The Latest on the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, with games Friday night in Philadelphia and Chicago (all times Eastern):
North Carolina is more than halfway to 100.
The Tar Heels size has been impossible for Indiana to deal with and North Carolina opened up a 52-41 lead at halftime in Philadelphia.
North Carolina matched a season high for points in the first half. The Tar Heels had four turnovers in their last six possessions to give the Hoosiers some life. The lead was as much as 16.
Syracuse has the lead. Two minutes into the second half the Orange scored the first six points against Gonzaga and grabbed a 34-29 lead.
The 3s are still not dropping for the Zags and the zone is making things very tough on Domantas Sabonis inside.
Zags coach Mark Few needed a timeout after the Orange run reached 12-0, spanning the end of the first and start of the second.
Halftime of the second Midwest Regional semifinal comes at a nice time for Gonzaga, which had a ton of trouble with Syracuse’s 2-3 zone in the final couple minutes of the first half.
The Orange scored the last six points to close to 29-28 at the break.
Kyle Wiltjer has 15 points for the Bulldogs, but the long-range shots stopped dropping and the zone put the squeeze on Domantas Sabonis, who has 12 rebounds but only four points.
Michael Gbinije has eight points for Syracuse.
All the Southeastern Conference teams are gone, but there’s a little SEC left in the NCAA Tournament.
Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer is leading Gonzaga early against Syracuse. Wiltjer hit three 3s to help bust the Orange zone and had 12 points.
Gonzaga leads 27-22 with about 3 minutes left.
Marcus Paige is on target. The North Carolina guard has four 3-pointers at the first media timeout and the Tar Heels lead Indiana 14-8. Paige shot a career-low 33 percent from 3 this season. The senior saved them for the right time, with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line.
The main event is under way in Philadelphia.
Top seed North Carolina against No. 5 seed Indiana, two of the bluest bloods in college basketball playing for a spot in the Elite Eight.
The Tar Heels broke the ice with a 3 and the Hoosiers answered right back.
There to support Indiana coach Tom Crean is his brothers-in-law, Jim and John Harbaugh.
An Iowa State cheerleader was hit in the face by a basketball that deflected off the right foot of Cyclones guard Matt Thomas in the second half of the team’s 84-71 loss to Virginia in the Sweet 16. But she returned to the court and a spokesman for the school said she was OK.
How do you break Syracuse’s zone defense? How about hitting a bunch of 3-pointers.
Gonzaga started shooting well and knocking down long-range shots over the Orange’s 2-3 zone.
The Bulldogs are up 13-4 and Syracuse is facing its largest deficit on the tournament with 16:14 left in the first half.
Two games down, two ACC teams in the Elite Eight.
With Notre Dame and Virginia winning the early games Friday night, the Atlantic Coast Conference improved to 14-3 in the NCAA Tournament.
The ACC has a chance to make it a clear sweep on Friday and lock down half of the round of eight in the late games.
North Carolina takes on Indiana, trying to become the fourth No. 1 seed to reach the Elite Eight.
Syracuse faces Gonzaga in a matchup of double-digit seeds.
Demetrius Jackson stole a trip to the Elite Eight for Notre Dame from Wisconsin.
Jackson made two key steals in the closing seconds and the Fighting Irish advanced to Sunday with a 61-56 victory against the Badgers. Notre Dame finished the game with an 8-0 run. Jackson scored six of those points.
Notre Dame will face the winner of North Carolina-Indiana.
As expected, Wisconsin and Notre Dame is going down to the wire.
The Irish tied it up at 53 with 46 seconds left with a couple of clutch free throws by Zach Auguste.
Both teams are trying to get to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive season.
Virginia is going to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995.
Anthony Gill had 23 points and eight rebounds, leading the top-seeded Cavaliers to an 84-71 victory over No. 4 Iowa State in the Midwest Regional semifinals. Mike Tobey added 18 points and seven boards.
Next up for the Cavaliers is the winner of Gonzaga-Syracuse on Sunday. Virginia hasn’t made it to the Final Four since 1984.
