Holy Cross holds off Southern, faces stiff test in No. 1 Oregon

0:45 | College Basketball
Holy Cross edges Southern for first NCAA win since 1953
Thursday March 17th, 2016

What happened

Holy Cross opened up a 12-point lead by the under-four minute timeout in the first half, but a Southern run left the Jaguars down by only five as the teams headed to the locker room. When Southern took its first lead, with 16:31 left in the game, it set up a back-and-forth contest the rest of the way. Ultimately, the Crusaders hit their free throws down the stretch and prevailed, 59–55 on Wednesday.

• What you need to know about every team in the 2016 NCAA tournament

Why it mattered

The game was a novelty for the wrong reasons: It was a matchup between the two worst teams in the field of 68. Holy Cross is kenpom.com’s No. 268 team, and Southern entered the game at No. 224. Still, for Holy Cross coach Bill Carmody, the game will be a welcome relief. After failing to get Northwestern into the NCAA tournament for 13 seasons (from 2000 to ’13), he now has guided Holy Cross to a berth and a win in Year 1.

What’s next

The Crusaders will travel to Spokane, Wash., to face West No. 1 seed Oregon on Friday at 7:27 p.m. The Ducks are the No. 10 team in the country in adjusted efficiency, per kenpom.com, and their matchup with the Holy Cross will be the widest disparity between two teams in terms of efficiency in the first round. Although it certainly will be a boon to Carmody on the recruiting trail to have won an NCAA tournament game, don’t count on the Crusaders to become the first No. 16 seed in history to upset a No. 1.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.