2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: March Madness Continues!

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March Madness Bracket Update: Sweet 16 Is Set

The first four five six days of play in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament are in the books, which means we've narrowed the field down from 68 to 16. If you're looking to update your bracket. . .and you're inexplicably not grabbing the latest updated, printable 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament bracket from the folks at SB Nation. . .here are all the scores from the first week of NCAA Tournament play.

"First Four"

North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs 81, Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans 77
Clemson Tigers 70, Alabama-Birmingham Blazers 52
Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 70, Alabama State Hornets 61
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 59, USC Trojans 46

East Regional - First Round

(1) Ohio State Buckeyes 75, (16) Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 46
(8) George Mason Patriots 61, (9) Villanova Wildcats 57
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers 84, (12) Clemson Tigers 76
(4) Kentucky Wildcats 59, (13) Princeton Tigers 57
(11) Marquette Golden Eagles 66, (6) Xavier Musketeers 55
(3) Syracuse Orange 77, (14) Indiana State Sycamores 60
(7) Washington Huskies 68, (10) Georgia Bulldogs 65
(2) North Carolina Tarheels 102, (15) Long Island Blackbirds 87

East Regional - Second Round

(1) Ohio State Buckeyes 98, (8) George Mason Patriots 66
(4) Kentucky Wildcats 71, (5) West Virginia Mountaineers 63
(11) Marquette Golden Eagles 66, (3) Syracuse Orange 62
(2) North Carolina Tarheels 86, (7) Washington Huskies 83

West Regional - First Round

(1) Duke Blue Devils 87, (16) Hampton Pirates 45
(8) Michigan Wolverines 75, (9) Tennessee Volunteers 45
(5) Arizona Wildcats 77, (12) Memphis Tigers 75
(4) Texas Longhorns 85, (13) Oakland Golden Grizzlies 81
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats 78, (11) Missouri Tigers 63
(3) Connecticut Huskies 81, (14) Bucknell Bison 52
(7) Temple Owls 66, (10) Penn State Nittany Lions 64
(2) San Diego State Aztecs 68, (15) Northern Colorado Bears 50

West Regional - Second Round

(1) Duke Blue Devils 73, (8) Michigan Wolverines 71
(5) Arizona Wildcats 70, (4) Texas Longhorns 69
(3) Connecticut Huskies 69, (6) Cincinnati Bearcats 58
(2) San Diego State Aztecs 71, (7) Temple Owls 64

Southwest Regional - First Round

(1) Kansas Jayhawks 72, (16) Boston Terriers 53
(9) Illinois Fighting Illini 73, (8) UNLV Runnin' Rebels 62
(12) Richmond Spiders 69, (5) Vanderbilt Commodores 66
(13) Morehead State Eagles 62, (4) Louisville Cardinals 61
(11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams 74, (6) Georgetown Hoyas 56
(3) Purdue Boilermakers 65, (14) St. Peter's Peacocks 43
(10) Florida State Seminoles 57, (7) Texas A&M Aggies 50
(2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish 69, (15) Akron Zips 56

Southwest Regional - Second Round

(1) Kansas Jayhawks 73, (9) Illinois Fighting Illini 59
(12) Richmond Spiders 65, (13) Morehead State Eagles 48
(11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams 94, (3) Purdue Boilermakers 76
(10) Florida State Seminoles 71, (2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish 57

Southeast Regional - First Round

(1) Pittsburgh Panthers 74, (16) North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs 51
(8) Butler Bulldogs 60, (9) Old Dominion Monarchs 58
(5) Kansas State Wildcats 73, (12) Utah State Aggies 68
(4) Wisconsin Badgers 72, (13) Belmont Bruins 58
(11) Gonzaga Bulldogs 86, (6) St. John's Red Storm 71
(3) BYU Cougars 74, (14) Wofford Terriers 66
(7) UCLA Bruins 78, (10) Michigan State Spartans 76
(2) Florida Gators 78, (15) UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos 51

Southeast Regional - Second Round

(8) Butler Bulldogs 71, (1) Pittsburgh Panthers 70
(4) Wisconsin Badgers 70, (5) Kansas State Wildcats 65
(3) BYU Cougars 89, (11) Gonzaga Bulldogs 67
(2) Florida Gators 73, (7) UCLA Bruins 65

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Morris Twins Send Illini Packing

The Illinois Fighting Illini managed to hang with the Kansas Jayhawks in their 2011 NCAA Tournament second round match-up, but in the end they simply couldn't overcome the Morris twins on Sunday night.

Markieff Morris had a big night with 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Jayhawks, while his twin brother Marcus Morris added 17 points and 13 rebounds to help top-seeded Kansas past the Illini by a final tally of 73-59.

The final score isn't quite indicative of how close this game was for most of the contest, and even though the Illini last held the lead in this one when the score was 5-4, they didn't get down by very many to the Jayhawks.

Mike Davis led the Illini in scoring in this one with 17, and big Mike Tisdale added 13 to go along with 11 rebounds for Illinois, whose season ends with a record of 20-14.

The Jayhawks will move on to the Sweet 16, where they'll meet one of the tournament's few remaining Cinderellas when they take on the Richmond Spiders on Friday in San Antonio.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Purdue Gets Blasted By VCU, 94-76

One of the two teams in this Southwest Regional match-up on Sunday afternoon was playing its third NCAA Tournament game in five days, and had many questioning why they were part of the field in the first place. The other finished the regular season as one of the 10 or 12 best teams in America, despite losing in their first game in their conference tournament.

