Round of 16 starts with upsets, big wins
BOSTON — Top-seeded Syracuse used a breakout game by the slumping C.J. Fair to advance to the East Regional final.
Wisconsin missed two potential winning shots in the final seconds, and the Orange hung on for the 64-63 win Thursday night to reach the round of eight for the first time since 2003, when they won their only national championship.
Fair, who had scored a total of 20 points in his last six games, finished with 15 on 7-for-9 shooting. Scoop Jardine had 14 points, while Dion Waiters had 13 and Brandon Triche 11.
Kris Joseph, a 75 percent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 18 seconds to go with Syracuse up by a point, giving the Badgers a chance at the victory.
Passing the ball around the perimeter of the zone but creating much space, Jordan Taylor let go a 3-point attempt with 3 seconds left. It bounced off the rim and Josh Gasser's shot at the buzzer was off.
Jared Berggren and Taylor both had 17 points for the Badgers (26-10), who finished 14 of 27 from 3-point range but couldn't make one over the final 6 minutes.
Syracuse (34-2) plays Ohio State in the regional final Saturday.
OHIO STATE 81, CINCINNATI 66
BOSTON (AP) — Deshaun Thomas scored 26 points and Jared Sullinger had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead second-seeded Ohio State to the victory.
Aaron Craft added 11 points — all in the second half — with five assists and six steals, taking charge during a 17-1 second-half run that turned a four-point deficit into a double-digit lead.
Cashmere Wright scored 18 and Sean Kilpatrick had 15 for the Bearcats (26-11), who were attempting to match Big East rival Syracuse by beating a Big Ten opponent to advance to the East Regional finals.
It's the first trip to the regional finals for Ohio State (30-7) since it lost in the 2007 championship game to Florida.
The state of Ohio placed four teams in the round of 16, and the Buckeyes are the first to advance. Ohio plays North Carolina and Xavier plays Baylor on Friday.
LOUISVILLE 57, MICHIGAN STATE 44
PHOENIX — Chane Behanan scored 15 points and Gorgui Dieng anchored Louisville's stifling defense with seven blocked shots, helping the Cardinals knock off top-seeded Michigan State in the regional semifinals.
Louisville (29-9) smothered the NCAA tournament's best-shooting team with its matchup zone, getting good pressure from its guards up top and some big swats by Dieng, one of the nation's top shot-blockers.
The Cardinals relied on 3-point shooting in the first half and went inside during the second to earn a trip to the West final against Florida on Saturday.
Dieng finished with five points, nine rebounds and had three steals. Peyton Siva overcame a rough shooting night — four points on 2-of-9 shooting — with nine assists.
Draymond Green had 13 points and 16 rebounds in his final game for Michigan State (29-8) and Brandon Wood added 14 points.
FLORIDA 68, MARQUETTE 58
PHOENIX — Bradley Beal scored 21 points to lift Florida to the victory and set up Gators coach Billy Donovan with a meeting against his old boss, Rick Pitino, in the West Regional final.
The seventh-seeded Gators (26-10) expanded a six-point halftime lead to double digits, then held off third-seeded Marquette (27-8) to take their second straight trip to the regional final. Last year, they lost to Butler. This time, they meet Louisville and Pitino.
Beal, a freshman who has NBA written all over him, shot 8 for 10 and had six rebounds and four assists.
Marquette got 15 points from Jae Crowder and 14 from fellow senior Darius Johnson-Odom, but the Golden Eagles exited the tournament in the round of 16 for the second straight year.