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NCAAB Championship: Standout performers from the men's second round

After six straight days of action, the NCAAB Championship field has gone from 68 to 16, with plenty of shocks along the way.

We’ve now seen two 1-seeds eliminated in the first week of action, as defending champions Kansas exited to Arkansas on Saturday after Purdue's stunning defeat to Fairleigh Dickinson on Friday. 

Just half of the 2-seeds remain as well, as Arizona and Marquette were eliminated in the first and second round, respectively. 

Let's take a look at some of the top team and individual performances, some of which led to these massive upsets, from the round of 32 this past weekend.

Arkansas comeback sends champions packing

While landing a repeat of their national title last year was always going to be tough for Kansas, few saw them exiting after just two games. 

The defending champions cruised through by 28 points in their opening game, with the West regional the only quadrant following chalk in the first round. 

However, the west went off script on Saturday, as Arkansas produced a 72-71 victory over the 1-seed, despite leading for less than two minutes of the game in total. 

Davonte Davis led 8-seed Arkansas in scoring with 25 points, but it was Ricky Council IV and his nerves of steel which swung the game for the underdogs. He made five free throws late on to help his side to a razor-thin lead. 

Arkansas will face off against #4 Connecticut in the last 16 on Thursday with a chance to go to its third-straight regional final.

Related NCAAB News

Men's NCAAB Championship: The favourites to win it all

NCAAB Championship: Standout performers from the men's first round

#15 Princeton continues its Cinderella run

For the second round in a row, Princeton produced a massive upset. 

The 15-seed in the South beat 7-seed Missouri 78-63 on Saturday to book a spot in the tournament’s last 16 for the first time in 56 years. 

The most impressive thing about Princeton’s victory was how they were able to build on their opening-round win. After a four-point win over 2-seed Arizona in their opener, they had a much easier time seeing off Missouri. 

Both wins have seen Princeton put in calm, calculated displays. Despite coming into the tournament as huge underdogs they’ve looked great in possession, with their slower style of play leading to very few turnovers. 

The Ivy League champions also showed great depth relative to their seeding, as each of their starters chipped in with at least eight points, while they beat Missouri on bench points 20-8. 

Princeton coach Mitch Henderson has taken plenty of plaudits for their run to the last 16 and rightly so. The Ivy League champions weren’t expected to be contenders but he’s built a team who are tough to beat. 

Up next for them is a clash with 6-seed Creighton, who produced their own upset against Baylor in the second round.

Michigan State ousts #2 Marquette

Michigan State added to the upsets on Sunday as the 7-seed in the East claimed a 69-60 win over 2-seed Marquette, but that was little surprise for veteran Michigan coach Tom Izzo. 

Sunday’s win was Izzo’s 16th NCAAB Championship win as the coach of a lower-seeded team. That’s now a tournament record, as is his sixth appearance in the last 16 with a team seeded fifth or lower. 

The victory over Marquette was textbook stuff for the long-reigning Michigan State coach, with his team putting in a strong defensive display as they led throughout the matchup. 

Senior Tyson Walker proved the difference in the end, as he led the way with 23 points. The guard also produced a crucial late steal to seal the win. That extends Marquette’s 10-year wait to return to the round of 16 at this tournament. 

Michigan St. are in familiar territory heading into the regional semis in New York, as they’re up against 3-seeds Kansas State.

Houston and Alabama flying 1-seed flag

In a tournament traditionally dominated by the 1-seeds, just Houston and Alabama remain from the tournament’s top four heading into the last 16.

Alabama followed up a 21-point first round win with a 22-point victory over 8-seed Maryland and they head to Louisville as the only top-four seed left standing in the South regional.

Houston have a potentially tougher path to getting home advantage in the last four, but they claimed a composed win over Auburn on Saturday, despite Marcus Sasser’s ongoing injury issues.

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