Studs & Duds: Recapping NCAA men's regionals

RSS

Jordan Niebrugge is one of the key players returning at Oklahoma State. (Getty)

Taking a look back at the studs and duds from the NCAA men’s regionals:


STUDS 

Hogan Award finalists: All three players – Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, Arizona State’s Jon Rahm and Washington’s Cheng-Tsung Pan – won their respective regional. That’s one way to impress the voters.

Oklahoma: The Sooners won their first regional in 14 years by boat-racing a field in San Diego that included Arizona State, Georgia Tech and Georgia. Stout.

Charlotte: The 49ers joined Kent State (2010) and Michigan (2011) as the only No. 9 seeds to win a regional. That they had to roll through top-ranked Florida State and red-hot Stanford makes the feat even more impressive.

Clutch comebacks from top-10 teams: When the pressure was at its highest, these guys delivered the goods ... 

  • LSU carded a final-round-best, 12-under 268 to jump from 10th to fifth
  • South Carolina’s four counting scorers shot 32, 32, 32, 33 – all bogey-free – on the back nine to seal the Gamecocks’ NCAA berth
  • Georgia Tech played its last six holes in 9 under to jump from sixth place to third
  • Oregon’s 17 back-nine birdies Saturday were more than during its first or second rounds 

Jordan Niebrugge: His second-round, course-record 62 – more than 11 shots better than the field average – helped save the Cowboys’ season on a day when the rest of his teammates failed to break 74 at Yale. For good measure, he won the regional, too.


DUDS 

North Carolina: No other way to explain the Tar Heels’ home-game clunker than they played terribly at the worst possible time. 

Colorado: The Buffaloes weren’t just the first-round leader in Noblesville. They also led the sixth-place team by 19 – 19! – with 36 holes to go. Back-to-back rounds of 300-plus, and they had the biggest collapse of regionals.  

Alabama: Not entirely unexpected given the amount of turnover, but after three years of clutch performances, we held out hope the two-time defending NCAA champion Crimson Tide could summon one last charge to at least reach nationals.

Baylor: A trendy sleeper pick at NCAAs because of the Bears’ two studs at the top of the lineup (Kyle Jones and Andreas Gjesteby), but an important lesson was reinforced here: You can only make noise at NCAAs if you get there.   

May Madness: All things considered, it was a relatively tame regional week, with 21 of the possible 30 top-five seeds advancing. Hey, on the bright side, it makes the NCAA field stronger.