texas vs. Purdue. UT really struggled with Gonzaga’s size early. That’s tough here too. But we love the D. So Texas.


  • Arizona over TCU.
  • Houston vs. Illinois is getting down to brass tacks. We’ll take the Illini because of the big guy.
  • Ohio State vs. Villanova. We didn’t see the Wildcats. We did see the Buckeyes and they look revived. So OSU.


  • Iowa State vs. Wisconsin. Tough call again. We’ll go with Wisconsin though.
  • Miami vs. Auburn. We’d love to see the ‘Canes pull an upset but Walker Kessler says uh-uh.