Watching them play today in Chicago, you would have had difficulty telling which one was which.

The Virginia Commonwealth Rams, who were one of the last four at-large teams in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament field, whipped one of the better teams in the Big Ten this afternoon when they beat the Purdue Boilermakers, 94-76, to move on to the Sweet 16 of this year's tournament.

Virginia Commonwealth went into the locker room with a ten-point lead at 42-32, and increased that lead to as much as 20 in the second half, serving to quiet a raucous Purdue crowd at the United Center.

Brandon Burgess led the way for VCU with 25 points, hitting nine of 14 shots, including three out of four from behind the arc. Jamie Skeen scored 13, while Juvonte Reddic and Joey Rodriguez each had 12. Rodriguez threw in 10 assists as well, helping the Rams to have 26 total assists while only turning the ball over four times.

Purdue's loss certainly can't be laid at the feet of JaJuan Johnson, as the Big Ten Player of the Year scored 25 in his final game as a Boilermaker, and also corralled 14 rebounds. Ryne Smith hit six of eight three pointers to finish with 20, but E'Twaun Moore struggled from the field and finished with just 10 points.

This will be the first ever trip to the Sweet 16 for Virginia Commonwealth, who will play the winner of the final game of the Round of 32 between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Florida State Seminoles.

Really tough to see Purdue go out this way, after the way they exceeded expectations after losing Robbie Hummel to another knee injury. Congratulations to the Boilermakers on a successful 2010-11 season.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Buckeyes Thump George Mason, 98-66

When the George Mason Patriots opened their second-round match-up with the Ohio State Buckeyes with an 11-2 run to take an early lead, there were surely thousands of brackets across the nation that went into trash cans, shredders, and fireplaces from coast to coast.

Good thing that SB Nation will supply you with a new one if you want it.

The Ohio State Buckeyes recovered from a slow start to outscore the Patriots to the tune of 96-55 after those initial four minutes of play, cruising into the Sweet 16 with a 98-66 victory over the upstarts from the Colonial Athletic Association. The Buckeyes went into the locker room with a 52-25 halftime lead, and outscored George Mason 46-31 after the intermission.

For the Buckeyes, David Lighty was. . .well, lighting it up this afternoon, as he finished a perfect seven-for-seven from three-point land en route to a 23-point performance to lead all scorers. William Buford contributed 18 to the Buckeyes' victorious effort, as did robo-frosh Jared Sullinger.

Cam Long led the Patriots with 18 points on the afternoon, while Ryan Person finished up with 13.

Next up for the Buckeyes will be the Kentucky Wildcats, who advanced to the Sweet 16 last night with a victory in their East Regional match-up with the West Virginia Mountaineers.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Illini Looking For Upset Against Jayhawks

It's never a tough task facing one of college basketball's top teams, but that's the task facing the Illinois Fighting Illini tonight in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Illinois will face the top seed of the Southwest Regional, the Kansas Jayhawks, in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Illinois had a rough end to their season, but bounced back to defeat the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in their opening game by a score of 73-62. Kansas got off to a sluggish start against Boston University, but pulled away in the second half and came out with a 72-53 win.

The good folks at SB Nation's Illinois blog, Hail to the Orange, they know that they certainly aren't going to have an easy go of it tonight against the Jayhawks.

Against UNLV the Illini, the seniors in particular, played a game that many knew they were capable of, but few thought they ever would. Now the Illini need to do it again, and stand only forty minutes from becoming the only Illini team to ever knock off a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

For the Illini to be successful, they are going to have to shoot the ball exceptionally well, especially from three point range, which means the guards are going to have to have stellar games once again. A lot off attention is going to payed down low, how the Illini attack offensively and react defensively to the Morris twins. They are incredibly talented players, and while Illinois matches up with them length wise they certainly don't size wise. I don't know if Jereme Richmond will be playing tonight or not, but I hope he does, because the Illini are at the least going to need his fouls, and the fouls of all the big men on the bench, to perhaps make the Morris twins beat the Illini at the line.

The same can be said for the Jayhawk fans that run SB Nation's Kansas blog, Rock Chalk Talk.

Obviously if you're looking at the last game these two teams played and trying to find and indicator for this one it doesn't look good for the Jayhawks.  Kansas looked tight, they looked sluggish and Illinois looked like a machine.  Fortunately Sunday is a new day and both teams could look completely different. 

The Jayhawks are 8.5 point favorites but for my money I think this is going to be a battle.  Illinois has some size to be disruptive for the Kansas bigs, but fortunately the name Illinois is on the other jersey carries some weight as a BCS opponent and not a mid major. I think this is a game that is too close for comfort down to about the last four minutes.  At that point Kansas needs to put some distance between themselves and Illinois similar to what they did late in the season against A&M or the pressure could become a little bit too much.

After Richmond and Morehead won on Thursday in Denver I made the statement that the Elite Eight was the minimum for this group and that still needs to be the case.  But after Friday, this second game and Illinois specifically, looks quite a bit more difficult than I had expected.

The tip-off for this one is scheduled for 8:40 PM Central time, and you'll be able to see it on TNT, Channel 245 on your DirecTV box, or on whatever cable channel your provider sends it to you on.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Boilermakers Look To Batter Rams

The Purdue Boilermakers will attempt to follow in the footsteps of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers as Big Ten representatives in the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. In order to do so, they'll have to knock out a team that is already playing their third game of the tournament in the Virginia Commonwealth Rams.

