NCAA Tournament Update: Beware the Wisconsin Badgers — giant killers
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Baylor is the No. 1 seed in the South Region, but Wisconsin’s recent NCAA Tournament history gives the Bears reason for concern heading into their second-round matchup Sunday.
Wisconsin has won three of the past four times it has faced a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Those three wins include a 64-63 overtime triumph in a 2014 regional final, a 71-64 victory over previously unbeaten Kentucky in a 2015 NCAA semifinal and a 65-62 decision over Villanova in a 2017 second-round game.
Sister Jean Delores Schmidt gave an inspirational pregame prayer to her Loyola Chicago team before the eighth-seeded Ramblers met top-seeded Illinois in Sunday’s second round.
Sister Jean, the 101-year-old chaplain to the team, said, “As we play the Fighting Illini, we ask for special help to overcome this team and get a great win. We hope to score early and make our opponents nervous. We have a great opportunity to convert rebounds as this team makes about 50% of layups and 30% of its 3 points. Our defense can take care of that.”
The Ramblers responded well. Loyola was up 33-24 at halftime of the Midwest Region game.
The NCAA Tournament’s round of 32 is underway with nine double-digit seeds still alive.
According to NCAA spokesman David Worlock, that matches the second-highest total of double-digit seeds ever to reach the round of 32.
Ten double-digit seeds advanced that far in 2016. There also were nine double-digit seeds in the round of 32 in 2001 and 2012.
The double-digit seeds still around include Maryland (No. 10 East), Rutgers (No. 10, Midwest), Syracuse (No. 11, Midwest), UCLA (No. 11, East), Oregon State (No. 12, Midwest), North Texas (No. 13, South), Ohio (No. 13, West), Abilene Christian (No. 14, East) and Oral Roberts (No. 15 South).
UCLA and Abilene Christian face off Monday, assuring that at least one double-digit seed will reach the Sweet 16.
This is the first time four teams seeded 13th or worse made it to the second round.