An NCAA tournament game featuring a pair of twin sophomores (both seven feet tall), a head coach getting ejected in the first half, and one player on each team going for 30 points doesn’t need to go to overtime to be one of the most interesting games of the tournament.
But it helps.
Marquette’s Jerel McNeal and the Cardinal’s Brook Lopez each dropped 30 points (including a ridiculous zero-angle jumper to win the game) as Stanford squeaked by Marquette in an overtime thriller, 82-81, to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2001. Stanford head coach Trent Johnson was ejected in the first half.
After that California school left the floor, it was UCLA that managed to hold off a strong effort from Texas A&M for their own bid to the NCAA’s round of 16. The Bruins went through long stretches without field goals in the second half, but UCLA’s freshman phenom Kevin Love took over at the end of game to bring UCLA its 96th tournament win in men’s basketball.
Stanford and UCLA were both favorites to win, but had to reach deep to pull out second-round wins, and games like this made for an exciting weekend of tournament basketball. Even without the big first-round upsets, the games have been great, and there’s still two big weekends left where anything could happen.