Monday, April 04, 2011

UConn Men Stand Taller, Capture 3rd Championship Under Calhoun

Connecticut 53 Butler 41

In a season in which the most recently dominant team - the UConn women's team - was ousted from their final game, the UConn men picked up the banner and carried it proudly to the men's national championship, the third for coach Jim Calhoun since 1999.

Connecticut took control midway through the second half, mostly due to the effort of freshman Jeremey Lamb whose steal and dunk with 13:38 to play, gave the Huskies a 5-point lead.

Lamb scored again and his alley-oop bucket from Shabazz Napier put the Huskies up 37-28 at the 11:00 minute mark. It was all UConn thereafter, expanding their lead to 14 points when Alex Oriaki completed a three-point play with 5:48 remaining. The game was essentially over at that point.

Shelvin Mack hit two straight 3-pointers with just under two minutes to play, but Kemba Walker ended the game with four straight free throws and the 53-41 final score, the lowest point total by a champion since 1949.

The Husky defense can also take pride in holding Butler to 18.8 shooting, an NCAA finals record.

At the end of a contentious half of basketball, Shelvin Mack's 3-pointer at the buzzer game the Bulldogs a 22-19 lead. Due to the defensive intensity neither team was distinguished shooting from the field.

The Huskies led with 24% (9-37) shooting. Butler shot just 21% from the field in the first half (6-28) UConn held a 20-17 rebounding edge, but Butler had seven offensive boards to Connecticut's five.

Butler hit 5 of 15 3-pointers; UConn was 0-7 in the first half from beyond the stripe.

Kemba Walker and Shelvin Mack each had 7 first half points to lead their teams.

Player of the game was Alex Oriakhi, with 11 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and stellar defense inside. Butler scored their only points in the paint for the entire game with 6:05 left to play when Andrew Smith got loose for a layup.

The Huskies tied an NCAA championship game record with 10 blocked shots. Kemba Walker led all scorers with 16 points. Lamb had 12, all in the second half.

For Butler, Mack was the high scorer, with 13 points. For senior Matt Howard, his final game as a Bulldog will leave permanent bad memories. Howard was 1-for-13, scoring seven points, his lowest output since a 6-point effort against Marian, in Butler's first game of the season, on November 13, 2010.

At 68, coach Calhoun set another record. He became the oldest coach to win a national championship. He joins Mike Krzyzewski, Adolph Rupp, John Wooden and Bobby Knight as the only coaches to ever win three or more national titles.

The Huskies ended their regular season by losing four of their last five, finishing up with a 9-9 record in the Big East and 21-9 record overall. In tournament play, however, UConn had no equal. They won the Maui Invitational in December with three straight wins, then won the Big East tournament with five wins in five days. Their six straight in the NCAA tourney, stretched their winning streak to 11 games. They went the entire season without losing to any team outside the Big East, at 32-9.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

2011 Final Four Semi-Final Recaps: Butler and Connecticut Prevail

The Butler Bulldogs and Connecticut Huskies advanced to the NCAA men's basketball national championship game with wins in semi-final matches on Saturday.

Butler 70 VCU 62 - Shelvin Mack scored 24 points and Butler's defense clamped down on the VCU Rams late in the contest, sending the Butler Bulldogs to their second consecutive national championship game appearance.

Mack was 8-for-11 from the field and canned 5 of 6 three-point attempts. Matt Howard, who was saddled with four fouls for the last nine minutes of the game, added 17 points, getting 11 of them from the charity stripe.

VCU battled gamely and stayed close until the final few minutes, when Butler exerted their dominance, thwarting VCU on their offensive trips while tacking on points as time wore down.

Jamie Skeen led all scorers with 27 points, but did not have enough support from his teammates. Bradford Burgess, who contributed 15, was the only other Ram to score more than 4 points.

Butler lost to Duke, 61-59 in last season's national championship game. 28-9 Butler has won 14 straight, the longest current streak in the nation.

Connecticut 56 Kentucky 55 - Shabazz Napier was only 1-for-7 from the field, but his two free throws with 2 seconds left gave UConn a 4-point lead and a trip to the national championship game against Butler, Monday night.

Brandon Knight hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was material only to the margin of victory.

The Huskies established a 10-point lead at the half, but the Wildcats came out of intermission on a mission and quickly tied the game and battled through long stretches with the Huskies, neither team able to gain an upper hand.

