NCAA Tournament Coverage: Tennessee & Cal Poly Complete The Round Of 64

The Round of 64 is now set. The final two play-in games of the First Four went last night in Dayton, with Tennessee and Cal Poly moving forward…

Tennessee 78 Iowa 65 (OT): The foul line was the difference here as Tennessee hit 25/30 free throws, while Iowa was 13/15. For all of each team’s ability to convert their free throws, none of that shooting ability got displayed behind the arc, where the two teams combined to go 9-for-37.

Tennessee had a well-balanced attack, but it was Jarnell Stokes’ 18 points/13 rebounds that were the big difference, as it keyed a Vols edge on the glass. It’s not uncommon to see rebounding advantages translate into free throw advantages—not because the two are always interrelated (though they can be on an offensive putback), but because it conveys a mindset of aggression.

It was a tough end to the year for Roy Devyn Marble, the Iowa star, who struggled to a 3-of-15 night and finished with seven points, but an even tougher day for Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey, and for serious reasons. The Iowa coach was with his son earlier in the day who was having a thyroid tumor removed. McCaffrey was there for the game and the classy Tennessee players and coaches sought him out in the aftermath to wish him well.

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Cal Poly 81 Texas Southern 69: If it’s possible for there to be an upset in a 16-seed play-in game, this would be it. Cal Poly is 13-19, but has played its way in to the full round of 64 and will get a crack at Wichita. Texas Southern had nothing but Aaric Murray—who with 38 points down low was nearly enough, but Cal Poly shot 56 percent from the field.

TheSportsNotebook’s NCAA Tournament coverage returns tomorrow morning with a look back at the opening half of the first round. Here’s the schedule for Thursday’s games…

Dayton-Ohio State (12:15 PM ET, CBS)
American-Wisconsin (12:40 PM ET, truTV)

Pitt-Colorado (1:40 PM ET, TBS)
Harvard-Cincinnati (2:10 PM ET, TNT)
Western Michigan-Syracuse (2:45 PM ET, CBS)
BYU-Oregon (3:10 PM ET, truTV)

Albany-Florida (4:10 PM ET, TBS)
Delaware-Michigan State (4:40 PM ET, TNT)

St. Joe’s-UConn (6:55 PM ET, TBS)
Wofford-Michigan (7:10 PM ET, CBS)
NC State-St. Louis (7:20 PM ET, TNT)
North Dakota State-Oklahoma (7:27 PM ET, truTV)

Milwaukee-Villanova (9:25 PM ET, TBS)
Arizona State-Texas (9:40 PM ET, CBS)
Manhattan-Louisville (9:50 PM ET, TNT)
New Mexico State-SD State 9:57 PM ET, truTV)