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64 teams have been eliminated in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. In years past, that would mean that a champion had already been crowned. But its different this year. 68 teams started, and now only four remain. The Final Four is set, and it contains a few big surprises.
The shocking matchup between the No. 11 Va. Commonwealth Rams and the No. 8 Butler Bulldogs will tip off the Final Four on Saturday night at 6:09 PM. Later in the night, in a bit of a more traditional meeting, the No. 3 Connecticut Huskies will face the No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats at 8:49 PM. All this will set up the NCAA Tournament Championship Game on Monday night.
All of the Final Four games will be broadcast live on CBS. Jim Nantz will have the call, along with Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr, and Tracy Wolfson.
This unique Final Four guarantees that a mid-major team will meet a big conference team for the national title for the second year in a row. Will Butler be in the final once again, or will First Four team VCU be the first ever team to play seven games in the NCAA Tournament? We'll find out next weekend.
The Connecticut Huskies were picked to finish 10th in the Big East preseason poll. Now, they are heading to the Final Four. The Huskies survived a furious rally from Arizona in the Elite Eight to win 65-63 and punch its ticket to Houston.
The Wildcats had two chances to win the game in regulation, but Derrick Williams missed a three-pointer at the top of the key. Kyle Fogg grabbed the rebound, and kicked it out to Jamelle Hill, who had a very good look from the right corner. However, his shot went in and out, and time ran out during the scramble.
Kemba Walker scored 20 points to lead UConn, including a stepback jumper that ultimately provided the final margin. Jeremy Lamb added 19 points, carrying UConn at many points. Williams led Arizona with 20 points, but struggled at times against UConn's length inside. Neither team shot really well from the field, but UConn did just enough to get the win.
When the 2011 NCAA Tournament began, nobody was picking No. 8 seed Butler to make yet another deep run. But just like last year, the Bulldogs have shocked the world. Shelvin Mack scored 27 points, as the Bulldogs advanced to the Final Four for the second straight season with a 74-71 overtime win over No. 2 seed Florida in the Elite Eight.
Mack hit what was the eventual game-winning shot with just over a minute remaining, and Florida fumbled away the game down the stretch. First, Erving Walker missed a free throw. Then, Kenny Boynton took a long three-pointer with 14 seconds left, despite his team down one. Finally, Walker took a long three with five seconds left as a last gasp attempt.
Butler trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half, but kept rallying and eventually tied the game. Walker had a chance to end it in regulation, but missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Well, here we go. The Elite Eight matchups will get underway tonight, starting tonight with a matchup of two great coaches (Brad Stevens vs. Billy Donovan) and another of two of this tournament's best players (Kemba Walker vs. Derrick Williams). Here's a rundown of today's action:
Butler Bulldogs vs. Florida Gators, Elite Eight Matchup, 4:30 on CBS (Gus Johnson, Len Elmore, Reggie Miller): The Butler Bulldogs are coming off a win against the Wisconsin Badgers and will take on the Florida Gators, who are fresh off of beating 'The Jimmer' and the rest of the BYU Cougars. Butler certainly isn't playing like an eight seed right now, and look to show everyone how good they really are by going to back to back final fours. Hopefully this game will be close with under two minutes to go so we can all be treated to more Gus Johnson moments.
Connecticut Huskiesvs. Arizona Wildcats, Elite Eight Matchup, 7:00 on CBS (
Last night's slate of games came in two distinct variety of outcomes: blowouts and down to the wire upset victories. Some of the teams you'd thought would win (Ohio St.) wound up falling, and this years cinderella, VCU, is keeping their glass slipper on for now as they have all moved on to the Elite Eight. Here's a recap of last night's action:
East No. 2 North Carolina Beats No. 11 Marquette 81-63: This wasn't really close. The Tar Heels went to the locker room at half with a 25 point lead and Marquette was simply shell shocked. There was nothing they could do but watch UNC simply out execute them on both ends of the floor.
Southwest No. 1 Kansas Defeats No. 12 Richmond 77-57: This was another one of those games where the better team showed who was boss. And unfortunately for Richmond, they didn't have enough to keep up with Kansas. There were spurts where the Spiders showed some fight, but in the end, they were outmatched by the Jayhawks.
East No. 4 Kentucky Defeats No. 1 Ohio St. 62-60: Ah, this is where it got good. This was a great game where we saw Ohio State and Kentucky go back in forth in the final minutes, a contest where it felt like whoever had the ball last would win the game. The final sequence of the game included Buckeye senior Jon Diebler draining a three pointer to tie the game at 60 with 21.2 seconds left. From there, Brandon Knight became the hero, as he drained a tough 15 foot jumper with 5 seconds left to win the game and help the Wildcats knock off the number one overall seed.
