Late Night Snacks: No. 7 Cincinnati, No. 10 Michigan fall on the road

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GAME OF THE DAY: Ole Miss 91, Missouri 88 

This was one of the more important games of the day when looking ahead to Selection Sunday, with the SEC needing teams other than Florida and Kentucky to step up. Marshall Henderson hit eight three-pointers and scored 29 points to lead the Rebels offensively, with Jarvis Summers making some key plays late to preserve the victory.

The trio of Earnest Ross (24 points), Jordan Clarkson (23) and Jabari Brown (20) led the way for Missouri, but we’re still left with the question of who the third-best team in the SEC is. Ole Miss? Tennessee, which beat Ole Miss? Someone else? Regardless of the answer, the league needs these teams to step forward and take care of business.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

1) Texas Tech 65, No. 19 Oklahoma State 61 

This one could turn out to be even more important for the Cowboys, who have now lost four straight games, based upon what happens with Marcus Smart. Smart was assessed a technical foul for shoving a fan in the final seconds of the loss, and for a team that has already lost Michael Cobbins (injury) and Stevie Clark (dismissal) losing Smart to a suspension would be a major hit for the Cowboys to take. Lost in the shuffle is how important of a win this is for Tubby Smith’s program, with Jaye Crockett scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead the way for the Red Raiders.

2) No. 17 Iowa 85, No. 10 Michigan 67

Roy Devyn Marble had it rolling for the Hawkeyes, scoring 26 points to lead Iowa to a win they needed to get. Defensively Iowa did a good job of harassing Nik Stauskas, who scored ten points, attempted just six shots and committed four turnovers. As a result of this outcome Michigan State takes over sole possession of first place in the Big Ten.

3) SMU 76, No. 7 Cincinnati 55

Larry Brown’s Mustangs added a quality win to its resume, handing the Bearcats their first conference loss in impressive fashion. Nick Russell and Ben Moore scored 15 points apiece to lead four players in double figures, and defensively they limited Sean Kilpatrick (22 points) to 5-for-18 shooting from the field. SMU may very well end up earning its first NCAA tournament berth since 1993.

STARRED

1) Melvin Ejim (Iowa State)

Ejim scored 48 points (20-for-24 FG) and grabbed 18 rebounds in Iowa State’s 84-69 win over TCU.

2) Javon McCrea (Buffalo)

Scored 25 points and grabbed 20 rebounds in the Bulls’ 79-70 win at Central Michigan.

3) Jabari Parker (Duke) 

Parker scored a career-high 29 points (12-for-17 FG) and grabbed 16 rebounds in the Blue Devils’ 89-68 win at Boston College.

STRUGGLED

1) Glenn Robinson III (Michigan) 

Robinson shot 1-for-7 from the field, scoring two points and committing four turnovers in Michigan’s 85-67 loss at Iowa.

2) Devin Wilson (Virginia Tech) and Lamar Patterson (Pittsburgh) 

Both players shot 1-for-9 from the field, with the Panthers winning 62-57 in double overtime. Wilson finished with ten points and Patterson just five, and the two teams combined to shoot 1-for-19 in the two overtime sessions.

3) Jamal Jones (Texas A&M)

Jones shot 5-for-21 from the field (1-for-10 3PT) in the Aggies’ 62-50 loss at Georgia.

NOTABLES

  • No. 3 Florida earned its 15th consecutive win, beating Alabama 78-69 in Gainesville. Scottie Wilbekin led five Gator starters in double figures with 16 points.
  • No. 13 Saint Louis moved its win streak to 16 in a row, with Jordair Jett’s layup with four seconds remaining giving the Billikens the 65-63 win over La Salle.
  • No. 4 Wichita State improved to 25-0 on the season with an 82-73 win at Northern Iowa. Tekele Cotton led five Shockers in double figures with 18 points.
  • Marcus Foster scored 34 points to lead Kansas State to a 74-57 pasting of No. 15 Texas.
  • Jordan Bronner scored 16 points and Chris Pelcher 15 as New Hampshire upset Stony Brook, dropping the Seawolves out of first place in America East.
  • Andrew Wiggins scored 19 points as No. 8 Kansas beat West Virginia 83-69, with Joel Embiid adding 11 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
  • Jordan Bachynski blocked a Joseph Young layup attempt as time expired to seal Arizona State’s 74-72 win over Oregon. Bachynski finished with 26 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks.
  • Justin Sears scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Yale’s 74-67 win at Harvard, moving the Bulldogs into a tie for first place in the Ivy League.
  • Saint Joseph’s turned the ball over 12 times against VCU, and that was one of the reasons why the Hawks were able to pick up the 69-62 victory. Langston Galloway scored 24 points to lead the way.
  • Semaj Christon made two key defensive plays in the final minute as Xavier picked up a valuable 59-53 win over Providence to move into third place in the Big East.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

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.

VIDEO: Did South Carolina get away with a blatant travel after risky full-court pass?

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South Carolina is heading to its first Final Four in school history after a 77-70 win over No. 4 seed Florida in the East Region on Sunday.

But the No. 7 seed Gamecocks’ historic win also came with some late controversy.

