NEW ORLEANS — For the Kansas Jayhawks to stand here as national champions late Monday night, 67 teams had to go home disappointed. The road through March is as much about defeat as victory, so here is the drama that was the 2022 NCAA tournament from the losing perspective, one group of long faces at a time.
In a show of sympathy for the saddened, the beaten team is named first.
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 67, Texas Southern 76
The tournament began in Dayton as usual — non-COVID, anyway — and the Islanders did fine against the Texas Southern starters. It was the reserves who finished them. The Tigers got 55 of their 76 points off the bench.
Wyoming 58, Indiana 66
The Cowboys had 19 turnovers and 20 field goals. Not a good ratio. Four Indiana starters scored only 18 points. Unfortunately for Wyoming, the fifth — Trayce Jackson-Davis — had 29.
Bryant 82, Wright State 93
In this quasi-road game — Wright State was playing 12 miles from campus — Bryant’s leading national scorer, Peter Kiss, went for 28. But Wright State’s Tanner Holden put up 37.
Rutgers 87, Notre Dame 89 2OT
The poor Scarlet Knights shot 51 percent, produced big basket after big basket, and still lost on a put-back basket with 1.4 seconds left in the second overtime. Few games in the tournament were better than this one.
Georgia State 72, Gonzaga 93
The Panthers actually led in the second half — the scoreboard should have been a photo op — but in the end couldn’t handle Gonzaga’s 62 points in the paint.
Texas Southern 56, Kansas 83
The Jayhawks hit 11 3-pointers and it was over early for Texas Southern. Kansas, it turned out, was just beginning.
Norfolk State 49, Baylor 85
Baylor shot 57 percent and was playing in Fort Worth. It was like going uphill against the wind for the Spartans.
Longwood 56, Tennessee 88
The Vols had 29 assists on 33 field goals, with a field-goal percentage of 60. In other words, the Lancers had their hands full on defense.
Kentucky 79, Saint Peter’s 85 OT
Shocker of the tournament. This wasn’t quite Christian Laettner at the buzzer, but not many of Kentucky’s 53 previous losses in the tournament were more of a slap in the face than this for Big Blue Nation. The only thing left for Kentucky fans to say after Daryl Banks III blitzed the Wildcats for 27 points: Where’s Saint Peter’s?
Akron 53, UCLA 57
The Zips were up seven with six minutes left and had a program-defining win in the crosshairs. Then they missed eight of their last nine shots.
South Dakota State 57, Providence 66
Lots of brackets went for the Jackrabbits and their 21-game winning streak. The nobody-respects-us Friars unleashed their annoyance in the form of stern defense that held South Dakota State 30 points under its average.
Iowa 63, Richmond 67
Gee, scoring was so much easier in the Big Ten tournament. The Hawkeyes set a point record in that. In this, they shot 20 percent in 3-pointers and had their third lowest output of the season.
Vermont 71, Arkansas 75
Had Arkansas’ JD Notae not had a big second half — that’s where he scored all 17 of his points — and had Vermont shot better than 59 percent from the free-throw line, this might have been different.
Indiana 53, Saint Mary’s 82
True, the Hoosiers had a rugged and tiring travel schedule, but that doesn’t fully explain scoring 25 points in a half or getting waxed 26-8 in points off turnovers. Worst NCAA tournament loss for Indiana. Ever.
San Francisco 87, Murray State 92 OT
Great game with 18 lead changes and 14 ties. And there was no better performance in a losing cause all month than Jamaree Bouyea going all 45 minutes and scoring 36 points.
Connecticut 63, New Mexico State 70
The Huskies’ problem was simple. They couldn’t stop Teddy Allen . . . anywhere. He finished with 37 points and the Aggies had their first NCAA tournament victory in 29 years.
Boise State 53, Memphis 64
The Broncos were Victim Zero in the road to the championship. They lost to Memphis, who lost to Gonzaga, who lost to Arkansas, who lost to Duke, who lost to North Carolina, who lost to Kansas.
Colorado State 63, Michigan 75
That 15-point lead in the first half over the Wolverines was encouraging. Then it was gone. Between Michigan’s 60 percent shooting the second half and 19-for-22 from the line for the game, the door was slammed on the Rams.
