NCAA March Insanity: Dwell Updates

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NCAA March Madness: Live Updates

Key Updates:

  • March 23, 2021, 7:40 p.m. ET

    March 23, 2021, 7:40 p.m. ET

    Nell Fortner leads a team to the second weekend.

  • March 23, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ET

    March 23, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ET

    Michigan is in its first Sweet 16.

  • March 23, 2021, 5:44 p.m. ET

    March 23, 2021, 5:44 p.m. ET

    Iowa remains Caitlin Clark’s show.

  • March 23, 2021, 5:22 p.m. ET

    March 23, 2021, 5:22 p.m. ET

    No. 1 seed North Carolina State survives another early scare.

  • March 23, 2021, 3:49 p.m. ET

    March 23, 2021, 3:49 p.m. ET

    Looking to stream the games? Here’s how.

  • March 23, 2021, 2:40 p.m. ET

    March 23, 2021, 2:40 p.m. ET

    Nastasha Mack and Oklahoma State stare down Stanford and a grim record as a lower seed.

  • March 23, 2021, 2:39 p.m. ET

    March 23, 2021, 2:39 p.m. ET

    The UConn women are set to face Syracuse without their coach and (maybe) without a key player.

March 23, 2021, 7:54 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 7:54 p.m. ET

No. 2 seed Baylor is cruising against No. 7 seed Virginia Tech, 40-22, at halftime. The Bears are led by 13 points from Dijonai Carrington and have held the Hokies to 26 percent shooting. NaLyssa Smith, in foul trouble, has only played seven minutes.

March 23, 2021, 7:48 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 7:48 p.m. ET

Oregon State had six turnovers in the last seven minutes of the second quarter and made only one of its 10 shots; South Carolina had a 14-2 run. The No. 1 seed is ahead by 12 going into the second half.

March 23, 2021, 7:40 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 7:40 p.m. ETGeorgia Tech Coach Nell Fortner won Tuesday after complaining about disparities between men’s and women’s college basketball.Credit…Ben Mckeown/Associated Press

On the same day that she excoriated the N.C.A.A. for its disparate treatment of the men’s and women’s tournaments, Georgia Tech coach Nell Fortner led a team to the Sweet 16 for the first time in her storied career. Her fifth-seeded Yellow Jackets beat fourth-seeded West Virginia, 73-56.

Fortner has coached at every level of the women’s game for nearly four decades, and even led the United States to an Olympic gold medal in 2000. This is her 11th season as an N.C.A.A. head coach; her first trip to the tournament was in 1988 as an assistant coach with Stephen F. Austin.

Fortner had not coached since 2012, when she left her head coaching position at Auburn. Before she returned to the sidelines in 2019, Fortner was a staple of ESPN’s women’s basketball coverage as an analyst. On Twitter earlier Tuesday, she decried the differences between the men’s and women’s N.C.A.A. tournaments.

“These disparities are just a snapshot of larger, more pervasive issues when it comes to women’s sports and the N.C.A.A.,” Fortner wrote. “Shipping in a few racks of weights, after the fact, is not an answer. It’s a Band-Aid and an afterthought.”

The Yellow Jackets reached the Sweet 16 once before, under previous coach MaChelle Joseph in 2012.

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No. 5 seed Georgia Tech beat No. 4 seed West Virginia, 73-56.

Lotta-Maj Lahtinen had 22 points and Lorela Cubaj had 21.

March 23, 2021, 7:25 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 7:25 p.m. ET

Top seeds are having a wake-up call today. Oregon State, a No. 8 seed, is down by a point after the first quarter while South Carolina ended an almost three-minute scoring drought with a layup by Destanni Henderson. It’s reminiscent of the first quarter N.C. State played against South Florida earlier in which the Wolfpack had a weak first half before running away.

March 23, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ETNaz Hillmon had 19 points for Michigan in its win over Tennessee.Credit…Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Wolverines are competing in the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history.