Southwest No. 11 VCU Defeats No. 10 Florida State 72-71 in OT: Cinderella lives to fight another day. VCU won a thriller against Florida State in a game that saw tons of lead changes the wire, both at the end of regulation and in the overtime. Trailing by one point with 7 seconds left in OT, Shaka Smart drew up a brilliant in bounds play to Bradford Burgess, who provided the game winning bucket to send the Rams into the Elite Eight.
=The second half of the Sweet 16 will be played tonight, and by tomorrow, there will only be eight teams alive in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The matchups tonight are a little bit less juicy because they feature some of the lower seeded teams still alive in the tournament. But i suppose there is a chance that one of the lower seeded team's Cinderella runs will continue.
Kevin Berger is previewing the games at SB Nation, and he doesn't think we'll see any upsets in the two Southwestern region games tonight.
It's not likely we'll see any more upsets in this region. Florida State should handle VCU and Kansas won't have much trouble with a Richmond squad that lacks depth. If Richmond stays in the ball game long enough to come down to one or two possessions however, they do have a huge advantage over KU because they have a better creator in Anderson to manufacture buckets down the stretch. The Jayhawks lack that kind of playmaking at the guard spot, but it's doubtful the Spiders keep it close enough to make that matter.
Marquette has proven it can take down big, physical frontcourts after dismantling Syracuse, and North Carolina has shown a propensity to struggle with quick, athletic backcourts because they don't guard the perimeter all that well. That's a recipe for a shocking 11 vs. 2 seed upset and an upset stomach for Heels' fans.
The second night of the 2011 NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16 continues tonight, with four more regional semi-final games. The full star power of the tournament was on display last night, but there will still be some extremely talented players in action tonight. Let's take a look at one player to watch for each of the eight teams playing tonight.
North Carolina: Harrison Barnes is probably the biggest name on this team, but I have really enjoyed watching fellow freshman Kendall Marshall run the Tar Heel offense to perfection over the second half of the season. Also, he is a local product, graduating from Bishop O'Connell last year; so you should be be rooting for him.
Marquette: This is a toss up between Darius Johnson-Odom and Jimmy Butler. Both play a similar position, and style, and both can have a significant impact on the game. They want to get most of their point in the paint, but if either of their shots are falling, look out.
Kansas: This one has to be the Morris twins. Marcus was the Big-XII player of the year, and his brother Markieff is no slouch in his own right. On any given night they can combine for 30 points and 20 rebounds. They have imposing size and guard skill sets. They are matchup nightmares for pretty much everyone they face.
Richmond: And that is why Justin Harper is going to need to have a big game for the Spiders. He is a legitimate NBA prospect, and has the size and athleticism to battle the Morris twins in the paint. Normally it's the size disadvantage that really hurts small conference teams against the big boys, Harper can help neutralize that.
Ohio St.: Jared Sullinger will get all the attention, but I really like watching Jon Diebler. He knows that he is going to shoot the three, and so does everyone else in the building, and yet, he still manages to do so at a high percentage. He's the definition of a guy who does one thing well, understands that, and does the most with his area of talent expertise.
Kentucky: Terrance Jones is going to be a consistent double-double guy for the Wildcats, but when Brandon Knight plays well, it takes them to a different level. Knight can go off for 30 at any point (like their last game for instance), and can really improve his draft stock with a strong performance in the tournament. Never underestimate that incentive.
Florida St.: If Chris Singleton plays a lot of minutes, he is their best player. But I'm not expecting him to be as good as he normally is. That's why I'm watching Michael Snaer, who has been a little bit of a disappointment for the Seminoles after coming in as a McDonald's All-American. But he can be an impact player on both ends of the court, and needs to play like one if Florida St. is going to move on.
VCU: Jamie Skeen is the best player on the team, but Joey Rodriguez is the straw that stirs the drink. He's the classic "intangibles first" point guard who always seems to lead his team deep into the tournament. He might not be the best player on the team, but he brings their heart and toughness.
The Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament rolls on tonight, with four more games that figure to be as exciting as what we saw last night. Here is a schedule of games, the announcers who will be calling the action, and a quick preview of each game.
7:15 p.m. CBS: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Nantz/Kellogg//Wolfson: We didn't really see this a lot yesterday, but there are some lower seeded teams in today's games which means favorable matchups for some of the top seeds. Marquette has proven to be a really god team in this tournament, but I think North Carolina will be happy facing the eleventh seeded Golden Eagles as the No. 2 seed.
7:27 p.m., TBS: Kansas Jayhawks vs. Richmond Spiders Albert/Kerr//Sager: Another fairly lopsided matchup, on paper at least. Kansas is one of the tournament favorites at this point, and Richmond is probably just happy to be here. I think the Jayhawks win this one big.
9:45 p.m., CBS: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Kentucky Wildcats Nantz/Kellogg//Wolfson: This is the kind of matchup that the tournament is all about. Two of the proudest programs in basketball history squaring off with everything on the line. This is going to be the game I make the most effort to watch tonight.
