Sunday, March 22, 2015

Two's Blues: Virginia, Kansas Out; Blue Devils Blast San Diego St., Advance to Sweet 16 on Jahlil Okafor's Big Effort

Round of 32 Sunday Games

and Player of the Day for Sunday, March 22, 2015

(7) Michigan St 60, (2) Virginia 54 - The ACC had won 10 games without a loss, and the streak had to end somewhere. No surprise, it was Tom Izzo's Michigan State Spartans that rose to the occasion. A near-fixture in the Sweet 16, Elite 8 and Final Four under Izzo's tutelage, Spartan players turned on the defensive jets and smother Virginia, holding them to 18 first half points and a woeful 29% shooting for the game.

On the other end of the floor, Travis Trice was irrepressible, scoring a game-high 23 points on 7-15 shooting, including 4-8 from three-point range and 5-6 from the foul line in 39 minutes of court time.

(1) Duke 68, (8) San Diego State 49 - As is often the case in the tournament, while other teams are floundering and falling by the wayside, the Duke Blue Devils simply play on and continue mowing down the opposition. Such was the case against San Diego State, who could not deal with Jahlil Okafor inside. Duke's freshman superstar was 12-16 from the field for a game-high 26 points, adding six rebounds, two assists, a steal and three blocked shots.

(7) Wichita State 78, (2) Kansas 65 - Kansas had appeared vulnerable due to losing the Big 12 final to Iowa State (eliminated by UAB Thursday night) and, indeed, they were. The Shockers didn't exactly shock anyone; they are a quality team and they know it, and now, so does everyone else. The Jayhawks got into trouble late in the first half, when they scored just four points - all from the foul line - in the last six minutes leading up to the break and left the court down, 29-26. They never got any closer.

Wichita State opened up their offense and basically outran Kansas, quicker to the ball in every aspect and scoring repeatedly on breakaways, steals and sloppy defense. All five starters scored for the Shockers, led by Tekele Cotton's 19 points. The Jayhawks became the second #2 seed to lose in the tourney; earlier in the day, Michigan State (also a #7 seed) knocked off Virginia in the East region.

(3) Oklahoma 72, (11) Dayton 66 - The Sooners got all they could handle from Dayton, but managed to make key plays in the closing minutes to edge away from the fiesty Flyers and advance to the round of 16, where they will meet up with the Michigan State Spartans.

(2) Gonzaga 87, (7) Iowa 68 - A complete mismatch and a blowout for the Zags, who were never threatened once they established a lead. Led by Kevin Wiltjer's 24 points and seven rebounds, the Bulldogs were a model of consistency, hitting 61.5% from the field, 62.5% on threes and 61.9% from the foul line. Dazzling.

(1) Wisconsin 72, (8) Oregon 65 - The Ducks' Joseph Young led all scorers with 30 points, but the Badgers kept to task and eliminated the only PAC-12 representative to take to the hardwoods on the day. Though the score was close, Wisconsin actually led almost all the way. The only times they didn't was at 0-0 to start the game and 52-all with 5:56 left to play. The Badgers will meet North Carolina in the Sweet 16.

(5) West Virginia 69, (4) Maryland 59 - Nearing the midpoint of the second half, Maryland's sensational point guard, Melo Trimble, suffered a concussion-like injury and left the game, not to return. The Terrapins, without one of their leading scorers and main play-maker, suffered from the loss and the Mountaineers gradually pulled away for the victory. Tremble finished with a team-high 15 points. Devin Williams led the Mountaineers with 16.

(4) Louisville 66, (5) Northern Iowa 53 - The Panthers made a game of it, but the final game of the weekend ended with a whimper instead of a thunderous dunk. Louisville's starting five was simply too good, scoring all but five of the Cardinal points. Sophomore, Terry Rozier, was stunning, scoring a game-high 25 points to go with five boards and seven assists.

Conference Power Scoreboard
Conference W-L Winners (# of Ws)
ACC 12-1 Notre Dame (2), NC State (2), North Carolina (2), Arkansas (1), Virginia (1). Louisville (2), Duke (2)
Big East 5-5 Butler (1), Xavier (2), Villanova (1), Georgetown (1)
Big Ten 7-5 Ohio State (1), Michigan St. (2), Maryland (1), Iowa (1), Wisconsin (2)
Big 12 5-5 Kansas (1), West Virginia (2), Oklahoma (2)
Pac-12 7-1 UCLA (2), Arizona (2), Utah (2), Oregon (1)
SEC 3-4 Ole Miss (1), Kentucky (2)
All Others 13-30 Hampton(1), Robert Morris (1), Dayton (1), UAB (1), Georgia St. (1), Cincinnati (1), N. Iowa (1), Wichita St. (2), San Diego State (1), Gonzaga (2), Dayton (1)

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