Are your brackets ready for Round 2 of the Madness?
We begin with the West Region where #4 Texas faced #13 Oakland. The Longhorns looked very impressive in this back and forth, up and down game with the Summit Conference champions. Tristan Thompson led the way for Texas with a double-double while also providing solid defense on Oakland's best player, Kent Benson. The Grizzlies never gave up though and made this game close before Texas made some clutch free throws to seal the win.
Texas will face #5 Arizona in the round of 32. The Wildcats had a knock down war with former Arizona assistant Josh Pastner's Memphis Tigers. A true back and forth contest, Arizona rallied from a 10 point second half deficit behind Pac-10 player of the year Derrick Williams. Williams, who almost went to Memphis, had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Wildcats. Memphis had a chance late to tie the game but a last ditch effort was swatted away by Williams
Also in that region, Michigan and Tennessee did battle in a 8/9 contest. Both teams played even for half of the first 20 minutes before the Wolverines kicked it into another gear. With embattled coach Bruce Pearl days at Tennessee seemingly numbered, the Vols turned the ball over and over and the lead kept growing and growing. The result was a 30 point win for the Wolverines and a date in the round of 32.
The Wolverines will meet top seeded Duke, who had no problem disposing of Hampton. Kyrie Irving did play in the game, 20 minutes to be exact, and led four Blue Devils in double digit scoring. A healthy Irving poses a lot of matchup problems for the rest of the teams in the tournament. Coach K's team was good without Irving and now, they could very easily make another run to a back to back title
In the East region, George Mason and Villanova had a very spirited 8/9 game. The Wildcats jumped out early behind Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher but could never put George Mason away. The Patriots rallied in the 2nd half and when Luke Hancock hit a 3 pointer with 21 seconds left, it capped the comeback and sent Villanova packing. This was the latest and last collapse for the Wildcats, who end the season on a six-game losing streak. They were once ranked as high as No. 5 but failed to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.
The Patriots will meet top seed Ohio State, who whipped up on University Texas-San Antonio. The Buckeyes shot 60% from the field, drained 11-20 three pointers and assisted on 23 of their 28 field goals. Freshman of the year Jared Sullinger had a quiet game, scoring 11 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Jon Diebler and William Buford paced the Buckeyes in scoring, leading a balanced attack that saw 4 of the 5 starters score in double figures.
In the Southwest Region, it was 2nd seeded Notre Dame taking on the MAC's Akron. The Irish looked a little skittish at the beginning and seemed to being having trouble dealing with being expected to win. A four point lead at the half quickly turned into double digits early and the Irish was able to hold off the pesky Zaps. Big East player of the year Ben Hansbrough didnt shoot particularly well from the field but he did dish out 6 assists.
The Fighting Irish will meet #10 Florida State in the next round. The Seminoles "upset" Texas A&M in a rugged contest that at times wasnt pretty to watch. Neither team is a juggernaut offensively and it showed as both schools struggled to put the other away. Florida State jumped out to an early lead but went thru a scoring drought that brought the Aggies back. However, Texas A&M returned the favor after grabbing their own lead. The Seminoles fought back and in the 2nd half, used their defense to smother the Aggies and take the win.
The night session is about to begin with a couple more intriguing matchups. I'll be watching Illinois as they take on former head coach Lon Kruger and UNLV. What will you be watching?