(13) La Salle Explorers vs. (12) Ole Miss Rebels (-4, 143)
Mississippi and La Salle have historically enjoyed their stays in Kansas City, Mo. during the NCAA Tournament and did nothing to dispel that with a pair of second-round upset victories on Friday. One of those teams will add to its success in the city on Sunday when they meet in the third round of the West Regional. The 12th-seeded Rebels collected the program’s fourth victory in the “Big Dance” when they stunned Big Ten power Wisconsin, improving to 3-0 in NCAA Tournament games played in Kansas City.
The fifth-seeded Explorers are also 3-0 all-time during NCAA Tournament play in Kansas City, where they won the school’s only national championship in 1954. La Salle picked up its second tournament win in the same season for the first time since 1955 after it held off Kansas State in dramatic fashion, less than 48 hours after securing a first-round victory over Boise State in Dayton, Ohio. The winner of this contest will meet either Gonzaga or Wichita State in a Sweet 16 matchup in Los Angeles.
TV: 7:40 p.m. ET, truTV
ABOUT LA SALLE (23-9): The hot shooting that served the Explorers so well against the Broncos (season-high 63.3 percent) completely fell apart over the final 20 minutes Friday. La Salle shot 3-for-18 (16.7 percent) and scored 19 points against the Wildcats in the second half after shooting 58.1 percent and posting 44 points in the first half. However, the much-maligned La Salle defense – which allowed its opponents to shoot an Atlantic 10-high 45.6 percent – forced Kansas State to miss its final eight field-goal attempts. After scoring 12 combined points in losses to Saint Louis and Butler, leading scorer Ramon Galloway (17.1 points) is averaging 20 points through two NCAA Tournament games.
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI (27-8): Marshall Henderson – the leading scorer in the SEC – missed 12 of his first 13 shots against the Badgers, but outscored Wisconsin by himself 17-10 over the final 11:25. "He made that first shot and I celebrated," coach Andy Kennedy said following the game. "As long as he's taking shots within our offense, our guys understand that. We were getting him looks. Then once he makes one or two, we keep feeding him." The Rebels figure to enjoy a significant advantage in the front court against the undersized Explorers. Reginald Bucker – a 6-9, 235-pound forward – had five blocks against Wisconsin while 6-7, 240-pound Murphy Holloway has 13 double-doubles and led the SEC in rebounding.
* Rebels are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 5-0 in Rebels’ last five overall.
* Explorers are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six Sunday games.
1. Mississippi will set a single-season school record for victories with a win on Sunday.
2. La Salle’s 23 victories are its most since going 30-2 during the 1989-90 season.
3. Twelve-seeds are 8-2 against No. 13 seeds all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
(10) Iowa State Cyclones vs. (2) Ohio State Buckeyes (-7, 142)
Ohio State managed to avoid any of the pitfalls that has plagued the top seeds in its second-round game on Friday. The second-seeded Buckeyes now look to advance to the Sweet 16 when they face Iowa State in the third round of the NCAA Tournament West Regional at Dayton on Sunday. The Buckeyes have failed to make it out of Dayton in their two previous NCAA appearances, however, going 1-2 overall.
Seeded 10th, Iowa State posted a convincing win over Notre Dame in its tourney opener. The Cyclones' defense put the game away late in the first half forcing 14 turnovers before the break on the way to a surprisingly easy win. Iowa State hopes its powerhouse offense, ranked fourth in the nation in scoring, is on track for a long run in the tourney.
TV: 12:15 p.m., ET, CBS
ABOUT OHIO STATE (27-7): Court general and defensive wizard Aaron Craft did the job on Iona's Lamont 'Momo' Jones in the opener. Jones, who entered the game third in the nation in scoring, was limited to nine points on 3-of-14 shooting as the Buckeyes rolled 95-70. Craft had a season-high six steals. Ohio State has now won nine straight games, four of them coming against ranked teams. "We have a lot of confidence," said Sam Thompson, who scored a career-high 20 points against the Gaels "We know that if we come out and do the things we're supposed to do on both sides of the ball, we could beat any team in the country." Ohio State didn't score over 74 points in any conference game this season but relished the frantic pace of Iona to scored a season high.
ABOUT IOWA STATE (23-11): The Cyclones have reached the third round for the second straight year under coach Fred Hoiberg. Last year Iowa State was bounced by eventual national champion Kentucky in the third round. The Cyclones used a balanced attack against Notre Dame getting a team-high nine points in the first half from Big 12 newcomer of the year Will Clyburn in the first half. Clyburn didn't score after the break but he didn't need to. Iowa State hit 12 of its first 14 shots in the second half and eventually built a 27-point lead. The Cyclones hit nine 3-pointers in the contest, one under their season average of 10.
* Buckeyes are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Buckeyes are 5-0 ATS in their last five neutral site games.
* Over is 8-0 in Cyclones’ last eight vs. Big Ten foes.
* Over is 5-1 in Buckeyes’ last six NCAA Tournament games.
1. Ohio State is 8-7 against RPI Top 50 teams. Iowa State is 45th in the RPI.
2. The Buckeyes have advanced to three straight Sweet 16's.
3. Iowa State has four transfers on its new-look roster. And Georges Niang, who scored 19 points against ND, is a freshman.