College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 31, 2013
South Regional: (4) Micchigan 79 (3) Florida 59 - Just more than three minutes into the game, this one was over.
Michigan hit six of there first eight shots, ran the score up to 13-0, and made a mockery of whatever defense the Gators thought they were going to play. Finally, Florida made a shot, putting their first two points on the board, but just as quickly, Trey Burke knocked down a three-pointer to put the Wolverines up 16-2 and on a glide path to Atlanta and the Final Four.
Michigan built the lead to as many as 24 points in the first half, though Florida whittled it down to 15 by the break, but an 11-point deficit was the closest they could get, as Michigan kept piling up the points.
Nik Stauskas was the dagger the wolverines used to gut the Gators, playing a nearly-flawless game, making seven of eight shots from the field, including all six of his three-point attempts for a game-high 23 points.
Michigan was excellent on defense, forcing 15 turnovers and holding Florida to 41% shooting.
The Wolverines will meet Syracuse on Saturday, April 6, in one of the regional semifinals.
Midwest Regional: (1) Louisville 85 (2) Duke 63 - Louisville, the only #1 seed remaining in the tournament, kept the Final Four from being a long-shot lover's dream by topping the Duke Blue Devils with a blowout second half after reserve guard Kevin Ware suffered a freakish broken leg that stunned the players, coaches, crowd and the national television audience.
Ware was contesting a Tyler Thornton three-pointer with 6:33 left in the first half when he came down on his right leg and the leg just seemed to buckle below the knee. The young man was carried off the court on a stretcher and is reportedly in good condition, though his return to action will take roughly a year.
The Cardinals took a three-point lead into the break, at 35-32, but came out on fire in the second, outscoring the Blue Devils 24-12 over the first 10:48 of the half, putting the game out of reach.
As usual, Russ Smith was spectacular as the game's high-scorer with 23 points. Smith and point guard Peyton Siva were as relentless on defense as they were on the offensive end. Siva scored 16 with four assists. The Cardinals made 11 steals and blocked nine Duke shots.
The Cardinals will face Wichita State in a national semifinal match-up on Saturday, April 6.