The NCAA Tournament pared its field to the Sweet 16 on Sunday. TheSportsNotebook’s daily sports look this morning sets the tone for the week by looking back on those eight games, and then looking ahead to what’s on tap from today through Sunday in the world of sports…
Indiana 58 Temple 52—I was impressed by how unimpressive Indiana was, if I might be contradictory. By that I mean that we knew the Hoosiers could win a game where offenses were flowing freely. There was less reason to be confident in their ability to win a game ugly, and that’s what they did, holding Temple to 34% shooting from the floor. IU will now play Syracuse in the Sweet 16 in Washington D.C.
Miami 63 Illinois 59—It wasn’t a great shooting weekend for Shane Larkin overall, starting with Friday’s first-round win over Pacific. But Larkin hit the biggest trey of the season to give the Hurricanes a late lead and his team moves on to play Marquette.
Kansas 70 North Carolina 58—How could you not be impressed with center Jeff Withey for Kansas. The stat line itself—16 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks—was impressive enough. But the big guy played with an attitude that took the game over after Carolina got an early lead and led by nine at the half. The Jayhawks need to get everyone involved in their next game against resurgent Michigan.
Florida 78 Minnesota 64—Mike Rosario hit 6/9 from three-point range and scored 25 points to lead Florida. Minnesota point guard Andre Hollins scored 25, completing a weekend where he knocked down 53 in the two games. But Trevor Mbakwe was going to need a big game down low if the Gophers were going to have a chance, and at 11 points/6 rebounds, he didn’t get it.
Florida Gulf Coast 81 San Diego State 71—This is no fluke. The Gulf Coasters have one of the most athletic teams in the tournament, and Bernard Thompson led the way with 23 points, while Brett Comer dished 14 assists. If anyone in the Sunshine State thought of a great in-state battle in the NCAAs, I’m sure it was Florida-Miami on their mind. Instead it’s going to be Florida-Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16.
Duke 66 Creighton 50—Great job defensively by the Dookies. Doug McDermott got his numbers for Creighton, at 21 points/9 rebounds, but he shot 4-of-16 from the floor. Give McDermott credit for making his free throws. His 12-of-12 night made him perfect on all 23 attempts from the foul line the past two games in Philly. Duke can now prep for a showdown with Michigan State.
Ohio State 78 Iowa State 75—On a day where defenses tended to rule the day, the Buckeyes and Cyclones combined to shoot 21-for-43 from three-point range. Appropriately enough, the game was decided when Aaron Craft hit a trey for Ohio State in the closing seconds. The Buckeyes move on to play Arizona.
LaSalle 76 Ole Miss 74—Ramon Galloway for LaSalle scored 24 points, while Ole Miss’ heralded Marshall Henderson had 21. But look one level deeper—Galloway was efficient, at 8/13 from the floor and hit six of ten behind the arc. Henderson meanwhile went 8-for-21 and only hit four of fifteen shots from long range. One player scored because he played well, the other scored because he kept jacking up shots. Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway can rest secure in the knowledge that he scored 14 points, got 13 rebounds and could have taken his team on a big run in March if only his more publicized teammate had let him. LaSalle will play Wichita this coming week.
THE ROUND OF 16
TheSportsNotebook’s college basketball coverage will resume in a couple days, with a complete preview of the entire weekend of regionals action. In the meantime, here’s how the schedule lines up…
Thursday-Saturday: East & West
The early time slot on Thursday (roughly 7:30 PM ET) will have Miami-Marquette in the East and Ohio State-Arizona in the West. Then the nightcaps are the East Regional battle between Indiana-Syracuse and the Cinderella matchup out west of LaSalle-Wichita. I haven’t seen tip times for Saturday’s finals, but it’s usually a doubleheader that starts late afternoon, about 4:40 PM ET.
Friday-Sunday: South & Midwest
Start it early in the South with Kansas-Michigan and in the Midwest with Louisville-Oregon. Then your conclusion to the Sweet 16 is Duke-Michigan State and Florida-Florida Gulf Coast. In the past, the Sunday regional finals have tipped off at 1:40 PM ET.
THE NBA & NHL
Our NBA commentary and NHL analysis is getting short shrift right now, between college basketball and the last set of preseason MLB coverage, as Opening Night comes up on Sunday. But here’s a rough outline of what you can look for this week…
*The Miami Heat’s run at history will be on your TV screen. The Heat are at 26 in a row, and play Orlando tonight on ESPN, go to Chicago for a Wednesday ESPN game and then comes a battle royale in San Antonio on Sunday night on NBA-TV. I can’t believe David Stern put the Spurs-Heat on a weekend when the NCAAs would have everyone’s attention. The man must be slipping.
*TNT will shift its normal doubleheader coverage from Thursday to Tuesday and they have two good games. It’s Knicks-Celtics from the Garden, and Clippers-Mavericks out west. Dallas still has a puncher’s chance at the playoffs.
*The Chicago Blackhawks have moved off the headlines now that their epic streak is over, but they’re still atop the standings in the NHL overall. The Blackhawks will on NBC Sports Network tonight against the champion they’re trying to displace when Los Angeles comes to town. Then Chicago plays their top competition in the West when Anaheim visits on Friday in an NHL Network game. Finally, they get the NBC spotlight on Sunday afternoon against Detroit.
*The desperate Philadelphia Flyers, submerged in the non-playoff teams with the season almost three-quarters over, host the New York Rangers on Tuesday on NBC Sports Network, and have a Saturday afternoon home matinee with Boston on the NHL Network.
*Speaking of Boston, they bring their grudge rivalry and heated division with race with Montreal to NBC Sports Network on Wednesday, and will be on the same network Sunday night against Buffalo.
That’s the general look ahead on the week in sports. TheSportsNotebook’s daily sports feature is going to take a break, as I’m going down to Fort Myers for the week, but there will still be regular updates here with the last of the baseball previews and a look at the Sweet 16.