9:57 p.m., TBS: Florida State Seminoles vs. VCU Rams Albert/Kerr/Sager: You don't often see a matchup of two 10+ seed in the Sweet 16, but here we are. But that might also mean that these two teams will be playing as hard as anyone. Should be competitive, at the very least.
Arizona used an incredible second half run to complete a 93-77 upset of top seeded Duke, in what will go down as one more surprising results of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Not because Arizona had no shot of beating the Blue Devils, but because of just how badly they outplayed them in the second half; outscoring Duke 55-33 in the final frame.
Derrick Williams had 33 points to lead the Wildcats, but as SB Nation reports, his supporting cast really stepped up in that frantic second half.
As good as Williams was, it was his supporting cast that stepped up in the second half. Williams had 25 first-half points, but only seven points after halftime. Instead, it was players like point guard Lamont "Momo" Jones, Solomon Hill and others who really came through. It was a complete team effort that was made possible because Williams willed Arizona to compete in the first half.
Arizona will now face UConn and Kemba Walker, in a matchup of All-Americans and likely lottery picks on Saturday. We'll have more on that game as it approaches.
The Sweet Sixteen of the 2011 NCAA Tournament gets underway tonight with four Regional semi-finals. Those games will feature some of the most talented Players in the Country. We're going to go team-by-team and pick eight players that you should be keeping an eye on tonight.
UConn: Kemba Walker has proved all season long that he is capable of taking over games all by himself. He might be the quickest player in the Country and has added a reliable jump shot to his repertoire this year. He'll get some help from his young teammates, but the Huskies will only go as far as Walker will take them.
SDSU: Kawhi Leonard might have flown under the radar in recruiting, but he is a household name now. Even from the small forward position, he is one of the best rebounders in the Nation. He's a Gerald Wallace type player for the Aztecs, and should be a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.
BYU: I don't think I could keep you from watching Jimmer Fredette even if I tried. There are other good players on this team as well (namely Jackson Emery) but Fredette will inevitably steal the show tonight. The range he has on his jump shot, and his willingness to use it, make every possession exciting.
Florida: Chandler Parsons was the SEC player of the year, but I'm going to go with Irving Walker. He's really small, and plays with the chip on his shoulder you would expect from somebody his size. He showed in the last game against UCLA that he wasn't afraid to take, and make, big shots either.
Duke: Kyrie Irving is still shaking the rust off from his injury, but he can still be a force for the Blue Devils. He's one to watch because when he is healthy, Duke's chances of winning increase dramatically. He might not be the best player on the court tonight or moving forward, but he could be the most important.
Arizona: Derrick Williams is the obvious one here, and he'll get plenty of attention I'm sure, but I'm going with "Momo" Jones. The Wildcats will need to get Williams some help if they want to win the game tonight, and I think Jones is the most likely candidate to provide that.
Wisconsin: Jon Leuer leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, but I think Jordan Taylor will be extremely important if they want to win tonight. He was huge in their win over Ohio St. earlier in the year, and I think that he will have to make an impact if the Badgers want to advance.
Butler: Take your pick, Matt Howard or Shelvin Mack. Howard will patrol the paint and score consistently for the Bulldogs. But Mack can catch fire at any moment and could put up 30 tonight. If Butler is going to keep winning, they will need contributions from both of these guys.
The 2011 NCAA Tournament starts back up again tonight with four games featuring some of the best players in the Country. The first night of the Sweet Sixteen should be a good one because Butler is the lowest seeded team, and we all know what they are capable of. There shouldn't be any blowouts tonight, but will there be any upsets?
Kevin Berger has been previewing the day's action at SB Nation, and he does not believe there will be an upset in the West regional games.
You won't have one in the Duke game unless the Wildcats can somehow stay in front of Smith, Irving, and Dawkins. Arizona gave up 21 second half points to Texas' enigmatic J'Covan Brown and he's not quite the same caliber as Smith and Irving.
He doesn't mention UConn Vs. San Diego St. because I don't think that one would be an upset either way. Would anyone really be shocked if Kemba Walker led the lower seeded Huskies to a win over the Aztecs? As for the Southwest regional, that might be a different story.
We've already seen plenty in the wild upsets in the Southwest region. When the seedings first came out, this one looked like a potential train wreck and this portion of your bracket is likely covered in red. It looked like any one of eight teams had a chance to make the run to Houston, and there are still four legit ones left. BYU would be an upset in seeding only because the Cougars are just as talented as the boys from Gainesville. I'd be surprised if the Butler vs. Wisconsin game was anything less than a 40 minute prize fight so either way it won't be an upset.
The Sweet Sixteen of the 2011 NCAA Tournament gets underway tonight, and some of the absolute best players in the Nation will be taking part. I'm assuming that none of you have any of these teams picked in your bracket, so I figured I'd offer a little bit of a preview of tonight's action.