Player of the year runner-up, Kemba Walker, scored just 18 points, but still was the game's high scorer. Walker added six rebounds and seven assists. Jeremy Lamb added 12 points and eight rebounds.

The 31-9 Huskies, the #3 seed from the West region, will play the 28-9 Butler Bulldogs, the #8 seed from the Southeast region for the national championship on Monday night at 9:21 pm ET. The game will be televised live from Houston's Reliant Stadium, exclusively by CBS.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Bracket Breakdown: 2011 Final Four Semi-finals

The Final Four has gathered in Houston for a pair of Saturday semi-final games at Relaint Stadium that will determine the participants in Monday's National Championship game.

Here's a brief breakdown of the contestants and analysis of both games.

(11) VCU (28-11) vs. (8) Butler (27-9), 6:09 pm ET - Judging by the prevailing wisdom of both the bracket analyzers and the tournament committee itself, neither of these teams was supposed to make it this far. It's rare to get any team in with a higher seed than 6, much less get two in the same year.

The basketball gods have bestowed an additional gift by having them play each other, though both have proven their mettle against some of the best teams in the tournament.

VCU is by far the more athletic and energetic of the two teams. They will look to speed up the pace of the game and take advantage of any and all Butler mistakes, though the Bulldogs are a fairly disciplined bunch. VCU will probably opt to contest more than a few inbounds passes, a weakness of Butler's exposed against Wisconsin.

Additionally, VCU's inside presence may be more than Butler's Matt Howard and Andrew Smith can handle. VCU's Jamie Skeen, Juvonte Reddic and Toby Veal go 6'9", 6'9" and 6'8", respectively. While Howard will handle his end of the deal, Smith, though 6'11", is only a sophomore and doesn't possess the experience of the VCU forwards though freshman Khyle Marshall has given valuable minutes inside.

Both teams play solid man-to-man and zone defenses. VCU has been making a living at the 3-point line, with Bradford Burgess and Brandon Rozzell doing most of the damage. Butler's Shelvin Mack will have to be in top form to counter the VCU attack, especially speedy Joey Rodriguez.

Take nothing away from Butler. They are well-coached and know how to win close games. They currently possess the nation's longest active winning streak, at 13 games. VCU is a 2 1/2-point favorite and has more depth than the Bulldogs.

(4) Kentucky (29-8) vs. (3) Connecticut (30-9), 8:49 pm ET - Kentucky head coach John Calipari has - for the second year in a row - taken a group of talented freshmen and molded them into a cohesive unit capable of taking on any team in the country. Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb are all freshman and also are the team's three leading scorers. Juniors Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins compose the remainder of the starting five, all of whom score in double figures besides Liggins, who checks in at 8.8 ppg.

The interior is the domain of Josh Harrleson, who has been magnificent on defense in the post and has contributed well to Kentucky's flow offense. Of all the teams in America, Kentucky probably has the most number of players who can make individual plays, a fact not lost on the Connecticut Huskies.

For UConn, the ball started rolling in Maui, when the Huskies unveiled Kemba Walker and won the Maui Classic, with wins over Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky, the final of the tourney going in an 84-67 rout, to Connecticut. The team the Huskies beat in Maui bears resemblance only in the most superficial way. Kentucky's players have matured considerably since that December date and are much more of a team than a bunch of individual future stars, as was the case back then.

UConn's game comes down to Walker, almost unavoidably and the Huskies seem to thrive on the tournament environment, having run through the Big East with five straight wins and four more in the NCCAs. Kentucky, however, also won the SEC tournament and is riding a 10-game streak.

Everybody on Kentucky will have a chance to guard Kemba Walker, as slick and elusive as he is. Walker has proven to be unguardable by a single player and his presence and quickness puts extra pressure on opposing defenses. He's been aided by the emergence of freshman Jeremy Lamb, the team's second leading scorer, who has come of age through the rigors of the tournament. He's a future star in his own right and will match up well against the Wildcats.

The Huskies will also have plenty to say on drives to the hoop and in the rebounding department with solid Alex Oriakhi and Charles Okwandu responsible for clogging the lane. The inside game will be very physical and not much of an advantage for either team.