VCU had to play in one of the "First Four" games back on Wednesday night, as they toppled the USC Trojans in Dayton, Ohio by a score of 59 to 46, and took down the Georgetown Hoyas on Friday night, 74-56. Purdue reached the Round of 32 by defeating the St. Peter's Peacocks in the opening round, 65-43.

Over at SB Nation's Purdue blog, Hammer and Rails, they feel pretty confident about their chances of reaching the Sweet 16 of this year's tournament.

I think this is going to be a fun game to watch because we're going to get out in transition and really see what LewJack can do in terms of breaking down the press. It could be a big game for TJ too. Georgetown was incredibly undisciplined last night and struggled to 38% shooting. They also shot very poorly from three. This tells me we cannot settle for jumpers like we did against Iowa and Michigan State. We have to keep attacking the basket.

We should be fine as long as they don't keep hitting threes like they did last night. They are playing with a lot of confidence right now. That confidence will only grow if they get out in a lead and expand it as they did last night. They took apart a Georgetown team that was playing like a Final Four team for part of the season. They are more than capable of beating us, so we need to go back to playing our style of tenacious defense and smart, motion offense.

Tip-off for this one is set for 6:10 PM Central time, and you can catch the action on TBS, which is Channel 247 on your DirecTV box. Check your cable listings for channel in your area.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Michigan's Frantic Comeback Falls Short

What looked like an easy victory for the Duke Blue Devils turned into anything but at the end. However, the West Regional's number one seed still managed to hold on and advance to their 12th Sweet 16 in 14 years by defeating the Michigan Wolverines, 73-71.

The Blue Devils led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but Michigan made a furious comeback in the second half, pulling within two points. The Wolverines had a chance at a tie, but Darius Morris' attempt for the tie bounced off the back iron, and the Blue Devils survived.

Morris led the Wolverines with 16 in the losing effort, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. pitched in with 15 on the afternoon. For the Blue Devils, Nolan Smith had a monster game to lead all scorers with 24 points, while Kyle Singler scored 13 for Duke.

The Blue Devils will now move on to face Arizona in the Sweet 16 next weekend. The Wildcats won a wild one over the Texas Longhorns this afternoon to advance in their own West Regional Round of 32 game.

For the Wolverines, they finished strong to get into the tournament, and their season concludes with a record of 21-14. Congratulations to them on a successful season and a strong finish.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Ohio State Looks To Take Out George Mason

A couple of years ago, the George Mason Patriots made a run all the way to the NCAA Final Four. In the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the top-ranked team in all the land will attempt to prevent them from experiencing a similar scenario. The Ohio State Buckeyes, the top seed in the East Regional, will battle the Patriots this afternoon in Cleveland for the right to move on to the Sweet 16.

Ohio State got here by throttling the Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio in the opening round by a score of 75-46, while George Mason survived a tough battle with the Villanova Wildcats to claim a 61-57 victory. The winner of this one will face the Kentucky Wildcats in the Sweet 16, as the Wildcats defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers yesterday to advance in the tournament.

SB Nation's Ohio State blog, Along the Olentangy, is not taking the Patriots lightly by any stretch.

George Mason is one of the most unique teams Ohio State will have faced this season. They shoot extremely well, but they aren't a team full of pure shooters like Michigan who run an offense that incorporates the 3-point shot as an integral facet. They certainly aren't a team that emphasizes offensive rebounding as a strategy. The Patriots only rank 158th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and 122nd in free throw rate, one of the Four Factors that is often paired with offensive rebounding percentage because of style correlations. Big teams that like to drive to the basket and play physical will generally rack up both a large number of rebounds and fouls.

If there's a team that mirrors George Mason on Ohio State's schedule, it's the Purdue Boilermakers. Like Purdue, George Mason is a forward-heavy roster that shoots well and doesn't turn the ball over.The Patriots are 23rd in the country in effective field goal percentage and 14th in turnover percentage, while Purdue ranks 91st and 7th in the respective categories. It's an imperfect comparison-- George Mason shoots significantly better than the Boilermakers-- but a very apt one stylistically. Even the coaches share an affinity for man-to-man defense and similar use of the bench.

If you accept the comparison, it's a little concerning with Purdue being one of the two teams to defeat the Buckeyes this season. Ohio State will have a veritable home-court advantage with the game in Cleveland, however, and they won't be facing any player as singularly talented as either JaJuan Johnson or E'Twaun Moore. Purdue is a better defensive team than George Mason, as well, ranking 35 places higher in Ken Pomeroy's defensive efficiency measure.

The tip-off for this one will take place at 4:15 PM Central time, and you'll be able to watch all the action on your local CBS affiliate.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Michgan And Duke Cap Interesting Week For Both

With the off-court bickering that has gone on this week between former Blue Devil Grant Hill and former Wolverine Jalen Rose, it seems almost right for the current incarnation of their teams to battle each other on the court in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament. (Editor's note: Jalen Rose said some really, really dopey things that he really shouldn't have said. That is all.) That's the match-up we'll see today in the West Regional today in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Duke Blue Devils and Michigan Wolverines are set to renew acquaintances for the right to move on to the Sweet 16.

Both teams got here by blowing out an opponent, as the Blue Devils waxed the Hampton Pirates 87-45 in the opening round, while the Wolverines crushed the Tennessee Volunteers. . .and, likely, Bruce Pearl's "employed" status. . .by a score of 75-45.

At Maize n Brew, SB Nation's home for all things Wolverines, they know that the odds are stacked against them in this one.

Today they go up against one of the best teams in the country in the Duke Blue Devils, the number one seed in the Wolverines bracket. They're loaded top to bottom with McDonald's All Americans. They're tall. They can shoot from the outside and rebound the ball like maniacs. They're favored.

