Villanova v North Carolina

North Carolina survives Villanova, set up likely Roy Williams-Kansas reunion in third round

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The North Carolina Tar Heels did what Kansas State and ACC rival N.C. State couldn’t do on Friday: defeat a Philadelphia opponent. The Tar Heels blew a 20-point lead and survived Villanova with 78-71 win in an 8-9 matchup in the South Region at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

With seven minutes to go in the first half, North Carolina was up 32-12 on Villanova. By halftime, the Wildcats cut the lead to eight. Seven minutes in to the second half, Villanova regained the lead on a Jayvaughn Pinkston free throw. The Tar Heels countered with threes from Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston. James Michael McAdoo upped the lead to nine with four minutes to go, but that lead wasn’t even safe.

The Wildcats came storming back, cutting the lead to two twice. The Wildcats forced a turnover with its full-court press and Pinkston could have cut the lead to two a third time, but his layup attempt fell of the rim in the hands of Hairston. Ryan Arcidiacono was having a cut on his eye bandaged on the sideline, forcing Durran Hillard to bring the ball up. Hillard missed a shot in the lane, and Marcus Paige threw the ball up to Hairston who drew an and-1.

North Carolina lost the battle on the board by nine, espeically on the offensive glass — 15-9. The Tar Heels survived being outrebounded with 11-for-21 3-point shooter. Hairston and Bullock were 5-for-8 and 3-of-6, respectively, from behind the arc. North Carolina’s likely third round opponent will be Kansas, ranked 15th in the nation in rebounding margin.

If Kansas can avoid being the first No. 1 seed to be upset by a No. 16 seed, the third round promises to provide one of the more interesting storylines of this wild NCAA tournament. Roy Williams would be matched up against the team he coached for 15 seasons. Maybe 10 years, a national title and Bill Self is enough to make KU fans forgive Williams for leaving Lawrence for a return Chapel Hill

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Kennesaw State blows eight-point lead in 16 seconds, loses to Elon

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Kennesaw State entered Monday night at 1-6 on the season, but with 19 seconds left, it looked like the Owls have their second of the season locked up. Kendrick Ray made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left to put KSU up 89-81, and all they had to do was avoid a complete meltdown to get out with a win.

They couldn’t.

A Luke Eddy layup with 16 seconds left cut the lead to six, and after KSU’s Nigel Pruitt missed two free throws, Dainan Swoope his a three with seven seconds left to make the score 89-86.

On the ensuing inbounds, Kennesaw State threw the ball away … and then proceeded to foul Eddy when he was shooting a three. This is what that disaster looked like:

Eddy would hit all three threes before, shockingly, KSU turned the ball over again. Elon could not capitalize this time, sending the game to overtime, where the Phoenix outscored the Owls 14-4.

Elon won 104-94.

Here’s what the comeback looked like on the play-by-play:

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Rick Pitino: Louisville ‘just ignored’ in top 25 due of scandal

Rick Pitino
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Louisville beatdown Saint Louis at the Barclays Center on Sunday night, a 77-57 win that was much closer at halftime than the final score might indicate.

The win moved the Cardinals to 5-0 on the season, and that, in turn, got Louisville into the back end of both top 25 polls.

They’re 24th in the AP Poll and 22nd in the Coaches Poll, but that happened on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Pitino made sure to get a rant in about how this team is viewed and why pundits and voters should overlook the scandal currently plaguing his program.

“I think people are looking at that and they’re not really studying the team,” he said, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, adding that he thinks the team is “just ignored” because of the accusations leveled by self-described madam Katina Powell in the book she published back in October.

And here’s the thing: he is 100 percent correct. Louisville was overlooked in the preseason because the scandal, when combined with the fact that the Cardinals are integrating so many new pieces into their rotation, made it tough to see how they would be able to compete at a level that we’ve come to expect out of Louisville teams.

I know that because it’s why my colleagues at, against my wishes, refused to allow me to rank Louisville in the preseason top 25. In other words, I’ve had first-hand interactions with the haters. But if we’re going to be honest here, scandal or no scandal, Louisville probably wasn’t going to find their way into the preseason top 25, not when they had to replace Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell.

And scandal or no scandal, no team from outside the top 25 is going to play their way into the top 25 by beating the likes of North Florida and St. Francis (NY) without some shenanigans — like Fred VanVleet getting hurt, like Indiana collapsing, like Arizona and Cal and Notre Dame playing their way out of the top 20 — happening around the country.

So Pitino is right: the scandal probably did have an impact on how his team was viewed in the preseason.

But Pitino the scandal isn’t what kept them out of the top 25 until Monday.

That weak non-conference schedule and roster turnover was why.

And if we’re going to be honest here, it probably should have kept them out for another week.