The complete what-if account of the 2020 NCAA Tournament: Bracket, results, highlights and more

Eli Boettger | @boettger_eli | 03/13/2020
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As anyone who is reading this is now aware, the 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled on Thursday, along with the postponement and cancellations of several sports leagues and events nationwide due to the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s been a somber week for many. Like college basketball fans across the country, I was anticipating an exciting month of highlights and unforgettable moments, just like every March since this tournament came into existence.

That’s no longer possible, though. What is possible, however, is making the most of this time of uncertainty. I wanted March Madness as much as the next person, so I’m going to enjoy this month for what it is, even if there will never be such a thing as the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

Below I have completed something that acts as “closure,” if you will, to this season. I went ahead and “made up” the finishes to the remaining conference tournaments, created a 1-68 seed list, bracketed the field and then played out the results. If you’re a fan of one of these teams, you probably won’t be happy with the result you will read below, and that’s understandable. The game recaps are simply the first thing that came to mind.

Without further ado, here is my complete what-if account of the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

Seed List

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Yellow = automatic bids for conference tournament champions

The conference tournaments provided two “bid stealers,” as Cincinnati snatched the American title to remove itself from the bubble and Davidson made a surprising run to capture the Atlantic 10 championship. Dayton was bounced in the semis.

Elsewhere, Arizona State took home the Pac-12 crown while favorites Kansas, Florida State and Kentucky also cut down the nets.

Here’s a look at each of the four regions. The complete bracket is listed below.

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First Four

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South Region

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Midwest Region

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West Region

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East Region

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First Four

No. 16 Prairie View A&M vs. No. 16 Norfolk St.
Tuesday, March 17 — 6:40 p.m. ET — Dayton, Ohio
truTV/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn

About what you would expect out of this type of matchup. A lot of missed jumpers early but the pace picked up as the game progressed. Norfolk State was unable to overcome costly turnovers down the stretch in the loss. Prairie View A&M 63, Norfolk St. 58

No. 12 Xavier vs. No. 12 Stanford
Tuesday, March 17 — 9:15 p.m. ET — Dayton, Ohio
truTV/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Steve Lavin, Evan Washburn

Both teams arrived to Dayton amidst three-game losing streaks and certainly looked the part early. Xavier controlled much of the game and every time Stanford got within four or five points, the Musketeers had the answer. Xavier 75, Stanford 70


No. 16 Robert Morris vs. No. 16 Siena
Wednesday, March 18 — 6:40 p.m. ET — Dayton, Ohio
truTV/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lisa Byington

Welcome to the Jalen Pickett show. Siena’s star sophomore shows out in his first career NCAA Tournament game, logging 28 points and drilling four 3-pointers as Siena takes care of Robert Morris in an easy win. Siena 72, Robert Morris 61

No. 11 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 N.C. State
Wednesday, March 18 — 9:17 p.m. ET — Dayton, Ohio
truTV/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lisa Byington

Plenty of fireworks in this one as N.C. State roared out to an early 23-8 lead and looked to be in control. Texas Tech closed the gap to six before the half and then used an immediate run in the second period to blow it open. Red Raiders advance to play Penn State in the round of 64. Texas Tech 80, N.C. State 69


First Round

No. 8 Florida vs. No. 9 Providence
Thursday, March 19 — 12:15 p.m. ET — St. Louis, Mo.
CBS/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

Despite much of the country buying into Providence’s late-season momentum, Ed Cooley’s group was again unable to break through in the NCAA Tournament. Florida raced out to a double-digit lead early and the Friars team from November appeared to be the one that showed up in St. Louis. In what was an underwhelming regular season in Gainesville, a first-round win for Mike White helps soften the blow. Florida 78, Providence 64

No. 2 Florida St. vs. No. 15 Charlotte
Thursday, March 19 — 12:40 p.m. ET — Tampa, Fla.
truTV/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Evan Washburn

A surprise run to the Conference USA automatic bid led Charlotte to Tampa to face ACC conference champion Florida State. The Seminoles flexed their muscles and absolutely dismantled a severely undersized 49ers team. FSU looks dangerous. Florida St. 88, Charlotte 54