But this is nothing new to this Michigan team. They've run up against teams that are taller than them, more athletic, more yadda yadda yadda. It doesn't matter. Michigan's here. They're still playing. They shoot the ball well, they distribute the ball as well as any team in the country, and they don't care who you are. They're here to beat you. They're here to go to the Sweet 16. And you're in their way.

The tip-off for this one is schedule for 1:45 PM Central time, and you can watch all of the action on your local CBS affiliate.

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March Madness Bracket Update: Is Your Bracket Busted?

Well, we got one epic upset in yesterday's action, with the Butler Bulldogs having knocked off the Pittsburgh Panthers in one of the more unbelievable sequences that you'll ever see to conclude a college basketball game. That loss really managed to mess up a lot of brackets, including those of yours truly, who had the Panthers as part of the national title game (yes, I should have known better).

Here are all of the results of yesterday's action for you to update your brackets with. And, as always, you can get your updated, printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket from the good folks at SB Nation.

East Region

(4) Kentucky Wildcats 71, (5) West Virginia Mountaineers 63

West Region

(2) San Diego State Aztecs 71, (7) Temple Owls 64
(3) Connecticut Huskies 69, (6) Cincinnati Bearcats 58

Southeast Region

(8) Butler Bulldogs 71, (1) Pittsburgh Panthers 70
(4) Wisconsin Badgers 70, (5) Kansas State Wildcats 65
(3) BYU Cougars 89, (11) Gonzaga Bulldogs 67
(2) Florida Gators 73, (7) UCLA Bruins 65

Southwest Region

(12) Richmond Spiders 65, (13) Morehead State Eagles 48

Be sure to follow all of the action for the day today at the various SB Nation websites!

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Badgers Reach Sweet 16 With 70-65 Victory

Jacob Pullen tried as hard as he could, and almost single-handedly managed to get Kansas State into the Sweet 16, but his monstrous effort wasn't enough, as his Wildcats fell to the Wisconsin Badgers, 70-65, in Southeast Regional play in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Pullen scored 38 of the Wildcats' 65 points on the evening, but saw his attempt at a game-tying three-pointer as time was winding down blocked by Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor. Josh Gasser then hit two free throws to seal it.

Jon Leuer scored 19 points to lead the Badgers, and Keaton Nankivil chipped in with 12 points, as did Taylor. For Kansas State, Curtis Kelly was the only other Wildcat to score in double figures, as he put in 11.

Wisconsin now moves on to a Sweet 16 match-up with a highly unlikely opponent, the Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs pull off the biggest upset of the tournament earlier in the afternoon, as they knocked off the Southeast Region's number one seed, the Pittsburgh Panthers, by a score of 71-70.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Wisconsin Meets Kansas State For Sweet 16 Berth

The Wisconsin Badgers will attempt to be the first Big Ten team to reach the Sweet 16 of the 2011 NCAA Basketball tournament when they take the court tonight against the Kansas State Wildcats in West Regional action from Tuscon, Arizona.

Wisconsin advanced to this point by knocking off the Belmont Bruins by a score of 72-58, while Kansas State advanced with a 73-68 victory over the Utah State Aggies.

At SB Nation's Wisconsin blog, Bucky's 5th Quarter, they know what the Badgers have to do to come out of this one with the victory.

More generally, the winner of this game will likely succeed in two main areas: rebounding and free throw shooting.

Kansas State is a phenomenal offensive rebounding team, grabbing nearly 41% of their own caroms. That is the fourth-best rate in the country. Jamar Samuels and seven-foot reserve Jordan Henriquez-Roberts provide the rebounding support alongside Kelly. Conversely, Wisconsin is the eight-best team in terms of preventing offensive rebounds.

The problem for the Wildcats is that their aggressive style leads to a ton of fouls. They are among the worst at the number of free throw attempts allowed per field goal attempt. Kansas State also shoots a low percentage (65.9) from the stripe as a team.

Once again, though, UW is on the opposite end of the spectrum. The Badgers usually settle for jump shots at an alarming rate. However, the team converts its few opportunities at the free throw line at a record-breaking 82.3% clip. If the team plays a balanced game offensively by getting Leuer the ball in position down low could find themselves in a great position to advance.

Over at Bring On The Cats, SB Nation's blog for all things Kansas State, we get a slightly. . .disconcerting. . .set of predictions from the folks that cover the Wildcats.

Predictions:

  • BracketCat: Wisconsin 66, Kansas State 62
  • GAMER: Wisconsin 62, Kansas State 60
  • Pomeroy: Wisconsin 67, Kansas State 61
  • Sagarin: Wisconsin 68, Kansas State 64

Wow. . .looks like the Cats are up against it in this one.

You can see this one starting at 7:40 PM Central time on TNT, which is channel 245 on your DirecTV box. Be sure to check your listings for channel in your particular neck of the woods.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: March Madness Bracket Update

The entire first round of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament is in the books. If you're not getting your updated, printable 2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket from SB Nation. . .well, shame on you, because that's the only place you should be getting them from.

With that, here's a recap of all the action for the first round of the tournament.