Marquette 63, North Carolina 95
At halftime, Caleb Love had 21 points for the Tar Heels. The entire Marquette team had 25, and trailed by 28. It didn’t end up the worst tournament loss ever for the Golden Eagles, but missed by a point.
San Diego State 69, Creighton 72 OT
The Aztecs outscored Creighton 30-1 in bench points. Not enough. All five Bluejays’ starters were in double figures and rallied from 14 points down.
Wright State 70, Arizona 87
Between 55 percent shooting in 3-pointers and a 46-25 in rebounding, that was way too much Arizona for Wright State.
Delaware 60, Villanova 80
Delaware led by seven points early but the Blue Hens weren’t going to keep that up for long by putting up 20 shots from behind the arc and missing 17 of them.
Jacksonville State 61, Auburn 80
It’s kind of hard to score when Walker Kessler is blocking one of every seven shots the Gamecocks tried. But then they were just glad to be in the field since actual ASUN tournament champion Bellarmine was ineligible to go.
CSU Fullerton 61, Duke 78
The Titans were behind for good 24 seconds into the game, but it was just swell to have a speaking role in the Mike Krzyzewski farewell tour.
Yale 56, Purdue 78
The chances of an upset were minimal anyway. But then Purdue had 33 free throws, and Yale 11.
Montana State 62, Texas Tech 97
Let’s see, Texas Tech shot nearly 67 percent, including 60 percent from behind the 3-point line. Where in there was any room for Montana State to stay in the race long?
Colgate 60, Wisconsin 67
Played in Milwaukee, this was as a nearly pro-Badger crowd as a home game in Madison for Wisconsin, but the Raiders made plenty of trouble until Johnny Davis’ 25 points helped restore order.
UAB 68, Houston 82
Houston’s defense was No. 1 in the nation in field-goal percentage allowed, so this was a stout effort by the UAB shooters, hitting 46 percent. But Kyler Edwards’ 25 points kept the Cougars out of real difficulty.
Chattanooga 53, Illinois 54
The Mocs outrebounded the Illini, controlled Kofi Cockburn and defended Illinois into missing 14 of 17 from the 3-point line. They had double digit leads in both halves. They did everything except win. Illinois was not safe until Alfonso Plummer’s two free throws with 12 seconds left, and then two Chattanooga misses at the end.
USC 66, Miami 68
The Trojans were down 13 points in the first half and made that up. Then they were down seven in the final 44 seconds and made that up. Then they lost on two free throws with three seconds left.
Virginia Tech 73, Texas 81
It was tight all first half, and the Longhorns led by just two at halftime. Suddenly, they were shooting 64 percent the second half and ahead 17 and that was that.
Loyola Chicago 41, Ohio State 54
Candidate for oddest box score of the tournament. Loyola outscored Ohio State by 21 points from behind the arc — the Ramblers made eight, the Buckeyes went 1-for-15 — but lost by a bunch. That’s because Loyola had only 17 other points from either 2-pointers or the free-throw line. What did Sister Jean think?
Alabama 64, Notre Dame 78
The Irish had to fly cross-country from the First Four, just like Indiana. How come they weren’t exhausted and sitting ducks like the Hoosiers? They shot nearly 54 percent. Tide looking forward to getting Notre Dame on the football field.
LSU 54, Iowa State 59
LSU was here having made a sudden coaching change, and led for only 56 seconds. But the Tigers twice had Iowa State in a bad spot in the last two minutes. Both times freshman Tyrese Hunter saved the Cyclones’ day with 3-pointers.
Davidson 73, Michigan State 74
Want evenly-matched? Both teams shot the identical 47.5 percent. Michigan State had 35 rebounds, 13 assists and seven turnovers, Davidson 32, 14 and eight. The Spartans just happened to have the hottest hand in the building — Joey Hauser with 27 points — and the Wildcats didn’t.
Seton Hall 42, TCU 69
The Pirates shot under 29 percent, were outscored 40-14 in the paint and outrebounded by 13. Tapes of the game not on sale now in the school bookstore.