No. 5 Ohio St. vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin
Thursday, March 19 — 1:30 p.m. ET — Spokane, Wash.
TNT/Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Lisa Byington

It didn’t take long for the madness of March to show up. SFA entered the tournament as a trendy favorite with several publications noting the Lumberjacks’ massive upset win over Duke from November. In an entertaining matchup that saw the lead change several times, Stephen F. Austin’s defense came through in the clutch to secure the tournament’s first upset. Stephen F. Austin 73, Ohio St. 71

No. 3 Seton Hall vs. No. 14 Bradley
Thursday, March 19 — 2 p.m. ET — Albany, N.Y.
TBS/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Bradley controlled the first few media timeouts but then Kevin Willard’s group showed up. It was one of those afternoons where Myles Powell was hitting seemingly everything and Romaro Gill was sending back seemingly everything. Seton Hall cruises. Seton Hall 84, Bradley 70

No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 16 Prairie View A&M
Thursday, March 19 — 3:05 p.m. ET — St. Louis, Mo.
CBS/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

Give Prairie View some credit. After an early technical foul and plenty of foul trouble as the game went along, the Panthers still hung with it the best they could. Baylor, in the end, was far too much, though. MaCio Teague and Jared Butler combine to hit seven 3-pointers in the victory. Baylor 75, Prairie View A&M 58

No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
Thursday, March 19 — 3:24 p.m. ET — Tampa, Fla.
truTV/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Evan Washburn

Luka Garza didn’t play overly well but Iowa provided plenty of support. Joe Toussaint enjoyed a productive day in double figures and Joe Wieskamp knocked down some timely shots to hold off the Sooners in Tampa. Iowa 81, Oklahoma 76

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 16 Winthrop
Thursday, March 19 — 4:24 p.m. ET — Spokane, Wash.
TNT/Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Lisa Byington

Gonzaga’s frontcourt had a fun afternoon against Winthrop as Killian Tillie and Filip Petrusev showed why the Bulldogs could be a serious national title contender. Mark Few’s team got off to a great start and didn’t look back. Gonzaga 88, Winthrop 62

No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Davidson
Thursday, March 19 — 4:55 p.m. ET —Albany, N.Y.
TBS/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

After a stunning run to lock up the A-10 automatic bid, Bob McKillop’s Davidson squad received plenty of hype entering the tournament as a trendy Cinderella. After all, this was a team many expected could be one of the top mid-majors in the nation before the season. Davidson hung around with Michigan for much of the game but went cold late as Juwan Howard picked up his first NCAA Tournament victory. Michigan 77, Davidson 70

No. 6 Virginia vs. No. 11 Cincinnati
Thursday, March 19 — 6:50 p.m. ET — St. Louis, Mo.
TNT/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

Easily the ugliest game of the day to this point. Virginia suffocated American automatic bid Cincinnati into an awful shooting performance and Twitter had a field day. The Cavaliers led just 23-19 at halftime but Tony Bennett’s crew got the job done. Jarron Cumberland was held without a basket until 12 minutes to go in the second half. Virginia 54, Cincinnati 47

No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 13 Akron
Thursday, March 19 — 7:10 p.m. ET — Tampa, Fla.
CBS/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Evan Washburn

Loren Cristian Jackson had himself an afternoon (27 points), but it was the Louisville bench that showed up in a big way for the Cardinals. Another sub-par performance from Jordan Nwora (4-12 shooting) could be something to monitor going forward. Louisville 74, Akron 62

No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 13 New Mexico St.
Thursday, March 19 — 7:27 p.m. ET — Spokane, Wash.
truTV/Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Lisa Byington

A popular Final Four pick almost went down in a heap. New Mexico State hung within a possession for much of the first half and then caught fire to start the second, leading 51-43 at the under-12 timeout. When it mattered most, though, the Ducks stepped up. Payton Pritchard drew several fouls and converted buckets in the lane as Oregon survived the first round upset bid. Oregon 70, New Mexico State 68

