Oklahoma earns resume-defining win with upset of No. 5 Kansas

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We knew that Oklahoma was a pretty good basketball team heading into today’s game with No. 5 Kansas.

We knew that they had plenty of size and athleticism. We knew that their big men were difficult to matchup with. We knew that they had Steven Pledger and Romero Osby and Amath M’Baye.

But none of that will earn you a bid to the NCAA tournament. A strong profile will, and as of this morning, the Sooners’ profile didn’t necessarily stand out. Their RPI (21st) and strength of schedule (7th) was enough that, when combined with wins over Oklahoma State (28th in the RPI) and at Baylor (46th in the RPI), the Sooners likely won’t be sweating on Selection Sunday.

That said, nothing on their resume truly stood out. Until Saturday, when the Sooners held off a late Jayhawk surge to beat Kansas 72-66.

The upset win throws the Big 12 into utter disarray. It’s the third straight loss for the Jayhawks, who fall a game back of Kansas State for first place in the league race. Oklahoma State is a game off the pace, while Iowa State has a chance to make things even messier by beating Bruce Weber’s Wildcat team this evening. Baylor’s even in the mix, after a win over Texas Tech put them two games out of first place.

And who knows, with a relatively ‘meh’ schedule down the stretch of the season — the Sooners get TCU twice and Texas Tech, West Virginia and Texas once — Oklahoma could make a run at the league title. That’s a big deal.

But that also means we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Barring a collapse down the stretch of the season, the Sooners essentially clinched themselves a tournament berth. They did so by beating Kansas at a time when they had lost two straight (including a 19 point whooping from Iowa State), three of their last four and four of their last six.

A resume-defining win in a pivotal game of the season coming off of a losing streak?

Well it just doesn’t get much better than that.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

2017 NCAA Tournament Final Four schedule, tip times, and announcer pairings

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National Semifinals– Saturday, April 1

6:09 p.m. EST, CBS, Glendale
No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

Approximately 40 minutes after conclusion of first game, CBS, Glendale
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 3 Oregon (Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery, Tracy Wolfson)

VIDEO: The insane final 10 seconds of North Carolina’s win over Kentucky

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North Carolina and Kentucky ended in legendary fashion on Sunday.

After freshman Malik Monk buried a heavily-contested three-pointer to tie the game at 73-all for Kentucky with under 10 seconds left the Tar Heels didn’t use a timeout as Theo Pinson found forward Luke Maye for the game-winning jumper.

These 10 seconds will go down as one of the greatest finishes in NCAA Tournament history.

No. 1 seed North Carolina outlasts No. 2 seed Kentucky to advance to the Final Four

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North Carolina advanced to the Final Four for the second consecutive season and 20th time overall as the No. 1 seed Tar Heels outlasted No. 2 seed Kentucky, 75-73, during Sunday’s South Regional final in Memphis.

Reserve forward Luke Maye knocked in the game-winning jumper for the Tar Heels with 0.3 seconds left to break a 73-all tie after Kentucky’s Malik Monk tied the game with a three-pointer on the previous possession.

The Tar Heels (31-7) overcame an ankle issue from junior point guard Joel Berry as North Carolina was led by Justin Jackson’s 19 points.

Maye also stepped up with a big game for North Carolina as he continued his strong March with 17 points. Berry added 11 points, as he went to the locker room during the first half to get his ankle looked at before returning to play later in the half.

Kentucky (32-6) won the regular-season matchup of these teams, 103-100, in Las Vegas in December as their freshmen guards struggled to perform on Sunday. After De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk combined for 71 points in that previous win over the Tar Heels, the two freshmen studs couldn’t get going.

Both of them dealt with first-half foul trouble as Fox finished with 13 points while Monk was held to 12 points. Also battling foul trouble in the first half, freshman Bam Adebayo added 13 points for the Wildcats.

With Fox and Monk struggling to generate consistent offense, the Wildcats were able to stay in the game thanks to great performances from reserves like Isaac Humphries (career-high 12 points) and senior Dominique Hawkins (10 points.

North Carolina advances to face No. 3 seed Oregon in next weekend’s Final Four.

VIDEO: South Carolina celebrates Final Four trip by dousing Frank Martin in water

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South Carolina earned its first trip to the Final Four with its win over SEC-rival Florida on Sunday.

The Gamecocks made sure to celebrate properly when head coach Frank Martin hit the locker room after the game by dousing him in water before Martin gave another speech.

https://twitter.com/marchmadness/status/846124174259118080/video/1

VIDEO: Darius Rucker tears up as South Carolina advances to the Final Four

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Darius Rucker, the former front man of Hootie and the Blowfish and a current star in the country music world, is a lifelong South Carolina Gamecocks fan.

This isn’t really a secret.

Hell, on Friday night at a concert he was playing, Rucker set up TVs so that he would be able to watch South Carolina take on Baylor:

You probably didn’t realize just how big of a fan he actually is until you saw him, sitting second row at the regional final in New York City on Sunday afternoon, tearing up as the Gamecocks advanced to the Final Four:

Let ’em cry, Darius, if the tears fall down like rain.