Friday, March 20, 2020

Midwest 2020 March Madness Brackets and Results

This Value Add Basketball Game plays out the NCAA 2020 Tournament using these player cards. Game summaries will be included below the bracket, with the most recent result always moved to the top story until we have a Midwest Region Champion from among these teams.

2nd round

4-Wisconsin 80, 5-Ohio State 68

In the 44 possession game, Wisconsin set a record with 10 three-pointers made and allowed only one turnover - a steal by Luther Muhammad. Both were the best figures ever in hundreds of games played.

Four Wisconsin players hit multiple 3-pointers.

6-Michigan 75, 3-Seton Hall 71

Michigan was a slight favorite despite being the lower seed in what looked like the best Round 2 match-up, and the Big Ten continued to dominate.

No matter how many times Pirates guards Quincy McKnight and Myles Powell (16 points each), Michigan center Joe Teske (23,7 and 7 blocks) or PG Zavier Simpson (18,5) had an answer.

2-Creighton 76, 10-Oklahoma 57
Creighton's 3-guard offense almost outscored Oklahoma's entire team, as 3rd team All-American Ty-Shon Alexander (21 points, 5 rebounds), Mitch Blalock (ranked in top 1% of players, 13 points, 5 rebounds) and Marcus Zegarowski (top 2% of all players, 22 points, 3 3-pointers, 6 steals) combined for 56 while only allowing 57 to the Sooners.

The top two teams in the Midwest looked very strong in the year of upsets.

1-Kansas 79, 8-Colorado 56 1st team All-American PG Devon Dotson (17 points, 3 steals) and dominant center Usoka Azubuike (20 points, 16 rebounds, 6 blocks) shut down Colorado's offense - looking every bit the No.1 overall seed.

1st round
10-Oklahoma 72, 7-Illinois 59 2nd team All-Big 12 center Brady Malek lost the traditional rebound battle to Illinois center Kofi Cockburn 13-9 as part of Oklahoma getting dominated on the boards 38-29.

However, Manek created a mismatch nightmare not possible before the 3-point line by going outside for five 3-pointers and 25 points en route to a 72-59 Sooner's win to advance and play Creighton in the second round.

Oklahoma boasts one of the best front lines in basketball with Austin Reaves (11 points) and Doolittle (16) both making the Value Add 3rd All Big 12 team.

Leading 48-42, De'Vion Harmon stole the ball and passed ahead to Manek, who hit a 3-pointer on the fastbreak to make it 51-42. Reaves stole the next possession and fed Doolittle for a fast break basket to make it 53-42, and on the next possession Reaves hit a 3-pointer to make it 55-44 and the Illini, who did not hit a single 3-pointer, never threatened again.

4-Wisconsin 75, 13-Akron 69

Against the dangerous 5th team All-American Loren Cristian Jackson and an excellent MAC champs Akron, Wisconsin fought off rallies to give the Big Ten their 6th second round team.

Amazingly the Badgers (only 4-point favorites) never trailed despite constant runs behind 23 points from Jackson and 6 three-pointers in the 44 possessions. The Zips almost tied it when Xavier Williams (16 points, 10 rebounds) scored and was fouled, hitting the free throw to make it 65-62, and then Channel Banks stole the ball but the Zips turned it over on the fast break.

Later Williams grabbed and offensive rebound and kicked it out to banks for a 3-pointer and then Jackson drove to the hoop to cut it to 70-69 with 1:30 (3 possessions) to play.

Center Nate Reuvers (18 points, 9 rebounds) then delivered the Badgers 7th 3-pointer and D'Mitrik Trice drove to wrap up the 75-69 win. The 13 combined 3-pointers in the game would be like 20 in a full game since these games start at 20-20 and we play out the last 2-3rds of each game.

If Illinois wins against Oklahoma in the final Midwest Region 1sr round game, the mighty 2020 Big Ten would finish with 4 of the 8 second round teams. If Michigan State were to also beat UC Irvine in the West Region game, the Big Ten could have one-quarter of the second round field with 8 of 32 teams.

However even if both lose Michigan State would have the most of any conference with six teams. This will always be the "what might have been" March Madness in a year the Big Ten dominated the real regular season and is dominating the first round of the Value Add Basketball Game March Madness simulation.

6-Michigan 73, 11-Utah State 69

Sam Merrill, a 2nd team All-American, scored 11 points early to give Utah State a 29-24 lead. The other half of one of the best 1-2 combos in the country, 6-7 Justin Bean (19 points, 12 rebounds) helped stretch the lead to 43-32.

Michigan started turning Utah State over (21 turnovers to 14) as not only point guard Zavier Simpson (18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals) but one of the most balanced performances so far from center Joe Teske (17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals, 7 blocked shots).

