The actual NCAA Tournament was canceled, but we’re still offering the chance to pick upsets and virtually watch your favorite teams advance, round-by-round to the Final Four.
The opening weekend results — thanks to your votes — produced a handful of double-digit seeds winning their opening-round games, but all of those Cinderella dreams died in the second round, and we didn’t have a single team higher than a No. 5 seed advance to the Sweet 16. I’m a little bit disappointed in you people for your lack of belief in the magic of March.
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Anyway, now that we’re on to the Sweet 16 with mostly chalk results, we are seeing plenty of heavyweight matchups. Here are the results from the second grouping of Sweet 16 games, which were played out via Twitter polls on Friday.
The polls for the Elite Eight games will be live Saturday and Sunday.
No. 1 Gonzaga over No. 5 Auburn
Your vote: Gonzaga wins, 71.9 percent to 28.1 percent
Thoughts: So much for Auburn’s dreams of back-to-back trips to the Final Four as a No. 5 seed. Oh well. But voters did give Auburn a lot of credit, with 28.1 percent of the vote.
Gonzaga’s first two opponents didn’t fare nearly as well in the vote — Siena garnered just 7.6 percent in the opener and Colorado checked in at just 9.9. But, again, Gonzaga is just so damn balanced — seven players averaged at least 9.8 points per game this season — and it’s tough to beat balanced teams in March.
No. 3 Maryland over No. 2 San Diego State
Your vote: Maryland wins, 53.7 to 46.3
Thoughts: This is another one of those games that’s an upset by seeding — and San Diego State’s resume was better — but probably wouldn’t have been if Vegas had a chance to rate this contest. There were times this year that Maryland seemed darn near unbeatable, and those were clearly the games our voters watched this season.
No. 1 Baylor over No. 5 Virginia
Your vote: Baylor wins, 66.2 to 33.8
Thoughts: Baylor received 66.2 percent of the vote in this one, but chances are the Bears wouldn’t have reached 66 points in a game against the Cavaliers. Baylor was a deliberate team — ranking 277th in the country with an average of 66.2 (well, that’s a big coincidence) possessions per game — but the Cavaliers checked in under 60 possessions per game for the fourth consecutive season.
The final score probably would have been something like 53-47, and that six-point gap would have felt like a rout.
No. 3 Kentucky over No. 2 Villanova
Your vote: Kentucky wins, 58.5 to 41.5
Thoughts: We have a sneaking suspicion that Kentucky fans got ahold of this poll and skewed the results just a bit. Why do we say that? There were more than 100 more votes for this game than either the Gonzaga or Maryland wins. Not criticizing. That’s fine. Villanova should have done more to get out the vote.
As far as the actual basketball team, Kentucky rebounded well from a couple bumps in the road early and won 11 of its last 13 games.