"First Four"

North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs 81, Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans 77
Clemson Tigers 70, Alabama-Birmingham Blazers 52
Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 70, Alabama State Hornets 61
Virginia Commonwealth Rams 59, USC Trojans 46

East Regional

(1) Ohio State Buckeyes 75, (16) Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 46
(8) George Mason Patriots 61, (9) Villanova Wildcats 57
(5) West Virginia Mountaineers 84, (12) Clemson Tigers 76
(4) Kentucky Wildcats 59, (13) Princeton Tigers 57
(11) Marquette Golden Eagles 66, (6) Xavier Musketeers 55
(3) Syracuse Orange 77, (14) Indiana State Sycamores 60
(7) Washington Huskies 68, (10) Georgia Bulldogs 65
(2) North Carolina Tarheels 102, (15) Long Island Blackbirds 87

West Regional

(1) Duke Blue Devils 87, (16) Hampton Pirates 45
(8) Michigan Wolverines 75, (9) Tennessee Volunteers 45
(5) Arizona Wildcats 77, (12) Memphis Tigers 75
(4) Texas Longhorns 85, (13) Oakland Golden Grizzlies 81
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats 78, (11) Missouri Tigers 63
(3) Connecticut Huskies 81, (14) Bucknell Bison 52
(7) Temple Owls 66, (10) Penn State Nittany Lions 64
(2) San Diego State Aztecs 68, (15) Northern Colorado Bears 50

Southwest Regional

(1) Kansas Jayhawks 72, (16) Boston Terriers 53
(9) Illinois Fighting Illini 73, (8) UNLV Runnin' Rebels 62
(12) Richmond Spiders 69, (5) Vanderbilt Commodores 66
(13) Morehead State Eagles 62, (4) Louisville Cardinals 61
(11) Virginia Commonwealth Rams 74, (6) Georgetown Hoyas 56
(3) Purdue Boilermakers 65, (14) St. Peter's Peacocks 43
(10) Florida State Seminoles 57, (7) Texas A&M Aggies 50
(2) Notre Dame Fighting Irish 69, (15) Akron Zips 56

Southeast Regional

(1) Pittsburgh Panthers 74, (16) North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs 51
(8) Butler Bulldogs 60, (9) Old Dominion Monarchs 58
(5) Kansas State Wildcats 73, (12) Utah State Aggies 68
(4) Wisconsin Badgers 72, (13) Belmont Bruins 58
(11) Gonzaga Bulldogs 86, (6) St. John's Red Storm 71
(3) BYU Cougars 74, (14) Wofford Terriers 66
(7) UCLA Bruins 78, (10) Michigan State Spartans 76
(2) Florida Gators 78, (15) UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos 51

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Illinois Takes Down UNLV, 73-62

The Illinois Fighting Illini capped off a pretty successful opening round for the Big Ten Conference by knocking out the UNLV Runnin' Rebels by a score of 73-62 on Friday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Illini, who had lost ten of their last sixteen coming into the NCAA Tournament and had some questioning whether they'd get into the field at all, had a surprisingly easy time of it against the Runnin' Rebels, putting together a 15-0 run early and leading by as many as 25 before UNLV pulled a bit closer at the end.

Mike Davis tied a season high with 22 points for the Illini in the victory, and Demetri McCamey threw in 17 and seven assists. Oscar Bellfield scored 14 to lead UNLV, while Chace Stanback and Anthony Marshall chipped in with 13 each.

The Illini will now move on to take on the Kansas Jayhawks and their former head coach, Bill Self.

Illinois' victory means that of the seven Big Ten teams that made the Big Dance, five of them won their opening game, with only Michigan State and Penn State having to pack their bags and head back home.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: St. Peter's Allows Purdue To Enter Round Two

Purdue's dynamic duo of E'Twuan Moore and JaJuan Johnson didn't put together the most efficient performance on Friday night, but they got the job done as the Boilermakers blew out the Peacocks of St. Peter's by a score of 65-43 at the United Center in Chicago tonight.

Moore led all scorers with 19 points, despite turning the ball over seven times, and Johnson had 16 points and 16 rebounds, despite hitting only six of 16 shots from the field. The Boilermakers led the entire game, went into the locker room with a 33-17 lead, and then scored the first seven points of the second half to really put the Peacocks away.

Senior forward Jeron Belin led the Peacocks in scoring with 12 points.

The Boilermakers advance to the second round of the Southwest Regional, where it appears that they will take on the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth, who currently lead the Georgetown Hoyas by a score of 59-38 with seven and a half minutes remaining.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Illinois And UNLV Take The Court

The final Big Ten representative to take the court for their opening round match-up will be the Illinois Fighting Illini, and they've drawn the UNLV Runnin' Rebels as their first opponent. The winner of this one will move on to face the Kansas Jayhawks, who pulled away fro Boston University earlier in the evening to advance.

The folks at Hail to the Orange, as expected, seem to like their chances of moving on to face the Jayhawks.

I have confidence in this team, that they will at least get into position to win this game, but again it is all contingent upon the Illini hitting their shots. The drought the Illini went through against Michigan was partially yes, that they slowed things down, and yes that they took too many three pointers when they should have worked for a two. But the shots that Illinois missed during that stretch were for the most part, good ones. Some of those three's I was angry about the Illini taking were open shots. If they hit one or two of those, it wouldn't have been an issue. You can't change your personality now, and this is a jumpshooting team. So make your jumpers and get back on defense, and it will take care of itself.

The Big Ten is 4-2 thus far in the opening round of the tournament. Can the Fighting Illini make the conference 5-for-7? You can find out by tuning in to TBS (Channel 247 on DirecTV, check your local cable listings for channel in your area) at 8:20 PM Central time.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Purdue Leads St. Peter's At Halftime

Our apologies for not having a proper preview of this one up before tip-off.

