March Madness returns this weekend after a two-year absence and we’re all excited to watch the action on the court.

Last year, after the NCAA Tournament was canceled, we were reduced to running virtual simulations of what could have been. I did that using updated rosters in the legendary video game that is College Hoops 2K8. The results were surprising but also pretty realistic (Oregon ended up being Kansas in the simulated championship game).

So, in preparation for this year’s tournament, I did the same thing to see how the video game had March Madness playing out. Here are the results from our College Hoops 2K8 simulation:

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Norfolk St 64, Appalachian State 60
Wichita St 85, Drake 74
Mount St. Mary’s 78, Texas Southern 75
Michigan St 69, UCLA 68

Not a bad start to the tournament with three games decided by four points or fewer! Wichita State was the big winner of the First Four. The Shockers had four starters score in double figures led by Alterique Gilbert, who had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists. But no one played better than Joshua Langford, who led Michigan State to a narrow win with 27 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists.


First Round

Gonzaga 86, Norfolk State 57
Oklahoma 68, Missouri 64
Creighton 82, UC Santa Barbara 65
Virginia 70, Ohio 57
Wichita State 64, USC 46
Kansas 82, Eastern Washington 69
VCU 70, Oregon 66
Iowa 61, Grand Canyon 51

No giant upsets in the first round of the West, but Wichita State continues its run from the First Four. Dexter Dennis had 24 points as the Shockers limited Evan Mobley limited to 10 points. VCU forced 19 turnovers in their win over Oregon, and Brady Manek was the star of Oklahoma’s narrow win over Missouri with 25 points.


Gonzaga 101, Oklahoma 76
Creighton 78, Virginia 51
Wichita State 84, Kansas 77
Iowa 80, VCU 72

In a round full of blowouts, Jalen Suggs went off for 32 points for Gonzaga while five Creighton players score at least 12 points as they hit 12 threes as a team. Wichita State’s run continued thanks to another good game from Dennis (19 points) and the fact the Shockers went to the foul line 48 times (33-of-48)!


Gonzaga 84, Creighton 72
Iowa 94, Wichita State 67

Luka Garza was dominant during the first two games but this one was about Joe Wieskamp, who had 24 points and eight rebounds for the Hawkeyes as Garza dealt with foul trouble. Gonzaga got 21 points from Suggs and had four starters in double figures.


Gonzaga 71, Iowa 64

A much more low-scoring affair than their first matchup of the season, Suggs scored 20 points as Garza again dealt with foul trouble. The game was sloppy as both teams turned it over at least 20 times, but Gonzaga held on to advance to the Final Four.



Michigan 82, Mount St. Mary’s 80
St. Bonaventure 72, LSU 69
Colorado 77, Georgetown 62
Florida State 82, UNC Greensboro 69
Michigan State 78, BYU 65
Texas 87, Abilene Christian 56
Maryland 71, UConn 67
Alabama 78, Iona 54

Michigan survived a tough, tough test against Mount St. Mary’s, but the Wolverines avoided becoming the second No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. St. Bonaventure got 22 points from Kyle Lofton as its defense limited LSU to 2-of-13 shooting from three. Another First Four winner moves on, too, as Michigan State held BYU to 35 percent shooting and 26.3 percent from three. Maryland had all five starters score in double figures in its win over UConn.


Michigan 72, St. Bonaventure 55
Colorado 68, Florida State 57
Michigan State 69, Texas 62
Alabama 85, Maryland 62

Michigan State is headed to the Sweet 16 behind 22 more points from Langford! Texas only scored 21 points in the second half and turned it over 21 times on the night. The only other notable result was Colorado’s convincing win over Florida State as the Seminoles went 3-of-13 from three.


Colorado 89, Michigan 62
Michigan State 80, Alabama 57

McKinley Wright made his statement with 27 points, seven rebounds, and five assists against Michigan. The Buffs led by double digits for pretty much the whole game. The same goes for Michigan State, which got 19 points from both Langford and Aaron Henry. The Spartans defense continued to dominate, forcing 25 Alabama turnovers.