No. 7 Houston vs. No. 10 Rutgers
Thursday, March 19 — 7:45 p.m. ET — Albany, N.Y.
TBS/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Rutgers’ first NCAA Tournament game since 1991 provided plenty of excitement. The Cougars and Scarlet Knights traded punches over and over, including a number of how-did-you-make-that shots from Rutgers’ Geo Baker. In the end, it was Houston that had just enough stops. Missed free throws down the stretch winded up costing Steve Pikiell’s team a chance at the second round. Houston 72, Rutgers 71

No. 5 BYU vs. No. 12 Xavier
Thursday, March 19 — 9:39 p.m. ET — Tampa, Fla.
CBS/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Evan Washburn

BYU couldn’t miss. Yoeli Childs, TJ Haws and Jake Toolson combined for 71 points as the Cougars unloaded from deep. Zac Seljaas became an internet meme in the process as well. A truly great day for BYU nation. BYU 91, Xavier 74

No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 14 UC Irvine
Thursday, March 19 — 9:47 p.m. ET — St. Louis, Mo.
TNT/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

Even without Marcus Zegarowski, Creighton’s offense showed up in a big way. UC Irvine hit enough shots to make things interesting for much of the game, but the Blue Jays were able to hold off any big runs late. Creighton 85, UC Irvine 73

No. 8 LSU vs. No. 9 Arizona St.
Thursday, March 19 — 10 p.m. ET — Spokane, Wash.
truTV/Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Lisa Byington

Who said 8/9 matchups couldn’t be fun? Alonzo Verge paced the Sun Devils with 24 but it was LSU that had the last laugh. Skylar Mays’ shot attempt in the lane bounced off the back of the rim but Emmitt Williams was there to secure the offensive rebound and lay in the game-winning basket as time expired. Tigers advance to play Gonzaga for a Sweet 16 berth. LSU 68, Arizona St. 66 (OT)

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 15 Boston University
Thursday, March 19 — 10:13 p.m. ET — Albany, N.Y.
TBS/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Blowout city. Villanova put on a clinic from the perimeter, knocking down 13 of its 29 attempts from deep to dismantle Boston U. Each of the Wildcat starters finished in double figures. Villanova 96, Boston University 68


No. 7 Arizona vs. No. 10 Utah St.
Friday, March 20 — 12:15 p.m. ET — Cleveland, Ohio
CBS/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

Sam Merrill does it again. After Neemias Queta and Zeke Nnaji got into it and were called for technical fouls with about nine minutes to play, Utah State put its foot on the gas pedal to grind out a hard-earned win. A dagger Merrill triple pushed the lead to two possessions in the final minute to seal the win. Craig Smith called Merrill “the son I never had” in the postgame interview with Allie LaForce. Utah State 76, Arizona 70

No. 6 West Virginia vs. No. 11 East Tennessee St.
Friday, March 20 — 12:40 p.m. ET — Greensboro, N.C.
truTV/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

More brackets nationwide had ETSU advancing over West Virginia, but the Mountaineers rose to the challenge. Steve Forbes’ club had a tough time getting anything going on offense against Bob Huggins’ stingy defense as WVU led almost the entire way. West Virginia 68, East Tennessee St. 60

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Northern Kentucky
Friday, March 20 — 1:30 p.m. ET — Omaha, Neb.
TNT/Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

What a performance by Udoka Azubuike. The Kansas big man logged a 25-point, 17-rebound performance as the Jayhawks stomped on Northern Kentucky to begin their pursuit of the national title. Marcus Garrett also tallied five steals in the win. Kansas 86, Northern Kentucky 71

No. 2 San Diego St. vs No. 15 South Alabama
Friday, March 20 — 2 p.m. ET — Sacramento, Calif.
TBS/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lauren Shehadi

Not many issues for SDSU in its first March Madness game of 2020. The Aztecs had solid production from seniors KJ Feagin and Yanni Wetzell en route to the blowout win. San Diego St. 82, South Alabama 64

No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 15 North Dakota St.
Friday, March 20 — 3:01 p.m. ET — Cleveland, Ohio
CBS/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

Sparty marches on. NDSU led 33-32 at the break but then Cassius Winston took over, recording 15 second-half points in the win. It wasn’t the best performance by Michigan State but a win is a win in March. Tom Izzo, rather emotionally, commends Winston on his fight throughout the season in the postgame interview. Michigan St. 75, North Dakota St. 65