The Purdue Boilermakers are well on their way to moving on to the second round of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament, as they lead the Peacocks of St. Peter's at halftime by a score of 33-17 in Southwest Regional play in Chicago, Illinois.

E'Twaun Moore leads the Boilermakers in scoring thus far with nine points at the break, and JaJuan Johnson has chipped in with eight of his own. Wesley Jenkins is the leading scorer for St. Peter's thus far with four.

The winner of this contest will move on to the Round of 32, where they will meet the winner of the final first round game of the Southwest Regional, which will see the Georgetown Hoyas taking on the Virginia Commonwealth Rams.

For the Purdue perspective on things, be sure to pay a visit to the good folks over at Hammer and Rails.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Ohio State Blows Out Texas-San Antonio, 75-46

Nobody expected the Ohio State Buckeyes to have a great deal of trouble with the Roadrunners of Texas-San Antonio and. . .well, they didn't.

The Buckeyes went out today and looked exactly the way a number one overall seed should look, as they rolled over Texas-San Antonio on Friday afternoon by a score of 75-46 and leading by as many as 38 points in the second half.

William Buford put in 18 points for the Buckeyes to lead the way, with Jared Sullinger adding 11 before getting a little more rest than he's used to getting.

Devin Gibson led the way for the Roadrunners, leading all scorers with 24 point, meaning that he accounted for more than half of Texas-San Antonio's entire offensive output for the game.

The Buckeyes will now move on to play George Mason University on Sunday. The Patriots defeated the Villanova Wildcats earlier in the day to advance to the Round of 32.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Ohio State Takes Court Against UT-San Antonio

The Ohio State Buckeyes are currently the top-ranked basketball team in America, and the number one overall seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Today, they will look to make the march towards the Final Four when they take on the Roadrunners of the University of Texas-San Antonio. UT-SA had to win one of the "First Four" games to reach this point, as they defeated Alabama State 70-61 on Wednesday night.

Never in the history of the modern NCAA Tournament has a number one seed lost to a number 16 seed. . .and the folks from Along the Olentangy, SB Nation's Ohio State blog, don't anticipate it happening today, either.

It shouldn't be surprising that such a gulf exists between Ohio State and UT-San Antonio, but it is disappointing that the Roadrunners are being rewarded for playing well in only three games of an entire season. They haven't even competed, win or lose, against any RPI Top 50 teams, and they hold one of the weakest strength of schedules of any team in the country. Ohio State is a 22-point favorite according to the latest Vegas lines, and Ken Pomeroy is predicting an 87-59 Buckeye victory at 99% confidence. The Roadrunners should not be in the game at halftime unless something goes terribly wrong for the Buckeyes.

Really hard to disagree with that assessment. . .although I suppose stranger things have happened. I wouldn't expect anything strange to happen in this game, however.

This game will tip off at 2:40 PM Central time, and you'll be able to see it on TNT, which is Channel 245 on your DirecTV box. Check your local listings for cable channel in your area.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Michigan Destroys Tennessee, 75-45

You wouldn't expect a game between a number eight seed and a number nine seed to provide the largest margin of victory in the NCAA Tournament thus far, but that's exactly what happened today, as the Michigan Wolverines crushed the Tennessee Volunteers this afternoon by a score of 75-45.

This feat was made more amazing by the fact that the Wolverines didn't score a single point from the free throw line. The Wolverines only attempted one free throw on the afternoon, and it was missed by forward Jordan Morgan.

The Volunteers had a lead in this one as late as the five-minute mark of the first half, when they led the Wolverines by a score of 23-22. However, over the last 25 minutes of play, the Wolverines outscored Tennessee 53-22, including blasting the Volunteers by a 42-16 margin in the second half.

The Wolverines had five players that scored in double figures, led by Zack Novak's 14 points. Novak also pulled down 10 rebounds in the victory. Stu Douglass, Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Matt Vogrich each contributed 11 points as well.

For Tennessee, forward Tobias Harris has 19 of the Volunteers' 45 points, and nobody else on the Tennessee team scored more than six. One has to wonder what role the uncertainty surrounding current Volunteers' coach Bruce Pearl had on the team's performance today.

The Wolverines will move on to a likely second-round match-up against the Duke Blue Devils, unless the Hampton Pirates can pull off a monumental upset. With the war of words that's gone on this week between Duke graduate Grant Hill and Michigan alumni Jalen Rose, it might be one of the more interesting match-ups of the Round of 32.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Michigan Meets Tennessee In First Round Action

The Big Ten takes to the court again this morning, as the eighth-seeded Michigan Wolverines will battle it out with the ninth-seeded Tennessee Volunteers in West Region action in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Over at Maize n Brew, they think that the Wolverines have a pretty tough match-up on their hands.

Going into the game I really don't know what to expect. I see a pair of teams seemingly going in opposite directions. Michigan comes in riding a wave of success that's carried them from nowhere to the tournament. Tennessee's gone from being ranked in the top ten early in the season to sort of backing into the Tournament. And it's not like there's a lot of good new floating around their program. Tennessee's Athletic Director, on the verge of his team's "second" round game, told the assembled media that he wasn't sure if head coach Bruce Pearl would be around the next year. Really? You're doing that to your team now? Um... thanks?

Still, in terms of talent, Tennessee would seem to hold a considerable edge. McDonald's All-Americans, four stars, etc., etc. But Michigan has played against those guys all season, and more often than not, come away with wins. Michigan came from nowhere because it plays like a team, not like a collection of ball players. When you saw their name called on Selection Sunday, they celebrated like they play, together. And for the Wolverines to move on, they've have to do more of the same against Tennessee.