That also makes three No. 1 seeds in the round of eight with the Cavaliers joining Kansas and Oregon. North Carolina will try to make it four for four against Indiana later.
It’s looking good for Virginia.
Anthony Gill and Isiah Wilkins had consecutive fast-break dunks and Gill added another dunk to help the Cavaliers build a 76-65 lead over Iowa State with 1:39 left.
The Cavaliers will be in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1994.
Things are picking up in Philadelphia between the Fighting Irish and Badgers. Wisconsin and Notre Dame have mostly played ugly ball, but with 10 minutes left the game was tied at 34.
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin’s slumping start, then swished a 3 for the Badgers.
Both of these teams needed last-second game-winning shots in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16. The game looked like a toss-up on paper and it’s on its way to being the first dramatic finish of the round of 16.
Notre Dame had the lead, 38-37, with 8:40 left, but Wisconsin scored the next five.
It has been a very sweet Sweet 16 so far for Virginia reserve Mike Tobey, who has a season-high 17 points with 6:52 left. The senior center was averaging 6.9 points per game.
Cavaliers fans chanted “To-bey! To-bey!” after his rebound hoop made it a 63-48 lead over Iowa State with 9:02 remaining. Tobey also has seven rebounds. — Jay Cohen reporting from Chicago.
When Iowa State star Georges Niang went to the bench with his fourth foul, Virginia pushed its lead from nine to 15.
Niang re-entered for the Cyclones with about nine minutes left but it might be too late. The Cavaliers lead 65-51 and Virginia is moving the ball great on offense.
Iowa State’s comeback against Virginia just got a whole lot harder.
Iowa State star Georges Niang picked up his fourth foul with 13:10 to go on a questionable call while guarding Virginia’s Marial Shayok. Niang hopped up and down toward center court after the whistle, and Cyclones fans booed heartily.
Niang checked out with 22 points on 8 for-14 shooting. Iowa State trails 57-48 with 12:02 remaining.
— Jay Cohen reporting from Chicago.
With Iowa State coach Steve Prohm waving his arms to rev up the crowd, the Cyclones are making a bit of a run early in the second half against Virginia.
Georges Niang has two layups and a free throw, running his total to a game-high 20 points and helping Iowa State close to 49-40 after trailing by 14 at the break. The Cavaliers made just two of their first seven shots after the break. — Jay Cohen reporting from Chicago.
The gory details from the first half between Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
Both teams had stints of more than four minutes without scoring. The Irish shot 24 percent from the floor and Wisconsin was at 35 percent. The Badgers missed 8 of 10 3-point attempts. Notre Dame didn’t get this far in the tourney with those kind of woeful shooting numbers. The Irish shot 58 percent against Michigan and 57 percent vs. Stephen F. Austin. Adding to the ugliness, the teams combined for 14 turnovers. — Dan Gelston reporting from Philadelphia.
When it comes to shooting, it’s ugly in Philadelphia.
Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes is still mired in a shooting slump. Adding in another slow start against Notre Dame and the All-Big Ten selection is now 6 for 32 from the field in two and half NCAA Tournament games.
Still, Wisconsin held a 23-19 lead at halftime in Philadelphia. It was the lowest scoring first half of the season for the Fighting Irish.
Anthony Gill and Malcolm Brogdon each made two foul shots for Virginia in the final minute of the first half, and Gill had a big block on Iowa State’s Georges Niang to help the Cavaliers to a 45-31 lead at the break. Gill celebrated his rejection at the horn with a chest bump with teammate London Perrantes.
Gill leads Virginia with nine points at the break, and Niang has 15 points for Iowa State on three 3-pointers. The Cavaliers shot 60.7 percent (17 for 28) in the first half.
So far Friday night’s Sweet 16 games are going like last night’s. — Jay Cohen reporting from Chicago.
Want offense? Watch Iowa State-Virginia. Want so many misses inside the Wells Fargo Center you’d think the 76ers were still in town? Notre Dame-Wisconsin is for you.