7:15 p.m, CBS: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Connecticut Huskies: Both teams feature a player that will probably be selected in the lottery of the upcoming NBA Draft. Kawhi Leonard is a do-it-all small forward for the Aztecs, while UConn's Kemba Walker has been arguably the best player in the Nation over the past Month. Can the Aztec defense contain Walker? Can UConn's young supporting talent step up and help him? The answers to these questions will be important to the outcome of the game.
7:27 p.m., TBS: Florida Gators vs. BYU Cougars: In a word; Jimmer. BYU has Jimmer Fredette, and everybody loves talking about him. But Florida has a lot of size, and without Brandon Davies, it will be hard for BYU to match it. I know Jimmer has won some games single handily for the Cougars this year, but I don't know if he can do it against this good of a team.
9:45 p.m., CBS: Duke Blue Devils vs. Arizona Wildcats: Duke is one of the deepest teams in the Country, but Arizona will probably have the best player on the court tonight in Derrick Williams. If he can get some help from his role players, than Arizona has a pretty good chance of upsetting the Blue Devils.
9:57 p.m. TBS: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Butler Bulldog: This is a game between the two teams that play the most traditionally of the remaining teams. It might not be fun to watch minutes 1-38, but it should be a pretty good game down the stretch. If you like good fundamental basketball played at a high level, this game is for you.
As the 2011 NCAA Tournament heads into it's second weekend, the Sweet 16 is set and the games start to become a little bit more meaningful. You can check out a Printable Sweet 16 bracket here. Over at SBNation.com, they have the times and announcers for all of the games that will be played on Thursday and Friday.
7:15 p.m, CBS: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Connecticut Huskies Lundquist/Raftery/Visser
7:27 p.m., TBS: Florida vs. BYU Cougars Johnson/Elmore/Miller/Snider
*Editor's note: Gus Johnson is calling a game that features Jimmer Fredette of BYU. In the biz we call that a "dream come true."
9:45 p.m., CBS: Duke Blue Devils vs. Arizona Wildcats Lundquist/Raftery/Visser
9:57 p.m. TBS: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Butler Bulldogs Johnson/Elmore/Miller
7:15 p.m. CBS: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Marquette Golden Eagles Nantz/Kellogg//Wolfson
7:27 p.m., TBS: Kansas Jayhawks vs. Richmond Spiders Albert/Kerr//Sager
9:45 p.m., CBS: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Kentucky Wildcats Nantz/Kellogg//Wolfson
9:57 p.m., TBS: Florida State Seminoles vs. VCU Rams Albert/Kerr/Sager
West: No. 3 UCONN Vs. No. 2 San Diego St.: The Aztecs have a little bit of an advantage in this one because the game will be played in Anaheim, so they might have a homecourt advantage. Then again, the Huskies have Kemba Walker, so that might just even out.
Southeast: No. 3 BYU Vs. No. 2 Florida: Jimmer time! If you listen to the commentators in this one, you might think that he's the only player on the court.
West: No. 5 Arizona Vs. No. 1 Duke: Duke is extremely strong and balanced, but I'm not sure they have anyone who can cover Arizona's Derrick Williams one-on-one.
Southeast: No. 8 Butler Vs. No. 4 Wisconsin: I wouldn't want to face Butler this time of year. They might not look like the team that got to the National Championship game last year, but they will be just as tough an out.
East: No. 11 Marquette Vs. No. 3 Marquette: I guess it's surprising that one of the two Big East teams left in the field was the last one to make it as an at-large. But Marquette plays as hard as anyone, and they will be a tough matchup for the Tar Heels.
Southwest: No. 12 Richmond Vs. No. 1 Kansas: The Spiders are the lowest seeded team to make it to the Sweet 16. Their prize? A matchup with the Jayhawks, who might be the tournament favorites. Hooray....
East: No. 4 Kentucky Vs. No. 1 Ohio St.: The upsets are nice and all, but this is the kind of game that the NCAA Tournament is really about. Two great programs meeting with a lot on the line. This should be a good one.
Southwest: No. 11 Vs. No. 10 Florida St.: Is this game even in the same tournament as the last one we mentioned? Two double digit seeds playing for the right to continue wearing that slipper.
Raise your hand if you had both Richmond and VCU going to the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Anybody? Nobody? Well that certainly makes me feel a little bit better about my bracket being in shambles. The NCAA Tournament is traditionally the most chaotic event in sports, and it has lived up to that billing this year. Here's a rundown of Sunday's action.
East No. 2 North Carolina Beats No. 7 Washington 86-83: Washington actually led this game for most of the contest, but North Carolina hit some big shots down the stretch as the Huskies' offense went ice cold. And despite John Henson's best efforts, The Tar Heels eked out a win.
West No. 1 Duke Beats No. 8 Michigan 73-71: This game was probably a little bit closer than most people thought it would be, and Michigan actually had a chance to tie it up in the last seconds. But a floater in the lane went off the back iron, and Duke escaped with a narrow win.
