Well hoops picked back up on Thursday and Friday night and by the time VCU held on to win at the last second at 12:24 AM Saturday morning, the field was cut in half from 16 to 8. There was a bit of everything to whet people’s appetite. There were monster performances from individuals, there were buzzer beaters, there were Cinderellas, there were blowouts where you wished there was a running clock, but at the end there was plenty of March Madness. Let’s dive in and take a look.
On Thursday night, Derrick Williams, Jimmer Fredette, and Kemba Walker all had monster performances to help their team. Derrick Williams was a man possessed in the first half against scoring 25 points and finished with 32 points and 13 rebounds to eviscerate Duke, 93-77. In the second half, Arizona outscored the Blue Devils 55-33. Kemba was a steadying force as he led the Huskies over the Aztecs in a pseudo home game for San Diego State. Jimmer scored over 30 points again but it was not enough as his team fell to Florida Gators by 9 in overtime.
In the other Thursday game, national runner ups last year Butler continued its Cinderella run against the Wisconsin Badgers and beat them up pretty badly. So if you had Butler advancing farther than Duke this year, then congratulations especially if you would have zoomed back to February 3 when Butler had just lost to last place team in the Horizon League, Youngstown State.
The games on Friday were mirror images. The early games were blowouts as both Kansas and North Carolina dismantled Richmond and Marquette respectively. In the night caps, they both came down to the last shot and Kentucky and Virginia Commonwealth emerged from the battle to fight another day. Kentucky upset the overall top seed Ohio State Buckeyes in a tough and hard fought game throughout. Josh Harrelson played national player of the year candidate Jared Sullinger to a draw and Ohio State could not get their patented 3s going. VCU and Florida State went to overtime in a defensive struggle and VCU converted on a out of bounds play under the basket to get a layup and take the lead and held off Florida State in the waning seconds.
Conference Breakdown of the 8 Teams:
2 SEC (Florida & Kentucky)
1 ACC (North Carolina)
1 Big East (Connecticut)
1 Big 12 (Kansas)
1 Pac 10 (Arizona)
1 Horizon (Butler)
1 Colonial (Virginia Commonwealth)
Seeds remaining: one #1 seed (Kansas), two #2 seeds (UNC & Florida), one #3 seed (Connecticut), one #4 seed (Kentucky), one #5 seed (Arizona), one #8 seed (Butler), and one #11 seed (Virginia Commonwealth).
#8 Butler vs. #2 Florida
#3 Connecticut vs. #5 Arizona
#11 Virginia Commonwealth vs. #1 Kansas
#4 Kentucky vs. #2 North Carolina