Baylor 86, North Carolina 93 OT
One moment you’re down 25 points, the next you’re tied and going into overtime, after frantically forcing a gazillion turnovers. Actually 16 after halftime. But that means five more minutes to play, and you’re on fumes, and soon the national championship defense is over. You look back at those 28 3-pointers you missed and wish one more could have gone in.
Memphis 78, Gonzaga 82
Memphis didn’t bring down the Zags, but certainly got their attention, jumping ahead by 12 early in the second half. Just when the Tigers were sniffing an upset, they developed a bad case of the Drew Timmes. He had 21 points the second half.
Creighton 72, Kansas 79
With injury-thinned reserves — the Bluejays were outscored 25-0 in bench points, 20-0 by Kansas sub Remy Martin alone — Creighton did not have the tools to pull this off. The two teams did combine to put on a fine free-throw shooting exhibition, making 37 of 41.
Tennessee 68, Michigan 76
With 12 lead changes, Tennessee chased Michigan into the final minute, down only two, but then was done in by an Eli Brooks hook shot. The Vols’ history is still Final Four-less.
Saint Mary’s 56, UCLA 72
UCLA’s efficiency — 56.5 percent shooting with only six turnovers — made it tough for the Gaels to breathe in their first game against the Bruins in more than 31 years.
Richmond 51, Providence 79
How not to create an upset: Take 22 shots from behind the 3-point arc, miss 21. The Friars hadn’t been in Sweet 16 in 25 years and that dry spell obviously had given them a fire to finally get back.
New Mexico State 48, Arkansas 53
The Aggies defense was victory-ready. Arkansas shot only 27.5 percent. The Aggies offense not so much. New Mexico State scored only 17 points the first half, and two days after rolling for 37, Teddy Allen had 12.
Murray State 60, Saint Peter’s 70
Who invited these trouble-making Peacocks to the party? Murray State couldn’t crack that magic any better than Kentucky, getting outscored 15-4 in points off turnovers. The Racers owned the nation’s best record but never led a second.
TCU 80, Arizona 85 OT
The Wildcats were fortunate to survive, needing a Bennedict Mathurin 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in regulation to play on. That was part of his 30-point night, to go with Christian Koloko’s 28; a 1-2 punch that finally brought down the Horned Frogs. But they left March with their first tournament win in 35 years.
Ohio State 61, Villanova 71
Typical Villanova. Few turnovers (nine), solid free-throw shooting (17-of-20), sound defense, lots of balance. For Ohio State, at least this was better than losing to Oral Roberts in 2021.
Auburn 61, Miami 79
Two points for Walker Kessler, 3-for-16 shooting for Jabari Smith. Auburn fans were undoubtedly even more shocked than NBA scouts, as the two future first-rounders were outscored together by Miami’s Charlie Moore, who was in his sixth year in college basketball. What a regular season it had been for the Tigers, but then what a thud.
Michigan State 76, Duke 85
The Spartans were up five with five minutes left, hanging tough in a game in which they shot only 41.5 percent while the Blue Devils hummed along at 57.1. It took all Duke had to pass them in the end. Tom Izzo said it well: Last year he was mad at his Spartans at the finish, this year he was proud of them.
Texas 71, Purdue 81
This is the way Chris Beard’s first Longhorns season ended: Unable to stop Trevion Williams (22 points) and outscored 33-7 at the free-throw line.
Notre Dame 53, Texas Tech 59
How’d the Red Raiders escape, missing 10 of their last 11 shots? Defense. Having won a First Four classic and upset Alabama, the Irish shooting momentum faded to 32.7 percent.
Wisconsin 49, Iowa State 54
So much for the Badgers’ edge in friendly Milwaukee. All those red shirts in the stands couldn’t save them against the Iowa State defense, as All-American Davis went 4-for-16 and missed all seven 3-point attempts.
Illinois 53, Houston 68
Another March, another second round flameout for the Illini. From the 17 turnovers to the 34 percent shooting to Kofi Cockburn being the only player to reach double figures, it was a painful ending for Illinois. Kinda like the Loyola game in 2021.
Gonzaga 68, Arkansas 74
They’re not No. 1. Where did that vaunted Zags’ offensive machine go? The box score numbers — 37.5 percent shooting, only 29 points the first half — did not compute. Until you watched Arkansas play defense. Gonzaga, so close so often, still waits for that truly magical year.