Teske hit his one 3-pointer of the game as part of a 10-5 run that finally pulled Michigan ahead 58-55. During that run Teske scored 7 points in a 4 possession span with Franz Wagner hitting a 3 on the other possession through the 4-minute mark (10 possessions left).

Neither team could stop the other the last 5 minutes, resulting in the 73-69 final.

3-Seton Hall 73, 14-Bradley 63

Seton Hall capped a disappointing 1st round for the Big East by pulling away in the closing minutes for a 73-63 win over Bradley.

Darrell Brown (21 points, 3 steals) put Bradley in the driver's when he hit 2 of 3 free throws to tie the game 44-44 after drawing a 4th foul on Seton Hall's Quincy McKnight.

While Powell was awarded Big East Player of the Year this season, his card is not as good as last year's (when he should have won it, so basically Markus Howard and him should have flipped years with the award). In fact Powell struggled to be held to 11 (several clutch in the closing minutes) as he had to switch and guard Brown to lessen the risk of McKnight's 5th foul by letting him guard the less aggressive Santa Kingsby (4 points).

It worked as McKnight 15 points and came through with three clutch steals late and actually drew a 5th foul on Brown with 2:44 and hit both free throws to make it 66-62.

Koch Bar (6 points, 11 rebounds) managed to hold Seton Hall's Romaro Gill at bay on defense, until the final 2:07, when be blocked two shots and grabbed three rebounds for the 73-64 win.

One note for people playing their own game -
When Brown fouled out Sean Houpt came back off the bench (he normally plays the shooting gard on possessions 44-40), but he came in to the shooting guard where he usually plays and Kingsby moved to the point guard. His positions in the top left are "pg 44, sg 29-1, gets ball on (1) (pg)." Because he is the only card on the team with PG on his card (he has it in two places, but would be fine even if he just had one of those two) he was the only other player who can play pg once Brown fouled out. If a team even runs out of point guards or simply chooses to play another player at PG then the 8-side rolls of 6, 7 or 8 are all "no shot" and if one the second roll a 6, 7 or 8 comes up again it is a shot clock violation turnover.  Thus playing without a point guard gives a 15% extra chance chance  of a turnover and the team doesn't get the ball to their go-to players.

Important rule update after 3/28/2020 Games. After the 15- and 16-seed teams played much better than expected overall and actually won 2 of 8 games, we the 100+ all-time great games played and ran some recalculations and determined the game had one statistical distortion and changed a rule to correct. Through games of 3/28 an offensive player getting a rebound could use the 20-sided die to shoot immediately. In reviewing past match-ups we reran numbers and realized this loophole took away the dunk range and defensive aspect of the game, letting big rebounders from lower divisions score more points than should have been allowed. Therefore games beginning on 3/29/2020 require that when a team gets an offensive rebound they roll all 4 dice again to run the office and see who gets the ball, and if it is stolen or turned over, etc. We did not change any results even though Villanova would have likely won their 1-point upset, though Florida State would have still been upsets stunned by Little Rock.

5-Ohio State 59, 12-Cincinnati 57

In an intra-Ohio game that might have been the most talked about in the history of the state if it happened in real life, the Cincinnati Bearcats from the southern border dominated until taking a 49-39 lead with 12:08 to play.

Tre Scott (team highs with 13 points and 7 rebounds) led a defensive charge in which he once forces three turnovers on three straight Ohio State possessions, and 7-foot-1 Chris Vogt's five blocks helped stymie the Buckeyes offense.

However, at that point Kyle Young, with no turnovers on his card, came in the game and settled the offense which had 10 unforced turnovers before he entered and none after. As the Buckeyes stopped turning it over they started getting it in to their best card-player in center Kaleb Wesson who led a 14-6 run to leave the game tied at 55-55 with 3:07 (5 possessions) to play.

On the Bearcats next to last possession Vogt tried to break the 57-57 tie but Wesson blocked the shot. Cincy had one last chance to tie it and got it to their star Scott but Young blocked his shot and Wesson had one of the greatest rebounds since I've been playing the game. The roll of 10 (same as 20) on the 20-sided die means the highest rebounding range on the court gets the ball. Boat Scott and Vogt are among the best offensive rebounders in the country with a 1-7 range, but Wesson is tied for the absolute best defensive rebounder in the game with a 1-8 defensive range meaning he prevented either if the two from a stickback chance to win.

He got it ahead to point guard CJ Walker who was fouled on an attempted 3-point buzzer beater. The 80% free throw shooter (1-16 on the 20-sided die) missed the first one, but drained the last two to let Ohio State hold bragging rights for the state and avoid the perilous 5 vs 12 game. Based on their cards they were a 4-point favorite, so bettors would not have been happy but Buckeye Nation would have been relieved.

