In 1996, Mitch Henderson played on the Princeton team that beat reigning championUCLA in the first round of the men’s NCAA Tournament. Twenty-seven years and two days later, Henderson coached his alma mater to another all-time NCAA Tournament upset, with the 15-seed Tigers topping 2-seedArizona, 59-55, as 16-point underdogs.
With 4:43 left, Azuolas Tubelis put the Wildcats up 55-50, and it looked like they might escape. Little did they — or anyone — know those were the last points Arizona would score, as the Tigers closed on a 9-0 run.
Keeshawn Kellman and Ryan Langborg scored on consecutive possessions, and Langborg gave the Tigers the lead for good on a tough layup with just over two minutes left.
It’s just the 11th 15-2 upset ever, but it’s now happened in three straight seasons: Saint Peter’s last year and Oral Roberts the year before.
Princeton did a magnificent job grounding Arizona’s high-flying attack, finishing with an edge in rebounds and paint points and limiting Arizona to just eight fastbreak points. The Tigers will face another Tigers team —Missouri — tomorrow.
Trailing by two with under 10 seconds left, Furman trapped Virginia guardKihei Clark, who threw an inexplicable desperation pass (despite the team having a timeout to use) straight into the hands of Paladins big man Garrett Hien.
Hien fired a pass to JP Pegues, who nailed the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.4 seconds left.Reece Beekman‘s shot at the buzzer for Virginia was off the mark.
Everyone will remember Pegues’ shot, but the fact that Furman even had a chance was the result of terrific playing and coaching down the stretch. The Paladins trailed by as much as 12, but Furman coach Bob Richey had the team switch from a man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone, which stymied the Cavaliers’ guards. Furman finished the game on a 30-17 run over the final 10:54.
And not such a good morning for…
THE ARIZONA WILDCATS…
Based on their seeding, their dynamic duo and their Pac-12 Tournament title, the Arizona Wildcats entered the NCAA Tournament with legitimate title hopes. Based on their guard play, though, they came up well short.
Here’s what Tubelis andOumar Ballo did against Princeton:
15-30 shooting (50%)
Here’s what everyone else did:
9-27 shooting (33%)
2-14 shooting 3-pointers (14%)
Guard play is crucial in March. For the second straight year, Arizona’s wasn’t good enough and is heading home early.
… AND ALSO NOT SUCH A GOOD MORNING FOR THE VIRGINIA CAVALIERS
Across a five-year career at Virginia, Kihei Clark set the ACC record for wins and the program record for assists. One of those assists was one of the greatest passes in Virginia — and NCAA Tournament — history to beatPurdue during the Cavaliers’ 2019 championship run.
But at the end of that remarkable career, he made one of the worst decisions at the worst time. Clark, whose poise has been a constant over the past half-decade, could have called for a timeout or… just not tried an over-the-shoulder, full-court fling that resulted in Pegues’ 3-pointer and, in turn, a heartbreaking loss for Clark and the Cavaliers.
Virginia has not won an NCAA Tournament game since winning the national championship. March can be magical. It can also be cruel.
Boone:“FAU has 31 wins on the season rolling into the NCAAs after dominating Conference USA with a nice blend of balance on offense and defense. The sticking point here in taking FAU is fading Memphis guard Kendric Davis — a do-it-all scorer and creator who might be the best at his position — but I’m betting coach Dusty May has a game plan to at least make things difficult on him. I like the Owls to win this one outright, so I’ll take the 2.5 points. Pick: FAU +2“
One of the biggest storylines, meanwhile, will be Rick Pitino coaching what could be his last game asIona‘s coach. There have been rumors that Pitino could be heading to one of the Big East coaching openings, but first he’ll try to beat one of the Big East’s best:UConn. Chip Patterson explores that and other top storylines here.
Mets’ Edwin Díaz likely out for season with knee injury suffered in WBC ⚾
An injury like this will have people wondering if the World Baseball Classic should even exist, or if MLB players should take place in it. Our Matt Snyder says the good far outweighs the bad.
Snyder:“The major argument against players participating in the WBC seems to be that it’s an ‘unnecessary injury risk.’ Unnecessary isn’t really debatable. … I will argue the ‘risk’ thing, though. There’s no more risk to playing in the WBC than there is to playing spring training or doing any simple daily activity. None at all. Again, Díaz wasn’t even hurt during game action — and if he were, it wouldn’t be any different than someone pitching in a spring training game.”