Wild, Wild West

In a regular season that saw 118 ranked schools lose to unranked opposition, nobody should find it surprising that the NCAA tournament is churning out some eyebrow-raising results.

In the West Region, no fewer than five lower-seeded teams escaped the second round with a victory.

Following on from No. 14 Harvard’s historic win over No. 3 New Mexico on Thursday, Wichita State, Ole Miss, La Salle and Iowa State all advanced to the third round. Only Gonzaga, Ohio State and Arizona lived up to expectation.

The result of the upset-friendly bracket means that Saturday’s tournament schedule is serving up a pair of intriguing matchups. Will we see more of the same come tip-off?

(14) Harvard vs. (6) Arizona

EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT, 6:10 PM ET

Having made history once already this tournament, Harvard will look to upset Arizona on Saturday.

Having made history once already this tournament, Harvard will look to upset Arizona on Saturday.

Having secured a first NCAA tournament win in school history, Harvard (20-9, 11-3 Ivy) will look to double its output with a win on Saturday evening.

The Ivy League champions scored an unthinkable victory over MWC champions New Mexico on Thursday in what would have been the biggest upset of the second round was it not for Florida Gulf Coast shocking Georgetown. Now the Crimson faces a tough Wildcats team.

Arizona (26-7, 12-6 Pac-12) was one of only three West Region high seeds to make it through to the third round, convincingly handing OVC champions Belmont an 81-64 defeat. The team will now look to put a disappointing end to the regular season and a semifinal loss in the Pac-12 tournament behind it.

The Wildcats have advanced to the regional semifinals six times since 1997, the year in which the school won its only national championship, including its last tournament appearance in 2011.

Arizona enters the game as the favorite, with the spread opening at 10.

The Wildcats compiled a 15-16-0 ATS record this season, including a 14-16-0 ATS tally when playing as the favored side.

Harvard was 14-12-1 ATS this season, including an impressive 8-2-0 ATS when considered the underdog.

The total opened at 133. Arizona (11-18-1) favored the under this season, while Harvard (14-12-0) narrowly favored the over.

(9) Wichita State vs. (1) Gonzaga

EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT, 8:40 PM ET

Kelly Olynyk and Gonzaga narrowly escaped the second round; can they now beat the Shockers?

Kelly Olynyk and Gonzaga narrowly escaped the second round; can they now beat the Shockers?

Having been pushed to the wire against Southern University on Thursday, Gonzaga (32-2, 16-0 WCC) has a lot more to prove now than it did before the tournament.

Entering as the AP’s No. 1 team and a No. 1 seed, eyebrows were raised when the Bulldogs struggled to a 64-58 win over the Jaguars. The critics can say what they like though; at this time of year, a win is a win.

A No. 9 seed defeating a No. 8 seed is hardly big news, but the manner in which Wichita State (27-8, 12-6 MVC) beat Pittsburgh was what grabbed the attention. The Shockers ran to a 73-55 defeat, essentially embarrassing their Big East opponents. Runners up to Creighton in both the MVC regular season and tournament, the school will now look to upset the top-ranked Zags.

Gonzaga is the pregame favorite, with the spread at six points.

The Bulldogs earned a 17-13-2 ATS record this campaign, and went 15-13-2 ATS when playing as the favorite.

The Shockers were 17-14-1 ATS this season, including a 3-2-0 ATS record as the underdog.

The total opened at 130.5. Both Wichita State (15-16-0) and Gonzaga (9-20-1) have favored the under this season.

The West Region’s two remaining third round games will be played on Sunday (Mar. 24). Iowa State will meet Ohio State at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, OH (12:15 PM ET), while La Salle will face Ole Miss at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO (7:40 PM ET).

 

Results (First Round)

(13) La Salle 80, (13) Boise State 71

Results (Second Round)

(1) Gonzaga 64, (16) Southern University

(2) Ohio State 95, (15) Iona 70

(14) Harvard 68, (3) New Mexico 62

(13) La Salle 63, (4) Kansas State 61

(12) Ole Miss 57, (5) Wisconsin 46

(6) Arizona 81, (11) Belmont 64

(10) Iowa State 76, (7) Notre Dame 58

(9) Wichita State 73, (8 ) Pittsburgh 55

Schedule (Third Round)

Saturday

(9) Wichita State vs. (1) Gonzaga

(14) Harvard vs. (6) Arizona

Sunday

(10) Iowa State vs. (2) Ohio State

(13) La Salle vs. (12) Ole Miss

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