The oddsmakers have Kentucky a 2 1/2-point favorite, hinged upon the Wildcats' ability to hold Walker in check and UConn's defense, which must contend every shot. Team depth favors the Huskies who will go nine deep into their bench, while Kentucky prefers to go with a six or seven man rotation.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Skeen's 26 in Win over Kansas Worth the Wait

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 27, 2011

Virginia Commonwealth University? Not supposed to be in the Final Four, right?

Tell that to Jamie Skeen, VCU's 6'9" senior forward who took on the monstrous Morris twins of Kansas and sent them back to farm.

Skeen sat out a year (2008-09) when he transferred out of Wake Forest to VCU for an opportunity to play under the tutelage of head coach Shaka Smart. After scoring 26 points in the Rams' 71-61 victory over Kansas, his patience has been richly rewarded with a trip to the Final Four.

Skeen's 26 led all scorers and even though the Jayhawks outrebounded VCU, 45-35, Skeen battled in the lane all afternoon, hauling in 10 boards while helping get both Marcus and Markeif Morris in second half foul trouble.

Next up for the Rams is a trip to Houston, where they will take on the Butler Bulldogs, another small conference team with its sights set on winning the national championship. Tip time for the Saturday tilt is 6:09 pm EDT, followed by the other semi-final game, pitting Connecticut against Kentucky at 8:49 pm EDT.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Final Four Field Set: Rams and Wildcats Advance

The final two pieces of the Final Four puzzle fell into place Sunday as the VCU Rams pulled off a stunning upset of Kansas, eliminating the last of the #1 seeds and Kentucky vanquished North Carolina, sending the Wildcats to their first Final Four since 1998.

VCU 71 Kansas 61 - Criticized by many as being unworthy of inclusion into the NCAA field, the VCU Rams pounded the Kansas Jayhawks from the opening tip to the final buzzer, sending the last of the #1 seeds packing.

Seeded #11 after defeating USC in a play-in game, the Rams, representing the Colonial Athletic Conference, won their 5th straight tournament game, completing a sweep of five of the six "power" conferences. Virginia Commonwealth has beaten a team from the PAC-10 (USC), Big East (Georgetown), Big Ten (Purdue), SEC (Florida) and now, the Big 12 (Kansas). The only conference unscathed by the horn of the Rams is the ACC, and they were eliminated in the West regional when Kentucky knocked out North Carolina.

Led by Jamie Skeen's game high 26 points and 10 rebounds, the Rams opened up a double-digit lead early on the Jayhawks and never looked back. Kansas drew to within four points in the second half, but were turned away repeatedly by VCU's deadeye shooting and tenacious defense. VCU hit 12 of 25 3-pointers, holding Kansas to just 2-for-21 beyond the arc and 36% (22 of 62) overall.

It is VCU's first-ever Final Four appearance, and fittingly, they get to play another small conference team, the Butler Bulldogs, who emerged as the #8 seed from the Southwest region.

Kentucky 76 North Carolina 69 - The Wildcats led nearly the entire game and at one point in the second half were up by 11 points, but a resolute North Carolina squad brought the game to a tie in the closing minutes.

Brandon Knight made a three-pointer and hit three clutch free throws to ice the game. Sandwiched in between Knight's scores was another trey by DeAndre Liggins. North Carolina could not get the ball in the bucket in the final minute, sending the Wildcats on to face the Connecticut Huskies on Saturday, April 2nd in a semi-final match-up.

Knight was the game's high scorer with 22 points, one better than Carolina's Tyler Zeller. Knight also handled six rebounds and four assists, and was 5-for-11 from 3-point range. The Wildcats hit 12 of 22 three-point jacks, while the Tar Heels were only able to can 3 of 18 from beyond the arc. All five Kentucky starters finished in double figures.

Shelvin Mack Shines as Bulldogs Advance

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, March 26, 2011

Over the past two seasons, the Butler Bulldogs have gone 9-1 in NCAA tournament games, the only loss coming by two points to Duke, in last year's finals.

Last season, the Bulldogs were led by Gordon Hayward, since gone to the NBA, so this year players - particularly seniors Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack - have had to step up their games. Butler plays extremely solid defense, but scoring usually falls to their leaders, but it is Mack who has the pure stroke to know down threes and open jumpers.

In Saturday's 74-71 overtime win against Florida, Mack provided a hefty share of offense, scoring a game-high 27 points, making four three-pointers, including a couple of key ones when Butler was making it's comeback late in the contest.