East No. 1 Ohio St. Blows Out No. 8 George Mason 98-66: George Mason didn't have their hero from Friday in Luke Hancock, but I don't think he would have helped much in this one. George Mason got out to a quick 11-2 lead, but it went downhill from there. Very, very quickly.
West No. 5 Arizona Beats No. 4 Texas 70-69: After a questionable five second call in the last few seconds, Arizona got the ball back down two and gave it to their All-American Derrick Williams. he responded with an and-one lay-in to give Arizona the lead. Just another drama filled game in the NCAA Tournament.
Southwest No. 11 VCU Blows Out No. 3 Purdue 76-94: This is probably one of the more surprising results in the entire tournament. Nobody gave VCU much of a shot in their play-in game against USC, three wins later, the Rams are headed to the Sweet 16.
East No. 11 Marquette Beats No. 3 Syracuse 66-62: There are a lot of people out there talking about how poorly the Big East is performing the NCAA Tournament, but it's hard to have a lot of teams advance when they are playing each other. Marquette was the last Big East team to make the field, and they are starting to justify that inclusion.
Southwest No. 1 Kansas Beat No. 9 Illinois 73-59: For a while there it looked like Illinois might be able to hang around in this game, but then Kansas showed why they are one of the favorites for the national championship. With a favorable bracket moving forward, they have an excellent shot to make the Final Four.
Southwest No. 10 Florida St. Beats No. 2 Notre Dame 71-57: And it wasn't really even that close. This is probably the biggest black eye the Big East got in the Tournament. With their defense moving forward, Florida St. might be a hard team to contend with.
It was a wild day of action in the 2011 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, one certainly befitting of March Madness. Eight teams advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA bracket, and one of them is a team that knocked out a No. 1 seed. Butler stunned No. 1 seeded Pittsburgh in Washington D.C., but that wasn't the only thrilling finish. Here's a recap of Saturday's games.
East No. 4 Kentucky 71, No. 5 West Virginia 63: Brandon Knight rebounded from a horrendous first game to score 30 points, and the Wildcats extracted some revenge from last year's Elite 8 to move on in a tight game.
Southeast No. 2 Florida 73, No. 7 UCLA 65: Another tight game ended when Erving Walker stepped up and made some huge, huge plays down the stretch. Kenny Boynton, however, suffered an ankle injury in the game, which is bad news for the Gators.
Southwest No. 12 Richmond 63, No. 13 Morehead State 45: Read all about that game here.
West No. 2 San Diego State 71, No. 7 Temple 64: It wasn't pretty, but it was thrilling. The Aztecs simply outlasted Temple in double overtime, in a game that surely won't be viewed by basketball aficionados much.
Southeast No. 8 Butler 71, No. 1 Pittsburgh 70: Read all about this thrilling game here.
Southeast No. 3 BYU 89, No. 11 Gonzaga 67: Ho hum, just another 34-point game for Jimmer Fredette. With Pittsburgh losing, BYU isn't a bad Final Four pick out of the Southeast Region anymore.
Southeast No. 4 Wisconsin 70, No. 5 Kansas State 65: Jacob Pullen scored a staggering 38 points, but it wasn't enough, as Wisconsin used a team effort to get the win.
West No. 3 Connecticut 69, No. 6 CIncinnati 58: Ho hum, just another 33-point game for Kemba Walker. Oh yeah, and he was fighting an injury too.
The 2011 NCAA Tournament begins its process of narrowing down the 16 teams that will advance to the next stage of the NCAA bracket. On Saturday, eight games will determine which eight teams will advance to the Sweet 16.
Those eight games include two in Washington D.C., as well as a Cinderella matchup between No. 12 seed Richmond and No. 13 seed Morehead State. Here is the full schedule.
12:15 p.m., CBS, Tampa -- No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 5 West Virginia (Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel//David Aldridge)
2:45 p.m., CBS, Tampa -- No. 2 Florida vs. No. 7 UCLA (Ian Eagle/Jim Spanarkel//David Aldridge)
5:15 p.m., CBS, Denver -- No. 12 Richmond vs. No. 13 Morehead St. (Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Lesley Visser)
6:10 p.m., TNT, Tucson -- No. 2 San Diego St. vs. No. 7 Temple (Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner//Sam Ryan)
7:10 p.m., TBS, Wash. DC -- No. 1 Pittsburgh vs. No. 8 Butler (Tim Brando/Mike Gminski//Lewis Johnson)
7:45 p.m., CBS, Denver -- No. 3 BYU vs. No. 11 Gonzaga (Verne Lundquist/Bill Raftery//Lesley Visser)
8:40 p.m., TNT, Tucson -- No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 5 Kansas St. (Kevin Harlan/Reggie Miller/Dan Bonner//Sam Ryan)
9:40 p.m., TBS, Wash. DC -- No. 3 Connecticut vs. No. 6 Cincinnati (Tim Brando/Mike Gminski//Lewis Johnson)
Friday night wasn't as crazy as Friday afternoon, which wasn't nearly as crazy as Thursday in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The NCAA bracket has now been completed in the first (or second, whichever you prefer) round, and there are just 32 teams remaining in the entire field.