No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 14 Belmont
Friday, March 20 — 3:13 p.m. ET — Greensboro, N.C.
truTV/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Belmont had this game won. Casey Alexander’s team led by as many as 12, but much like Kentucky’s comeback against Florida earlier in the month, the Wildcats had the buckets and stops when they were needed most. Belmont closed the game with three consecutive turnovers, including a shot-clock violation with 12 seconds to go as Kentucky held on to avoid a massive upset. Nick Richards led the way with 20. Kentucky 75, Belmont 73

No. 5 Auburn vs. No. 12 Yale
Friday, March 20 — 4:10 p.m. ET — Omaha, Neb.
TNT/Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

In another popular 5/12 upset pick, Auburn humiliated Yale en route to what was an unexpectedly easy win. After several close calls throughout the regular season, Bruce Pearl’s team put together arguably its best performance of 2020 thanks to forced turnovers and an efficient offensive attack. Auburn 82, Yale 64

No. 5 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Vermont
Friday, March 20 — 4:43 p.m. ET — Sacramento, Calif.
TBS/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lauren Shehadi

Things were bound to get a little interesting with these two teams having to travel all the way to Sacramento. The Badgers were riding the hot hand heading into the tournament, but Anthony Lamb had other plans. The Catamounts star had 25 points and helped contribute to Vermont’s tremendous effort on the defensive end. Down goes another No. 5 seed. Vermont 71, Wisconsin 69

No. 8 Marquette vs. No. 9 Indiana
Friday, March 20 — 6:50 p.m. ET — Cleveland, Ohio
TNT/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

Markus Howard wasn’t on like usual as Koby McEwen wound up being the go-to guy for Marquette down the stretch. McEwen poured in 17 points and had a pair of clutch free throws in the closing moments to help hold off a pesky Indiana team. Marquette 77, Indiana 73

No. 3 Duke vs. No. 14 Northern Colorado
Friday, March 20 — 7:10 p.m. ET — Greensboro, N.C.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Bracket = busted. The upset of the year goes to Jeff Linder’s Northern Colorado squad, upsetting perennial favorite Duke in Greensboro. Jonah Radebaugh becomes America’s hero with a 22-point, 8-rebound, 5-assist performance against the Blue Devils in a thrilling win. Kentucky and West Virginia fans — who were also part of the Greensboro pod — helped pull the Bears to victory. It was Mercer and Lehigh all over again for Mike Krzyzewski’s team. Jon Rothstein loses his s— on Twitter. Northern Colorado 75, Duke 72

No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 13 Liberty
Friday, March 20 — 7:20 p.m. ET — Omaha, Neb.
TBS/Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

Liberty couldn’t find a way to slow down Maryland. Jalen Smith and Darryl Morsell were firing on all cylinders as the Flames struggled to put consecutive stops together. A strong perimeter shooting performance leaves pundits wondering whether Maryland is a team to watch in March or simply had an abnormally good shooting day. Either way, the Terps advance. Maryland 77, Liberty 65

No. 4 Butler vs. No. 13 Hofstra
Friday, March 20 — 7:27 p.m. ET — Sacramento, Calif.
truTV/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lauren Shehadi

Not much to see here as Butler dominates Hofstra. Kamar Baldwin didn’t have the best afternoon but it didn’t end up mattering much as the Pride’s offensive attack faded quickly. Butler 67, Hofstra 51

No. 1 Dayton vs. No. 16 Siena
Friday, March 20 — 9:30 p.m. ET — Cleveland, Ohio
TNT/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

Welcome to the Obi Toppin show. Everything that fans had hoped for heading into March were more than satisfied. The Flyers forced a handful of turnovers that led to Toppin transition opportunities, and the Dayton star delivered. A 360 dunk was the highlight of the evening. Dayton 68, Siena 52

No. 6 Penn St. vs. No. 11 Texas Tech
Friday, March 20 — 9:45 p.m. ET — Greensboro, N.C.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Doubting Chris Beard in March, at this point, is just silly. After the Red Raiders topped N.C. State in the First Four, Texas Tech carried the momentum into Friday as Davide Moretti drilled a massive 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to dash Penn State’s hopes in overtime. The No. 11 seed heads to the round of 32. Texas Tech 81, Penn St. 76 (OT)