Michigan State 85, Colorado 81

A No. 11 seed is going to the Final Four! Michigan State overcame another huge game from McKinley Wright (31 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds) with four starters in double figures and — yup, you guess it — a bunch of forced turnovers (19).



Baylor 76, Hartford 51
North Carolina 78, Wisconsin 69
Villanova 77, Winthrop 62
North Texas 76, Purdue 65
Texas Tech 77, Utah State 63
Arkansas 75, Colgate 62
Virginia Tech 85, Florida 56
Ohio State 81, Oral Roberts 72

North Texas held Trevion Williams and Zach Edey to seven combined points as Purdue’s starting lineup all finished the game with either four or five fouls. Four North Texas players scored in double figures even though star Javion Hamlet was held to four points.


Baylor 69, North Carolina 66
Villanova 67, North Texas 56
Texas Tech 73, Arkansas 72
Ohio State 92, Virginia Tech 90

A lot of close games here. UNC beat up Baylor on the glass but MaCio Teague (19 points) and Jared Butler (17 points) were too much. Moses Moody scored 34 points for Arkansas, but its comeback effort fell short. Ohio State needed overtime to beat Virginia Tech behind 22 points from Duane Washington and 20 points from CJ Walker. The Hokies finished with six players in double figures.


Baylor 85, Villanova 66
Texas Tech 65, Ohio State 64

Baylor cruises but Texas Tech hangs on for its second straight one-point victory! Mac McClung scored 18 to lead the way as the Red Raiders nearly blew a double-digit second half lead. Their defense kept the Buckeyes in check as no Ohio State player scored more than nine points.


Baylor 72, Texas Tech 70

Another hard-fought game but the difference was Flo Thamba inside. Baylor’s big man had 19 points to lift the Bears to their first Final Four since 1950.



Illinois 77, Drexel 66
Georgia Tech 74, Loyola-Chicago 60
Oregon State 65, Tennessee 57
Oklahoma State 82, Liberty 78
Syracuse 53, San Diego State 45
West Virginia 57, Morehead State 49
Rutgers 89, Clemson 79
Houston 82, Cleveland State 80

Oregon State’s surprise run continues! Tennessee’s offensive struggles were harmful as the Vols shot 34.6 percent for the game. Syracuse succeeded in making the game ugly against San Diego State as its zone forced 25 turnovers in a low-scoring affair. Houston survived a major scare as Cleveland State pushed the Cougars for all 40 minutes.


Illinois 83, Georgia Tech 63
Oregon State 86, Oklahoma State 70
Syracuse 78, West Virginia 75
Houston 66, Rutgers 53

How about those Beavers! Oregon State trailed by eight at the half before outscoring the Cowboys 48-24 in the second half. Four Oregon State players scored double figures, led by 18 points and seven assists from Ethan Thompson. Syracuse also continued their run thanks to 22 points from Buddy Boeheim.


Illinois 69, Oregon State 66
Syracuse 74, Houston 71

Oregon State’s run comes to an end but Syracuse’s continues! The Orange shoot over 50 percent from three as Houston’s foul trouble killed them late.


Illinois 67, Syracuse 57

The Illini end Syracuse’s magical run to return to the Final Four, and did so without Ayo Dosunmu scoring a single point. Instead, it was Andre Miller (14 points) and Da’monte Williams (13 points) who led the way.



Michigan State 85, Gonzaga 84
Baylor 66, Illinois 61

I don’t know if a blue blood can be a Cinderella, but No. 11 Michigan State has gone from the First Four to the national title game! Langford (17 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) and Rocket Watts (17 points) were huge as the Spartans built a 15-point lead in the first half and barely held on. Baylor won its slugfest against Illinois behind 27 points from Butler, who vastly outplayed Dosunmu (11 points).


Baylor 77, Michigan State 57

Scott Drew leads Baylor to its first national championship! The Bears held Michigan State to 1-of-15 shooting from three as the Spartans’ tired legs caught up with them. Jared Butler (18.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg in the tournament) was named Final Four MOP.

Brian Rauf
Brian Rauf

Heat Check CBB Lead National Writer