Mack has been money in Butler's four tourney wins. He scored 15 against Old Dominion, 30 against Pittsburgh and 13 in the Bulldogs' win over Wisconsin.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elite Eight: Butler Serves Notice; Huskies Mush Toward Houston

Half of the Final Four was determined on Saturday as Butler and Connecticut advanced through to the gathering in Houston.

Butler 74 Florida 71, OT - Rallying from a nine-point deficit late in the game, the Bulldogs tied the Gators in regulation and completed their upset win in overtime, advancing to the Final Four out of the Southeast region.
Butler, the Cinderella of the 2010 tournament, lost in the final to Duke, and is repeating the historic run a year later. The Bulldogs, seeded eighth in their region, has won three games in nail-biting fashion, beating Old Dominion, 60-58 in the opening round, then knocking off #1 seed Pitt, 71-70, before topping Wisconsin, 61-54. The win on Saturday was their 13th straight, currently the longest winning streak in the country.

Shelvin Mack came p big for Butler, scoring 27 points to lead all scorers. The Bulldogs will face the winner of Sunday's VCU-Kansas match-up on Saturday in Houston.

Connecticut 65 Arizona 63 - Once again, the superlative Kemba Walker nailed a jumper that proved to be the winning score, lifting the Huskies in a hard-fought battle over Arizona.

Walker knocked down a 12-foot jump shot to give Connecticut a two point lead with 20 seconds left. The Wildcats had two chances at the win, opting for three-point shots, but missed both and ran out of time.

Walker finished with 20 points, seven assists and four rebounds. Freshman Jeremy Lamb contributed with a productive game, scoring 19 points, with four rebounds. Lamb also had a key steal late in the game that put UConn up by five points momentarily, late in the action.

This marks the third time Connecticut has reached the Final Four as a representative of the West region. The two previous times, they won the national championship.

Tyler Zeller Is North Carolina's Front Man

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, March 25, 2011

In North Carolina's 81-63 elimination of Marquette from the remaining tournament field, Tyler Zeller was just plain scary, dominating the paint on both ends of the floor, glowering and scowling his way to a game high 27 points.

Zeller, a junior on a team full of underclassmen, may be the elder statesman on the team, but his playing time at North Carolina isn't much more than that of many of his younger teammates, since he spent much of his freshman and sophomore years on the bench with injuries.

Now fully healthy, the lanky 7-footer has brought the Tar Heels to the brink of history. He had 32 points in North Carolina's tourney opener over LIU, then scored 23 in the nail-biter over Washington in the second round. In Friday's outing, Zeller tied teammate John Henson for top rebounding honors, with 12, grabbing 7 on the offensive end.

With his front court running mate Henson checking in 6'10", but with the reach of a man 7'3", the Tar Heels are as imposing and threatening up front as any team in the tournament.

Sweet 16 Results and Recaps - Friday Games


North Carolina 81 Marquette 63 - The Tar Heels used a swarming, oppressive defense to disrupt Marquette early and score frequently inside, racing to a 40-15 half time lead. Marquette held their own in the second half, but it was much to late to keep North Carolina from advancing. Tyler Zeller had another enormous game, notching 27 points to go with 17 rebounds, none of them on the offensive end.

Kentucky 62 Ohio State 60 - Brandon Knight's 15-foot jumper with 5.4 left broke a 60-all tie and Will Buford's 3-point heave at the buzzer fell short as the Wildcats pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the tournament. A hotly contested game throughout, neither team led by more than seven, and there was no margin of more than four points in the entire second half.

Ohio State's Jared Sullinger had his usual monster game with 21 points and 17 rebounds, but Kentucky's Josh Harrellson battled well inside, scoring 17 points and ripping down 10 boards on his own. DeAndre Liggins was lightning in a bottle in the latter stages of the second half, finishing with 15 points and 6 rebounds. He and Harrellson were the only Wildcats in double figures.

Kentucky's win left Kansas as the sole remaining #1 seed in the tournament.

North Carolina will play Kentucky on Sunday, for the right to play in the Final Four.


Kansas 77 Richmond 57 - Simply too big, too fast and too talented for the Richmond Spiders to handle, Kansas quickly established a lead and expanded it over the first 20 minutes, leading 41-22 by half time. This was pretty much a team effort blowout, led by Brady Morningstar's 18 points. Nine different Jayhawks showed up on the scorer's sheet, evidence they are probably the deepest team remaining in the tournament.