The milestone came via an upset of one of women’s college basketball’s most storied teams. No. 6 seed Michigan knocked off No. 3 seed Tennessee in the second round, and it wasn’t particularly close. The Wolverines led by double digits for much of the second half, allowing junior forward Naz Hillmon and her teammates to stuff the stat sheet with buckets that evoked gleeful yells from the bench. When the game went final, Michigan had won, 70-55.

“It’s great for people to be able to see that Michigan isn’t just a football school and a men’s basketball school, but a women’s basketball school as well,” Coach Kim Barnes Arico told reporters after the game.

Despite having the size and experience advantage, the Lady Volunteers went quietly in their 36th consecutive N.C.A.A. tournament appearance (that is, every single N.C.A.A. women’s tournament). Tennessee scored just 19 points in the first half. Even when its star duo, Rennia Davis and Rae Burrell, heated up slightly in the second half, the pair combined to make only six of their 14 shot attempts from the floor — not enough.

By comparison, the Wolverines shots were falling better, but they also forced the issue against Tennessee with 13 steals — five of which were made by junior guard Danielle Rauch — and 21 points off of Tennessee’s turnovers. Hillmon, the Big Ten Player of the Year, led her teammates with her 15th double-double of the season, as well as with her infectious energy. Into the final minute of the game, when the Lady Vols’ hope was all but lost, Hillmon was still huddling up with her teammates and helping them avoid crucial late game mistakes.

“This year I’ve gotten a lot of individual accolades and that’s always great,” Hillmon told reporters after the game, her voice breaking. “But to finally be recognized as a team is the best accolade I could get. I’m getting choked up, but this group is special.”

Barnes Arico, already the winningest women’s basketball coach in program history, has one previous Sweet 16 trip on her résumé: she led St. John’s to that program’s first Sweet 16 back in 2012. Now, she’ll get another chance to go even further.

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No. 6 seed Michigan upends No. 3 seed Tennessee, 70-55.

The Wolverines reached the round of 16 for the first time.

March 23, 2021, 5:51 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 5:51 p.m. ET

No. 3 seed Tennessee trails No. 6 seed Michigan 28-19 at the half. In Michigan’s first tournament game, Leigha Brown had a career game with 28 points; now Wolverines forward Hailey Brown leads all players at the half with 11 points. They are not related.

March 23, 2021, 5:44 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 5:44 p.m. ETCaitlin Clark was 4 points shy of a career high in Iowa’s win over Kentucky.Credit…Ronald Cortes/Associated Press

Caitlin Clark and her Iowa Hawkeyes did their part by reaching the Sweet 16, and now wait to see if top-seeded UConn will meet them there.

Clark, the nation’s leading scorer, dominated with 35 points in No. 5 seed Iowa’s 86-72 rout of No. 4 seed Kentucky, a game that didn’t feel as close as the final score indicated.

“They didn’t have us in the field to start the season,” Clark said. “But this team just believed and believed in the coaches. The coaches believed in us and we just worked hard every single day, so that’s what we’re going to keep doing into the Sweet 16.”

As always seems to happen when she plays, Clark was peerless on the floor and at times outpaced Kentucky by herself. Clark’s performance was just 4 points shy of a career high and a tournament high for Iowa. She had six made 3-pointers, seven rebounds and six assists.

With 24 points at halftime, Clark had outscored Kentucky by herself in the first two periods (the Wildcats had 22 points by then).

“I was feeling my shot early there in the first half,” Clark said. “So when it’s going you just keep shooting it.”

Clark leads the country with 12 games in which she has scored at least 30 points. She also became the first player to reach 35 points in this tournament so far.

Clark’s career high was 39 points against Nebraska on Feb. 11.

Iowa’s win sets up a potential matchup with Clark’s rookie star counterpart, Paige Bueckers, and her top-seeded UConn, pending the results of their contest with Syracuse on Tuesday night.

