Duke 74, George Washington 61 [71 possessions] – A fairly easy win over the Great Unknown. It’s up to George Mason to represent our nation’s forefathers in the Sweet 16.
Florida 82, UW Milwaukee 60  – I’m starting to get a ‘97 Arizona vibe here – a few emerging pro players coming together and playing their best ball in March. This is the most balanced offensive team that’s still playing.
Wichita State 80, Tennessee 73  – A very poor defensive game by the Vols. They allowed far too many easy chances resulting in either layups or free throws. I’ll miss the character that is Major Wingate. Unfair though it was, the MVC really had to get a team to the Sweet 16 to quiet the critics. Who are the Shockers rooting for tomorrow? Theoretically they’d rather play a double-digit seed, but they got beat at home by George Mason a month ago. Whereas Mark Turgeon is a Roy Williams disciple and won’t need to do a whole lot of preparation for UNC.
Washington 67, Illinois 64  – A game that lived up to my expectations. One of the things about this time of year is that somebody’s career ends in unexpected fashion. Last season, Illinois did it to Salim Stoudamire in a stunning comeback. This year, it looked like Illinois was cruising to the Sweet 16, but then it went south over the last five minutes, and next thing you know, we won’t see Dee Brown play any more.
LSU 58, Texas A&M 57  –In two years, Billy Gillispie turned a team that was a perennial conference doormat into a squad that was one shot away from getting to the Sweet 16. With one possession left and a two-point deficit, you had to feel pretty bad about LSU’s chances. But all that bad mojo from the regular season turned around as Darrel Mitchell hit a three after whatever play John Brady concocted in the time-out broke down. The Tigers steal a win shooting 37.0% eFG.
Boston College 69, Montana 56  – Grizmania comes to a sudden end. Montana plays some zone, and tries to force BC into relying on 3s. BC goes 8-for-17 from behind the arc and only 19-for-47 from 2.
UCLA 62, Alabama 59  – Not an easy win at all for the Bruins. Arron Afflalo didn’t score for the first 26 minutes, but finished with 13 points including a huge 3 in the final minute to give UCLA a four-point lead. UCLA wins despite going 5-for-13 from the free throw line. The Pac-10 is looking pretty solid at 5-1. West Coast basketball enthusiasts unite!
Gonzaga 90, Indiana 80  – Hey, the Zags looked like a bona fide 3-seed! Gonzaga shot 41 free throws to Indiana’s six, but this was all about style. Indiana shot 36 3s compared to Gonzaga’s 11. Players not named Killingsworth shot a grand total of 20 2s. Morrison only got 14 points on .69 PPWS, but man, if his teammates play against UCLA like they did in this one, the Zags have a fighting chance.
Now it’s time to hunker down for Slow-Down Sunday. Villanova/Arizona would seem to be the only contest that has a chance to top 70 possessions. Pitt/Bradley should be a fun, if low-scoring, affair to start the day off. I’ll invoke space-aged PossessographTM technology on it if it turns into a good one.