VCU 72 Florida State 71 - In what had to be the most physical game of the tournament, the Seminoles and Rams found themselves stalemated at 65 through the first 40 minutes and forced into overtime to settle their differences.

The game boiled down to the inability of Florida State, the best defense in the nation, to defend an inbound pass under their own basket. With 7 seconds left, Joey Rodriguez triggered the ball into Bradford Burgess, who laid it in to give the Rams a one-point lead. Florida State players raced down court, but could not get off another shot.

Bradford, who had five of VCU's seven points in overtime, finished with a game-high 26 points on 9-for-16 shooting, including six of seven from 3-point range.

Kansas and VCU square off Sunday, the winner advancing to the Final Four in Houston.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Derrick Williams Leads Wildcats Past Duke, Into Elite 8

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 24, 2011

On a night in which the three leading candidates for NCAA player of the year were all in action, Arizona's Derrick Williams outdid Kemba Walker, Nolan Smith and Jimmer Fredette.

Williams, only a sophomore, but possessive of enormous talent, led his youthful Wildcats to a stunning 93-77 rout of reigning national champion, Duke.

Hitting on 11 of 17 shots from the field, Williams showed both his inside and outside game, making 5 of 6 three-pointers en route to a game-high 32 points, also his career high. Duke had no answers for him on the boards, either, as Williams hauled in 13 rebounds, six of them on the offensive end.

The Wildcats, winners of the PAC-10 regular season and carrying a 30-7 record overall, advanced to the West region final on Saturday against the Connecticut Huskies.

Sweet 16 Results and Recaps - Thursday Games

Four teams moved on in the tournament on Thursday, setting up match-ups for Saturday's games, the winners advancing to the Final Four in Houston, Texas.


Florida 83 BYU 74, OT - Jimmer Fredette had one of the worst shooting performances of his life and it cost the Cougars dearly. Fredette scored 32 points, but he hit just 11 of 29 shots, including 3-for-15 from beyond the arc. Florida's Alex Tyus, however, had the game of his life, scoring 19 points on 8 of 9 shooting and ripping down 17 rebounds, both tops for Florida. Florida had a chance to win it in regulation, but Chandler Parsons' short jumper at the buzzer never really had a chance.

Butler 61 Wisconsin 54 - The Badgers shot just 30% from the field and had just 17 field goals overall, allowing the Bulldogs to build on their lead in the second half. Late-game sloppiness by Butler allowed Wisconsin to close to within four points, but they could not complete the comeback. Matt Howard was at his usual best, leading Butler with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Florida faces Butler on Saturday at 4:20 pm ET, the winner advancing from the Southeast region to the Final Four.


Connecticut 74 San Diego State 67 - The Kemba Walker road show rolled on, and now includes his sidekick, Jeremy Lamb. Walker was sensational, and may have locked up player of the year with his 36-point performance as his two main adversaries - Jimmer Fredette and Nolan Smith - both were bounced from the tourney. Lamb, a freshman out of Norcross, Georgia, tied his career high with 24 points, on 9-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-3 on treys. Lamb has notched double figures in each of UConn's last nine games, all wins. His emergence as a second scoring threat and the overall exceptional play of Walker have propelled the Huskies to the brink of greatness.

Arizona 93 Duke 77 - Coach K will have to wait until next season to shatter Bob Knight's all-time NCAA wins record of 902. The Blue Devils were stopped in their tracks by the surprise team of the tournament, Arizona, who now have blasted through Memphis, Texas and Duke thanks to their sensational sophomores, led by Derrick Williams, who led the way with 32 points and 13 boards.

Arizona and Connecticut hook up on Saturday at 6:55 pm ET to determine the Final Four entrant from the West region.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Joey Rodriguez and Bradford Burgess Deliver VCU to the Sweet 16

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, March 20, 2011

For a team which many analysts said didn't belong, the VCU Rams certainly look pretty good. Not only did they absolutely hammer USC in the opening round, 59-46, but then expanded their margin of victory to 18 points in their next two games, whipping Georgetown, 74-56, and Purdue, 94-76, on Sunday.

The win over the Boilermakers put them into the Sweet 16, along with a host of other high seeds, like Richmond (12) and Marquette (11). VCU came in as an 11.

