While AD had the edge in overall stats, MJ and the TarHeels kept a lead the whole way with Kentucky finally cutting it to 54-53 with 7:54 (13 possessions) to play.
However, Sam Perkins scored and was fouled to make it 57-53, then UNC had 2 stops followed by 3-pointers by James Worthy and Matt Dougherty to take control 63-54 and the Wildcats never threatened again. The scoresheet is below followed by the other 3rd round games to get down to the all-time Sweet 16.
It turned out half the teams advancing are from the 21st century while the other 16 range from 1957 (Wilt Chamberlain's Kansas) to 1997 (Mike Bibby's Arizona).
The accounts of the 32 second round games are posted here and here. The accounts of the 1st round games (9 seeds through 24 seeds) are posted by region - East, West, Midwest and South. In the 1st round games (#24 seeds through #9 seeds) underdogs pull upsets only 28% of the time (9-23), while in the 2nd round (winners vs. #1 to $8 seeds) underdogs pulled upsets 38% of the time (12-20).
Below are the brackets leading up to the 3rd round games, and we list the results of the 3rd round games above each Regional Bracket:
West Bracket and Results
West: UCLA #1 Overall Seed, Winner Faces East Region Champ in Semifinals. 3rd round: #1 UCLA (1972) 78, #9 Arizona (1997) - Arizona's Mike Bibby out scored his dad Henry Bibby 15-11 in the match-up of shooting guards, but Bill Walton (10 pts, 9 Reb) pulled away to advance to the 4th round. #4 Cincinnati (1960) 68, #12 Missouri (1982) 58. Missouri appeared on the verge of an upset when Ricky Frazier drew a 4th foul on the Big O Oscar Robertson and hit both free throws to give Missouri a 38-35 lead with 16:22 (27 possessions) left to play. For the next 17 possessions Robertson played to avoid a foul (see advanced rules in italics below) which gave Frazier some easy baskets but did manage to keep him in the game. Cincinnati finally took the lead for good when Ralph Davis hit the first of two free throws to tie the game 48-48 and then center Paul Hogue grabbed the offensive rebound on the second miss (on missed free throws the offense can only get the rebound if the Center or Power Forward gets in on the chart, or if one of those two is shooting then the Small Forward can get it. Hogue hit the stickback for a 3-point trip to make it 50-48 in a game that was played without 3-point shots because both teams played without the 3-point line. Robertson finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds to get a chance at the No. 1 overall seed in Bill Walton and UCLA in the Sweet 16. #2 UNLV (1991) 75, #10 Arizona (2015) 71. The great backcourt of TJ McConnell (19 points, 3 steals) and Stanley Johnson (13, 1) helped Arizona to a 44-40 lead with 16:22 (27 possessions) to play. However, from there UNLV took over inside with Larry Johnson (16 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals) and Stacey Augmon (18, 3, 5) for a 33-19 run to make it 73-63 before Augmon fouled out with 2:39 (4 possessions) to play and UNLV held on for the win.
Avoiding Fouls (advanced rules)
If a key player gets his 4th foul, you can choose to have him play to avoid fouling. If a player is trying to avoid fouling, he only commits a foul if the foul is in his 33-36 range AND the 20-sided die also refers to a foul drawn on the offensive player.
However, if the player is avoiding a foul then all rolls of 31 to 36 on his card become baskets for the player he is guarding even if a roll would have resulted in a blocked shot or steal AND on any roll on the 20-sided die (see below) that would have resulted in a foul instead becomes a 2-point basket. If a player with an 11-20 steal range is avoiding a foul then he can still steal on a roll of 31 on another player's card but if the player he is guarding has the ball then a 31 scores a basket. Likewise if a player with a 21-30 who would normally block all shots on a 32 does still block the shot unless the player he is guarding has the ball, in which case he scores.
#6 Texas Southern (UTEP, 1966) 82, #3 Louisville (2013) 76. After regular season games that included Louisville's pressure defense dismantling 2004 UConn and then the same high pressure handling Kawhi Leonard's San Diego State, we thought the best pressure team in the tournament might win the whole thing. However, the Texas Southern team that made history in the real 1966 title with the first all-Black starting line-up to play in a title game beating Adolph Rupp's all-white Kentucky team was the perfect team to exploit Louisville's one weakness - rebounding. Texas Southern put together the only +20 rebounding game in the tourney we recall, with a 43-23 rebounding edge that included on basket after 6 consecutive offensive rebounds. Bobby Joe Hull lead the way with 5 steals and 14 points while Save Layton scoring 19 and grabbing 10 rebounds to offset Russ Smith's 22 points. Texas Southern barely made this game with a 54-53 win over Al McGuire's 1977 Marquette team but now will be the only "non-chalk" team in the West as they play 2-seed UNLV in the Sweet 16.
