Florida Gators Rosario reacts after a basket with teammate Young during the second half against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles in their South Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Arlington

Florida ends Florida Gulf Coast’s NCAA tournament run, by keeping ‘Dunk City’ grounded

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Florida Gulf Coast ruined your bracket, but captured your heart with Dunk City. And all good things must come to an end. Toward the end of the second half the Eagles in-state foe the University of Florida began to pull away and put an end to the No. 15 seed’s historic run in a 60-52 Sweet 16 win in the South Region on Friday night at Cowboys Stadium.

Early in the first half FGCU made it look as if the Eagles had another exciting performance. However, FGCU ran into the nation’s third-ranked scoring defense. After trailing 19-9 with seven minutes to go in the half, but the Gators finally got it going offensive five minutes left in the half. Florida used a 16-0 run to take the lead it never surrendered. Michael Frazier started it with a pair of 3-pointers. The Gators ended the half outscoring ‘Dunk City’ 21-7 in the final seven minutes.

Florida gave Florida Gulf Coast a strong blow, and the Eagles couldn’t answer against a strong defensive team filled with NCAA tournament experience.

Florida opened the second half scoring five quick points in the first minute of the half, leading 35-26. At this point Florida Gulf Coast didn’t get it closer than seven points.

The Gators defense slowed down the fast-pace, high-flying FGCU offense. The Eagles ended the game with 20-0f-44 shooting, while turnover the ball over 19 times.

The Florida defense kept itself out of the highlight reel unlike Duke and San Diego State. Brett Comer, who got banged up a few times on Friday, ran the show almost to perfection in the first two tournament games with 10 and 14 assists, respectively. He was the one that turned dribbling into a Georgetown trap and throwing what looked like an ill-advised pass over his head into a dunk that made Chase Fieler a YouTube sensation. Florida was able to limit his production, and although he had seven assists he only had four points and turned the ball over nine times.

Mike Rosario had another led all scorers with 15 points, after scoring 25 points in the third round win over Minnesota. Scottie Wilbekin had 13 points. Sherwood Brown had a team-high 14 points for FGCU, Fieler chipped in 12.

Florida advances to play Michigan in the South Regional final on Sunday against Michigan after the Wolverines had a thrilling comeback capped off by Trey Burke’s three in the end of regulation.

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

No. 14 West Virginia takes care of No. 15 Baylor

West Virginia forward Devin Williams (41) dunks the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Baylor, Saturday, Feb, 6, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
AP Photo/Raymond Thompson
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Not exactly noted for their ability to knock down shots from the perimeter, No. 14 West Virginia grabbed sole possession of first place in the Big 12 thanks in part to their perimeter shooting. The Mountaineers shot 7-for-14 from three and 49.1 percent from the field in a 80-69 win over No. 15 Baylor that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe.

Bob Huggins’ team led by as much as 19 in the second half, and the way in which they did it is what makes the win so impressive. “Press Virginia” yielded just ten Baylor turnovers, but that low number didn’t matter much thanks to West Virginia’s execution offensively.

They found quality looks against Baylor’s 1-1-3 zone in the first half and made them at a good clip, forcing Scott Drew to switch to man-to-man. That change didn’t do much to slow down West Virginia either, as Daxter Miles Jr. scored 20 points and sixth man Jaysean Paige added 17 off the bench. And with Devin Williams chipping in with 16 points and seven boards in the post, outplaying Baylor’s Rico Gathers Sr. (five points, seven rebounds), West Virginia grabbed control of the game in the first half and did not relinquish it.

The usual formula for West Virginia offensively is to attack the offensive glass, as their offensive rebounding percentage (43 percent) is tops in the country. “Their best offense is a missed shot” is a familiar refrain heard when people discuss the Mountaineers, who entered the game shooting just over 30 percent from three.

They didn’t need to lean on those second chances as heavily as they normally do Saturday night, not only because of the improved accuracy but also the improved work in finding shots. The ball moved against the Baylor defense and so did the players, resulting in an offensive attack that proved tougher for the visiting Bears to stop that one would expect given the statistics entering the game.

West Virginia was already established as a contender in the Big 12, but thanks to their win Saturday night the Mountaineers are the current pace setters. With a showdown at No. 7 Kansas set for Tuesday night, this was a big win for Bob Huggins’ team to get. And with it coming in spite of a low turnover (forced) count, this should only help West Virginia in the confidence department moving forward.

No. 22 Indiana falls at Penn State

Penn State's Shep Garner (33) moves towards the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana in State College, Pa., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
(AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
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Brendan Taylor scored 24 points to lead Penn State to a 68-63 upset of No. 22 Indiana on Saturday night.

The Nittany Lions were 2-8 in Big Ten play entering the weekend. Indiana? They were 9-1 and tied for first in the conference. It’s the second loss in four games for the Hoosiers following a 7-0 start to Big Ten play, a fact made all the more concerning by the fact that their league schedule is finally about to get difficult.

The Hoosiers play No. 5 Iowa at home and No. 10 Michigan State in East Lansing next week. The following week they get No. 18 Purdue at home. In the final week of the regular season, Indiana squares off with No. 5 Iowa on the road and close the regular season with a visit from No. 4 Maryland.

That’s a lot of good teams that the Hoosiers to close out the year.

The question has been asked since Indiana’s hot start to league play: Are they for real? Did the Hoosiers really somehow turn things around defensively, or was that winning streak simply a by-product of their schedule?

The truth is that it was probably a combination of both. Calling them a fraud would be unjust — if you watched those games, there wasn’t much fluky about them; Indiana earned the Ws — but it does seem fair to say this is something of a regression to the mean.

They were going to slip up eventually.

And it will totally be forgotten if the Hoosiers can find a way to close the regular season with a winning record in their final seven games.