Tuesday marked the start of the March Madness tournament and featured two of the First Four games. The First Four games are one game playoffs for eight teams who weren’t impressive enough to win an outright bid. The first matchup was between FGCU and Farleigh Dickinson.
Both teams were playing for the 16 seed which would mean a matchup against the UNC Tar Heels, so it’s unlikely for them to make it out of the first round. In short, the FGCU team dismantled the Knights and won handily 96-65. Junior forward Marc-Eddy Norelia had 20 points and ten rebounds to led the Eagles and really torched the Knights’ 2-3 zone.
For FDU, it came down to their inability to hit shots. The Knights shot 33% from the field and an awful first half (outscored 40-19) set the tone, unfortunately. Sophomore Earl Potts Jr. led the Knights with 16. For Farleigh Dickinson, however, this was a great experience for such a young team. They entered the contest with 11 underclassmen, including six freshmen. As of next year, barring transfer, the Knights will have just two seniors on the roster.
The second half of the doubleheader saw Wichita State battling Vanderbilt for the 11th seed and a matchup against the Arizona Wildcats. Greg Marshall’s squad isn’t new to the tournament, and will be appearing in their fifth straight March Madness after beating Vanderbilt 70-50. The Shockers were led by seniors Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker, who combined for 28 points, 12 rebounds, and ten assists in the victory.
Wichita State shot poorly, but their impressive defense held Vanderbilt to just 30% shooting for the game. Joe Toye and Riley LaChance led the Commodores with ten points each, but Damian Jones and Wade Baldwin (Vandy’s two best players) combined for just 14 points.
Tonight, Wednesday, March 16th is the date for the final two games of the First Four. Holy Cross will be taking on Southern at 6:40 PM Eastern on truTV, followed by Tulsa and Michigan on truTV as well.
The (16) Holy Cross/(16) Southern winner will play (1) Oregon on Friday, March 18th.
The (11) Tulsa/(11) Michigan will play (6) Notre Dame on Friday, March 18th.