On Tuesday, we saw Wichita State and Florida Gulf Coast advance to the tournament in the first two of the First Four games. On Wednesday, Holy Cross faced Southern and Tulsa met Michigan for the right to dance in the tournament. The first game paired up Holy Cross and Southern, who were battling for the 16 seed and a matchup against the Oregon Ducks.
The 15-19 Holy Cross Crusaders beat the Southern Jags 59-55 behind a game-high 19 points from junior Robert Champion. Holy Cross’ 1-3-1 zone really bothered Southern, who shot just 39% from the field. Adrian Rogers scored 14 to lead the Jags, but their stagnant offense resulted in a lot of misses.
The stagnant offense was attributed to Southern’s inability to make quick decisions against the zone. They would do a skip pass cross-court, but wouldn’t reverse it fast enough and the Crusaders’ defense was able to recover and stop the offense. Oddly enough, Holy Cross extended their zone way above the three-point line, and the Jaguars had no one running the baseline.
In the second game of the night, the Golden Hurricanes met the Michigan Wolverines and lost, 67-62. Both teams were just about even regarding shooting, but Zak Irvin came up big for the Wolverines yet again. Within the final minute, Irvin had five of his 16 to push Michigan over the edge for the victory. Tulsa was led by Shaquille Harrison, who had 23 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
For the Golden Hurricanes to even make it to the First Four is remarkable. They were blown out in the first game of the AAC Tournament by Memphis, 89-67.
(16) Holy Cross plays (1) Oregon on March 18 at 7:27 PM Eastern.
(11) Michigan looks to upset (6) Notre Dame on March 18 at 9:40 PM Eastern.
View a round-by-round schedule of the NCAA Tournament here.