Arizona 60, Houston 72
Houston certainly knows how to kill the mood. In the second round, Bennedict Mathurin and Christian Koloko had a grand time combining for 58 points. Against the uncooperative Cougars, 25.
Michigan 55, Villanova 63
To upset Villanova, 34.4 percent shooting and missing half the free throws wasn’t going to do it.
Texas Tech 73, Duke 78
The Red Raiders led for more than 26 minutes. But not the right ones. Once again, the Blue Devils were teetering and once again, they found a way, this time hitting their last eight shots. What chance does a team have against destiny?
Providence 61, Kansas 66
Just when a 13-point Kansas lead had vanished and the Friars seemed primed for another one of their late victory dashes, the lights went out on Providence. Offense had been too hard — 17 points the first half, 4-for-23 shooting in 3-pointers for the night — to stop the Jayhawks.
Purdue 64, Saint Peter’s 67
History is not that nice when you’re on the wrong end of it. The Peacocks became the first No. 15 seed to ever win a Sweet 16 game and the Boilermakers aided and abetted with a bad game at an awful time. Stars Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey had nine field goals, and 11 turnovers. Purdue’s tournament difficulties are becoming the stuff of legend.
This also meant the top four teams in the mighty Big Ten — co-champions Illinois and Wisconsin, third-place Purdue, league tournament champion Iowa — had in order: Lost by scoring 53 points in a game, lost by scoring 49, been upset by a No. 15 seed, and been knocked out in the first round.
UCLA 66, North Carolina 73
Seventeen national championships were on the court, but more importantly, Caleb Love was for the Tar Heels, and the Bruins had no answer for him. Between his 30 points and the missing shooting touch of UCLA aces Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang — they combined to go 10-for-31 — it was the end for the Bruins.
Iowa State 56, Miami 70
Just another one of those 10-11 seed matchups in the Sweet 16. The Cyclones stepped aside by shooting under 37 percent and missing 18 of 22 from behind the arc, but this was light years from a 2-22 record only last year.
Houston 44, Villanova 50
Toughness is great, and the Cougars have that. But you also have to make a shot or two every so often to get to the Final Four, and Houston was at 29.8 percent, including 1-for-20 in 3-pointers. The Cougars needed Villanova to at least miss free throws. The Wildcats never did, not any of their 15.
Arkansas 69, Duke 78
It had been 27 years since the last Razorbacks’ Final Four, so maybe karma was due to be with the Hogs. But not with Mike Krzyzewski on the other bench. The Arkansas defense, so deadly in other rounds, could not stop the Blue Devils and their 55-percent shooting.
Miami 50, Kansas 76
It was the first Elite Eight appearance in the history of Miami basketball, so the Hurricanes could take that memory and forget how Kansas spotted them a six-point head start at halftime, then blew them away 47-15 in the second half.
Saint Peter’s 49, North Carolina 69
Fairy tale, meet reality, and the North Carolina muscle that allowed only 30 percent shooting and out-rebounded the Peacocks by 16. But Saint Peter’s is in the book of March lore to stay. The Peacocks will now be every No. 15 seed’s favorite inspiration.
Villanova 65, Kansas 81
It was 10-0 faster than you could say Ochai Agbaji’s shooting is back. The Jayhawk star, in a bit of a scoring slump, revived to put up 21 points, fellow senior David McCormack had 25, and Villanova was playing catch-up all night. Not the recommended way to try to beat a roster full of veterans. Jay Wright hadn’t lost a Final Four game since 2009.
Duke 77, North Carolina 81
The loss will probably hurt in Durham a good while, but the game with 18 lead changes and multiple heroic efforts was played at a stratospheric level. And then Mike Krzyzewski said goodbye.
North Carolina 69, Kansas 72
How it must hurt to make history by blowing a 16-point lead in the championship game. The Tar Heels did a lot of things right to win, Kansas just wouldn’t let them. The long ride of 2021-22 ended with North Carolina, Kansas and Duke in a peculiar blue-blooded tie: Most championship games lost at six. A lot of almost shining moments.