“Going to the Sweet 16 is something special,” Clark said.

The Hawkeyes opened on an 11-0 run, its largest of the game, and never trailed. They led 23-11 after one quarter and scored an astounding 26 points in the second quarter.

The Wildcats managed 22 points in the second quarter on 22 percent shooting, the lowest point total for any Iowa opponent this season.

Even when the defense didn’t hold Kentucky down, Clark’s scoring pace was unstoppable. She didn’t let up even as Kentucky — behind 28 points from Rhyne Howard — attempted a comeback.

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No. 5 seed Iowa topped No. 4 seed Kentucky, 86-72.

Caitlin Clark stole the show with 35 points, including six 3-pointers, and six assists.

March 23, 2021, 5:22 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 5:22 p.m. ETJada Boyd led North Carolina State in the third quarter, when the Wolfpack pulled away from South Florida.Credit…Eric Gay/Associated Press

After a slow start, No. 1 seed North Carolina State once again dominated a lower-seeded opponent in the second half, earning its third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16.

The Wolfpack were down 1 to No. 8 seed South Florida at halftime on Tuesday, but eventually won 79-67. Their offense didn’t change much but their defense did, and the Wolfpack were able to hold the Bulls to just 28 percent shooting in the second half.

“It always takes a while to get used to the way certain teams play,” sophomore Jakia Brown-Turner said after the game. “I always tell my teammates, the first three minutes of the third quarter are the most important of the game.”

South Florida’s halftime lead at 36-35 came after it hit six 3-point shots in the first half. Three of those were made by sophomore Elena Tsineke, who has extensive experience representing Greece, her home country, in international play. She went cold in the second half, however, hitting just 1 of 6 3-pointers for a team that relied on them without an alternative when they weren’t hitting.

The driving force for N.C. State’s third quarter run, during which t led by as many as 14 points, was co-Atlantic Coast Conference Sixth Player of the Year Jada Boyd. She had 7 points and — more crucially — five rebounds in the period. Boyd typically comes off the bench, but in this matchup she started in place of senior forward Kayla Jones, who injured a knee in the team’s tournament debut.

“Rebounding is what wins championships,” North Carolina State coach Wes Moore told reporters after the game. “We have to defend and rebound if we want to stick around.”

Boyd finished with a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Five different N.C. State players finished with at least 10 points, a testament to their balance — which, so far in the tournament, has taken a couple of quarters of gameplay to really shine.

In the first round, the Wolfpack used a big third quarter to rout No. 16 seed North Carolina A&T, 79-58.

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No. 1 seed North Carolina State beats No. 8 seed South Florida, 79-67.

N.C. State pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring South Florida 24-11.

March 23, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET

Paying spectators are not permitted at games in San Antonio yet, so the Alamodome, where South Florida is besting N.C. State by a point at halftime, is oddly quiet for such a tight game. Each person within team travel parties can have up to six guests for now. The stands are completely empty behind the hoops; and the only side of the court with bleachers has about 30 invitees.

March 23, 2021, 3:57 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 3:57 p.m. ET

Caitlin Clark’s 11 first-quarter points has No. 5 seed Iowa ahead of No. 4 seed Kentucky, 23-11, at the end of one quarter. Clark is 4 for 7 from the field.

March 23, 2021, 3:53 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 3:53 p.m. ET

If South Florida keeps it up, N.C. State could be the first No. 1 seed knocked out of the tournament. The teams been jousting for the lead, settling with the Bulls up a point at halftime on a jumper by Cristina Bermejo. N.C. State’s Elissa Cunane missed a 3-pointer with two seconds left that could have flipped the lead. 36-35, South Florida.

