Louisville upsets top seed Michigan State: March Madness
Louisville 57, Michigan State 44
Chane Behanan scored 15 points and Gorgui Dieng anchored Louisville's stifling defence with seven blocked shots, helping the Cardinals knock off top-seeded Michigan State 57-44 Thursday night in the West Regional semifinals.
Louisville (29-9) smothered the NCAA tournament's best-shooting team with its matchup zone, getting good pressure from its guards up top and some big swats by Dieng, one of the nation's top shot-blockers.
The Cardinals relied on 3-point shooting in the first half and went inside the second to befuddle the Spartans, earning a trip to the West final against Marquette or Florida on Saturday.
Michigan State (29-8) started slow and never got going against Louisville's amoebic defence, shooting 28 per cent while being outscored 20-14 inside by the leaner Cardinals.
Syracuse 64, Wisconsin 63
C.J. Fair broke out of a scoring slump with 15 points and top-seeded Syracuse held on for a 64-63 victory over fourth-seeded Wisconsin on Thursday night in the East Regional semifinals.
The Badgers had two shots at the win after Montreal's Kris Joseph, a 75 per cent free throw shooter, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 18.9 seconds left and the Orange leading by a point. Jordan Taylor came down and missed a three-pointer with three seconds left and Mike Bruesewitz's toss with the rebound was off, at the buzzer.
Scoop Jardine added 14 points for the Orange (34-2), who advance to play Ohio State or Cincinnati in the regional final Saturday. Joseph had seven points and two rebounds.
Taylor and Jared Berggren both had 17 points for the Badgers (26-10). Wisconsin, which made 14 3-pointers in the game, missed its last five from beyond the arc after hitting six straight during one stretch of the second half.
Ohio State 81, Cincinnati 66
Deshaun Thomas scored 26 points and Jared Sullinger had 23 points and 11 rebounds to lead second-seeded Ohio State to an 81-66 victory over No. 6 seed Cincinnati on Thursday night, putting the Buckeyes in the East Regional finals.
Aaron Craft added 11 points — all in the second half — with five assists and six steals, taking charge during a 17-1 second-half run that turned a four-point deficit into a double-digit lead.
Cashmere Wright scored 18 and Sean Kilpatrick had 15 for the Bearcats, who were attempting to match Big East rival Syracuse by beating a Big Ten opponent to advance to the round of eight. The top-seeded Orange advanced earlier Thursday by beating fourth-seeded Wisconsin at the TD Garden.
It's the first trip to the regional finals for Ohio State (30-7) since 2007, when it lost in the national championship game to Florida.
Florida 68, Marquette 58
Bradley Beal scored 21 points Thursday to lift Florida to a 68-58 victory over Marquette and set up Gators coach Billy Donovan with a meeting against his old boss, Rick Pitino, in the West Regional final.
The seventh-seeded Gators (26-10) expanded a six-point halftime lead to double digits, then held off third-seeded Marquette (27-8) to take their second straight trip to the regional final. Last year, they lost to Butler. This time, they meet Louisville and Pitino.
Beal, a freshman who has NBA written all over him, shot 8 for 10 and had six rebounds and four assists.
Marquette got 15 points from Jae Crowder and 14 from fellow senior Darius Johnson-Odom, but the Golden Eagles exited the tournament in the round of 16 for the second straight year.