Fueling the offense is one of the smallest players on the court, Joey Rodriguez, the jitterbug who weaves through defenders to deliver pinpoint passes to his teammates. On Sunday, Rodriguez was at his best, distributing the ball for 11 of his team's 24 assists and scoring 12 points to add to the onslaught.

A good number of those passes found their way into the capable hands of Bradford Burgess, who hit on 8 of 12 shots, including 3 three-pointers for 23 points. Burgess also snatched 8 boards.

VCU Florida State, a 10 seed, in the next round of the Southwest region, one that has seen more than its fair share of upsets.

Round of 32 Results and Recaps - Sunday Games


North Carolina 86 Washington 83 - Proving once again that size matters, Washington cold not contain the Tar Heel big men - Tyler Zeller (23 points) and John Henson (10 points, 10 boards) - but little Isaiah Thomas and the Huskies took them to the limit.

Ohio State 98 George Mason 66 - the Buckeyes continued to decimate anything in their way, as they smothered the Patriots. David Lighty was 9-for-10 from the field for a game-high 25 points.

Marquette 66 Syracuse 62 - the Golden Eagles soared once again, doing to Syracuse what they did to them during the Big East regular season. The lead changed hands frequently, but Marquette made the plays down the stretch. An 11 seed, Marquette is a surprise from the Big East, which has now seen more than half of their 11 teams gone in the first weekend.


VCU 94 Purdue 76 - VCU took a ten-point lead into half time and extended it through the second half, dominating all aspects of the game and distributing 24 assists as a team. Bradford Burgess had 23 points and 8 rebounds for the Rams and 5'10" Joey Rodriguez distributed 11 assists to go with his 10 points.

Kansas 73 Illinois 59 - The Jayhawks had little trouble beating coach Bill Self's former school, getting 24 points and 12 rebounds from Markieff Morris and 17 and 12 from twin brother Marcus.


Duke 73 Michigan 71 - Duke survived a serious scare from the Wolverines when Darius Morris missed a runner in the lane with two seconds left after erasing most of a 15-point Duke second half lead. Nolan Smith led all scorers with 24 points, and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski notched his 900th career win.

Arizona 70 Texas 69 - Texas trailed nearly the entire game, but had two close-in chances to win the game as time ran down. Arizona continued the Longhorns' frustrations in the NCAA tournament by ousting them in an early round again.

Florida State 71 Notre Dame 57 - The Seminoles stunned Notre Dame, smothering them with the nation's best defense and advancing to face VCU in the Sweet 16. Florida State held the usually high-scoring Fighting Irish to just 32% shooting. Bernard James had 14 points and 10 boards for the Seminoles.

Notre Dame was the 9th of 11 teams from the Big East to lose on the opening weekend, leaving just Marquette and UConn from the conference, widely considered to be the best in the nation. Not any more.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cougars Blow Away Zags, Fredette Scores 34

College Hoops Player of the Day for Saturday, March 19, 2011

Plenty of fine individual performances were on display Saturday as eight teams made their way into the Sweet 16, but what Jimmer Fredette did for his BYU Cougars was pretty special.

Fredette poured in 34 points and dished out 6 assists to lead the Cougars over Gonzaga, 89-67. The blowout win was mighty impressive considering how well Gonzaga played in their opening-round win over St. John's.

Fredette directed the BYU offense for the most part, but stepped up and shot the lights out when needed or drove the ball to the hoop. The senior guard was 11-for-23 from the field and hit 7 of 12 three-pointers. He also was 5-for-5 from the line.

BYU took a seven-point lead into intermission and ballooned that advantage in the second half to produce the blowout result. The 22-point margin of victory was easily the largest of the 8 games played on Saturday. BYU topped Wofford, 74-66, in their first game of the tourney and are now 34-4 on the season. They face the Florida Gators in the Sweet 16 game next week.

Round of 32 Results and Recaps - Saturday Games


Kentucky 71 West Virginia 63 - Brandon Knight scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Wildcats into the Sweet 16. Kentucky's next task will likely be against the Ohio State Buckeyes, who face George Mason on Sunday for the right to advance.

San Diego St. 71 Temple 64, 2OT - Temple pushed the Aztecs to the limit, but came up short in the second overtime. Billy White and Kawhi Leonard each had 16 points to pace San Diego State.


Florida 73 UCLA 65 - The Bruins made a game of it but they could not check Erving Walker late, who finished with a game-high 21 points.