March 23, 2021, 3:49 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 3:49 p.m. ETSouth Florida is playing in the first game of the second round, facing North Carolina State.Credit…Eric Gay/Associated Press

The tournament games will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU and can be streamed on the ESPN app. Here’s the schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday (all times Eastern):

  • 3 p.m. — No. 1 seed North Carolina State vs. No. 8 seed South Florida, ESPN2

  • 3:30 p.m. — No. 4 seed Kentucky vs. No. 5 seed Iowa, ESPNU

  • 5 p.m. — No. 3 seed Tennessee vs. No. 6 seed Michigan, ESPN2

  • 5:30 p.m. — No. 4 seed West Virginia vs. No. 5 seed Georgia Tech, ESPNU

  • 7 p.m. — No. 1 seed South Carolina vs. No. 8 seed Oregon State, ESPN

  • 7 p.m. — No. 2 seed Baylor vs. No. 7 seed Virginia Tech, ESPN2

  • 9 p.m. — No. 1 seed Connecticut vs. No. 8 seed Syracuse, ESPN

  • 9 p.m. — No. 1 seed Stanford vs. No. 8 seed Oklahoma State, ESPN2

  • 1 p.m. — No. 2 seed Maryland vs. No. 7 seed Alabama, ESPN2

  • 3 p.m. — No. 3 seed Georgia vs. No. 6 seed Oregon, ESPN2

  • 3 p.m. — No. 5 seed Missouri State vs. No. 13 seed Wright State, ESPNU

  • 5 p.m. — No. 2 seed Louisville vs. No. 7 seed Northwestern, ESPN 2

  • 5 p.m. — No. 4 seed Indiana vs. No. 12 seed Belmont, ESPNU

  • 7 p.m. — No. 2 seed Texas A&M vs. No. 7 seed Iowa State, ESPN2

  • 7 p.m. — No. 3 seed Arizona vs. No. 11 seed Brigham Young University, ESPNU

  • 9 p.m. — No. 3 seed U.C.L.A. vs. No. 6 seed Texas, ESPN2

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March 23, 2021, 3:33 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 3:33 p.m. ET

Mark Emmert has made his way to San Antonio. After facing criticism from players and coaches over the disparities between the facilities, coronavirus testing and marketing of the men’s and women’s tournaments, the N.C.A.A. president is at the first game of the second round of the women’s tournament — which happens to be the first part of the competition that isn’t taking place concurrently with games on the men’s side.

March 23, 2021, 3:26 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 3:26 p.m. ET

South Florida is holding on against No. 1-seeded N.C. State, down a point after the first quarter thanks to a 3-point shot guard by Maria Alvarez with 11 seconds left.

March 23, 2021, 2:41 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 2:41 p.m. ETIf Caitlin Clark and Iowa can get past Kentucky in the second round, they could get a matchup against UConn.Credit…Eric Gay/Associated Press

Caitlin Clark and Iowa will face Kentucky in the second round. The prize? The winner most likely will face top-seeded UConn next.

“The Sweet 16 is something you dream of as a basketball player,” said Clark, who led the nation in scoring this season. “It’s a great opportunity. We have nothing to lose.”

Iowa has won seven of nine, spurred by the well-documented success of Clark, their star freshman. Her scoring — 26.7 points a game this season — draws most of the attention, but her passing ability and 3-point shooting range have helped unlock defenses, too.

Kentucky may offer a tougher challenge. The Wildcats and the Hawkeyes have one common opponent this season in Indiana; Kentucky beat the Hoosiers, 72-68, while Iowa fell to them twice in Big Ten play.

Kentucky used its rebounding advantage — it had 16 offensive rebounds — to hold off Idaho State in the first round, when the senior Chasity Patterson and the star junior Rhyne Howard each scored 14 points.

But the Hawkeyes will enter their second-round matchup with something different: a chip on their shoulder.

“At the beginning of the year, people said, ‘Oh, if they can only get to the N.C.A.A. tournament ,’” Iowa Coach Lisa Bluder said of her team, adding: “Then it was, ‘Oh, if they can only win one game.’”

