March 20, 2022 

Daily Briefing — March 20, 2022: SUPER-NOVA — Villanova topples BYU in upset-filled Saturday

Ring the Bell-mont

Happy Sunday! Welcome to The Next’s Daily Briefing, featuring the W Roundup, daily Watch List, and Yesterday’s Recap. Day 128 of college basketball is here, following a day filled with upsets and close calls. Four lower seeds knocked off their higher-ranked opponents, and all in all, six double-digit seeds held multi-score leads throughout the day, while another couple of 13-seeds came close to big wins. Plus there were three 30-point-scorers and the first triple-double of March Madness!

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But first, some daily upset* picks:

  • Greensboro: #6 Georgia over #3 Iowa State
  • Spokane: #12 FGCU over #4 Maryland

Watch List, Sunday, March 20

(All times in Eastern, all rankings reflect tournament seeding)


#4 Maryland v. #12 FGCU, 3 p.m., ESPN

#3 Iowa State v. #6 Georgia, 8 p.m., ESPN2

Good games

#1 Louisville v. #9 Gonzaga, 7 p.m., ESPN

Also watchable

#2 Iowa v. #10 Creighton, 1 p.m., ABC

Saturday, March 19 recap

(All rankings below reflect tournament seeding)


#4 Arizona beat #13 UNLV, 72-67. No team led by more than seven points until the three-minute mark in the fourth quarter. Wildcat point guard Shaina Pellington led with a career-high 30 points on 10-for-19 from the field, 2-for-6 from three, and 8-for-13 from the line, plus three rebounds, four assists, and four steals without a turnover.

#5 North Carolina beat #12 SFA, 79-66. The Tar Heels did not lead between 1:01 in the first quarter and 8:20 in the fourth, their first lead since the first kicking off a game-winning 18-6 run.


#3 LSU beat #14 Jackson State, 83-77. The… Tigers… of Jackson State, I guess, trailed by as much as 17 in the early third quarter, before going on a 28-7 run and leading for 5.5 minutes in the fourth. The officiating certainly helped the Tig LSU, both in no-calls on its post defense and yet another Kim Mulkey tantrum that did not receive a technical foul.

I don’t have the time here, but at some point we’re going to have to have a full discussion on the overt role of white privilege in how coaches are officiated. To say that Mulkey has benefited from it would be an understatement.

#6 Ohio State beat #11 Missouri State, 64-56. The Bears led by 12 in the mid-second quarter, then the Buckeyes responded with a 23-6 run, and the score was within one possession for most of the rest of the game.


#1 N.C. State beat #16 Longwood, 96-68. The Lancers trailed by only four halfway through the second quarter, then the Wolfpack scored 17-straight points.

#2 UConn beat #15 Mercer, 83-38. The Huskies won the third quarter 20-0. Their starting lineup was finally Paige Bueckers/Christyn Williams/Azzi Fudd/Aaliyah Edwards/Olivia Nelson-Ododa, which will hopefully continue to be the case.

#3 Indiana beat #14 Charlotte, 85-51.

#4 Oklahoma beat #13 IUPUI, 78-72. The Jaguars kept the game within a couple possessions through the early third quarter, then came back to make it a two-position game again with less than four minutes to go in the fourth.

#5 Notre Dame beat #12 UMass, 89-78, leading wire-to-wire. Point guard Olivia Miles recorded the second triple-double of her “freshman” campaign with 12 points (5-9 FG, 0-2 3pt.), 11 rebounds, and 11 assists against six turnovers — the 15th triple-double in NCAA tournament history, per Her Hoop Stats. Minutewoman combo forward Sam Breen led all scorers Saturday with 31 points on 12-for-19 shooting (3-4 3pt.), plus four rebounds and two steals without a turnover while playing all 40.

#7 UCF beat #10 Florida, 69-52. Knight backup center Brittney Smith led with 26 points in 25 minutes on 11-for-15 FG and six rebounds and no turnovers.

#9 Kansas State beat #8 Wazzu, 50-40. The Cougars led by nine in the early third quarter. Wildcat center Ayoka Lee led with a 20-point, 15-rebound double-double.

#11 Princeton beat #6 Kentucky, 69-62. The Tigers led for all but 22 seconds in the final 32 minutes.


#3 Michigan beat #14 American, 74-39. Big Naz Hillmon led with a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double on 11-for-14 FG with five offensive boards and three steals, becoming the first player in school history to record 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

#4 Tennessee beat #13 Buffalo, 80-67. The game was within two possessions from the mid-first quarter through the late third.

#11 Villanova beat #6 BYU, 61-57. The Wildcats took the lead in the mid-third quarter and never trailed thereafter.

#12 Belmont beat #5 Oregon, 73-70 in double overtime. I could explain how the game went, but I think a picture tells a thousand words:

A win probability chart between Belmont and Oregon, showing Belmont taking a moderate early lead, Oregon taking an unstable lead through the middle of regulation, then Belmont exploding to around 70% odds in late regulation and spiking above 90% before immediately swinging towards Oregon. Then it swings back to neutral, then Oregon, and then the game ends with the win probability shooting up to Belmont 100%.
Gotta love win probability charts. (Source: ESPN)

Center Nyara Sabally also led all scorers on Sunday with a career-high 31 points on 12-for-24 from the field (0-1 3pt.) and 7-for-8 from the line and 12 rebounds (four offensive) for a double-double, plus three assists, three steals, and seven blocks against two turnovers in 48 minutes.

* I’m not saying these are going to happen, just that they’re worth monitoring. This is how I’m hedging, thank you.

Written by Em Adler

Em Adler (she/they) covers the WNBA at large and college basketball for The Next, with a focus on player development and the game behind the game.

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