Over at Rocky Top Talk, their thoughts are with Tennessee's embattled coach, Bruce Pearl.

In the fury of the moment, the goal that these players had when they came to Tennessee is still alive today.  We're dancing.  We're in.  Nothing else matters today except Michigan.  This team can still leave its mark.  All you have to do is win.

Today, Bruce Pearl is still the basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.  All that matters is today.  All he has to do is win.

And for us as fans...as afraid as I am of basketball ceasing to matter around here for the immediate future, it still matters today.  We're here.  We're in.  Even if the end of an era is creeping in all around us, it's not here yet.  This team can still matter.  And this season is not over yet.

I'm suddenly very aware of how very much I want to win this game.

So let's win.

Today, we're with you Coach.  We've always been with you.  And today is all that matters.

Go Vols.

It should be a good one, ladies and gentlemen. You can see this one on TruTV.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Get Your Updated Bracket From SB Nation

How's your bracket doing so far in this year's tournament? Did Louisville burn you? Were you expecting St. John's to get past Gonzaga into the second round? Are you so angry with your brackets that you've thrown them away already in disgust?

Well, that's okay, because the good folks at SB Nation are updating the brackets for you, and are willing to let you have theirs to track the tournament!

That's right, you can download the latest updated and printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket from the good folks that make this site and all of the rest of the SB Nation family of blogs possible. Don't forget, the SB Nation brackets not only have the updates on them, but they also give you the web addresses for every single team in this year's NCAA Basketball Tournament, so you can get the fan's perspective on all of the upcoming action!

Go get your updated 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket now!

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Michigan State's Furious Comeback Falls Short

The Michigan State Spartans found themselves down by 18 points at halftime, and as many as 23 in the second half, but just refused to go down. . .and the UCLA Bruins seemed more than content to let them hang around. In the end, however, Michigan State just couldn't pull off the impossible, and fell to the Bruins in Southeast Regional action on Thursday night by a score of 78-76.

UCLA had a 42-24 lead at halftime in this one, and had a lead of 64-41 when Brendan Lane hit a jumper with 8:36 remaining in the ball game, but UCLA just kept clanking their free throws, enabling the Spartans to close the game on a 35-14 run. The Bruins missed a free throw with 4.4 seconds left, but Spartans' guard Kalin Lucas was called for traveling while trying to get through a triple-team and launch a half-court prayer. After that, all UCLA needed to do was get the ball in bounds, and they did that to run out the clock and take home the victory.

Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee led the way for the Bruins with 16 points each, and that was supplemented by Joshua Smith's 14. For the Spartans, Draymond Green had a triple-double in the losing effort, finishing the game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. Lucas finished with 11 points after being held scoreless through the game's first 32 minutes.

UCLA will move on to play the second-seeded Florida Gators, who blew out the Gauchos of UC-Santa Barbara earlier in the evening by a score of 79-51.

Congratulations to the Spartans on a successful season.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Badgers Beat Belmont, 72-58

The Wisconsin Badgers' offense woke up from its slumber on Thursday night, and they staved off a team that many had as a trendy upset pick in the tournament's opening round, as they defeated the Belmont Bruins by a score of 72-58 in West Regional action in Tuscon, Arizona.

Jon Leuer scored 22 points on the evening to lead all scorers, hitting 7-of-12 from the field and all seven of his free throws. Jordan Taylor added 21 for the Badgers, including hitting 5-of-9 from long range.

For Belmont, Mick Hedgepeth scored 17 in the losing effort, and Kerron Johnson added 13. The Atlantic Sun champions never had a lead of greater than three points over the Badgers, and didn't get the lead back at all after a Leuer three-pointer made the score 26-25 with 3:35 remaining in the first half.

Wisconsin scored more points in each half of this game than they did in their last game, when they fell 36-33 to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.

The Badgers will now move on to play the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday. Kansas State knocked off Utah State this evening by a score of 73-68.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Michigan State Takes On UCLA

The Big Ten's action for the first day of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament will conclude with some Southeast Regional action at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, as the UCLA Bruins will lock horns with the Michigan State Spartans.

The Bruins went 22-10 on the season and 13-5 in the Pac-10 Conference, while the Spartans ended the year with a 19-15 record and an even 9-9 mark in the Big Ten.

The Only Colors, SB Nation's home for all things Michigan State, they think that the Spartans not only have the ability to win this one, but to move even farther in the tournament.

All things considered, I feel about as good as I've felt about the team going back to the very start of the season.  Given how the season's gone that's not all that dramatic a vote of confidence, but he team has found some identity down the stretch (defense first, with a close-to-100% Kalin Lucas making things happen on offense) and finally showed what it's capable of when everything's clicking on both ends of the court in Indianapolis.

At this point, I wouldn't be all that surprised if the team was one and done in the tournament--or if it advanced decisively to the tournament's second weekend.  The fresh start for a team that's badly needed one all season comes tomorrow night.  The question is whether the team can use that fresh start to delay the finish of the season for a few more games.

SB Nation's UCLA blog, Bruins Nation, also likes their team's chances of advancing.

The Bruins are underdogs by most of  the experts and the services, they have some health issues, but there really is some reason for cautious optimism. UCLA has come a long way this season, especially on the defensive side, which will serve them well tonight.

The last thought goes to the leader of one of those final four runs, AA himself, who recently said of Ben Howland (emphasis mine):

"He puts in so much time and effort into preparing for every detail that an opponent can throw at you that you feel like you know what they are going to do before you step on the court," Afflalo said. "He's a great defensive mind and once players truly understand that, they begin to have success as a team."

