NetScouts Basketball is covering the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament from all the regional sites.
Upset and Game of the Day: Florida Gulf Coast does it again becoming the first #15-seed to advance to the Sweet Sixteen as they dispatch San Diego State and the Mountain West Conference from the tournament.
Performance of the Day: Florida Gulf Coast’s Brett Comer ran the show with no fear for the second straight game and set the tone for the upset win over San Diego State. Comer dished out 14 assists, several of them spectacular and had his second straight double-double.
Best Conference Performance: The Big Ten sends Indiana. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State to the Sweet Sixteen. Illinois played #2-seed Miami very tough. The Big Ten is now 10-2 in the tournament.
Worst Conference Performance: The Mountain West was rated as the #1 conference according to the RPI coming into the event. The RPI really needs to do something with their algorithms. The MWC went 1-5 with San Diego State’s loss to Florida Gulf Coast the final blow. We attended the MWC tournament and thee is no way that was the top conference in the nation.
Today’s action got off to a great start with a barn-burner between Ohio State and Iowa State. The game was close until the Buckeyes pulled out to a 13-point lead with 6:07 remaining. Then the Cyclones made a furious comeback scoring 13 straight points capped by a Korie Lucious three-point play with 3:53 left. The Cyclones were helped by Aaron Craft missing front ends on two one-and-one free throw opportunities. The game went back and forth from there. Iowa State’s Tyrus McGee hit a three-pointer to put the Cyclones up 72-71. Craft responded with an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Buckeyes a 74-73 lead. Two free throws by McGee and one by Craft left us with a tie at 75 with 1:15 left. After an Ohio State steal the Buckeyes had the ball with 58 seconds left. Craft missed a jumper but Iowa State couldn’t corral the rebound as the ball went out of bounds giving the Buckeyes another chance. Craft kept the ball and drilled a three-pointer over Georges Niang with 0.5 seconds left giving Ohio State a thrilling 78-75 win. The Buckeyes advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth straight year. Deshaun Thomas led Ohio State with 22 points while Craft added 18 points and six assists. Both teams shot very well, Iowa State going 12-of-25 on three-pointers with Ohio State shooting 51% overall and 9-of-18 on three’s. A key play was a miscall on a charge when Craft positioned himself for the charge but had his foot hovering over the restricted area line. By rule he should have been considered to be in the restricted area which would have given Iowa State a basket and the opportunity for a three-point play.
Indiana scored the last 10 points of the game over the final 3:09 to escape with a 58-52 win over the Temple Owls. The Hoosiers did not have the lead in the second half until Victor Oladipo hit a free throw to give them a 53-52 lead with 54 seconds remaining. After a Temple miss, Olapido hit the big shot of the game, a three-pointer from the top of the key as time was expiring on the shot clock to give the Hoosiers a four-point advantage with 15 seconds left. Oladipo led Indiana with 16 points and eight rebounds. Cody Zeller added 15 but had trouble finishing inside and committed six turnovers. Oladipo had a hard time guarding Khalif Wyatt. The Temple star scored 20 of his teams first 24 points and ended the game with 31 points on 12-of-24 shooting. Temple was in the game despite not shooting well (33.9% from the field including only 3-of-24 on three-pointers). Temple’s Scootie Randall was 0-of-12 from the field including 0-of-6 on three’s.
The Kansas Jayhawks played a nearly perfect second half, coming back from an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat North Carolina 70-58. Kansas outscored the Tar Heels 49-28 after intermission. North Carolina improved late this season by going small, but that hurt them against the bigger Jayhawks. Kansas owned the boards by a 50-38 margin and Jeff Withey had his way inside on both ends of the court. On defense he came up with16 rebounds, five blocks and held James Michael McAdoo for 5-of-19 shooting. Withey scored 16 points, second to Travis Releford’s 22. Relaford was outstanding on 9-of-13 shooting and also grabbed eight rebounds. Backup point guard Naadir Tharpe made three three-pointers in the second half to help break the game open. The Tar Heels shot poorly throughout he contest (30.1 % from the field and 6-of-21 on three-pointers). The Jayhawks won despite another off game from leading scorer Ben McLemore who scored only two points on 0-of-9 shooting. They’ll need McLemore to regain his touch when they face Michigan in the Sweet Sixteen.
Florida took a 21-point halftime lead, held off a Minnesota comeback and pulled away for a 78-64 victory. The Golden Gophers were hurt when leading scorer Andre Hollins drew his fourth personal foul and was taken out of the game midway through he second half. Florida was very efficient on offense, shooting 56.8% for the game from the field including 10-of-20 on three-pointers. Mike Rosario led the Gators with 25 points. Hollins led Minnesota with 25 points including six three-pointers.
Florida Gulf Coast became the first #15-seed to reach the Sweet Sixteen with a convincing 81-71 win over San Diego State. The Eagles broke open a tie game in the middle of the second half with a 19-0 run. The run was punctuated by some impressive assists by Brett Comer and subsequent dunks. Florida Gulf Coast had 21 assists on 33 made baskets with Comer getting 14 of the assists. He also added 10 points to earn his second straight double-double. Guards Bernard Thompson (23 points) and Sherwood Brown (17 points) hit the big shot repeatedly. Christophe Varidel (Switzerland) came off the bench when Brown got into foul trouble and hit three big three-pointers. Jamaal Franklin led the Aztecs with 20 points and 11 rebounds as San Diego State was the last Mountain West Conference team eliminated from the tournament. Florida Gulf Coast advances to face Florida in a game will draw a huge television viewing audience.
It was a battle of La Salle’s guards against the big bodies of Ole Miss. The small guys won as Tyrone Garland made a Southwest Philly Floater in the lane with 2.5 seconds remaining to give the Explorers a hard-fought 74-72 win. It was La Salle’s third win in the tournament with prior victories over Boise State and Kansas State. La alle’s four guard offense was ultimately too much for Ole Miss to keep up with. Ramon Galloway hit 6-of-10 three-pointers in scoring 24 points, Garland added 17 and La Salle’s guards scored 68 of their 76 points. Who says you can’t win playing small ball? Marshall Henderson led Ole Miss with 21 points and Murphy Holloway was tough inside with 14 points and 13 rebounds but it wasn’t enough. La Salle advances to face Wichita State in a battle of mid-majors to get to the Elite Eight.
Miami escaped an upset bid in a tight 63-59 win over Illinois. After the Illini took a 55-54 lead with over a minute left, Shane Larkin drilled a step-back three-pointer the give the Hurricanes a two point lead. On the subsequent posesssion Illinois’ Tracy Abrams missed a three-point attempt and the ball appeared to go out of bounds off Miami’s Kenny Kadji. However the referees awarded the ball to Miami. Durand Scott then made two free throws for a four-point lead to ice the game. Scott had an off game for the Hurricanes with six points. Miami really needed the 21 points they received from Rion Brown, who averages six points per game. Larkin contributed 17 points and five assists. Brandon Paul led Illinois with 18 points. All four top seeds advance in the East regional with Miami facing #3-seed Marquette in the Sweet Sixteen.
Duke’s defense shut down Creighton as the Blue Devils won easily 66-50. Duke held the Blue Jays to 30.2% shooting and 2-of-19 on three-pointers. They held Doug McDermott to 21 points on 4-of-16 from the field. The Blue Devils survived despite foul trouble to Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. Rasheed Sulaimon picked up the offensive slack and poured in 21 points to lead Duke. Seth Curry added 17. Duke advances in face Michigan State in an intriguing Sweet Sixteen match-up.