The Latest on the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
UCLA has shot its way into the Sweet 16.
The No. 3 seed Bruins beat sixth seeded Cincinnati 79-67 on Sunday night, capping off an exciting slate of games in the second round.
All five UCLA starters scored at least 10 points each. They will play in the South Regional in Memphis. It’s the third trip to the Sweet 16 in four years under coach Steve Alford.
The Bruins hit 18 of their first 28 shots in the second half after struggling to find a rhythm in the first.
No. 7 seed South Carolina has upset second-seeded Duke, a team some Las Vegas casinos considered the betting favorite going into the NCAA Tournament.
Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points for South Carolina in the 88-81 win.
The Blue Devils join Louisville on Sunday as No. 2 seeds upset in the second round. Both also came from the ACC, which started the tournament with nine teams in the field but now only has North Carolina.
UCLA is finally starting to show some offensive life.
The Bruins have been in a flow and hit 6 of their first 9 shots to open the second half against Cincinnati in the South Region.
UCLA leads 44-40 after struggling much of the first half.
Cincinnati has controlled the clash of styles in the first half against UCLA in Sacramento to take a 33-30 lead.
The defensive-minded Bearcats have slowed the high-scoring Bruins, holding them to 12-of-32 shooting and 4 for 14 from 3-point range.
Cincinnati has hit 12 of 24 shots, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
South Carolina leads second-seeded Duke 54-51 with 10:43 left to play. The Gamecocks are dominating the inside with sophomore Chris Silva scoring 12 of his 16 points in the second half. If the Gamecocks pull off the upset, it would be their first-ever trip to the Sweet 16 in the current NCAA format.
— Pete Iacobelli reporting from Greenville, South Carolina.
The Pac-12 is no longer unbeaten in the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor stopped the league’s surprising seven-game winning streak when it upended USC 82-78 on Sunday night.
Still, what a week it was for a league that was brushed aside in favor of the ACC and the Big 12 for much of 2016-17. Arizona and Oregon reached the Sweet 16 — and UCLA would join them with a win over Cincinnati later Sunday. The Trojans also won twice after earning a First Four bid.
The Big 12 and the Big Ten each have three teams in the regional semifinals, which start Thursday.
A sloppy Duke took a 30-23 lead into the locker room over seventh-seeded South Carolina on Sunday night.
The No. 2 seed Blue Devils had averaged 11 turnovers a game this year, but committed 13 in the opening half.
That defensive effort is keeping the cold-shooting Gamecocks in the mix. South Carolina shot just 20 percent in the opening period and missed 20 of its last 22 shots.
— Pete Iacobelli reporting from Greenville, South Carolina.
The nation’s top-scoring team and one of the best defensive teams have just tipped off in Sacramento.
UCLA led the nation with 90.6 points per game and with 21.6 assists per game. Cincinnati was fifth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 60.8 points per game.
Whichever team wins this clash of styles gets a trip to the Sweet 16 to face Kentucky Friday in Memphis.
— John Marshall reporting from Sacramento, California.
Oregon has won a tight game against Rhode Island, earning a ticket to the Sweet 16 and keeping the Pac-12 undefeated in this NCAA Tournament.
Next up for the conference is 11th seeded Southern California, which is in a tight game with No. 3 seed Baylor in the tournament’s East region, with about 8 minutes left.
The Ducks had to rally in the second half to get their win on Sunday. Tyler Dorsey hit a contested go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute.
The Pac-12 now has two teams in the regional semifinals, Oregon and Arizona, with Southern Cal on the floor and UCLA still to play Sunday night.
King McClure has 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting to lead third-seeded Baylor to a 36-31 lead over surprising USC at halftime.
The 11th-seeded Trojans, who advanced to the second round with a one-point win over SMU on Thursday, led by as many as five points early on before McClure began to take over. The 6-foot-3 sophomore hit all four of the Bears’ 3-pointers in the half and added a pair of steals.
Bennie Boatwright leads USC with eight points, while Chimezie Metu has seven. The Trojans are trailing despite shooting 52 percent (13 of 25) in the half, compared to just 42.9 percent (15 of 35) for Baylor.
—Kurt Voigt reporting from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After 11th-seeded Rhode Island closed the first half on a 14-2 run for a 46-38 lead over third-seeded Oregon at intermission, Bob Hurley was lost for words.
Just a plain proud father moment, indeed.
Hurley is watching son, fifth-year Rams coach Dan Hurley, as the program returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 18 years and won its first game against Creighton for Rhode Island’s first NCAA victory since reaching the 1998 Elite Eight and losing to Stanford.
“This is why the tournament is so great,” Bob Hurley said. “It’s very difficult to describe.”
His other son, Bobby, had to return home from Sacramento to the desert to host recruits as Arizona State’s head coach.
— Janie McCauley reporting from Sacramento.
The Atlantic Coast Conference finally has a team in the Sweet 16 – barely.
After blowing a 17-point lead, No. 1 seed North Carolina came from behind in the second half to beat Arkansas 72-65 and advance to the NCAA South Region semifinals. North Carolina next faces Butler.
The ACC had nine teams invited to the NCAA Tournament, but seven of them already have lost. The ACC still could get a second team into the Sweet 16, as Duke faces South Carolina later tonight.
North Carolina also avoided becoming the second No. 1 seed to exit this tournament. Defending national champion Villanova, the No. 1 seed in the East Region, lost to Wisconsin on Saturday.