Here's hoping the Bruins ignore the critics, the oddsmakers, and the experts and listen to the one voice that matters right now, Ben Howland.

The tip-off for this one will take place at 8:20 PM Central time, and you can follow the action on TBS, Channel 247 on your DirecTV. Check your local listings for where your cable provider has them slotted.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Wisconsin Starts Tournament Against Upstart Belmont Bruins

The Wisconsin Badgers didn't exactly set the world on fire the last time they took the court, scoring only 33 points in a loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. They hope to have a slightly larger measure of success this evening when they play their first game of the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament against the Belmont Bruins, the champions of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Because of their previous performance, a lot of people have picked the Bruins to pull an upset over the Badgers tonight. However, the folks at SB Nation's Wisconsin blog, Bucky's 5th Quarter, seem to like their chances in this one.

For the Badgers, the scouting game plan put together by Greg Gard will help, but this is really just put up or shut up time. This is about attitude and execution. A coaching staff can only do so much in that regard.

Having Mike Bruesewitz will help, as he was playing pretty well against Penn State before his knee injury. He gives Wisconsin another physical post defender to work into the mix, so Leuer and Keaton Nankivil are not alone. The team needs his energy. If the Badgers can win those battles inside, it will allow Taylor and company to get more aggressive on the perimeter.

In the end, we know Wisconsin can get as hot as any other team in the country. The Badgers have to shoot well and at least one of the supporting characters must be a participant in that good shooting. Though Tim Jarmusz has gone M.I.A. (and scoreless) in the past two games, he will be needed to on the court to take care of the ball. He has to be aggressive offensively.

The Southeast Region is there for the taking and Wisconsin should seize the day.

I'd get the perspective from SB Nation's Belmont blog, but we haven't got one of those. . .and there don't appear to be a whole lot of them anywhere on the internet.

Tip-off for this one will be at 6:27 PM Central time, and the game will be televised on TruTV, Channel 246 on your DirecTV box or on some other channel for your other cable or satellite providers.

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Juan Fernandez Buzzer-Beater To Push Temple Past Penn State

The Temple Owls and the Penn State Nittany Lions were tied at 64 with time running down in their West Regional game at the McKale Center in Tuscon, Arizona, thanks in part to a ridiculous three-pointer by the Nittany Lions' Talor Battle.

Temple took the ball back, called a time out to set up a play and. . .well, I'm not going to talk. You can see the whole ending sequence right here.

Great shot by Juan Fernandez to give the Owls the victory and knock Penn State out of the tournament in the opening round.

This year's tournament certainly has lived up to expectations so far, with three games. . .this one, Butler's victory over Old Dominion, and Morehead State's upset of Louisville. . .coming down to the last seconds of play.

This is what March Madness looks like, folks, and it doesn't look like the action is going to be slowing down any time soon.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Penn State Falls To Temple, 66-64

The first Big Ten Conference team to take the court in the 2011 NCAA Basketball tournament was also the first Big Ten team to be knocked out of March Madness, as the Penn State Nittany Lions fell this afternoon to the Temple Owls in West regional action by a score of 66-64.

Talor Battle played well in his last game as a Nittany Lion, leading his team with 23 points and hitting five of eleven three-point attempts, and he was supplemented by Tim Frazier's 15 points and David Jackson's 14. However, the Nittany Lions had no answers for the Owls' backcourt of Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez, who scored 23 points each, combining for 46 of Temple's 66 points.

The Nittany Lions' season ends with a record of 19-15. Temple moves their record to 26-7 on the season, and moves on to the Round of 32 against the winner of the upcoming game between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Northern Colorado Bears.

Congratulations to the Nittany Lions on making a nice run to get into the NCAA Tournament, and on a successful season.

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2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Penn State Kicks Off Big Ten Action

The first Big Ten team to take the court in the 2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament will be the Penn State Nittany Lions, who will be playing today against the Temple Owls in West Regional action in Tuscon, Arizona.

These two schools aren't very far apart, geographically, and as a matter of fact scrimmaged against one another in October. They also played against each other in Philadelphia in December, with the Owls gutting out an ugly 45-42 victory over the Nittany Lions.

Over at SB Nation's Penn State blog, Black Shoe Diaries, they think their team has a chance to pull off the mild upset and continue on to a potential match-up with the San Diego State Aztecs.

Temple's 14-2 record in a league as respected as the A-10 is nothing to sneeze at, but Penn State hasn't lost to a team outside the Top 10 since Feb. 10 at Michigan State. The Lions have earned the right to be here, too, and they need to play with the confidence they have in the last month if they hope to keep their season going for another couple of days. Temple is good and it has had Penn State's number over the last couple of years, but reacting to that instead of the momentum built up at the Big Ten Tournament is a bad idea. The Lions are good in their own right and, as they've shown, a little swagger and fight makes them dangerous enough to beat anyone. Why not Temple?

Unfortunately, SB Nation doesn't have a blog for Temple, but we found one from outside the network called The T Stands Alone to see what they think about their chances this afternoon.

After last year's debacle I convinced myself that I would never pick Temple to win until they actually did so. I changed my tune when I saw the draw this year as Penn State is a vulnerable squad. I don't think that this game is going to be a laugher by any means but I do believe that the Owls have more than enough quality to advanced to the round of 32 on Saturday. Temple 61, Penn State 53

Tip-off for this one will take place at 1:10 PM Central time on TNT, which is Channel 245 on your DirecTV box, and. . .well, some other channel if you don't have DirecTV.

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