Here's a quick recap of all the action from Friday evening:
Southwest No. 1 Kansas 72, No. 16 Boston University 53: BU actually kept this close for one half, fueling thoughts of a massive upset, but Kansas squashed those pretty quickly.
East No. 2 North Carolina 102, No. 15 Long Island: John Henson had a career outing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks, which was good. The bad? North Carolina might want to shore up that defense.
Southwest No. 3 Purdue 65, No. 14 St. Peter's 43: This was a snoozer, which is exactly how Matt Painter and company want it.
East No. 11 Marquette 66, No. 6 Xavier 55: The only upset of the night didn't look like much of an upset. Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Tu Holloway had five points on 1-9 shooting in the loss.
Southwest No. 9 Illinois 73, No. 8 UNLV 62: This game was not nearly as close as the final score indicated.
East No. 7 Washington 68, No. 10 Georgia 65: Isaiah Thomas and the Huskies had their issues with Georgia, but moved on to set up one of the more exciting second-round matchups between Washington and North Carolina.
Southwest No. 11 Virginia Commonwealth 74, No. 6 Georgetown 56: We're all over that game here.
East No. 3 Syracuse 77, No. 14 Indiana State 60: This was not an easy game for Syracuse, with Indiana State battle-tested from the Missouri Valley, but the Orange pulled away late in the game for the win.
Friday afternoon wasn't as crazy as Thursday in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, but there were still a lot of intriguing games as we parse down the NCAA bracket. There were two thrilling finishes in particular, with George Mason University and the University of Arizona moving on in tight wins. There was also potentially the end of the road for Bruce Pearl and the return of a game-changer in Duke's Kyrie Irving.
Here's a quick recap of all the action from Friday afternoon:
West No. 4 Texas 85, No. 13 Oakland 81: Texas held a big lead for most of the game, but Oakland rallied and made it interesting in the closing seconds. Tristan Thompson improved his NBA Draft stock with 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots.
West No. 8 Michigan 75, No. 9 Tennessee 45: In what could be Bruce Pearl's swan song, the Wolverines embarrassed the Volunteers in the second half for the largest margin of victory ever in an 8-9 game. Michigan also became the first team to win by that much without making a single free throw.
Southwest No. 2 Notre Dame 69, No. 15 Akron 56: It was ugly, but Notre Dame held off the pesky Zips to move on to the next round. Ben Hansbrough had 15 for Notre Dame.
East No. 8 George Mason 61, No. 9 Villanova 57: For much more on this game, head here.
West No. 5 Arizona 79, No. 12 Memphis 77: A wild game, fittingly, ended with Arizona turning it over in the closing seconds, only for Derrick Williams to seal the game with a blocked shot.
West No. 1 Duke 87, No. 16 Hampton 45: Kyrie Irving returned from a toe injury, and still led Duke in scoring. For more on this game, head here.
Southwest No. 10 Florida State 57, No. 7 Texas A&M 50: The Seminoles advanced even though star Chris Singleton sat out.
The first (real) day of March Madness is in the books, with several thrilling finishes and a number of key upsets. That means that the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket has now been updated.
Half of the teams in the field have advanced to the Round of 32, with the other 16 Round of 64 games to be played on Friday. The entire Southeast Region has now played their Round of 64 games, as well as half the West region and one quarter of the East and Southwest Regions. It is different now than it was in the past, when two regions would play each day.
In the West region, the bottom half of the bracket has been played, with the No. 2 seed (San Diego State), No. 3 seed (Connecticut), No. 6 seed (Cincinnati) and No. 7 seed (Temple) moving on. The 5/12 and 4/13 games were played in the Midwest and East regions. In the East region, No. 4 Kentucky and No. 5 West Virginia moved on, while the Southwest Region saw two upsets with No. 12 Richmond and No. 13 Morehead State advancing.
The second day of the second (but really, first) round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament will get underway on Friday with a series of intriguing matchups. Three No. 1 seeds are in action, as are local teams such as Georgetown and George Mason. The No. 6 seeded Hoyas begin their NCAA Tournament against No. 11 seed Virginia Commonwealth, while the No. 8 seeded Patriots take on No. 9 seed Villanova. By the end of the day, the bracket will be fully updated for all the first/second-round action.
Here is a list of all the matchups on Friday, as well as TV times and announcers.
