Hawthorne Wingo clings to lead
The leader after the First Round, Hawthorne Wingo, enjoyed a perfect Saturday of basketball picking to cling to a one-point lead after 1 1/2 rounds of March Madness basketball. Hawthorne Wingo followed up a 27-point first round with a perfect 8-for-8 performance on Saturday (worth 2 points each) to stand atop the pool standings at 43 points.
Rocket John stands alone just one back at 42 points, while three players - NovaGuy1985, Charlie Hoops, and Zion’s Other Shoe — are two points back at 41. Nine players are three points back at 40 points.
Sunday offers some great matchups and lots more opportunities for movin’ and shakin’ in the pool standings, but for now, here are the complete standings after Saturday’s games. (Note, the results page only shows 100 players at a time, and we have 186. There’s a link at the top of page one to show places 101-186.
The way the day began, I didn’t think it could get much better. I’m talking about the LSU-Maryland game, and I’m talking about one of the most entertaining second halves of basketball I’ve seen in a while. The two Maryland big guys — Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando (all name team) — played out of their minds, but LSU’s Skylar Mays hit a big 3-pointer, and when Maryland answered, LSU’s Tremont Waters hit a scoop layup in the final seconds to bring the Tigers the win. Think what you want about LSU (their coach Will Wade is suspended for saying things he should not be saying on an FBI wiretap, hmm), but these guys played hard today and probably busted a ton of brackets by making the Sweet 16.
I know it’s early, but I’m calling this one. Hands down the worst set of commercials during March Madness are the AT&T “Just OK is not OK” series featuring the idiot announcer. I can’t believe I have to sit through 4 more rounds of this stuff. It wasn’t funny the first time. How do you think I feel about the 150th?
Ja Rules? Not anymore
Murray State’s Ja Morant was the darling of the first round, as he went for a triple-double to help dispatch Marquette, but the second round against Florida State was a different matter. The Racers were down 16 at the half and were never really in this one, so the next time we’ll see Ja will be the NBA draft. The talented Seminoles get a Thursday matchup vs. 1-seed Gonzaga in what I’m predicting will be a heck of a ballgame.
A new champion will be crowned
The Villanova Wildcats, winners of 2 of the last 3 national championships, will not repeat. They ran into a Purdue buzzsaw on Saturday night - led by Carsen Edwards (42 points) and a 3-point barrage at the beginning of the second half. With the exit, Phil Booth had his NCAA Tournament personal winning streak halted at 13, so he ends in a tie with the Dookies of the 91-92 back-to-back national championship teams of Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, etc. Booth’s streak is interesting, because he won 6 games as a part of Villanova’s 2016 championship team, was injured in 2017 when they lost to Wisconsin, and then was on the 2018 national championship team. The 26-point loss by Nova is the second-largest margin by a defending national champion, after Michigan’s 149-115 loss to Loyola-Marymount in 1990. Yikes!
So that’s it for Saturday. More updates after Sunday’s games and the end of Round 2.