No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Saint Mary’s
Friday, March 20 — 9:46 p.m. ET — Omaha, Neb.
TBS/Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

Colorado’s putrid finish to the regular season carried over into March Madness. The Buffaloes had just 20 points at the break and Jordan Ford knocked down some key shots in the second half to hold off a Colorado rally. Saint Mary’s 64, Colorado 58

No. 7 Illinois vs. No. 10 USC
Friday, March 20 — 10:20 p.m. ET — Sacramento, Calif.
truTV/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lauren Shehadi

A bit of a surprise here. Illinois dismantles USC behind a tremendous effort from Trent Frazier and Andres Feliz. Despite playing in their home state, the Trojans couldn’t stop the Illini and were embarrassed in a usually competitive 7/10 matchup. Illinois 82, USC 60


Second Round

No. 4 Louisville vs. No. 5 BYU
Saturday, March 21 — 12:10 p.m. ET — Tampa, Fla.
CBS/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Evan Washburn

BYU’s hot shooting carried into the second round. TJ Haws went for 22 in a back-and-forth duel and Louisville’s costly free throw misses down the stretch end its Final Four hopes in the round of 32. BYU 85, Louisville 80

No. 2 Florida St. vs. No. 7 Iowa
Saturday, March 21 — 3 p.m. ET — Tampa, Fla.
CBS/Brad Nessler, Jim Jackson, Evan Washburn

If there’s any team with enough physicality to match up with Luka Garza, it’s Florida State. The Seminoles show why they are a serious Final Four candidate with a fantastic defensive showing against a streaky Iowa team. Florida State is headed to the Sweet 16 behind a pretty complete performance on both ends. Florida St. 72, Iowa 64

No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 8 Florida
Saturday, March 21 — 5:25 p.m. ET — St. Louis, Mo.
CBS/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

The first No. 1 seed goes down. The team that seemingly no one believed in as the season progressed, Florida, finally appears to be putting things together as the Gators shut down Baylor. The Bears finish the day with just 0.83 points per possession and Kerry Blackshear logs a double-double. Mike White gets it done again in surprising fashion. Florida 72, Baylor 70

No. 3 Seton Hall vs. No. 6 Michigan
Saturday, March 21 — 6:10 p.m. ET — Albany, N.Y.
TNT/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Myles Powell’s career ends on a sour note. The Seton Hall star goes just 6-23 in the loss while Isaiah Livers shines for Michigan, tallying 18 points. Juwan Howard has this thing moving right along. Michigan 75, Seton Hall 68

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 8 LSU
Saturday, March 21 — 7:10 p.m. ET — Spokane, Wash.
TBS/Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Lisa Byington

LSU went into intermission with a 36-32 advantage but Mark Few’s team made sufficient adjustments at halftime, outscoring the Tigers by 10 in the second period. Ryan Woolridge had a big game for the Bulldogs, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers. Gonzaga, again, is back in the Sweet 16. Gonzaga 74, LSU 68

No. 3 Creighton vs. No. 6 Virginia
Saturday, March 21 — 8 p.m. ET — St. Louis, Mo.
CBS/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

You’d have to wonder how a high-powered offense would perform against Virginia’s suffocating defense. The reigning champs delivered this time around, limiting Creighton to a 68-point outing which was well below the Blue Jays’ season average. The media praises Tony Bennett for his tremendous coaching job in the second half of the season. Virginia 70, Creighton 68

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 7 Houston
Saturday, March 21 — 8:40 p.m. ET — Albany, N.Y.
TNT/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Villanova activates “survival mode.” Kelvin Sampson’s Houston squad delivered plenty of punches against Jay Wright’s team, leading 68-62 at the final media timeout. Collin Gillespie made a huge steal and and-one to tie things up at 70 and then Saddiq Bey delivered a 3-pointer on the following possession in a fantastic finish. Villanova 73, Houston 70

No. 4 Oregon vs. No. 12 Stephen F. Austin
Saturday, March 21 — 9:58 p.m. ET — Spokane, Wash.
TBS/Spero Dedes, Steve Smith, Wally Szczerbiak, Lisa Byington