With South Carolina clinging to a 70-68 lead with 53.7 seconds left, the Gamecocks opted to make an extremely risky full-court pass on an inbounds play. The pass was caught at the other end of the floor by South Carolina’s Duane Notice.

Then Notice took about four or five steps before he was fouled by Florida’s Chris Chiozza to send him to the line.

It looks like Notice had a pretty blatant travel on the play. It’s a ridiculous catch in traffic that has to make South Carolina football fans proud, but Notice is clearly walking after getting the ball. Notice knocked down two free throws after Chiozza’s foul to make it a two-possession game as it became 72-68 with 50 seconds left.

Florida was obviously flat in the second half and didn’t deserve to win on Sunday. But it makes you wonder what might have happened if a travel was called on Notice. The Gators would have had a chance to tie with under a minute left instead of it being a two-possession game.

South Carolina advances to first Final Four in program history with win over Florida

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South Carolina entered this year’s NCAA tournament, their first NCAA tournament since 2004 and their fifth NCAA tournament in the last 43 years, having never won two consecutive tourney games in the history of the program.

On Sunday afternoon in Madison Square Garden, Frank Martin led the Gamecocks to their fourth straight win and their first trip to the Final Four.

Sindarius Thornwell scored 11 of his 26 points in the final 10 minutes, leading No. 7 seed South Carolina back from a 40-33 halftime deficit for a 77-70 win over No. 4 seed Florida. P.J. Dozier added 17 points and Chris Silva finished with a critical 13 points and nine boards, coming up with some huge offensive rebounds and hustle plays defensively in the second half.

After shooting 7-for-12 from three in the first half, Florida missed their all 14 attempts from beyond the arc in the second 20 minutes. South Carolina’s defense, which is second nationally this season, according to KenPom, and which allowed 40 points to the Gators in the first half, buckled down in the final minutes, forcing turnovers and taking the Gators out of what they wanted to do offensively. They shot just 11-for-35, or 31.4 percent, from the floor after halftime and didn’t get a clean look at the rim in the final five minutes of the game.

That’s how South Carolina plays. That’s who they are. It’s physical and it’s ugly and it’s just so effective when they’re able to make shots at the other end of the floor. And that is where this team has changed in March. The Gamecocks lost six of their last nine games heading into the NCAA tournament, failing to score more than 1.00 points-per-possession in five of those six losses.

But the story of this game isn’t how this South Carolina team has changed.

The story is how the program has changed.

The Gamecocks were a 10-win team that went 2-14 in the SEC the year before they Frank Martin away from Kansas State, a hire that was made thanks to a falling out with his athletic director, and boy, does that look like a coup now. He was responsible for leading Kansas State, which isn’t exactly a program known for basketball success, to their only Elite 8 since 1988. He’s now led South Carolina to their first Final Four in the history of the program.

South Carolina will advance to Phoenix to take on No. 1 seed Gonzaga in the Final Four.

A season of highs and lows ends for Kansas in the Elite 8 again

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For the second season in a row, Kansas was one-win shy of a Final Four appearance, falling to Oregon, 74-60, in the Elite Eight on Friday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

This comes a year after Kansas, as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, fell to eventual national champion Villanova in the Elite 8.

Just as stars such as Perry Ellis struggled in that regional final, so did KU’s freshman phenom Josh Jackson, whose quick two personal fouls that saddled him on the bench and appeared to take him out of the game mentally. Devonte’ Graham, averaging 20.0 points per game in the tournament, was 0-for-7 from the field. Frank Mason III’s first-half performance assured that Oregon would completely run away with the game before halftime.

The loss put an end to a tumultuous season for the Jayhawks.

Kansas entered the 2016-17 season as one of the favorites to win the national championship. The Jayhawks went on to win the Big 12 regular season title for an unprecedented 13th consecutive season. Frank Mason III, in the eyes of many, was the wire-to-wire national player of the year.

However, for all its accomplishments on the court, Kansas faced more than its share of issues off-the-court. Lagerald Vick, who was under university investigation for allegedly striking a female student. Carlton Bragg was arrested — and subsequently suspended — for drug paraphernalia. There was also the affidavit released a day before the start of the NCAA Tournament for the Jayhawks, detailing the incident outside a Lawerence bar from December involving both Vick and Josh Jackson. Even Devonte Graham’s arrest for an unpaid ticket made headlines during this string of non-basketball related news.

The Jayhawks downplayed talks of distraction before the start of the NCAA Tournament and backed it up by dominating opponents through the first three rounds. The average margin of victory was 30.0, and that includes victories over Michigan State and a 32-point beatdown of a Purdue team that held a massive mismatch on the interior.

It looked like Self was destined to add to his Hall of Fame résumé; a third trip to the Final Four — first since 2012 — was in front of essentially a home crowd. Instead, Oregon handed the Jayhawks their worst tournament defeat in the Bill Self era.

Seven times under Self, KU has made the Elite Eight and was sent home.

Perhaps, all would have been forgiven — or at the very least, overshadowed — had KU cut down the nets in Arizona.

Instead, its season ended in an all too familiar place.