12:15, CBS, Tulsa, West Region -- No. 4 Texas vs. No. 13 Oakland (Marv Albert/Steve Kerr)
12:40, truTV, Charlotte West Region -- No. 8 Michigan vs. No. 9 Tennessee (Nantz/Kellogg)
1:40, TBS, Chicago, Southwest Region -- No. 2 Notre Dame vs. No. 13 Akron (Spero Dedes/Bob Wenzel)
2:10, TNT, Cleveland, East Region -- No. 8 George Mason vs. No. 9 Villanova (Gus Johnson/Len Elmore)
2:45, CBS, Tulsa, West Region -- No. 5 Arizona vs. No. 12 Memphis (Albert/Kerr)
3:10, truTV, Charlotte, West Region -- No. 1 Duke vs. No. 16 Hampton (Nantz/Kellogg)
4:10, TBS, Chicago, Southwest Region -- No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Florida St. (Dedes/Wenzel)
4:40, TNT, Cleveland, East Region -- No. 1 Ohio St. vs. No. 16 UTSA (Johnson/Elmore)
6:50, TBS, Tulsa, Southwest Region -- No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 16 Boston U. (Marv Albert/Steve Kerr)
7:15, CBS, Charlotte, East Region -- No. 2 North Carolina vs. No. 15 Long Island (Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg)
7:20, TNT, Chicago, Southwest Region -- No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 14 St. Peter's (Spero Dedes/Bob Wenzel)
7:27, truTV, Cleveland, East Region -- No. 6 Xavier vs. No. 11 Marquette (Gus Johnson/Len Elmore)
9:20, TBS, Tulsa, Southwest Region -- No. 8 UNLV vs. No. 9 Illinois (Marv Albert/Steve Kerr)
9:45, CBS, Charlotte, East Region -- No. 7 Washington vs. No. 10 Georgia (Jim Nantz/Clark Kellogg)
9:50, TNT, Chicago, Southwest Region -- No. 6 Georgetown vs. No. 11 VCU (Spero Dedes/Bob Wenzel)
9:57, truTV, Cleveland, East Region -- No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 14 Indiana St. (Gus Johnson/Len Elmore)
The first day of the 2011 NCAA Tournament is in the books, and it was outstanding. There were thrilling finishes, buzzer beaters, upsets, powerhouses holding off upstarts and much more. It's tough to have a more exciting beginning to the event. Here all the scores from Day 1.
No. 13 Morehead State 62, No. 4 Louisville 61: Demonte Harper hit a three-pointer with under four seconds left and Kenneth Faried swatted away Mike Marra's desperation three-pointer to give Morehead State a stunning win over a Louisville team that was playing well entering the NCAA Tournament.
No. 12 Richmond 69, No. 5 Vanderbilt 66: For comprehensive coverage of the Spiders' win, head over to this StoryStream.
No. 11 Gonzaga 86, No. 6 St. John's 71: This was an upset in seeding, but it didn't feel like one. Elias Harris gave Gonzaga a double-digit lead with 19 minutes left, and the Red Storm couldn't cut it down to single digits the rest of the game.
No. 8 Butler 60, No. 9 Old Dominion 58: For comprehensive coverage of Old Dominion's loss, head over to this StoryStream.
No. 7 Temple 66, No. 10 Penn State 64: Juan Fernandez hit a tough 18-footer with 0.4 seconds left to give Temple the win, one possession after Talor Battle nailed a 500-footer (more like 30 feet) to tie the game.
No. 7 UCLA 78, No. 10 Michigan State 76: The Bruins jumped off to a big lead and held on when Kailin Lucas was called for traveling on the game's final possession.
No. 6 Cincinnati 78, No. 11 Missouri 63: The Bearcats took control late in the first half and held off a Tigers rally to get the victory.
No. 5 Kansas State 73, No. 12 Utah State 68: Kansas State controlled throughout, but nearly blew it late as Utah State rallied. Thankfully for the Wildcats, Jacob Pullen nailed some clutch free throws to preserve the win.
No. 5 West Virginia 84, No. 12 Clemson 76: The Tigers jumped way ahead early, but ran out of gas after playing in the opening round against UAB on Tuesday.
No. 4 Kentucky 59, No. 13 Princeton 57: In what might have been the game of the day, Brandon Knight scored his only points in the final seconds to give Kentucky the win.
No. 4 Wisconsin 72, No. 13 Belmont 58: The Badgers held off a Belmont team that many were picking to win in an upset. It didn't happen.
No. 3 Connecticut 82, No. 14 Bucknell 51: The Huskies led by as many as 41 points in this one, and yet, Kemba Walker played until the four-minute mark.
No. 3 BYU 74, No. 14 Wofford 66: It wasn't easy, but BYU held off a really good Wofford team on the strength of 32 points and seven assists for Jimmer Fredette.
No. 2 San Diego State 68, No. 15 Northern Colorado 50: The Aztects shut down Devon Beitzel, aka "little Jimmer" to get the win.
No. 2 Florida 79, No. 15 UC Santa Barbara 51: Chandler Parsons nearly got a triple double as Florida advanced easily.
No. 1 Pittsburgh 74, No. 16 UNC-Asheville: This was a five-point game at halftime, but Ashton Gibbs broke out with 26 to give Pittsburgh the easy win.
