College Hoops

John Fanta’s 2023 March Madness instant reaction: UCLA, Texas survive, Kansas does not

John Fanta

The first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was marked by massive upsets. Sure enough, the madness continued in the Round of 32, as another No. 1 seed fell on Saturday. 

We have a full bracket breakdown below, but first, make sure you check out a few key items: our NCAA Tournament bracket, NCAA Tournament schedule, 50 reasons to be excited for March Madness and top plays of the first round.

Here is a complete recap of Day 2

Stay tuned for exclusive interviews, running analysis and more from Day 3.

No. 1 Alabama 73, No. 8 Maryland 51

It was a ho-hum weekend for Alabama

As expected when the bracket came out, the Crimson Tide cruised to the program’s second Sweet 16 in the last three years with a 73-51 win over eighth-seeded Maryland

A brief word on the Terrapins: Year one of the Kevin Willard era should be viewed as a success in College Park. Nobody had Maryland dancing this season or advancing to the second round of the tournament following a comeback win over West Virginia. Willard has instantly laid the foundation.

As for the No. 1 overall seeded Crimson Tide, there’s no reason to believe this team is stumbling before at least the Final Four. 

Nate Oats has the best all-around talent in the country with Brandon Miller. Noah Clowney and Charles Bediako charge the frontcourt and help project the rim. Mark Sears has been a steady guard, and the X-factor, Jahvon Quinerly, is playing the best basketball of his senior season. 

There have been a lot of questions and drama surrounding this team in relation to the death of Jamea Jonae Harris and Miller’s role in the matter.

Up to this point, the outside noise, questions and media attention surrounding these events have not impacted the Tide’s performance on the court.

Alabama now moves on to face San Diego State on Friday. If they win that matchup with the Aztecs, the Tide would then play Baylor, Creighton or 15-seed Princeton on Sunday. 

I’ll be candid: I don’t think any of those teams can beat the Tide. 

No. 2 UCLA 68, No. 7 Northwestern 63

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for the UCLA Bruins. Between Jaylen Clark being done for the season with an Achilles injury and Adem Bona battling a shoulder issue, UCLA has kept forging along, but it’s not easy when key rotation players are sidelined. 

Coming off a Pac-12 Tournament championship game loss to Arizona, the Bruins entered the Big Dance angry. 

Just when it looked like Mick…

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