Motivated by a fallen teammate the Louisville Cardinals dominated the second half of the Midwest regional final en route to a 85-63 win over Duke.
Shortly before then end of the first half back-up Louisville point guard Kevin Ware sustained one of the most visibly gruesome injuries in the history of televised sports, suffering a compound fracture of his right leg. An emotional Rick Pitino attempted to gather the composure of his players with a huddle, but the impact from the injury left a noticeable silence in the arena.
The shaken Cardinals took a 3 point lead into the half but came out of the break fired up, going on a 20-4 tear led by Gorugi Dieng, Peyton Siva, and Russ Smith, as the Cardinals scored 50 points on 59.3 % shooting in the 2nd half. Smith led all scorers with 23 points, while Diva added 10 of his 16 in the second half, along with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Dieng. Mason Plumlee added 17-points and 12 boards in the losing cause for Duke.
For coach Pitino the win marks revenge from the last time one of his teams played Duke, the famous 1992 Elite 8 game where Christian Laettner sunk his Kentucky Wildcats in dramatic fashion.
The No. 1 overall seed in the tournament advances to their second straight Final Four, where they will face Wichita State in Saturday’s National Semifinal in Atlanta.
After sealing the win, the Cardinals celebrated with Ware’s 5 jersey, and opted not to cut down the mesh.
All-Name Team sweethearts Wichita State provided us with the first early exit for a #1 seed this year, knocking off Gonzaga 76-70.
The Bulldogs and their 15-game winning streak were done in by a couple of poor shooting performances from Kelly Olynyk (8-22) and Kevin Pangos (6-17), and shot under 35% (8-23) as a team from long range. The Shockers lived up to their name through 50% (14-28) shooting from the 3-point line that included seven-straight makes down the stretch and a balanced scoring attack led by 16 points a piece from Cleanthony Early and Ron Baker. Wichita State shot 50% of the field as a team and managed to hold Gonzaga to just 35% shooting.
The Shockers advance to the round of 16 for the first time since 2006, and will face the winner of Sunday’s matchup between La Salle and Ole Miss.
A strong defensive effort by the James Madison Dukes held the LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds to their lowest scoring game of the entire season, en route to a convincing 68-55 win in the first round play-in game. Andre Nation led the way with five blocks and seven rebounds to go along with 20 points on the other end. The Blackbirds made a spirited run at the end of the first half to trail by just one, but the Dukes put together a 12-2 run late in the 2nd half to take back a commanding lead with just under two minutes left.
James Madison now joins the Eastern region bracket and will match up against #1 Indiana on Friday.
La Salle tops Boise State
Four La Salle players scored in double figures including Tyrone Garland who was a scorching 9-for-11 from the field, as the La Salle explorers shot over 63% from the field to earn their first win in the NCAA tournament since 1990. The Broncos had a valiant and high-scoring effort including 28 points from Anthony Drmic, but they failed to get enough stops down the stretch.
La Salle is now the #13 seed in the West region, and will face #4 Kansas State on Friday afternoon.
Follow the action on theScore app!
We’ve made some amazing additions to our already outstanding app this year to help you follow the Madness with an unprecendented level of coverage. You can see how your bracket is doing with theScore app and even get push alerts using our upset tracker so you know when to take a “coffee break” at work to watch the games. Check it out in the video below.
It’s finally tournament time again! Around the world people have begun filling out brackets and making selections based on a number of random sets of criteria such as uniform color or which mascot would win in a fight. Regardless of the success of your bracket or your interest in college basketball there is one thing everyone can all enjoy together while taking in the games: the incredible collection of names that emerge when you scan the rosters of 68 teams full of 18-to-22 year olds.
What began as an idea for an “All-Name Team” ballooned into a “64-Name Bracket” which in turn ballooned into the list you see now, the Top 100 Names of the NCAA Tournament.