Midwest Region Wrap, Day 3: WorldStar Division

The parity in college basketball was supposed to extend into the tournament and provide competitive matchups in the Midwest. However, based on what’s occurred so far, these highlights belong on WorldStar, not ESPN, because beat downs have been the norm.

The average margin of victory in Saturday’s three games was nearly 22 points and there were no thrills for the losing sides or for neutral observers.

Louisville sounded the Fight Club horn against Colorado State and proceeded to shatter their self-esteem en route to a 56-82 victory.

Deep into the second half, Colorado State had the Cardinals on their heels but it wouldn’t last. The Colorado State Rams only averaged 11 turnovers per game heading into their second round matchup (the NCAA counts the play-in game as a round, but who are they kidding?). Colorado State fought the press, but ultimately they beat themselves, Tyler Durden-style, with turnovers.

Like an affiliate of the Salvation Army, 19 giveaways spoiled their chances. Colorado State shot 47.5 percent from the field and went to the line, three more times than Louisville, but attempted 15 fewer field goals.

The Cardinals have been the heavyweight champs of this region, but, as history suggests, that may not be such a good thing.

Louisville is 15th team since 1985 to win 1st 2 NCAA tourney games by 25+ points. Only 1 of previous 14 won National Championship ('05 UNC).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 24, 2013

Oregon beats Saint Louis. Ducks are 3-0 in Round of 32 since tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 24, 2013

Ultimately, the 12th seeded Oregon Ducks made the biggest statement of the day, despite dragging down the region’s average margin of victory. These ain’t no freshwater birds, either. The Ducks have been salty all week about being given a 12-seed. Instead, Oregon indirectly splashed salty Pacific H2O into the eyes of East Coast-biased experts who slotted them 12th in the Midwest by cruising to a 17-point victory over 4th-seeded Saint Louis.

Not since Ernie Kent and his bite-sized duo of Tajuan Porter and Aaron Brooks were leading Oregon into the Elite 8 have the Ducks been this relevant.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t as violent as “Pistons – Pacers Basketbrawl”, but fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills were witness to Tom Izzo sealing his reputation as the biggest bully in tournament history.

Tom Izzo is now 30-4 against lower seeds in the NCAA Tournament, the highest win pct of any coach vs lower seeds in history (min. 15 games).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 23, 2013

Freshman guard Gary Harris finished with a career-high 23 points, but 6-10 forward Adreian Payne flexed his midrange and post muscle with 14 points and 10 rebounds. If there’s one memory we’ll always have of Michigan State's forgettable 22-point victory, it's Memphis’ D.J. Stephens utilizing his gravity-defying hops for good on the defensive end.



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