Butler 71 Pittsburgh 70 - In a bizarre finish which saw two personal fouls in the final 1.4 seconds - one each against a player from each team - Matt Howard hit a free throw with 0.8 seconds left for the win. Shelvin Mack scored 30 points to pace the Bulldogs, who knocked off the #1 seed in the region.

BYU 89 Gonzaga 67 - Jimmer Fredette scored 34 points as the Cougars shot 52% from the field and made a shambles of Gonzaga's upset plans.

Wisconsin xx Kansas St. XX - The Badgers survived a poor shooting night (2-for-17) by Jordan Taylor, by slowing the pace of the game and hitting key three-pointers and free throws down the stretch. Jacob Pullen scored 38 points in a losing effort. Jon Leuer paced the Badgers with 19 points and seven boards.


Richmond 65 Morehead St. 48 - In a battler between a 12 and 13 seed, the lower seed prevailed with a workmanlike effort. Justin Harper had 19 points to lead all scorers. The Spiders rung up 18 assists.

Connecticut 69 Cincinnati 58 - Kemba Walker fought through the pain of a sore left wrist to lead the Huskies over Big East rival Cincinnati. Despite the injury, Walker tallied a game-high 33 points and was perfect from the foul line, going 14-for-14.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

North Carolina Trio Unstoppable in Win

College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, March 18, 2011

While there were many exceptional performances on Friday, the second full day of the Round of 64, it's hard to compare with effort of this trio of Tar Heels: Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson, who accounted for 84 points in North Carolina's 102-84 win over Long Island.

Barnes scored 24 points and was only the third highest scorer for the Tar Heels, though he did chip in with 16 boards. Zeller led the way with 32 mostly-uncontested points and John Henson had 28, 20 in the first half.

The numbers were career highs in scoring for both Zeller and Henson, and Barnes set a personal mark for rebounds.

North Carolina moves on to face Washington in the Round of 32.

Round of 64 Results and Recaps - Friday Late Games


Marquette 66 Xavier 55 - Lightning quick, Marquette's Golden Eagles stymied the Musketeers and scored in transition regularly to knock off the #6 seed. Darius Johnson-Odom led all scorers with 19 points. Marquette shot 53% for the game.

North Carolina 102 LIU 87 - thhe Tar Heels rolled up the biggest score of the tournament thus far, as LIU could not handle their size and speed. Tyler Zeller: 32 points; John Henson: 28; Harrison Barnes: 24.

Washington 68 Georgia 65 - Surviving a furious last-minute rally by Georgia, the Washington Huskies moved on to face North Carolina in the next round. Isaiah Thomas was brilliant, scoring 19 points and dishing seven assists.

Syracuse 77 Indiana St. 60 - the Orange got more game than they expected from Indiana State, but tightened up their 2-3 zone and kept the Sycamores at bay for most of the game. Rick Jackson was superior inside. His23 points led the way for the Syracuse advance to the next round against Marquette.

Kansas 72 Boston U. 53 - The Jayhawks overcame some early jitters to advance easily past Boston U., outscoring the Terriers, 39-24 in the second half for the easy win. Marcus and Markief Morris combined for 31 points and 17 rebounds.

Purdue 65 St. Peter's 43 - Never a contest as the Boilermakers ushered St. Peters out of the tournament. JaJuan Johnson had 16 points and 16 boards.

Illinois 73 UNLV 62 - The Runnin' Rebels were ice cold early and Illinois built an insurmountable lead. Mike Davis topped the scoring list with 22 points.

VCU 74 Georgetown 56 - Virginia Commonwealth used superior size and tight defense to dismantle Georgetown into a quick exit. Brandon Roselle hit six threes and scored 26 points in the win. The Rams face Purdue next.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Round of 64 Results and Recaps - Friday Early Games


George Mason 61 Villanova 57 - George Mason kept chipping away at Villanova's 10--point lead and finally caught the Wildcats in the closing minutes, holding on for the win, snapping a five-game tournament losing streak for the Patriots.

Ohio State 75 UTSA 46 - The tournament's top overall seed, Ohio State, easily rolled past UTSA, hitting at a 56% clip while holding the Roadrunners to a paltry 34% shooting. The Buckeyes taken on George Mason on Sunday for a trip to the Sweet 16.


