COLLEGE BASKETBALL, SPORTS

NCAA Tournament’s first weekend lives up to the hype

March 24, 2014

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The Sweet Sixteen is set after a wild weekend of games, and SiriusXM College Sports Nation covered all of the action.

(Time for a collective deep breath, since chances are your brackets are busted.)

No. 3 seed Iowa State paved a tough road to the Sweet Sixteen with a 85-83 win over No. 6 North Carolina Sunday night. Head coach Fred Hoiberg drew up a play for senior guard DeAndre Kane to drive the lane and eventually score the winning basket with two seconds left in regulation.

Kane joined SiriusXM College Sports Nation after the win, and talked about how the Cyclones powered to victory after trailing with less than three minutes to play.

It was a fast-paced game. Both teams wanted to get out there in transition. You saw early on in the second half, Coach (Hoiberg) had to call two timeouts back-to-back because guys were so gassed. Both teams fought hard, North Carolina played a great game [...] We were down six points with three minutes to go. Coach brought us to the huddle and told us to stay poised, we’ve been in this position before. We kept fighting and we came away with the victory.

The No. 6 West region seed Baylor throttled No. 3 seed Creighton on Sunday. The Bears’ defense limited Creighton’s Doug McDermott (who ended his career ranked fifth all time in scoring with 3,150 points) to 15 points after averaging 27 points per game all season.

Baylor was led by senior guard Brady Heslip and his 17 points. Heslip joined Braden Gall and Tom Brennen on SiriusXM College Sports Nation after the game and talked about the win.

“We knew it was going to happen on the defensive end,” Heslip said. “They’re (one of) the best offensive teams in the country for a reason. We knew we needed to limit their shots and not let them get the shots and be comfortable and we were able to do that.”

Heslip credited head coach Scott Drew for his leadership tactics.

Coach [Drew] is very positive and it trickles down to us. I try to be as positive as I can be every day. When we were 2-8, what were we going to do, pack it in and call it quits? Obviously it wasn’t too late because we fought back and now we’re back in the mix and winning tournament games and that’s the goal all season long.

No. 11 seed Dayton provided one of the biggest upsets of the weekend, taking down No. 3 Syracuse 55-53. Earlier in the weekend, senior guard Vee Sanford scored the game-winning shot to upset Ohio State; against ‘Cuse, Sanford was once again part of the victory scoring eight points off the bench.

Sanford joined Braden Gall on SiirusXM College Sports Nation after defeating Syracuse, and talked about how being on the bubble for much of the season helped set the tone for the one-and-done atmosphere in the tournament.

“I feel like the best thing is that the guys have a killer instinct mentality and not to worry about anything else. We’ve been like the underdog with everything so we just go (into the tournament) and play like it was our last game,” Sanford said.

No. 2 seed Michigan defeated No. 7 Texas with balanced scoring on Saturday. Grad student forward Jordan Morgan contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds in the 79-65 win to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Morgan joined SiriusXM College Sports Nation after the win and talked about Michigan’s experience helping to stabilize the team during the NCAA tournament.

I think we’ve been in big games all year long, starting with our non-conference schedule playing at Duke, at Iowa State, playing Arizona at home. Then you’ve got the challenges of the Big Ten schedule combined with everybody’s experience from last year and we’ve got a team that doesn’t really get shaken in tough situations.

Take a look at the teams SiriusXM sports’ hosts picked to advance the Final Four. How do they compare to your bracket?

SiriusXM Sports Final Four Picks

SiriusXM Radio will carry every game of this year’s tournament. For channel listings, head to siriusxm.com/ncaa. For expert analysis of the brackets, look no further than SiriusXM College Sports Nation, channel 91, and follow them on Twitter, @SiriusXMCollege.