NEW YORK -- Northern Iowa's Ali Farokhmanesh still leads the NCAA tournament with two clutch/game-winning shots. But Michigan State's Korie Lucious and Purdue's Chris Kramer pulled within one Sunday, and have you caught your breath yet, college basketball fans?
Let's do the Day 4 Look Back ...
Best game from Sunday: "I told our team when we were up four, up six, whatever it was, we were going to win this game and it's going to be one of the greatest wins in the history of Michigan State," Tom Izzo said afterward, which means he's both an awesome coach and accurate predictor because, absolutely, the Spartans' 85-83 victory over Maryland was just what he promised. It was a win that came despite Kalin Lucas suffering an apparent torn Achilles in the first half, a win that came despite Greivis Vasquez driving and scoring and giving Maryland an 83-82 lead with six seconds remaining. The ball was subsequently pushed up court by Draymond Green, who found Korie Lucious, who took one dribble and drained a jumper that literally moved Izzo to tears. Just a wonderful game, shot, and scene.
Worst game from Sunday: Rick Jackson got his third foul barely nine minutes into a one-point game, which was a potentially devastating development for Syracuse considering Arinze Onuaku was sidelined with an injury. Turns out, it didn't matter one bit because Wesley Johnson was dominating (31 points and 14 rebounds) and Andy Rautins was making shots (5 of 9 on 3-point attempts). That made for an easy 87-65 victory over Gonzaga that'll send the Orange to the Sweet 16 with tons of confidence and momentum regardless of whether Onuaku returns.
Player who deserves improper benefits: Jon Diebler shot well enough in the second half that his non-existent first half didn't matter as Ohio State recorded a 75-66 win over Georgia Tech. Diebler turned an 0-of-3 effort from beyond the arc at the half into a 4-of-10 effort, meaning he went 4 of 7 on 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes to finish with 20 points, second only to Evan Turner's 24.
Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Jermaine Dixon had his worst game of the season at the worst possible time, missing eight of the nine shots he took and finishing with just two points in Pittsburgh's 71-68 loss to Xavier. This is the third time in six years that Pitt has been bounced in the second round.
Why I'm smarter than you think: I'm second in the "CBSSports.com Experts" Bracket Challenge, and the only person ahead of me is Jerry Palm, who has Kansas winning the national title. Perhaps you heard, but Kansas isn't winning the national title. I think that means I'm going to win the "CBSSports.com Experts" Bracket Challenge, which would be fitting because, well, you know.
Rybaltowski: Lucious fuels emotional MSU win
Rybaltowski: Purdue digs deep to extend life
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Why I'm dumber than I think: Despite my domination of the other experts, I had Purdue, Butler, Northern Iowa and Cornell all losing in the first round. Perhaps you heard, but none of those teams did what I expected.
Three things you should know before you go
1. West Virginia committed only 10 turnovers against Missouri, and that was the key in the Mountaineers' 68-59 win. That and Da'Sean Butler's 29 points, of course.
2. Cornell -- according to the guys at BasketballProspectus.com -- scored 1.65 points per possession in its 87-69 win over Wisconsin. Those who follow statistics like these understand the strength of that number. The rest of you will have to trust me when I tell you it's impressive, especially against a coach like Bo Ryan and a team like the Badgers.
3. Duke dominated California and won 68-53 despite Jon Scheyer missing 10 of his 11 field goal attempts, including seven of his eight 3-point attempts. Brian Zoubek made up for the lackluster performance. He got 14 points and 13 rebounds, six of which were offensive.
Final thought: The first four days of the NCAA tournament were incredible for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is how it produced a Sweet 16 that'll feature 11 different conferences. As we move forward, Cornell, Saint Mary's, and Northern Iowa will receive much of the attention, but Purdue advancing to the second weekend should get similar treatment because it's just as good of a story.
Remember, this team lost arguably its best player Feb. 24.
At that point, many expected the Boilermakers to fold.
I was one of them.
But what the nation learned Sunday is that Purdue is too determined for that, too tough for that, too full of pride to take an early loss, mention Robbie Hummel's torn ACL, shrug its shoulders and focus on next season. The Boilermakers could've lost to Texas A&M in the second round and probably should've considering they trailed by 11 points in the second half. But they rallied, forced overtime and won 63-61 on Kramer's buzzer-beating layup, and now this season won't be remembered for what it might've been as much as it'll be remembered for what it is.
So what is it?
It's still in progress.
Admirably, still in progress.