NetScouts Basketball is covering the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament from all the regional sites.
Oregon played Louisville about as tough as they could, coming back from an 18-point second half deficit and closing the lead to six, but it wasn't enough as Louisville won 77-69. The Ducks couldn't stay in front of Russ Smith who used his quickness to continually get around his man to create opportunities for himself or his teammates. Smith scored 31 points to lead all scorers and got to the foul line 14 times. The game was called closely which benefited Oregon as Louisville's hand-checking wasn't allowed. 41 total fouls were called and the Ducks only committed 12 turnovers. Kevin Ware replaced Peyton Siva after Siva drew his second foul five minutes into the game. Ware provided excellent support as he scored 11 points on solid penetration in his 25 minutes of action.. Gorgui Dieng was solid, blocking four shots to go along with nine rebounds and 10 points. Arsalan Kazemi played a strong all-around game for Oregon with 11 rebounds and 12 points. E.J. Singler led the Ducks with 15 points.
Kansas will be wondering all off-season how they lost their regional semifinal against Michigan. The Jayhawks were up 68-54 with 6:54 left but the Wolverines amped up their defense. Kansas got over-confident with the lead and careless with the ball. Michigan forced Kansas into four late turnovers and started to come closer. The lead was still 10 with 2:22 left when back-to-back Elijah Johnson turnovers led to four quick Michigan points. The Kansas lead was three with 13 seconds left when Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one giving Michigan a chance to tie. Trey Burke then showed why he was named the NetScouts Basketball National Player of the Year as he hit a contested 30-footer to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Burke set the stage in the OT with another three-pointer and subsequent jumper. Mitch McGary converted on an offensive rebound to put Michigan in front 85-82 and Glenn Robinson III came up with a steal. He was fouled and made both FT's to extend the lead to five. Johnson made a tree-pointer to narrow the lead to two. After a Michigan turnover Kansas had one last chance, but Naadir Tharpe missed a rushed jumper at the buzzer as Michigan completed the amazing comeback with the 87-85 win. Burke, who was held scoreless in the first half, poured in 18 second half points and finished with 23. Freshman McGary had his second straight double-double, hitting his last eight shots in scoring 25 points and pulling down 14 rebounds. Ben McLemore led Kansas with 20 points, all of them from the late first half to the mid-second half as he broke out of an 0-of-12 shooting slump. Jeff Withey had another strong game with 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocks. This was an NCAA Tournament Classic.
Duke's defense took control of the game in the second half and came way with a 71-61 victory over Michigan State. The Blue Devils held the Spartans to one field goal over a 15-minute stretch of the second half. Duke's Seth Curry played one of his best games, scoring 29 points on 6-of-9 three-pointers, several off the dribble. Michigan State's shooter Gary Harris, possibly tired from chasing Curry all game, had an off day, shooting 2-of-11 in scoring only six points. Keith Appling led the Spartans with 16 points. Duke connected on 24-of-26 free throws in the contest. The Blue Devils advance to face Louisville in the regional finals.
#15-seeded Florida Gulf Coast looked like they would extend their magic as they took an 11-point lead midway through the first half against Florida. The Gators started off the game shooting 4-of-20. However, Florida extended their defense and started hitting their shots turning a 24-14 deficit into a 37-26 lead after a 23-2 run. Florida started dominating the boards and scoring down low as they pulled away to the 62-50 victory. The Gators defense forced the Eagles in 20 turnovers against only 20 made field goals. Mike Rosario led the Gators with 15 points while Scottie Wilbekin scored 13 and ran the point effectively. Sherwood Brown led Florida Gulf Coast with 14 points. Florida advances to the regional finals against Michigan after defeating a #15-seed (Florida Gulf Coast), a #14-seed (Northwestern State) and a #11-seed (Minnesota). It's the first time a team has advanced to the regional finals by defeating three double-digit seeded teams.