NCAA Tournament - Winners, Losers, Best Players & Top Upcoming Matchups
Yahoo Sports writer Krysten Peek recaps the opening week of March Madness with the winners and losers from the first four days. Plus, she looks ahead at the best remaining players and top matchups she is most looking forward to in the Sweet 16.
KRYSTEN PEEK: The first two rounds of the NCAA tournament did not disappoint with plenty of upsets and big moments. The only number one seeds left in the tournament are Houston in the Midwest and Alabama in the South, with both teams looking like the best two teams heading into the Sweet 16. Here's a look at winners and losers from the first two rounds, top players to watch, and best matchups coming up.
First up is winners and losers. Let's start with the losers. Purdue became the second one seed in tournament history to lose to a 16 seed when Fairleigh Dickinson shocked Matt Painter's squad in the first round. Another loser has to be Arizona, who came into the tournament as the number two seed in the South after winning the Pac-12 tournament and lost in the first round to number 15 Princeton.
And finally, last year's national champions, the Kansas Jayhawks entered the tournament as the number one seed in the West but failed to make it past the round of 32 after losing to eighth seeded Arkansas by one point. Now let's take a look at a few winners. First up are the Cinderella schools from New Jersey. Number 16 Fairleigh Dickinson went from winning only four games last season to taking down a number one seed in the tournament this year when they defeated Purdue.
The other Jersey school, number 15 Princeton is the only double-digit seed remaining in the tournament and are advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1967. The other two winners are the SEC in the Big East, who have three teams each remaining in the big dance. For the SEC, it's Alabama, who's looking like the best team in the tourney, Tennessee, who took down Duke, and Arkansas, who's rolling with a ton of young talent.
For the Big East, there's still UConn, who's playing great basketball right now. Xavier, who took down Pitt to advance in the Midwest, and Creighton, who beat number three Baylor in the South. There are a couple of players elevating their game on the biggest stage in college hoops and our players to watch next round. Let's start first with Alabama freshman Brandon Miller. The six nine wing was held scoreless in the first round but posted 19 points and 7 rebounds in the round of 32 and is the projected top three pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Next is Houston forward Jarrett Walker, who is the most versatile defender in the tourney and recorded six blocks in the win over Auburn. And finally, senior forward Keyontae Johnson is doing it all for number three Kansas State in the East Region, shooting 41% from 3 and averaging 16 points in the tournament. And finally, there are two games in the next round with key matchups and our must watch basketball and both are in the West region.
First one up is number eight Arkansas and number four UConn. This will be a battle of the guards as Ricky Counsell IV from the Razorbacks goes head to head with the Huskies sharpshooter Jordan Hawkins. And all eyes will be on the 2021 Final Four rematch as number two UCLA takes on number three Gonzaga. That guard Jalen Suggs hit a last second shot in overtime two years ago over UCLA to advance to the championship game.
And UCLA seniors Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez, and David Singleton have not erased that memory and will be out for revenge on the other side of the ball is senior forward Drew Timme, who would be making his third trip to the Sweet 16 and just posted 28 points in a win over TCU. There's still plenty of tournament action coming up this week. And for all the latest news and updates on the big dance, keep it right here on Yahoo Sports.