Round 3 of the West Region is complete.
East Bracket and Results
East: Kentucky #4 Overall Seed, Winner Faces West Region Champ in Semifinals: #2 NC State (1974) 68, UNC (2005) 67. Towes and David Thompson combined for 41 points, both had 3 steals and Thompson added 5 blocked shots, but Rashad McCant's capped 17-7 run with a fast break 3-pointers to give UNC a brief 67-66 lead. Tim Stoddard was fouled on am offensive rebound and hit both free throws, and UNC turned it over without getting off a potential game-winner. #9 Duke (2010) 80, #16 Wake Forest (1996) 77 in OT. Tim Duncan's all-time game (31 points, 20 rebounds, 5 blocked shots, 12 fouls drawn) appeared to have led a second upset when Jerry Braswell's 3-pointer gave Wake Forest a 68-65 lead on their final possession of regulation. However, Nolan Smith beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to send the game to OT, and then scored 5 more in OT for an 80-77 Duke win. #3 Virginia (2019) 58, #11 Georgetown (1984) 51. Georgetown's mediocre offense shockingly scored their first two trips against UVa's incredible defense - but then scored a total of 2 points in their next 14 trips down the court. UVa just missed tying for the best defensive performance in 74 tournament games to date when the Hoya's Gene Smith stole the ball and scored at the end to break 50 points in UVa's 58-51 win to advance to the all-time Sweet 16 where they will play David Thompson and the 1974 champs from NC State who destroyed UCLA in the real tournament that year to end their title run. Kyle Guy and Braxton Key scored a team high 13 each, but UVa won with their incredible defense - packing it in against Patrick Ewing (12 rebounds and 3 blocks, but only 5 points). David Wingate scored 15 including a couple of stickbacks and offensive rebounds, but no other Hoya scored more than 6 points against the toughest set defense if the tournament so far (51-62 on the 11-66 roll were the highest range of team stops in a game yet). Only 1976 Indiana, the last team to go undefeated in a real season, allowed fewer points with 49 points allowed. It was only the 12th game of 74 in which a team was held below 60 - and the only other game in which both teams scored below 60 was Texas Southern 1966 (first all-Black lineup to win a title) in their 54-53 win against Marquette 1977.
The best defensive performances in the first 74 tourney games:
- 49 allowed by Indiana 1976 (vs IND 2002)
- 51 allowed by UVA 2019 (vs gtown 1984)
- 52 allowed by both Memphis 2008 and Auburn 2019 (vs GMU 2006 and Louisville 1980)
- 53 allowed by Texas Southern 1966 (vs Marquette 1977)
- 54 allowed by Marquette 1977 (vs Tex So)
Round 3 in the East is complete.
Midwest Bracket and Results
Midwest: Indiana #2 Overall Seed, Winner Faces South Region Champ in Semifinals. #1 Indiana (1976) 69, #8 Purdue (2018) 57. Purdue's feared 3-point shooting shot Carsen Edwards and crew to a 43-29 lead with 16:58 (28 possessions) to go, but Scott May and Quinn Buckner's dominant steals (13-6 Indiana edge) and the Hoosiers 39-31 rebounding edge helped them go on a 20-3 run from that point to lead 49-46 and never look back. #2 Michigan State (1979) 68, #7 Wisconsin (2015) 54. Magic's team gets to the free throw line and hits shots once there, as they drew 24 fouls to only 12 for Wisconsin - and four of the five Badger starters had three fouls or more. Bronson Koenig hit a 3-pointer to start play, but scoring was tough after that, with Frank Kaminsky the only Badger who could get free (16 points, 7 rebounds). Wisconsin pulled within 31-33 when Sam Dekker blocked a shot by Greg Kelser, but Kelser grabbed the rebound and then Dekker committed his 4th foul. With the score 45-49, Dekker fouled out and with him out of the game the Spartans dominated 19-9 for the 68-54 win. Mike Brkovich led with 20 points, while Kelser added 19 and Magic Johnson was key to the defense with 3 steals and 3 blocked shots. #13 Oklahoma (1985) 81, UConn (2004) 78. The late, great Wayman Tisdale pulled off another upset with a 26 point, 14 rebound, four steal game to help Oklahoma nudge past favored 5-seed UConn. The Sooners led most of the way, but Ben Gordon hit consecutive 3-pointers and then one trip later was fouled and hit both free throws to tie the game 68-68. Gordon actually played much of the season off the bench, though we start him and in the real game he was the No. 3 pick in the NBA after that season and is the 2nd all-time 3-point shooter for the Chicago Bulls. The Sooners will not face the second No. 1 seed in the entire tournament, the 1976 Hoosiers of Bobby Knight.
