March Madness 2019 Round 2: The 5 Best Takeaways
Round 2 was action-packed. Some of the big boys squeaked by and a few lower seeds continued to roll. This is what went down in the second round. In this piece, Nitrogen Sports Blog looks back at some of the defining moments of March Madness round 2.
Duke barely survives
Zion Williamson showed a possible weakness in a close win over the UCF Knights. He made a great play in the last minute of the game by driving and scoring while also getting fouled to pull Duke within a point off UCF. It looked like he would tie it up late, but missed a freebie.
Fortunately for the Blue Devils, RJ Barrett was there to clean up the offensive glass for a putback score that gave Duke the lead — for good. Duke survived, but missing free throws with the game on the line is not something a team can overcome too often.
Oregon looking strong
The Oregon Ducks could be this year’s Cinderella team. They’ve looked like a capable contender through the first two rounds and now find themselves in the Sweet 16 following a win on Sunday against the UC Irvine Anteaters in 2019 March Madness round 2.
The Ducks will face next a Virginia Cavaliers team that had a first-half scare against the Gardner -Webb Bulldogs but avoided a repeat of last year’s first-round nightmare.
Houston gets feisty
Houston showed that they can adapt and play rough if they need to, as the Cougars fought off the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round, literally.
As the scrappy first half came to a close, Houston and Ohio State players nearly came to blows. The Cougars kept their cool and executed perfectly on both ends of the court to win the game despite Ohio State’s attempt to slow the pace.
Texas Tech’s Defense lives up to billing
The Texas Tech Red Raiders have a crippling defense. Coming into the tournament, everyone knew the numbers. The Red Raiders gave up fewer than 60 points a game, which was good enough for third in all of college basketball.
But the Buffalo Bulls were expected to put up a better fight than this in March Madness round 2 of 2019. The Bulls averaged 85 points per game this year and seemed to fill the nets at will. Texas Tech slowed down the Bulls and held them down to only 58 points on just 36.5 percent shooting from the field.
UNC and Nassir Little have arrived
Nassir Little was a dominant force for UNC as they coasted into the Sweet Sixteen. He came off the bench and scored 20 points in 21 minutes for the Tar Heels, but also contributed staunch defense and grabbed seven rebounds.
The team is experienced on the court and the sidelines, with head coach Roy Williams prepping for his 19th Sweet 16 appearance. North Carolina seems to be finding its groove at the perfect time.
The round 2 of March Madness is now in everyone’s rearview mirror, but the action in the national tournament is far from over. Nitrogen Sports Blog will be adding to our March Madness guide pieces, as the Big Dance progresses towards its much-awaited conclusion.
With three more rounds to go, expect more twists, drama, heartbreak, and success stories to come.