After a few much-needed days to recuperate, and perhaps print a fresh bracket, the 2012 NCAA Men's Tournament is back underway. At the start of the night, 16 teams remained, including all four No. 1 seeds.
None of those teams are working the late shift on Thursday, however. Instead, we're being treated to a contest between a pair of intra-state rivals that rarely match up and another tilt between two clubs that each fancy themselves as darkhorse contenders to cut down the nets in New Orleans.
No. 2 ranked Ohio State faces No. 6 Cincinnati in a game that has higher stakes than a trip to the Elite Eight for those in the Buckeye State. Cincy rarely gets a chance to go up against Ohio State and will relish the opportunity presented them tonight.
Elsewhere, Buzz Williams' Marquette club goes up against Billy Donovan's Florida. The Gators waltzed into the Sweet 16 after thrashing Norfolk State, one of the Cinderella teams from the opening days of the tournament. The Golden Eagles, meanwhile, rode Jae Crowder as pulled away from Murray State to clinch their spot in tonight's game.
STAY TUNED FOR LIVE UPDATES FROM THE THURSDAY'S LATE GAMES:
Florida will advance to the Elite Eight after outlasting a feisty Marquette squad that just couldn't sustain any offensive rhythm. Beal was the star. Is a star.
Beal dunks on the break and that should do it.
Johnson-Odom drives for layup and Young fouls him. +1. It's 65-58 to Florida in the final minute. Time for free throws and/or miracles.
|@ sportspickle : Former Marquette star Dwyane Wade will be in a wheelchair for three days over that elbow.|
Johnson-Odom misses layup and Murphy gets tied up with board but it's FLA ball. We're under a minute and Marquette has no choice but to keep fouling.
And that elbow deemed acceptable... Florida leads 63-55..
Marquette back within 6 and... wow.. potential big swing as Boynton swings an elbow that catches Wilson. Refs reviewing replay.. that's a flagrant in college..
And Marquette running out of time, margin for error.
BIG BUCKET for Florida and lead is stretched back to 11.
Florida using clock on offensive possession... and the get a clean look for Walker from three.. MISS but what an effort for the offensive rebound..
|@ onlygators : Marquette drains a three and is now on a 7-0 run. Florida up six with 3:08 left.|
Wilson gets whistled for a quick foul after HUGE bucket from Mayo. TV timeout with 3:27 on the clock.
Mayo hits a three and it's a 6-point game!
Mayo flashes down court for a quick layup to cut the lead to nine and then steals it from Walker as Florida tries to drain clock. Timeout as they dive for the ball. Marquette ball and Buzz is out slapping his player on the butt! With 3:27 to play... can Marquette do it? Can they ever hit a three?
|@ DanWolken : Tough way for Marquette to bow out after an awesome year. Their big guns didnt have it tonight.|
|@ RTCWestRegion : Broken record but Beal again, he's the one guy that can continually turn the corner on this MU defense and get to the rim.|
Marquette's inability to make a bunny seems stirs Reggie Miller to spill cliches about struggling and bad fortune, Florida comes hard and fast the other way. Beal gets to the line and sinks two. 56-44 with fewer than 5. He's having a whale of a game. Or, a gator..
|@ Stevknowsports : Marquette did much better in a slower paced game vs. Murray state, although slowing it down probly won't help them now #toolittletoolate|
Buzz calls another timeout and is a bundle of energy but a Young bucket for Gators has Florida back up by 10 at 54-44 with 5:34 to go. Marquette can't sink enough buckets to sustain any run. And haven't seen a three in a long while.
|@ shawn_kopelakis : Marquette has given Florida every chance to run away with this. Florida has politely declined.|
He sinks a perimeter deuce and its an eight-point game again.
Gardner sinks a pair of free throws and it's an eight-point game. Marquette pressing full court and there is a heart beat.
|@ OS_RachelGeorge : Before the Murphy bucket, the #Gators went 4:08 without scoring and Marquette cut lead to eight. UF up 50-40 with 8:31 to go.|
We've got another timeout. Florida not able to pull away and Marquette has the ball, trailing 50-40 with with 9 to go.
Having a solid all-around game, Murphy takes mistmatched Mayo down onto block. Mayo tries to flop for charge but Murphy lays it in. 50-40.
Marquette is 15 for 50 (30%) and 4 of 13 (31%) from three. Even worse, they're not getting it done at the line at 6 for 11.
Marquette pressing, showing zone looks and doing everything they can to stay in this game. Florida leads 48-39 as we approach 10 minutes to play.
|@ NotBillWalton : Like a dust bowl depriving the midwest plains of a proper water source, Marquette's scoring drought is becoming a natural disaster.|
The Buckeyes survive the best shots that Cincinnati could muster and will advance to face Syracuse. Dominant efforts by Thomas and Sullinger and impressive defensive work by Craft, who kept his head in the game despite cold shooting start.
|@ zhayes9 : Teams w/ shaky PG, no healthy post presence, mediocre 3pt shooting + no surefire 1st rd pick have about a s16 ceiling. Marquette showing why|