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March 23, 2021, 2:40 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 2:40 p.m. ETNatasha Mack leapt over chairs to cheer on her teammates during the first round.Credit…Ronald Cortes/Associated Press

After rolling in the first round, No. 1 Stanford will contend with Natasha Mack and eighth-seeded Oklahoma State on Tuesday.

The Cowgirls have a doubly difficult task in front of them in a top seed and their own grim history: They are 3-11 when playing as the lower seed in the tournament. But they also have the 6-foot-4 Mack, an intriguing shot-blocker and rebounder who may be one the most overlooked players in the nation.

The rare W.N.B.A. prospect with two years of community college basketball on her résumé, Mack was once a top high school recruit before taking a circuitous route to the Big 12. Mack committed to Houston out of high school but never enrolled, then turned up at tiny Angelina College in her hometown of Lufkin, Texas, where she became a junior college all-American.

Now she is one of four finalists for the Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Award after leading the nation with 4.1 blocks per game. She also ranked third in the country with 9.3 defensive rebounds a game.

Mack had 27 points and 15 rebounds in the Cowgirls’ first-round win over Wake Forest and 4 assist. Oklahoma State Coach Jim Littell praised the aggressive nature of her performance — “She has at times been too unselfish,” he said afterward — but Mack acknowledged she and her team would have to be even better against Stanford.

“This is such a great feeling,” Mack said. “It is like the spotlight is on you.”

“We have to bring the same energy,” she added. “It only gets harder from here.”

All four No. 1 seeds in the women’s tournament can advance to the tournament’s second weekend with wins on Tuesday. In addition to Stanford, UConn faces Syracuse; top-seeded South Carolina will deal with a No. 8 seed, Oregon State, looking to advance to its fifth consecutive round of 16; and N.C. State will play South Florida.

The Wolfpack dealt with some scary moments early in the first round against No. 16 North Carolina A&T before pulling away with a strong second half. Some of that could have been attributed to rust, N.C. State Coach Wes Moore said; his team had not played since March 7.

“I felt like we’ve got to have more urgency,” Moore said of the quick turnaround to another opponent. “We’ve been sitting around for two weeks now and we’ve got to find our mojo, so to speak, and get some energy and urgency on the defensive end of the floor.”

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March 23, 2021, 2:39 p.m. ET

March 23, 2021, 2:39 p.m. ETNika Muhl was hurt during UConn’s first-round win.Credit…Eric Gay/Associated Press

Top-seeded UConn cruised, as expected, in its opening win against High Point behind 24 points from the freshman star Paige Bueckers, but UConn’s degree of difficulty is quickly going up.

The Huskies next will face a Syracuse team that had a strong performance against South Dakota State in the first round. And while UConn already was missing the hall of fame coach Geno Auriemma, who tested positive for the coronavirus before the tournament, it now could be without the freshman guard Nika Muhl, who sprained her right ankle on Sunday.

Muhl, a Croat, was on crutches when UConn wrapped up its victory against High Point. She is questionable for the Syracuse game, but the Huskies’ interim coach, Chris Dailey, was not ready to rule her out on Monday.

“If there’s any way Nika can be on the court,” Dailey said, “she will be on the court.”

Sunday’s win was UConn’s 27th consecutive first-round victory. But it was perhaps more satisfying (and comforting) for the team’s coaches because Bueckers — who also had nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and two blocks in 36 minutes — and several other members of the freshman-heavy squad were making their debuts in the event. Another freshman, Aaliyah Edwards, recorded a double-double, with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Syracuse, the No. 8 seed, took care of South Dakota State, 72-55, with a strong second half. Emily Engstlerr’s 18 points led a balanced offense — all five Syracuse starters scored in double figures — and the Orange set a program record 14 blocks.

Guard Tiana Mangakahia may be the player the Huskies will want to contain, though: She leads the nation with 7.47 assists per game.

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