Marcus Paige made three 3-pointers in the second half to help North Carolina get untracked from long range and stifle a Syracuse rally for an 83-66 victory that moved the Tar Heels one win from the program’s sixth title.
As St. Joseph’s faced Oregon in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Hawk did what makes him one of the more famous mascots in college sports: flapping his wings … all game long. From pregame warmups to the final buzzer, that adds up to about 3,500 flaps.
INDIANAPOLIS – Call them freshmen, but do not call them kids. Led by Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s talented group of youngsters played like salty old pros down the stretch, outscoring Wisconsin by 14 points the final 13 minutes Monday night to grit out a 68-63 victory for the program’s fifth NCAA men’s national basketball championship.
HOUSTON – The celebrating was done. Back at their hotel, the Gonzaga Bulldogs had already turned their thoughts to Duke and the 40 minutes that stand between them and the Final Four – not in a scouting-report kind of way, but just in the thinking-about-it kind of way. When Matt Santangelo spotted Gary Bell Jr. in the lobby, he knew that.
When the NCAA men’s tournament reaches the Sweet 16, that means there are only 15 games left to decide a national champion. Kentucky needs to win four of those games to become the first undefeated champion since Indiana in 1976. The Wildcats improved to 36-0 – the best start to a season for any team – with a workmanlike win over Cincinnati. Next up in the Midwest Regional semifinal is West Virginia, another team that will come right at Kentucky and try to force turnovers, the Mountaineers’ trademark this season.
BYU is back in the building where it pulled off the biggest comeback in NCAA men’s basketball tournament history. The Cougars (25-9) play Mississippi (20-12) in a first-round game tonight in Dayton. It’s the same court where BYU made history three years ago. BYU fell behind Iona by 25 points in the first half of a first-round game in 2012, but rallied for a 78-72 win. That’s the most recent time the Cougars won an NCAA tournament game. They lost to Oregon in their opener last year. Tonight’s other first round game at Dayton is Manhattan vs. Hampton. The truTV doubleheader begins at 3:30 p.m. – Associated Press
Bill Grier coached San Diego to an upset of UConn in the 2008 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, his first season as Toreros coach. It never got better than that for the former Gonzaga assistant, who was fired Monday after going 117-144 in eight seasons. “Although we improved a little recently, we didn’t get to the place we wanted to,” athletic director Ky Snyder said. The A.D. said he needed to “see some steady progress and I didn’t see it build to where I wanted to.” The Toreros were 15-16 this season. “I’m more disappointed than anyone that we didn’t win more games, but I know we did things the right way,” Grier said in a statement. Grier had been an assistant at Gonzaga for 16 years before replacing the fired Brad Holland in March 2007. – AP
ARLINGTON, Texas – Coaches and players left them. Others told them to go away. The guys who stuck around at UConn ended up with the last laugh and a pretty good prize to go with it: The national title.
DAYTON, Ohio – For the last 14 years, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament has started with play-in games and the First Four at the University of Dayton Arena. The home team? Didn’t even get in the bracket most times. This year, it’s flying high.