2-Creighton 75, 15-South Dakota State 70

Creighton faced a near mirror image of themselves in a Summit League team that rarely turns the ball over and has even a center who can hit 3-pointers in Rocky Kreuser.

However after Creighton's Marcus Zegarowski hit an early 3 the Blue Jays had not hit another one and trailed 58-56 with 11 possessions (6:41) to play. Then third team All-American Ty-Shon Alexander hit two threes in three trips and in between Christian Bishop fought for an offensive rebound and hit a free throw to give Creighton a 63-60 lead with 8 possessions (5 minutes) to go.

Then Alexander made a play few could have made in the game. The 11-66 roll was a 41, which is a turnover for almost every player in the country in the 41-46 turnover range, but Alexander (and small forward Mitch Ballock) have the rare range of 41-40 meaning they never turn it over unless there is a steal on their opponent's card in the 11-16 roll. The 20-sided die roll was 11 which is a missed shot for most guards but for Alexander means he draws a foul. He then drained 2 free throws in his 1-17 free throw made range (on 20-sided die, so 85%) and Creighton led 65-62.

Zegarowski scored on their next 2 trips to make it 69-64, and after Alexander scored his 24th point of the game, Kreuser put up a 3-pointer that would have gone in (was a 2 on the 20-sided die) to pull South Dakota to within 71-67 with four possessions to go, except that one of the great shot blockers in the game Christian Bishop rejected it with a 26 on the two six-sided die.

Vince Shahid (team high 13 points) and Cameron Hunter (12) both hit 3-pointers near the end to make the final closer at 75-70, but Creighton advances.

As usual, Creighton won the turnover battle 13-8.

8-Colorado 88, 9-Marquette 86 (Overtime)

The nation's leading scorer Markus Howard hit a 3-pointer with a minute left in overtime to tie the game 86-86. With 40 seconds to play Theo John blocked Tyler Bey's shot at the other end only to have one of the nation's best offensive rebounders - Evan Battery - grab the blocked shot and score to make it 88-86 Colorado.

Marquette never got off a potential game-winner or tying shot as Bey stole the ball to seal the win and send Colorado to a game against a 1-seed Kansas which struggled in the opener.

Brandon Bailey hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in regulation to give Marquette a 76-74 lead, but D'Schwartz beat the buzzer at the other end to force OT.

While Bey outscored Howard 24-22 in a matchup of superstars, both had great help from their second best player. Colorado's McKinley Wright scored 13 and held Howard to an offnight shooting, and Marquette's Sacar Anim out up 14 points and 7 rebounds.

1-Kansas 74, 16-Boston University 69

Unbelievable 3-point shooting put Boston University on the verge of the UMBC upset of UVa two years ago.

All-American Devon Dotson finally took over late for 27 points and 6 steals to nail down the win. The number on the team card indicates Kansas would win this match-up by an average of 18 points if they played 1000 times, but that is the fun of March madness.

However that is not necessarily an indication of future struggles. In our all-time tournament Michael Jordan had to pull off last possession wins in each of the first two rounds, but then UNC ran through three other opponents before losing the all-time title to Bill Walton's UCLA.

12-seed vs. 12-seed Play-in Game Cincinnati 68, Wichita State 66

Because I needed to settle the two play in games of the last 4 in first for my bracket builder to work (you can add a 17 seed, but not two 11 or 12 seeds) Cincinnati faced Wichita State to see who would advance from the two 12-seeds in the Midwest. Of course the NCAA would not really pit two American association teams against each other to avoid them playing for the 3rd or 4th time, but we just went straight from bracket matrix selections and lined up each grouping regionally.

Erik Stevenson lead Wichita State to a 61-52 lead with 5:29 (9 possessions to play). Cincinnati's shot blocker guru Chris Vogt went on an unprecedented streak, blocking shots on 4 straight possessions (though Wichita State grabbed one of them an made a 3-pointer).

Fittingly Vogt dunked with 1 minute (2 possessions) left to finally give Cincinnati the lead 66-64 and cap his incredible day of 10 points, 8 rebounds and we believe a game-record 8 blocked shots.

The normally dominant Bearcats front line had one of the more balanced domination you will see from a front line as Keith Williams added 12 points, 2 steals and 3 blocked shots and Tre Scott had game highs in both points and rebounds (16, 10.

I don't actually lay out the scoresheet in the middle of the cards as laid out but moved it there for the photo. The pf, sg, sf, pf are laid top to bottom for each team and I put the centers facing each other at the bottom and the two team cards at the top during play.

16-seed playin Boston University 80, NC Central 63

Patriot League champions Boston University worked the ball inside Max Mahoney (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Walter Whyte (19 points, 5 rebounds) who dominated and both avoided fouling out due to 4 fouls each.

Reserve point guard Alex Vilarino added 10 points early in the game, while Jibri Blount led NC Central with 11 points.

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