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Trey Burke scored just seven points, but Michigan used a balanced attack to dispatch Syracuse on Saturday night and advance to Monday’s national title game vs. Louisville. Tim Hardaway Jr. (13 points), Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III (10 points) carried the offensive load as Michigan helped John Beilein record his first victory over Jim Boeheim in 10 tries.
Iowa didn’t get Roy Devyn Marble going, and he was hampered by foul trouble in the first half, scoring just four points. And he didn’t get his first hoop in the second half until the 9:19 mark. Marble finished with six, hitting 3-of-12 shots and missing all four of his 3-pointers. But the junior had scored 24, 28, 24 and 21 in the previous four NIT games.
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Michigan raced to a 13-0 lead and led by as many as 24 points en route to dismantling Florida 79-59 on Sunday afternoon in the South Region final. With the convincing win, the Wolverines punched their ticket to the Final Four in Atlanta. Get BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart’s instant reaction to Michigan’s big-time win in this post.
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After winning the last two games over Iowa State and Arizona on last-second shots, Ohio State’s luck finally ran out. The Buckeyes dug themselves a hole they couldn’t dig out of vs. Wichita State and saw their 11-game winning skein and season end in the Elite Eight.
Coming in, most felt Duke needed to win the battle at the 3-point and free-throw lines, while the Spartans needed to win the clash in the paint. Which team could impose its will on the other? It was the Blue Devils. Scoring came much easier for Duke, which was propelled by the sweet shooting of Seth Curry, who tallied a game-high 29 points and hit 6-of-9 3-pointers. And the Blue Devils played good defense, especially in the second half. At one point, MSU went almost 14 minutes between field goals in the second half. The Spartans won the battle on the boards, 38-29. But MSU had 11 turnovers to Duke’s six.
Time and again, Michigan looked dead in the water. But the Wolverines never stopped fighting, rallying from 14 points down to force overtime and win in the extra session. Trey Burke played like the national player of the year. He went 0-for-4 in the first half and didn’t score. But he came alive after intermission, scoring 23 points (five in OT) to save the day.
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For the second game in a row, Ohio State needed a last-second shot to pull out victory. Aaron Craft did the honors vs. Iowa State in the third round. This time, LaQuinton Ross threw the dagger that killed Arizona to lead the Buckeyes to their 11th victory in succession.
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Sometimes a team just has to survive and advance. That was the case Sunday for East Region No. 1 seed Indiana, which trailed almost the entire second half before rallying in the final minutes to dispatch No. 9 seed Temple and advance to its second consecutive Sweet 16.
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Ohio State is headed to its fourth straight Sweet 16, the program’s longest streak and the nation’s longest current streak. How did it get there? Simple: Aaron Craft. The junior hit a buzzer-beating trey to make up for a trio of late missed free throws and send Ohio State past Iowa State, 78-75.
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For the fifth time in the last six seasons, Tom Izzo and Michigan State are headed to the Sweet 16. The Spartans clinched their latest regional semifinal berth by dispatching Memphis, 70-48, Saturday afternoon.
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Many experts thought VCU’s “Havoc” defense would give Michigan fits. Not so much. The Wolverines, despite committing 12 turnovers, steamrolled the previous Cinderella program, 78-53, en route to becoming the first team to advance to the Sweet 16.
The Gophers often found easy access to the rim, hitting 50 percent of their shots. And Minnesota was on fire from beyond the arc, hitting 9-of-16 (56 percent). No doubt, UCLA missed injured star freshman Jordan Adams, as the Bruins had a short rotation. Still, Minnesota deserves credit.
The Buckeyes shot lights out throughout the game, hitting 50 percent in the first half en route to building a 43-33 edge at intermission. For the game, Ohio State knocked down 48 percent of its shots. Aaron Craft was all over the court, impacting in a variety of ways. Sound familiar? The junior defensive demon had seven steals and seven assists, while also chipping in four points. And he played his usual suffocating defense, helping force 19 turnovers. A 10-point game at halftime quickly became a glorified scrimmage in the second half, with the Buckeyes notching an eye-popping 52 points after intermission in this lopsided opening NCAA triumph.
