NCAA: Tournament Results, Sweet 16, Day 1
The Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament began on Thursday, with the first four games, two in the Los Angeles Regional and two in the Washington, DC Regional.
The hottest game of the night was the first contest in Los Angeles at the Staples Center where West No. 2 Ohio State took on No. 6 Arizona. A game winning triple by LaQuinton Ross with 2 seconds on the clock gave the Buckeyes their ticket to the Elite 8 where they will play No. 9 Wichita State. The Staples Center is home to both the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers of the NBA, and it turns out Ross was given the locker used by Kobe Bryant. In the post-game interview he commented, “Before we got here, I called dibs on it,” referring to the Bryant’s dressing space, but it turns out he was given Bryant’s lockerroom digs by coincidence. He also mentioned that a Staples Center staffer had told him that it was Bryant’s space prior to the game. The three-ball Ross dropped in for the win came 20 seconds after he committed a foul on Arizona’s Mark Lyons as he drove to the basket and sank a layup. The basket counted, and Lyons connected on his free throw to knot the score at 70 with 21.2 seconds to play. Ohio State called a time out to set up a play, and as they executed it, Arizona blew a switch on a pick and left Ross wide open. Point Aaron Craft, who dressed in Steve Nash’s locker, dished him the ball for a wide-open shot. As it went in, the officials called time to review the clock, giving Arizona time to set up a play, when they had no timeouts left. With 2.1 seconds remaining, Arizona tried getting the ball to someone at the top of the key on their end, but Ohio State picked it off to preserve their win and place in the next round.
The other contests included East No. 3 Marquette man-handling No. 2 Miami, 71:61, in a game that the final score doesn’t do justice to. Miami was held to 16 first quarter points and Marquette held a 22-point lead with just over two minutes to play, 69:47. The Hurricanes were able to cut the margin down significantly in the last two minutes, but it was too little, too late and the Golden Eagles made a date to take on Syracuse in the Regional Final.
East No. 1 Indiana squared off against No. 4 Syracuse and became the second No. 1 seed to be sent packing. The Orangemen led by as much as 18 points in the first half, but ended up with a 12-point lead as the clubs walked off the court for their halftime break. In the second half, Indiana was able to get to within six with 14 minutes to play, but Syracuse ran off six unanswered to push the lead back to 12 and shortly after it grew to 16. Indiana just didn’t have the shooting accuracy they’ve come to rely on and Syracuse was just too sharp on defense, holding pre-season pick for player of the year, Cody Zellar, to 11 points, and causing havoc to the Indiana offense with their 2-3 zone. Syracuse will meet Big East rival Marquette in the Regional Final this weekend. Marquette beat Syracuse in a Big East contest late February.
In the battle of the overachievers, No. 9 Wichita State put a stop to the impressive run of No. 13 La Salle, 72:58. Both clubs have destroyed tournament brackets all over with upset win, after upset win. La Salle’s tournament started in the play in round, where they defeated Boise State. They then knocked off No. 4 Kansas State and then beat No. 12 Ole Miss to earn the spot in the Regional semis. Wichita State opened with a win over No. 8 Pittsburgh, then took down the No. 1 ranked team in the country and No. 1 seed in the West Regional, Gonzaga. This game wasn’t close from the beginning as Wichita State got out to a 14:2 advantage to open the contest. The Shockers lead by 16 at the half and got up by as much as 22 early in the second half before La Salle ran off 10 unanswered to cut the lead to 10. Wichita State was able to rebuild the lead up to 20 with a few minutes to go and ending it with a 14 point decision and a trip to the Regional Finals where they’ll take on Ohio State.
Friday’s games include Midwest No. 1 Louisville vs No. 12 Oregon, Midwest No. 1 Duke vs No. 3 Michigan State, South No. 1 Kansas vs No. 4 Michigan, and South No. 3 Florida vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast University.
|Thursday, March 28|
|73:70||Ohio State (2) vs Arizona (2)|
|61:50||Syracuse (4) vs Indiana (1)|
|71:61||Marquette (3) vs Miami-Florida (2)|
|72:58||Wichita State (9) vs La Salle (13)|
NCAA Tournament Schedule (Regional Semifinals)
|Friday, March 29|
|7:15 PM ET||Oregon (12)
vs Louisville (1)
|7:37 PM ET||Michigan (4)
vs Kansas (1)
|9:45 PM ET||Michigan State (3)
vs Duke (2)
|10:07 PM ET||Florida Gulf Coast U (15)
vs Florida (3)
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