The Lumberjacks almost did it again. Oregon started slow once again and had to claw its way back into things, trailing by 10 at halftime. Anthony Mathis led the Ducks with a couple of key triples in the second half to erase the deficit and Dana Altman’s team held on. A storybook season for SFA ends in the round of 32. Oregon 74, Stephen F. Austin 68


No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 10 Utah St.
Sunday, March 22 — 12:10 p.m. ET — Cleveland, Ohio
CBS/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

All aboard the Xavier Tillman hype train. Michigan State’s big man shined against Utah State, going for 18 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks in the comfortable win. The Spartans are looking scary good once again. Michigan St. 81, Utah St. 66

No. 1 Dayton vs. No. 8 Marquette
Sunday, March 22 — 3:13 p.m. ET — Cleveland, Ohio
CBS/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

Dayton passes its first true March Madness test with flying colors. The Flyers limit Markus Howard while Obi Toppin receives plenty of support from Jalen Crutcher and Ryan Mikesell, who combine for 26 points. Dayton 78, Marquette 66

No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 11 Texas Tech
Sunday, March 22 — 5:25 p.m. ET — Greensboro, N.C.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Chris Beard did everything he could to get this Texas Tech to compete, but the journey ends in the round of 32. Kentucky hammers the Red Raiders in a Big 12/SEC rematch from January behind breakout performances from Ashton Hagans and Nate Sestina. Kentucky 85, Texas Tech 68

No. 4 Maryland vs. No. 5 Auburn
Sunday, March 22 — 6:10 p.m. ET — Omaha, Neb.
TNT/Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

Maryland displayed its survive-and-advance mentality once again, erasing a 10-point deficit with five minutes to play on a flurry of 3-pointers. Anthony Cowan played the entire second half and produced two key jumpers to tie things up and then take the lead with 37 seconds remaining. On the final possession, Isaac Okoro appeared to trip over Aaron Wiggins’ foot and lose the ball but no foul was called. Maryland 72, Auburn 70

No. 4 Butler vs. No. 12 Vermont
Sunday, March 22 — 7:10 p.m. ET — Sacramento, Calif.
TBS/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lauren Shehadi

Butler leads the entire way behind an excellent defensive performance. Sean McDermott enjoys a solid 17-point outing as the Bulldogs end Vermont’s Cinderella run. Butler 73, Vermont 63

No. 6 West Virginia vs. No. 14 Northern Colorado
Sunday, March 22 — 8:07 p.m. ET — Greensboro, N.C.
truTV/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Flashbacks to Stephen F. Austin’s loss to Notre Dame in the 2016 second round. Northern Colorado was on the brink of heading to the Sweet 16, but a key free throw miss and three second-chance opportunities for West Virginia end up being costly. The Mountaineers get the go-ahead basket with 1.3 to go and Jonah Radebaugh — who was the hero against Duke — is unable to get a halfcourt heave to go at the horn. The Mountaineers survive. West Virginia 64, Northern Colorado 63

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 9 Saint Mary’s
Sunday, March 22 — 8:55 p.m. ET — Omaha, Neb.
TNT/Carter Blackburn, Debbie Antonelli, John Schriffen

Saint Mary’s is no match for Kansas as the Jayhawks obliterate the Gaels. Udoka Azubuike has another big afternoon and Isaiah Moss pitches in 15 for a Kansas team that looks extremely dominant going forward. Kansas 82, Saint Mary’s 65

No. 2 San Diego St. vs. No. 7 Illinois
Sunday, March 22 — 9:41 p.m. ET — Sacramento, Calif.
TBS/Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Lauren Shehadi

An absolute classic. Malachi Flynn and Ayo Dosunmu trade buckets for what seems like every single possession following the under-8 timeout. A questionable foul call on KJ Feagin near halfcourt allows the Illini to take the lead via the charity stripe with just under five seconds to go. Flynn, however, seals it with a layup right before the buzzer as the Aztecs narrowly survive the first weekend. San Diego State 76, Illinois 75


Sweet 16

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 4 Oregon
Thursday, March 26 — 7:09 p.m. ET — Los Angeles, Calif.
CBS/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