Now that the first four games are out of the way, the 2011 NCAA Tournament can officially get underway. The NCAA is calling this the second round, but I think everyone is going to think about this one as the first round. We have a shiny new printable bracket for you that reflects the results of the first four games that have been played over the last two days.
You can download the new bracket from SB Nation here. Here is what they had to say about our VCU team earning their tournament stripes against USC.
The Trojans came in as an easy favorite, but face-planted in the final First Four game of the year. But in an absolute snoozer, VCU pulled away in the second half to secure 13-point win. USC never got on track offensively, shooting 39.5 percent from the field and connecting just once from beyond the arc. That's not to say VCU was much better, though. In fact, the Rams were worse. VCU shot 33.9 percent from the field, but hit 9-24 three-pointers as the Rams found the range, leaving USC in the dust. VCU moves on Georgetown in the second round.*
*No, I'm not getting used to calling the round of 64 the "second round." It's still the first round to most of America.
The NCAA 2011 bracket has been fully revealed, and Selection Sunday is now in the books. There were many surprises, but the time for that is over. Now, it's time to make your picks, and we at SB Nation have a printable bracket for you.
Click the link for a complete bracket that covers every single game. Print it out and fill it out with your friends, as you try to decide which teams will go all the way.
Also, be sure to check out all of our coverage here on SB Nation D.C.
The NCAA 2011 bracket has been announced on the Selection Sunday show, and Pittsburgh has earned the No. 1 seed in the Southeast Region. The Panthers won the Big East regular-season crown, but lost in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals
The Panthers will play the winner of a play-in game between UNC-Asheville and Arkansas-Little Rock in the first round.
Here are the rest of the Southeast Region matchups:
The NCAA 2011 bracket has been announced on the Selection Sunday show, and Kansas has earned the No. 1 seed in the Southwest Region. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 Tournament over Texas on Saturday.
The Jayhawks will play No. 16 seed Boston University. The Terriers won the American East championship on Saturday
Here are the rest of the Southwest Region matchups:
The NCAA 2011 bracket has been announced on the Selection Sunday show, and Duke has earned the No. 1 seed in the West region. The Blue Devils and won the ACC Tournament over North Carolina on Sunday.
The Blue Devils will play No. 16 seed Hampton. The Pirates won the MEAC Tournament.
Here are the rest of the West Region matchups:
The NCAA 2011 bracket has been announced on the Selection Sunday show, and Ohio State has earned the No. 1 seed in the East Region. The Buckeyes won the Big 10 Tournament title on Sunday, defeating Penn State in the championship game.
The Buckeyes will play No. 16 seed the winner of a play-in game between Texas San-Antonio and Alabama State in the first round.
Here are the rest of the East Region matchups:
As the 2011 Selection Sunday show approaches, there remains an outside chance that Virginia Commonwealth somehow sneaks into the field as an at-large team. We've talked about Virginia Tech extensively, but at this point, the Rams too cannot be counted out of the latest bracketology predictions.
If you take a look at VCU's resume, as we did last week, it actually isn't that bad. The Rams have a number of bad losses, but they also defeated UCLA, Wichita State, George Mason and Old Dominion during the season. They went all the way to the CAA Tournament final, playing Old Dominion competitively before losing. The RPI is fairly solid, or at least better than many other bubble teams. So, it's not inconceivable by any means.
VCU was also helped by Richmond's win over Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Tournament final. The bubble remains pretty firm, since Dayton did not steal a bid from anyone. If that helps Virginia Tech, it also helps VCU.
As we go down to the wire, it's worth asking: is Virginia Commonwealth actually more deserving of a bid than Virginia Tech?
The 2011 Selection Sunday show for the NCAA Tournament will take place at 6 p.m. on CBS on Sunday. At that point, we will know how the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket will look.
There remain a few hurdles to clear before we get to that point. The ACC, Atlantic 10, Big 10 and SEC still have to play their championship games, and at least one of those games has major bubble implications. But once we get there, we will know which teams compose most of the NCAA Tournament field.
The only thing left to decide, then, besides seeding, is which teams from the bubble make it in to the tournament. According to the latest bracket projections at SBNation.com, the final four teams in the field are Georgia, USC, St. Mary's and Virginia Tech. The next four teams in after that are Michigan State, Penn State (who plays in the Big 10 Championship Game), Illinois and Colorado. The final six teams out are Clemson, Boston College, Harvard, Alabama, Virginia Commonwealth and UAB.
The D.C. area (if you combine Virginia) could get as many as seven teams in the NCAA Tournament field. Old Dominion (7 seed in the latest projection) and Hampton (15 seed) earned automatic bids, while Georgetown (5 seed), George Mason (8 seed) and Richmond (11 seed, should they lose the Atlantic 10 final Sunday) are likely at-large teams. Virginia Tech (12 seed) and VCU, as noted, are both squarely on the bubble.
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