#14 Michigan State (2009) 69, #11 Ohio State (2007). The one game that guaranteed a surprise Sweet 16 team came down to the final possession, as Ohio State's Ivan Harris missed in the closing seconds and then both Mike Conley and Greg Oden tapped up shots off offensive rebounds before Michigan State's Form Suton grabbed a rebound to secure the win. Draymond Green started the game by going to the hoop and drawing a foul for 2 shots, but Ohio State dominated much of the game for a 51-40 lead with 13:20 (22 possessions) to play. Kalin Lucas then led a personal 9-2 run on 4 trips with a bucket, steal, bucket, 3-pointer and then steal to out Michigan State back on top 55-53 with 9:06 (13 possessions) left to play. The win pits the freshman Green against another Michigan State 1979 with Magic Johnson. The 1979 team was a 2-seed and this one of 10 favored team (a 1- to 4-seeds) to make the Sweet 16 while the 14-seed 2009 team was the lowest seed of 6 surprise teams.
South Bracket and ResultsSouth: Kansas Overall #3 seed, Winner Faces Midwest Region Champ in Semifinals; #11 Auburn (2019) 87, #3 Florida (2006) 81 - Chuma Okeke (20 pts, 7 Reb, 4 steals) and Joakim Noah (18 pts, 4 blocked shots) were a classic battle of PF but if Okeke were not injured before the final 4 they likely would have one the title handily, and they kept alive in the all-time with this upset. UNC prevailed with Michael Jordan despite a dominant performance by Kentucky's Anthony Davis (see above). #4 Houston (1968) 80, #5 Kansas (1957) 58 - Wilt Chamberlain, who beats out Michael Jordan for the highest vertical in history at 48 inches, was the first with 8 blocked shots in a Value Add Basketball Game. However Elvin Hayes (30 points, 11 rebounds) and the Houston team that was the only team to beat Lee Alcendor and UCLA (in the "game of the centruy)" was way too much with a 40-33 edge on the boards and 8-3 in steals behind one of the great steals players in NCAA history, Don Chaney. #9 Memphis (2008) 68, #1 Kansas (2008) 61. Just like in the actual national championship in 2008, Memphis dominated for a big lead with 2 minutes to go (68-58 in our dice game, while the led 60-51 with 2 minutes to go in the actual title game). But in our game there was no furious comeback like the one put in to force overtime and win one of the great comebacks in history for the 2008 title. It was one of the most balanced games, with no Memphis player scoring more than 11, but Derrick Rose was one of seven Memphis players with blocked shots. Kansas was the most dominant team in the game - winning all 6 games (regular season and tourney) by an average of 20 points.
Round 3 in the South is complete.
Keep in mind each school was only allowed one team per century, so the Pac-12 and UCLA would likely have several other teams in the top 25 and UNC and Kentucky might as well if that was not our rule.
Previous Update from Conclusion of 2nd Round
At the end of the 2nd round of the all-time great tournament, we ranked the top 25 based on how good the team looks based on their player cards but also how impressive they looked in their opening game(s). Click here for free player cards for all 96 great teams and the updated "quick start" instructions so you can play your own games. An explanation and the brackets with all 2nd round scores appear below this top 25.
Top 25 After 2 Rounds: Bold is 3rd round win after these rankings, italics 3rd round loss. If the line is not bold or italics, then the score shown is the Round 2 win. ^ indicates team will move up, or ^^ way up as result of Round 3 result.