It was defense that boosted Illinois to victory on this day. Illinois was especially stingy in the first half, which it allowed only 21 points and closed the final 7:05 of the half on a 13-0 run to take a 37-21 halftime edge. And the Illini showed an ability to withstand adversity in the second half, squandering a 16-point halftime lead and falling behind 44-39 with 9:00 left. But Illinois stayed composed and regained the lead, finishing the game on an 18-5 run.
This game basically was over at tipoff, as Indiana outclassed James Madison—which had to win a play-in game to advance—in every facet of the game. It was a nice tune-up for the Hoosiers, who were just 3-3 in their six games entering the Big Dance after getting bounced by Wisconsin in the semifinals of the Big Ten tourney. Indiana shot very well, hitting 52 percent of its shots and 39 percent from 3-point range. And IU dominated on the glass, 40-29.
The Badgers never got into an offensive rhythm, shooting an abysmal 25 percent (15-of-59) overall and 23 percent from beyond the arc (7-of-30) in the 57-46 loss to Ole Miss. Credit Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy, who deftly switched between a zone and man defense. That disrupted the Wisconsin shooters, who never got on track. The Badgers led at halftime, but Ole Miss ripped off 17-5 run early in the half to take a 47-41 lead with 3:26 left. The Rebels never looked back and cruised to victory.
The matchup between Trey Burke and South Dakota State guard Nate Wolters was much hyped but it didn’t pan out, as both players struggled. Burke missed his first eight shots and didn’t sink his first bucket until the 12:46 mark of the second half. The sophomore hit just 2-of-12 shots and finished with a season-low six points, failing to reach double-figures for the first time this season. Still, No. 4 seed Michigan handled No. 13 seed South Dakota State, 71-56.
The Spartans were too big, too athletic, too strong and just plain too good for the Crusaders in this second-round game. In fact, the final score is deceiving. This game wasn’t that close. Michigan State played one of its most complete games of the season, being especially dominating on the glass as it aims for a seventh Final Four appearance under Tom Izzo.
This is the Buckeyes’ third Big Ten tourney title in the last four years and fourth in seven years. No Big Ten team has more. Ohio State’s march to this point is impressive when you consider they lost Jared Sullinger and William Buford off of a Final Four team from last season. To win today, it was all about defense. In fact, these are the two best defensive teams in the Big Ten. And it showed. How rough was it? The Buckeyes shot just 38.5 percent.
The Buckeyes overcame a sluggish first half to push past Michigan State and advance to the Big Ten tourney title game for a fifth season in a row and seventh time in eight years. Is there any doubt who is the best program in the Big Ten? Of course not. OSU hit just 34 percent of its shots in the first half but rebounded to knock down 52 percent in the second half.
The Badgers slowed down the prolific Indiana attack, keeping the Hoosiers under 60 points. And this was an Indiana squad that came in averaging 80.8 points in all games. Wisconsin did a great job denying entry passes to the post and rarely offered open looks from 3-point range. Bottom line: It was a textbook Wisconsin victory. You see, this is why Bo Ryan was the Big Ten coach of the year. And, that’s 12 wins in a row for Wisconsin over Indiana.
The Spartans had lots of chances to fold but never did. They came out sluggish and fell behind quickly, ending the first half trailing, 30-20. Wait, it got worse. With 10:55 left in the game, Iowa had pushed its lead to 12 points, 45-33. That’s when the Spartans went to work, chipping away and refusing to buckle.
The Buckeyes needed a few punches in the nose to wake up. Once aroused, Ohio State took it to Nebraska. The Buckeyes shot a robust 59 percent, showing great marksmanship from beyond the arc in nailing 52 percent (9-of-17). The Huskers looked tentative after a good first 10 minutes, committing 15 turnovers. And Ohio State scored 21 points off of those turnovers to go along with 13 fast break points. Add it all up, and you can see why Ohio State won by 21 points.
The Badgers were able to dictate the pace, playing a low-scoring, grind-it-out affair. Michigan? It wanted to play this game in the 70s or 80s—but it never was able to get on track with its array of high-flying perimeter talent. Wisconsin shot just 38 percent but hit eight 3-pointers to Michigan’s three.
The Hoosiers came out playing rugged defense, forcing Illinois into myriad bad shots in limiting the Illini to 21 first-half points and 25.9 percent shooting and forcing eight turnovers. And that theme continued in the second half in a game that never really was that close, as Illinois shot just 34 percent and had 12 turnovers. Brandon Paul had 16 points but hit just 2-of-13 shots.