Another tremendous finish. The Bulldogs and Ducks deliver punch after punch with Joel Ayayi and Payton Pritchard lighting up the scoreboard in the second half. Corey Kispert’s pivotal and-one with 13 seconds remaining proved to be the difference. Gonzaga 77, Oregon 75

No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 6 Michigan
Thursday, March 26 — 7:29 p.m. ET — Indianapolis, Ind.
TBS/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

An in-state battle between Big Ten powerhouses lived up to the hype. Jon Teske couldn’t miss, scoring both inside and out to finish with 21 points. In the end, though, Cassius Winston had the answers. The senior point guard had a nice dump-off assist to Xavier Tillman in the lane and then knocked down a mid-range jumper to clinch the victory. Michigan St. 73, Michigan 68

No. 2 San Diego St. vs. No. 6 Virginia
Thursday, March 26 — 9:57 p.m. ET — Los Angeles, Calif.
CBS/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

SDSU’s historic season comes to an end against the reigning champs. Virginia led by as many as nine before Malachi Flynn got things going down the stretch. The Aztecs clawed within three but a Jay Huff 3-pointer closed the deal. Sixth-seeded Virginia is back in the Elite Eight. Virginia 65, San Diego St. 61

No. 5 BYU vs. No. 8 Florida
Thursday, March 26 — 10:30 p.m. ET — Indianapolis, Ind.
TBS/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

Mark Pope’s magic continues. The first-year head coach for the Cougars continues what has been a breakout campaign for BYU, which is now just a win away from reaching the Final Four. Yoeli Childs proves again why he’s such a force, going for 21 and 10 in the victory. BYU 76, Florida 71


No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 6 West Virginia
Friday, March 27 — 7:09 p.m. ET — New York, N.Y.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

West Virginia goes cold against Villanova and it ends up costing the Mountaineers. It was a close battle until a stretch of over five minutes without a made field goal put West Virginia down 11 after leading by a point. Villanova wins without much drama down the stretch. Villanova 75, West Virginia 62

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 4 Butler
Friday, March 27 — 7:29 p.m. ET — Houston, Texas
TBS/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Speaking of drama, this one could go down as the game of the tournament. Butler led by seven with 1:29 remaining before top-seeded Kansas drilled a 3-pointer and then got another quick bucket to bring the Jayhawks within two. On the following possession, Bryce Nze turned the ball over and Devon Dotson finished in the lane to tie it up at 73. With 12.7 seconds remaining, Butler gave it to Kamar Baldwin, who ran an isolation play and knocked down a picturesque mid-range jumper at the horn. The Bulldogs knock off Kansas in one of the best finishes in March Madness history. Butler 75, Kansas 73

No. 1 Dayton vs. No. 4 Maryland
Friday, March 27 — 9:45 p.m. ET — New York, N.Y.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Much like San Diego State, Dayton’s incredible campaign comes to an end in the Sweet 16. Obi Toppin had a largely forgettable afternoon and Eric Ayala had a breakout game to lead the Terrapins to the Elite Eight. Mark Turgeon is slowly silencing his skeptics. Maryland 71, Dayton 65

No. 2 Florida St. vs. No. 3 Kentucky
Friday, March 27 — 10:06 p.m. ET — Houston, Texas
TBS/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Another heavyweight battle between a pair of talented and physical squads. If there was ever a Devin Vassell breakout game, this was it. The sophomore Seminole knocked down a handful of momentum-changing baskets and shined on the defensive end. NBA draft pundits raved over the performance. Leonard Hamilton’s team is back in the Elite Eight. Florida St. 70, Kentucky 66


Elite Eight

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 6 Virginia
Saturday, March 28 — 6:09 p.m. ET – Los Angeles, Calif.
TBS/Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Jamie Erdahl

Mark Few vs. Tony Bennett with a spot in the Final Four on the line? It doesn’t get much better than that. Though Gonzaga held the advantage for most of the game, the largest lead throughout the matchup was just seven points. A handful of free throws helped hold off a potential Virginia comeback. The Bulldogs are back in the Final Four. Gonzaga 66, Virginia 62

