ESPN9 minutes to read
2 nights. Two No. 1 seeds fell out.
It is the first time in 25 years that two No. 1 seeds have failed to reach the Sweet 16 in women’s March Madness. In 1998, 16th-ranked Harvard beat Stanford in the first round, and 9th-ranked Notre Dame beat Texas Tech in the second. Eighth seed Ole Miss on Sunday eliminated top seed Stanford.
The Hurricanes, who led from start to finish on Monday, are advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1992. They’ll face No. 4 Villanova, and No. 2-ranked LSU is playing another regional semifinal like chalk. It was held elsewhere in the Greenville 2 Regional.
Indiana, who last month won their first regular season title since 1983, tied the game four times in the fourth quarter but couldn’t top the list. Hoosiers freshman Yarden Garzon hit a three-pointer to hit the knot at 68 with under 8 seconds to play, but Destiny Hardin hit what turned out to be a game-winning jump shot with 3 seconds on the clock.
In Sunday’s NCAA Men’s Tournament, Miami also beat Indiana in the second round to secure a spot in the Sweet 16.
How did Miami manage to get over the upset? What is the Cyclones’ path forward in Sweet 16? What’s next for Indiana? ESPN’s Charlie Cream, Alexa Filippou, and MA Voepel dissected the second massive upset in as many nights.
Miami had Indiana on its heels from the start. How did the Hurricanes overthrow the first seed?
Generous: The game plan was final and consistent right down to Miami’s final offensive play. The Hurricanes attacked Indiana the entire postgame, and when it was on the line, coach Katie Meyer set up another play at the post. Harden placed Grace Berger on her hip, creating space and delivering a short Treasure to win it over. Another #1 seed went.
Miami also shot 8-for-14 from 3-point range, but the Hurricanes ran a lot of offense through Lola Bandande on the block. Indiana wasn’t able to handle the physique of the 6-foot-4, who finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, or be able to recover from the shooters quickly enough.
The Hurricanes held the lead the entire game, but it’s never easy to withstand the drills of a better home seed. But Miami stuck to the game plan and never waned mentally. Hurricanes also had a bit of luck.
With 3:52 left, Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes scored to tie it at 58 and had a chance to give Indiana its first lead with a free throw. came up short. With 22 seconds left in the game and Miami leading 66-65, Chloe Moore McNeil broke free on the left side of the lane and made a clean layup. She missed her badly. If Indiana could get over the hump and grab the lead, Miami might not have held on.
Filippo: This Miami team didn’t always have the highest-octane offense, but its depth (and enough offensive firepower) showed up when it needed it, with Pendande (19 points) and Roberts (16) answering the call despite averaging fewer. More than 10 points per game enter the second round on Monday. Miami’s leading scorer Haley Cavender (12.6 ppg) didn’t even need to go out for the stick to pull this off, though her 3-clutch and throwing down the stretch were phenomenal (she finished with 9 points). With Harden and Roberts warming up from 3, Miami ended up finishing the season up 57.1% from the arc.
But Meyer is a defensive-minded coach, and defense was the Canes’ biggest asset. Indiana’s 68 points were among their lowest scoring scores of the season, as was their shooting at 41% from the field. Notably, Miami held shooters Sidney Parish and Sarah Scalia to a combined 0-for-5 of 3, almost unheard of during Indiana’s stellar season.
Voepel: It hit Indiana that Holmes, who crashed out of the first-round game with a sore knee, was rusty in the first half. It was her first action since the March 4 Big Ten tournament semifinals. Only four points were scored in the first half, and that contributed to the momentum the Hurricanes were able to build, along with their lead.
It was similar to what we usually see when a higher seed loses on home court: the “underdog” team builds up its confidence, and the favored team starts to get upset. That’s what happened with Ole Miss-Stanford on Sunday, and again on Monday with Miami-Indiana.
By the second half, Holmes looked more like her normal self, and finished with 22 points. She came in shooting 10 of 19, which isn’t bad at all – just not what we’re used to seeing from a player who shoots 68.8% from the field.
Credit, as Charlie and Alexa point out, also goes to Miami’s defense. Not only was Pendande strong on offense, but her defense made Holmes work inside.
Miami, Villanova, LSU and Utah will battle the rest of the way at Greenville II. How does Indiana’s absence change the region?
Generous: Miami joins Ole Miss as the story of the tournament. It will be fun to see the always outspoken and passionate Mayer get some media attention this week. But LSU and Utah must have felt like a great opportunity was created. The winner of that game is now guaranteed to play the lowest seed in the Final Four.
Filippo: This regional already screamed potential chaos before the tournament, but now? I agree with Charlie that, on paper, the LSU-Utah winner probably feels ready to step up to Dallas. The possibility seems wild, frankly, given the notion recently that the Tigers weren’t “real” due to not being tested after a poor non-conference schedule — and Utah slipping under the radar for many outside the West Coast.
However, given the way Maddy Siegrist and Villanova have played this tournament so far, perhaps the Wildcats could make some history. They’ll still need other contributors, like Lucy Olsen, to get involved, but having a great talent like Siegrist on your team gives you a chance to win every night. And if the Miami offense can hold this up, the Hurricanes may continue to wreak havoc, but that may depend on the team(s) facing them.
There’s one more thing, too: The Seattle 3 teams should also feel better about not having to go through a team like Indiana should they advance to the Final Four.
What’s next for Indiana?
Generous: With Holmes already announcing her intention to return to Bloomington, the Hoosiers should once again be in the mix for the Big Ten title. Losing Berger would hurt, especially in close matches. For three years, she was often the player that Thierry Morin turned to. However, Indiana went 7-1 without it earlier in the season. The younger Hoosiers had already seen that they could succeed without Berger.
if Sarah Scalia chooses to take her extra year, and the rest of the main cast will join Holmes. Garzon hit the two biggest shots of the game against Miami — a pair of game-tying three-pointers in the last minute — and can be ready for big things, which softens Berger’s loss a bit.
What Moren created in Bloomington feels sustainable. This may just be a stumbling block in the way of a program staying here.
Voepel: Sometimes it’s weird how you can trace something back to a specific moment. For Indiana, it looked as if its fate changed for the worse when Caitlin Clark’s three-hit pointer drove across the net in Iowa on Feb. 26. It looked like Indiana would beat Hockey at the end of the regular season. , after clinching the Big Ten regular season title the previous week. At that point, Indiana had only had one loss all season: at Michigan State in December.
Then Clark’s bullet fell. The Hoosiers were unhappy with the loss, but they were still the top seed heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Everything seemed fine. They built a 24-point lead against Ohio State in the Big Ten Semifinals. But then they lost that game.
Holmes then dealt with her knee problems, which affected her last year as well. The Hoosiers were still ranked No. 1 in the NCAA for the first time, and after a slow start beat Tennessee Tech in the first round. But the heartbreaker was on the way to a second-round loss on Monday.
Morin did a great job at Bloomington, and as Charlie said, there’s no reason to think Indiana won’t be a top team for years to come. Even after Monday’s crushing loss, Maureen spoke about how proud she is of this season and this team. But the short story ending with a first trip to the Women’s Final Four that the Hoosiers and Berger, a fifth-year-old freshman, had hoped for, didn’t quite pan out.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”