The Irish and Badgers combined to miss 13 straight shots over 4 minutes and nearly lulled the crowd to sleep. The Badgers led 17-13 — yes, just a combined 40 points — with 7:31 left in the first half. — Dan Gelston reporting from Philadelphia.
Iowa State is trying to claw back into it behind Georges Niang, who has 12 points to go with those two fouls. The Cyclones’ last five field goals are 3s, but the Virginia is still up 39-26 with less than three minutes eft in the half.
Wisconsin and Notre Dame are under way in Philadelphia. The Badgers are up 13-9 early. With the way things are going in Chicago with Virginia and Iowa State, Wisconsin-Notre Dame could be the focus for most of the early window. The pace is brisk between the Badgers and Fighting Irish.
Making a bid for “One Shining Moment,” Virginia guard Darius Thompson went behind his back to set up a strong finish by Isiah Wilkins on the break. Then he made a 3-pointer to lift the Cavaliers to a 29-12 lead over Iowa State with 10 minutes left.
There is plenty of time left, but the Cyclones better get it together in a hurry. The Cavaliers allow an average of 59.5 points per game, making them one tough team to come back on. – Jay Cohen reporting from Chicago
Yes, it could get worse for Iowa State — and better for Virginia. The Cavaliers are up 24-9 at the under 12 break, have rebounded half of their six missed field-goal attempts and Georges Niang has two fouls for the Cyclones.
The winner plays either Syracuse or Gonzaga on Sunday.
Make 17-3 for Virginia. The Cyclones made just one of their first six shots, with senior star Georges Niang starting 1 for 4 and drawing an offensive foul.
All that red in the stands and all those Iowa State fans who made the drive to Chicago from Ames don’t seem to be bothering Virginia. The Cavaliers were out to a 12-2 lead in front of a partisan crowd at United Center in the Midwest Region.
Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie sat on press row and watched Notre Dame warm up before it played Wisconsin in the East Regional semifinal.
It’s a home game for Hinkie, the Sixers play at the Wells Fargo Center.
One potential prospect Hinkie may have kept an eye on — Irish guard Demetrius Jackson. Jackson, who averages 15.5 points, is a projected late first-round pick in the NBA draft. With nine wins, the NBA-worst Sixers could have as many as four first-round picks, depending on how some other teams fare.
The 76ers and Flyers got to keep their championship banners and retired numbers in the rafters. But banners for the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel were wrapped up and hidden from view. La Salle, the host school, had school banners in the rafters.
About 30 miles from campus, some local fans even made signs for Villanova. One read, “V! Go Cats!” The Wildcats, who play some games at the Wells Fargo Center, play Kansas on Saturday in the Elite Eight. — Dan Gelston reporting from Philadelphia.
Looks and SOUNDS like Iowa State will have a distinct home-court advantage for its Sweet 16 game against top-seeded Virginia.
The stands behind the Cyclones’ bench were filled with fans dressed in red and gold, and they were loud when their favorite team entered and left the court. Virginia also had a solid showing, but it didn’t appear to measure up to the Iowa State representation.
Virginia being the No. 1 seed in the Midwest seemed a little odd on selection Sunday. So why again was Kansas placed in the South and Louisville and Virginia in the Midwest? — Jay Cohen reporting from Chicago.
The second-round of the Sweet 16 is about 40 minutes away and here’s hoping it’s better than Thursday’s games, when each was decided by a double-digit margin.
The action starts in Chicago with a contrast in styles in the Midwest region. Top-seeded Virginia, which plays at a methodical pace, faces No. 4 Iowa State, which likes to run.
In Philadelphia, No. 6 seed Notre Dame faces seventh-seeded Wisconsin in the East Region. Both teams got here with last-second, game-winning shots.
The second game in Chicago is No. 10 Syracuse against No. 11 Gonzaga, the closest thing the Sweet 16 has to underdog teams.
The main event in Philadelphia is top-seeded North Carolina against No. 5 seed Indiana. Ten national titles between the Tar Heels and Hoosiers
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