Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 3/25/13
The Results: No. 1 Kansas defeated No. 8 North Carolina, 70-58, in the South Region; No. 2 Miami 63, No. 7 Illinois 59 in the East Region; No. 2 Duke 66, No. 7 Creighton 50 in the Midwest Region. Leading Man: With Durand Scott struggling to a 2-for-8 shooting night and Miamis starters 13-for-38 on the evening, junior guard Rion Brown stepped up with a huge performance to lift the Hurricanes past Illinois and into the Sweet 16. Brown, who entered the game seventh on the team in scoring averaging just 6 points per game, finished with 21 points against the Illini. He was 7-14 from the field overall and 5-10 from 3-point range. This was just the sixth time Brown has scored in double figures this season, however twice hes totaled 22 points. Brown, by the way, was scoreless in two of Miamis previous six contests. Surprise, Surprise: Two things about North Carolinas loss to Kansas: The Tar Heels are a good shooting team but were awful making just 30.1 percent (22-73) of their shot attempts against the Jayhawks. UNC was 11-for-42 in the first half and 16-60 at one point. But what was most perplexing is how UNC kept taking the ball right at 7-foot Kansas center Jeff Withey. Withey is a shot-blocking machine and was credited with five on the night, but he must have altered at least 10-13 more Carolina shots, not to mention the hesitant releases by UNC that are hard to quantify. Going at Withey was okay, but the Tar Heels didnt kick the ball out to the perimeter nearly enough and paid dearly. Here Comes Trouble: Ryan Kellys slump has reached a critical level for Duke. After scoring 36 points in his first game back following a 13-game absence because of a foot injury, Kelly entered Sundays game against Creighton having scored 18, 8, 8 and 8 points, but against the Bluejays he managed only a single point. Since the second half against Virginia Tech on Senior Night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Kelly has converted only 8 of 33 field goal attempts, including 0-for-13 from 3-point range. Duke has gone 4-1 in those games, but the competition gets much stiffer moving forward, and the Blue Devils need Kelly to get his stroke back if they are going to advance. If Kelly remains cold, Duke may not get past Michigan State in the Sweet 16. Whats Next?: No. 2 Miami (29-6) will take on No. 3 Marquette in the Sweet 16 of the East Region on Friday in Washington, D.C. The Golden Eagles came from behind to beat Davidson and edged Butler to get to this point. Marquette is quite capable of ousting the Hurricanes. It finished tied for first in the Big East with a 14-4 mark and is 25-8 overall. The Eagles best nonconference win came over Wisconsin. They have won six of seven games overall and coach Buzz Williams had them in the Sweet 16 in the East two years ago, but they fell to North Carolina in Newark, NJ. No. 2 Duke (29-5) will battle No. 3 Michigan State in the Sweet 16 in the Midwest Region on Friday in Indianapolis. The Spartans (27-8) finished one game out of a first-place tied in the Big Ten with a 13-5 league mark. They had dropped three straight games to ranked teams ending March 3, but have won five of six since and Tom Izzos team is playing exceptionally well having beaten Valparaiso by 10 and clobbering Memphis by 22 in the tournament. Common opponents? Michigan State lost 67-59 at Miami while Duke fell there by 27 points, but beat the Hurricanes in Durham, NC.
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