Duke 87 Hampton 45 - West region top seed, Duke, produced the largest margin of victory in the tourney thus far, eclipsing Michigan's 30-point win over Tennessee earlier in he day. All ten Blue Devils who saw action scored, including Kyrie Irving, back for his first game since December. Irving not only put up points, but led all scorers with 14 points. Not a single Hampton player reached double figures in scoring.

Texas 85 Oakland 81 - Second win for the Big 12 so far, as the Longhorns couldn't quite shake free from upset-minded Oakland, but kept a safe lead late in the game. Reggie Hamilton went 10-for-19 for 25 points with 4 rebounds and 5 assists.

Michigan 75 Tennessee 45 - The Wolverines produced the largest margin of victory in the tournament thus far, a 30-point beat-down on a team that has suffered through a rough season. Many of the Vols' players and fans are probably happy the pain is finally over, but it ended very badly. A team effort, Michigan had five players in double figures.

Arizona 77 Memphis 75 - In one of the most contentious games of the round of 64, the Wildcats knocked out the lone representative of Conference USA. Derrick Williams swatted away a potential game-tying shot just seconds after hitting a huge three-pointer. Williams finished with a game-high 22 points.


Notre Dame 69 Akron 56 - The fighting Irish used seven players and they all contributed points, but Carleton Scott was a monster inside with 8 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. The Fighting Irish didn't seem at all hung over from St. Patrick's Day, taking an early lead and cruising to the win.

Florida State 57 Texas A&M 50 - The Seminoles trailed by three at the half, but outscored the Aggies, 34-24, in the second period. Once Florida State assumed the lead, A&M could only stay close and did not challenge in crunch time. Florida State held their opponents to 31% shooting.

Kemba Walker is Tourney's Top Choice on Round of 64 Day One

College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 17, 2011

Determining a Player of the Day on the first full day of action in the Round of 64 was no easy task, as Butler's Matt Howard, BYU's Jimmer Fredette and Florida's Chandler Parsons all were worthy participants, but the nod goes to UConn's suprelative Kemba Walker, who willed his team to a wide-open, 81-52, win over Bucknell, the largest margin of victory of the tournament thus far.

Walker didn't do a lot of shooting, hitting 5 of 11 shots from the field, but he nailed a pair of three-pointers, was 6-for-6 at the foul line, dished 12 assists and hauled in 8 rebounds for a true all-around fine performance.

The win was Connecticut's 6th straight, a run that includes a record five wins to capture the Big East tourney. The Huskies move into the next round against some familiar faces, the Cincinnati Bearcats, a team they've already handled, 67-59, on the Bearcats' home court.

Round of 64 Results and Recaps - Late Games


Florida 79 UC-Santa Barbara 51 - Chandler Parsons scored 10 points, had 10 assists and seven rebounds as the Gators rolled to an easy win. Ten different players Gators scored as coach Billy Donovan emptied his bench late.

BYU 74 Wofford 66 - The Cougars proved a bit too fierce for the Terriers. Jimmer Fredette scored 32 points for BYU, the highest point total of the first day.
Wisconsin 72 Belmont 58 - Jon Leuer scored 22 points and Jordan Taylor had 21 to push the Badgers to the next round.

UCLA 78 Michigan State 76 - The Bruins built a 24-point lead only to give most of it away as Michigan State fought back in the second half. UCLA will face #2 seed Florida on Saturday.

Gonzaga 86 St. John's 71 - Gonzaga broke open a close game early on and kept the Red Stom at bay, cruising to a surprisingly easy first round win. Marquise Carter poured in 24 points for the Zags. Seeded surprisingly low at #11, Gonzaga faces #13 BYU in the next round.

Kansas State 73 Utah State 68 - Utah State's Tai Wesley got into early foul trouble and the Wildcats took advantage, building a working lead and staying safely ahead of the the Aggies. Jacob Pullen fought through flu-like symptoms to top the scorer's sheet with 22 points.


Connecticut 81 Bucknell 52 - Connecticut opened a big lead early, coasting to an easy opening round win. Kemba Walker led all scorers with 18 points, to go with 12 assists and 8 rebounds.

Cincinnati 78 Missouri 63 - Yancey Gates led all scorers with 18 points and ripped down 11 rebounds to lead the Bearcats over the Tigers. Gates was 7-for-8 from the floor, including 2-for-2 on three-pointers.