As Game 1 between Rhode Island and Oregon began inside Golden 1 Center on Sunday afternoon, Cincinnati’s marching band was putting on a show just outside the arena’s main entrance before the Bearcats took on UCLA in the second game. A large crowd gathered to watch and cheerleaders also performed.
Earlier in the afternoon, UCLA fan Paul Hale of nearby Fairfield danced solo to DJ music long before the big crowd arrived. “Old school, I love it,” he said while shaking to 70s hit “Get Down Tonight” by KC and the Sunshine Band .
Kansas led Michigan State 40-35 at halftime in their second-round NCAA Tournament game.
The score was tied at 27 before the Jayhawks went on a 9-0 run.
Frank Mason, Josh Jackson and Svi Mykhailiuk each scored nine points in the first half for Kansas, which shot 50 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes.
Michigan State’s Miles Bridges left the game briefly with an injury. He was strong after his return and had 13 points in the first half.
Kentucky’s freshmen came up big in the end Sunday. Freshmen made big defensive plays to help Kentucky hold on for a 65-62 victory over Wichita State in the South Region on Sunday.
Malik Monk also made the final two free throws, forcing Wichita State to take a 3-pointer before the buzzer. But Landry Shamet’s shot was blocked.
The Wildcats advance to the Sweet 16 in Memphis. Wildcats coach John Calipari coached Memphis – even leading the Tigers to an NCAA Tournament final in 2008 – before leaving for Kentucky.
Kentucky and Wichita State are tangled in a physical game with the Wildcats up 26-24 at halftime in Indianapolis.
The second-seeded Wildcats are shooting 33 percent from the field, and the Shockers 30 percent. Bam Adebayo had 15 points and 18 rebounds in Kentucky’s opening win over Northern Kentucky, but he’s been held to two points and five rebounds.
It’s far different from their second-round game three years ago, which was wide open and ended with the Wildcats winning by two.
Michigan’s 73-69 upset of Louisville exemplifies the role reversals between the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten this postseason.
The ACC led all conferences with nine NCAA Tournament invitations and was billed as the best league in the nation this season. The Big Ten had a disappointing regular season and had none of its teams seeded higher than fourth in the NCAA field.
Yet the Big Ten already has sent three teams to the Sweet 16 with Purdue, Wisconsin and Michigan advancing. In the meantime, the ACC doesn’t have any regional semifinalists yet and is down to just two teams left in the tournament: North Carolina and Duke.
North Carolina faces Arkansas and Duke meets South Carolina later today as the two traditional ACC heavyweights chase Sweet 16 berths.
The ACC’s struggles represent a stunning turn of events for a team that had done very well in March lately. The ACC had four regional finalists last season, including Final Four participants North Carolina and Syracuse. The ACC also sent three teams to the regional finals in 2015, with Duke winning the national title.
Michigan’s amazing March tournament run is headed to the Sweet 16.
The Wolverines trailed most of the game before pulling out a 73-69 victory over second-seeded Louisville in the Midwest region at Indianapolis. They’ll face either Rhode Island or Oregon in Kansas City.
Michigan was in danger of missing out on the tournament entirely before winning its final game in the regular season. The Wolverines had a plane mishap before arriving in Washington for the Big Ten tournament, then won four games in four days for the automatic bid.
Moe Wagner had a career-high 26 points, and D.J. Wilson made four free throws in the final 17 seconds to clinch it.
Louisville is getting caught up in the coaching carousel as it plays its NCAA Tournament game.
Arkansas State has announced it has hired Louisville assistant Mike Balado as its next head coach. Arkansas State officials said Balado would be introduced at a Monday press conference.
Balado has been an assistant on Rick Pitino’s staff the last four years. He replaces Grant McCasland, who resigned Monday to take over North Texas’ program.
This is one of two coaching hires to be announced today. Washington announced it has hired Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins as its next head coach. Hopkins replaces the fired Lorenzo Romar.
The Atlantic Coast Conference raised some eyebrows during football season by going 10-4 in head-to-head matchups with the Southeastern Conference, which prides itself as the nation’s best football conference.
Now the SEC has a chance for payback in the NCAA Tournament.
The SEC already beat the ACC once this weekend, with Florida blasting Virginia on Saturday. Today’s action features two more SEC-ACC matchups as South Carolina faces Duke and Arkansas meets North Carolina.
The SEC headed into the NCAA Tournament with an 8-10 record against ACC teams.
The ACC earned nine NCAA Tournament bids to lead all conferences, but it endured a brutal Saturday as Notre Dame, Virginia and Florida State all lost by double-digit margins. The ACC has a chance to redeem itself Sunday as it brings out its heavy hitters with North Carolina, Duke and Louisville all playing. Those three schools have combined to win four of the last eight national championships.
The Sweet 16 field will be filled out in Sunday’s eight NCAA Tournament second-round games.
No. 1 seed Kansas against No. 9 Michigan State features two top freshmen in the Jayhawks’ Josh Jackson and the Spartans’ Miles Bridges. No. 2 Kentucky against No. 10 Wichita State is a rematch of the 2014 game where the Wildcats ruined the Shockers’ 35-0 season.
No. 2 Louisville vs. No. 7 Michigan play for the first time since the 2013 title game won by the Cardinals. No. 11 Southern California, which meets No. 3 Baylor, tries to stay alive after starting in the First Four.
Higher seeds were 6-2 Saturday. No. 8 Wisconsin bounced No. 1 overall seed and defending national champion Villanova, and No. 11 Xavier ousted No. 3 Florida State.
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