Friday night opened with plenty of anticipation if you were a “chalk” person, and ended in disappointment for some. Here’s how it went …
#1 Louisville defeats #12 Oregon in Indianapolis (Midwest Region)
Louisville finally proved my old golf partner’s chide that “… water finds it’s level …” and that even with an incorrect seeding, the best of the PAC 12 was not good enough to compete.
Louisville came out hard against the Ducks and never let up until it was established that they could win within a gentlemanly margin. Russ Smith had an incredible evening with 31 points on 9 of 16 shooting from the Field, 1 of 4 from outside the Arch, and 12 of 14 from the Charity Stripe.
Oregon’s team produced their normal even production but it just wasn’t enough.
Louisville wins 77-69.
#4 Michigan defeats #1 Kansas in Arlington (South Region)
In my evaluation of this game I said that “… if Burke get his scoring touch back, it’s over for Kansas.” Well, not only did he score 23 points, but he provided 10 Assists and when it counted in the final seconds, it was his stepping up.
Michigan Frosh Mitch McGary had another monster night, even though Senior Jeff Withey, a defensive specialist, opposed him. McGary had a 25 Points, 14 Rebounds, 3 Steals, a Block and an Assist.
Michigan wins 87-85 in OT
#2 Duke defeats #3 Michigan State in Indianapolis (Midwest Region)
In my pre-game thoughts, I said that a Duke win depended “ … a great deal on Duke’s defense and somehow finding the chutzpa to play them (State) even on the boards.”
Duke went 26/33 on the boards. Their defense was markedly better than in recent recollection thanks to Ryan Kelly and Tyler Thornton who, as they have done so many times before, played the role of “the strong silent type.”
Seth Curry led all scorers with 29 Points on 8 of 17 shooting from the Field and 6 of 9 outside the Arch, and 7 of 7 from the Charity Stripe.
Coach Izzo, the gentleman and sportsman he is, acknowledged that Duke won the game, not only on defense, but from outside the Arch 39% to 25% and from the Charity Stripe 92.3% to 75%.
Duke wins 71-61.
Duke will now take on Louisville at 5:05PM ET on CBS Sunday night in the Elite 8 for the MidWest Regional Title.
#3 Florida defeats #15 Florida Gulf Coast in Arlington (South Region)
The Golden Eagles came out from the opening tip like a racing greyhound and finished the half up by four (4) points. The Cinderella of this year’s Big Dance needed only keep up for another half and another milestone could be established.
After making significant half-time adjustments, Billy Donovan’s Gators came out, established a lead, and the game was never in question after that. All it took, as a friend Tweeted me, was for Bill-the-Kid to convince his players that they were more talented.
Each year there is a team that embraces the hearts of the fans, from the most ardent to the most casual. That happened again this year and they proved that not everyone in Florida is “Waiting for God.”
Florida wins 62-50
Florida will take on Michigan at 2:20PM ET on CBS Sunday afternoon night in the Elite 8 for the South Regional Title.
Bermuda Bob is a contributing writer for the Duke Sports Blog and an avid Duke Basketball fan. You can follow him on Twitter @TheBermudaBob
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