No. 2 Michigan St. vs. No. 5 BYU
Saturday, March 28 — 8:49 p.m. ET — Indianapolis, Ind.
TBS/Brian Anderson, Chris Webber, Allie LaForce

Every shot that BYU seemingly drained the previous three games weren’t falling against Michigan State. The Spartans led the entire way and the closest the Cougars got was within eight about midway through the second half. Tom Izzo’s team is headed to Atlanta. Michigan St. 75, BYU 62


No. 2 Florida St. vs. No. 4 Butler
Sunday, March 29 — 2:20 p.m. ET — Houston, Texas
CBS/Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Dan Bonner, Dana Jacobson

Florida State’s physicality proved to be too much for Butler to handle. Trent Forrest and MJ Walker combined for 40 and the Seminoles sent back shot after shot. Kamar Baldwin’s 2019 Carsen Edwards-like March performance ends in the Elite Eight. Leonard Hamilton’s team will be playing for a spot in the national title game. Florida St. 74, Butler 67

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 4 Maryland
Sunday, March 29 — 5:05 p.m. ET — New York, N.Y.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Maryland had developed the label as the “comeback kids” throughout the season, but it was too little, too late for the Terrapins in the Elite Eight. Villanova held a 13-point advantage with just over six minutes to go which Maryland eventually cut to just four. Over the Terrapins’ final three possessions, Mark Turgeon’s squad was unable to score a point. Jay Wright is just two wins away from his third title in five years. Villanova 76, Maryland 70


Final Four

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 2 Florida St.
Saturday, April 4 — 6:09 p.m. ET — Atlanta, Ga.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

Florida State raced out to an early 15-4 lead before things started to tighten up late in the first half. Saddiq Bey and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl both hit a 3-pointer shortly before the break to give the Wildcats a 36-34 lead after 20 minutes. The second half was filled with runs. Villanova opened things up with a 10-0 stretch to lead 46-34 before Florida State responded with a 17-5 run to tie it up at 51 apiece. Tied at 73 with a 1:16 remaining, MJ Walker — who had scored 18 points — fouled out on a Jermaine Samuels and-one basket. FSU missed both of its 3-point attempts in the final possession. Villanova 76, Florida St. 73

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 2 Michigan St.
Saturday, April 4 — 8:49 p.m. ET — Atlanta, Ga.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

When the moment got bigger, Cassius Winston continued to rise to the occasion. The Spartans trailed the entire way until a Winston triple capped a 10-2 run to give Michigan State the advantage for the first time all night with 7:22 remaining. Tom Izzo’s team was able to ice the victory with eight consecutive made free throws in the closing moments to hang on to the win. It will be Jay Wright’s Wildcats vs. Tom Izzo’s Spartans in the title game on Monday night. Michigan St. 74, Gonzaga 70


National Championship

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 2 Michigan St.
Monday, April 6 — 9:20 p.m. ET — Atlanta, Ga.
CBS/Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, Tracy Wolfson

So it all comes down to this: Villanova eyeing its third title in five years and Michigan State aiming for its first championship since 2000. The Spartans started things off with a number of jump shots and easy baskets around the rim, taking a 21-14 lead into the under-8 timeout. Jermaine Samuels helped bring the Wildcats within a possession at 34-32 at halftime, scoring 10 points in the first period.

Despite the production all season from Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman, it was Gabe Brown who ended up being the unsung hero for the Spartans. Brown finished the day with 13 points (11 in the second half), seven rebounds and a massive loose-ball save that led to a breakout opportunity for Winston to extend the Michigan State lead to seven with 51 seconds to go. Collin Gillespie pocketed a triple to get within four with 10.6 seconds remaining, but two free throws for Winston sealed the title. Michigan State is the 2020 national champion. Michigan St. 79, Villanova 73


Eli Boettger is a college basketball writer and founder of HeatCheckCBB.com. He has previously worked for Sporting News, DAZN and USA TODAY SMG.

Boettger’s content has been featured by Bleacher Report, NBC Sports, FiveThirtyEight, Yahoo Sports, Athletic Director University, Washington Post, Illinois Law Review and Notre Dame Law Review, among other publications. Boettger is also a current USBWA member.