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(Note: Jeff Borzello contributed the updates from the evening and night sessions.)
Game of the night: Aside from winning a national championship, there was no easy way to see Purdue forward Robbie Hummel end his career. But a last-minute loss to Kansas in a game the Boilermakers led the entire way was heartbreaking.
The Jayhawks ended the game on an 11-4 run en route to a 63-60 win, escaping with the win when Purdue's Ryne Smith's 3-pointer at the buzzer rimmed out. Purdue made too many mistakes down the stretch, especially on the final few possessions where the Boilers couldn't get any clean looks and turned it over.
Hummel finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and three assists, knocking down five 3-pointers and nearly leading Purdue to the upset. Had Kansas lost, we would have likely heard more about how the Jayhawks are still susceptible to early-round losses, despite the fact it's only happened once since 2006. This time, though, the Jayhawks made the plays down the stretch and rattled Purdue.
It was a great game for Hummel, but it's tough to see him leave.
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State of Dominance: With Ohio, Xavier and Cincinnati all winning on Sunday, the epicenter of the college basketball world has moved to the Midwest. Throw in Ohio State winning on Saturday, and Ohio will have four teams in the Sweet 16. According to the NCAA, it will be the first time in history one state has placed four teams in the regional semifinals.
Game of the afternoon:The North Carolina State Wolfpack were the final at-large team unveiled last Sunday and the first to reach the Sweet 16 on this Sunday.
They celebrated big both times.
"I'm just so proud of my team," said N.C. coach Mark Gottfried, who has the Wolfpack in the Sweet 16 for only the second time since 1989 despite the fact that his players missed four free throws in the final minute to allow Georgetown a shot to tie at the buzzer.
"I missed for CBS's ratings," quipped N.C. State's Scott Wood, a 92-percent free throw shooter who missed the second of two with 35 ticks remaining.
We appreciate the drama, Scott.
But you'd be wise to avoid it next time, if possible.
Cinderella lives on in the form of … Ohio. The Bobcats “only” needed to beat No. 12 South Florida to advance to the Sweet 16, and D.J. Cooper led them there. The junior guard finished with 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the 62-56 win. Former Ohio State transfer Walter Offutt went for 21 points on four 3-pointers.
The game swung on, not surprisingly, a controversial technical foul call on South Florida's Victor Rudd. After a dunk to put the Bulls up five, Rudd was given a technical for hanging on the rim too long. Ohio made both free throws and a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to tie the game and snatch all the momentum.
Ohio will get North Carolina – likely sans Kendall Marshall – in the Sweet 16.
|Dion Dixon's steal and dunk in the final 90 seconds helped spur Cincinnati to a 62-56 win over Florida State.(AP)|
Play of the day: After Cincinnati's Yancy Gates hit a free throw with 1:40 left to tie up the Bearcats' round of 32 battle with Florida State, it looked like the Seminoles would have a chance to take the lead.
Dion Dixon changed that quickly.
Cincinnati applied token pressure, and Luke Loucks threw a lazy pass to Michael Snaer – before Dixon jumped the passing lane and took it in for a wide-open dunk in transition. The play completely rattled the Seminoles and turned the momentum in favor of the Bearcats. Florida State never recovered from the two-point deficit and Cincinnati advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 62-56 win, clinching the game with free throws.
Player who deserves improper benefits:Draymond Green is looking more and more like the type of great player who's just gonna carry a team to the Final Four. The 6-foot-7 senior got 16 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in Michigan State's 65-61 victory over Saint Louis and is now averaging 20.0 points, 12.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists in this NCAA tournament.
Not bad, Draymond.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Remember that Kyle O'Quinn character who was terrific Friday? He was less than terrific Sunday.
The Norfolk State senior who got 26 points and 14 rebounds in Friday's 86-84 upset of Missouri was limited to four points and three rebounds on a 1-of-9 shooting performance in Sunday's 84-50 loss to Florida. Yes, the Spartans lost by 34, which makes Missouri's loss to Norfolk State look even worse than it did initially, and I wasn't sure that was possible.
Player who is coming alive at the right time: With Mark Lyons in foul trouble and Tu Holloway getting the bulk of Lehigh's attention, Xavier needed someone else to step up in order to advance to the Sweet 16. That man was Kenny Frease, who went 11-for-13 from the field, and finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds against the Mountain Hawks' overmatched interior defense. As a result, Xavier rolled in the second half to a 70-58 win. Against Baylor's length and size in the Sweet 16, Frease will need to come up with a monster game yet again.
Player who didn't look that hurt at all:John Henson missed most of the ACC tournament and North Carolina's Round of 64 win over Vermont with an injured wrist that clearly isn't injured anymore. The 6-foot-11 forward finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in an 87-73 win over Creighton. So he's fine. That's the good news.
The bad news?
UNC point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his wrist.
His status for the Sweet 16 is unclear.
But this is devastating news for the Tar Heels.
Numbers worth noting
- 6:That's the number of Sweet 16s Billy Donovan has made in the past 14 seasons.
- 10:That's the number of Sweet 16s Tom Izzo has made in the past 15 seasons.
- 15:That's the number of Sweet 16s Roy Williams has made in the past 22 seasons.
- 4: That's the number of Sweet 16 teams from the Big Ten.
- 4: That's the number of Sweet 16 teams from the Big East.
- 4: That's the number of Sweet 16s Xavier has reached in the last five seasons.