|Rank||School||Year||Conf||Region||Seed||2nd Round (bold = 3rd round)|
|1||Kansas||2008||Big 12||South||1||beat Tennessee 1977|
|2||Indiana||1976||Big Ten||Midwest||1||beat Purdue (2018) 69-57|
|3||Michigan St.||1979||Big Ten||Midwest||2||beat Notre Dame 1970|
|4||UNC||1982||ACC||South||2||beat LSU 2006|
|6||North Carolina St.||1974||ACC||East||2||beat Seton Hall 1989|
|7||Memphis||2008||CUSA||South||9||beat Louisville 1980|
|8||Louisville||2013||Big East||West||3||beat San Diego St|
|9^^||UCLA||1972||Pac-8||West||1||beat Arizona (1997) 78-63|
|10||Florida||2006||SEC||South||3||beat Auburn 1984|
|11||Kansas||1957||Big 7||South||5||beat Oklahoma St 2004|
|12||Houston||1968||Ind||South||4||beat Texas Tech 2019|
|13||Wisconsin||2015||Big Ten||Midwest||7||beat . Illinois 2005|
|14||Villanova||2018||Big East||East||4||beat . WVU 2010|
|15||Connecticut||2004||Big East||Midwest||5||beat K-State 2008|
|16||Virginia||2019||ACC||East||3||beat . Georgia Tech 2004|
|17||UNLV||1991||Big West||West||2||Beat UCLA 2006|
|18||Cincinnati||1960||MVC||West||4||Beat Gonzaga 2017|
|19||Ohio St.||2007||Big Ten||Midwest||11||beat . Michigan 1989|
|20||Arizona||2015||Pac-12||West||10||Beat San Fran 1956|
|21||Syracuse||1987||Big East||East||12||beat Virginia 1981|
|22||UTEP (TX W)||1966||Ind||West||6||beat Marquette 1977|
|23||Duke||2011||ACC||East||9||beat Uconn 1999|
|24||UNC||2005||ACC||East||7||beat Duke 1992|
|25||Georgetown||1984||Big East||East||11||beat Maryland 2002|
|Other||Arizona||1997||Pac-10||West||9||lost to UCLA (1972) 63-78|
|Other||Auburn||2019||SEC||South||11||beat Arkansas 1994|
|Other||Michigan St.||2009||Big Ten||Midwest||14||beat Ohio St 1960|
|Other||Missouri||1982||Big 8||West||12||Beat Loyola 1963|
|Other||Oklahoma||1985||Big 8||Midwest||13||beat Purdue 1969|
|Other||Purdue||2018||Big Ten||Midwest||8||lost to Indiana (1976) 57-69|
|Other||Wake Forest||1996||ACC||East||16||beat Kentucky 1996|
|NIT||Arkansas||1994||SEC||South||6||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Cincinnati||2002||CUSA||Midwest||9||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Duke||1992||ACC||East||10||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Kentucky||1996||SEC||East||1||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Louisville||1980||Metro||South||8||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Loyola||1963||Ind||West||5||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Marquette||1977||Ind||West||11||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Marquette||2003||CUSA||East||13||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Maryland||2002||ACC||East||6||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Michigan||1989||Big Ten||Midwest||6||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Ohio State||1960||Big Ten||Midwest||3||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Oklahoma St||1946||MVC||South||10||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Purdue||1969||Big Ten||Midwest||4||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||San Francisco||1956||CBA||West||7||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Syracuse||2003||Big East||West||8||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
|NIT||Virginia||1981||ACC||East||5||lost, 2nd chance NIT|
The 7 teams that are still alive in the tournament but I do not rank in the Top 25 are listed as "other" and I took 16 great teams who were upset or played a great game against a great team before losing - and those teams were not considered for the top 25 but I have put them in a "consolation" NIT - most notably the Kentucky team that was stunned by Tim Duncan and Wake Forest.
UCLA 1972 looked like the best team entering the all-time great basketball tournament, but Oregon 2017 gave them a run so we dropped them down to 7th behind a few teams that really looked impressive. On the flip side, the team it looked like we most underestimated may have been Memphis 2008. They had the most lopsided win of the tournament with an 82-52 win that was a slight upset against the 8th seed in the South. We rank them 3rd for the moment - the problem is one of the two teams that looked even better is Kansas from the same year - which won the actual game between the two in overtime to claim the 2008 title - so this 1 vs. 9 is scary.
We left Indiana 1976 at No. 2, leapfrogging Kansas over them but dropping UCLA behind them. However, they face a unique challenge as well next round. Even though we only moved Purdue 2018 up to No. 15 after their narrow win against Cincinnati 2002, they hit so many 3-pointers that they could pull a shocker over Indiana if they are hot - or the dice are lucky. Here is our updated Top 25 with all teams still alive listed as other. We list the conference in which they played, where we first seeded them and in what tournament, and finally their second round result followed by updated brackets at the bottom.