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NCAA Men’s Hoops Tournament: East Recap

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament continues and here’s a look at the East Regional

#1 North Carolina vs.  #9 Providence:

Coming into this game each game featured star duos, but the advantage inside allowed the Tar Heels to outscore the Friars 46-18 in the paint. Carolina runs over the final 15 minutes pushes them past the Friars into the Sweet 16.  The top seeded Tar Heels have the most Sweet 16 appearances by any team since the Sweet 16 became official in 1975.

Friar stars Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil combined for a whopping 50 points but battled foul trouble throughout the game. Providence ended the season (24-11) with exceptional performances despite North Carolina pulling away from the foul-plagued Friars 85-66.

The Tar Heel’s play-by-play announcer, Jones Angell says that despite their top ranking North Carolina could still improve on things.

#5 Indiana vs. #4 Kentucky: 

This was one of the most anticipated match ups of the entire tournament, two blue blood programs with rich college basketball tradition.  The Hoosiers salted away the game with a 17-4 run to go up 10 with four minutes left. Tyler Ulis and Alex Poythress pulled Kentucky within 69-67 on free throws but the Hoosiers hung on to win 73 to 67.

Indiana coach Tom Crean was thoroughly impressed with the way his team fought through the 40 minutes.

Indiana and North Carolina play on Friday.

#6 Notre Dame vs. #14 Stephen F. Austin:

This game is as good as March Madness gets with both teams going shot-for-shot. The power house and the underdog never led by more than seven points throughout the game.  Down by one with 17 seconds left, Notre Dame’s Demetrius Jackson grabbed the ball and missed after driving to the basket. Zach Auguste followed for the Irish but could not covert. But Rex Pflueger tapped in a rebound with 1.5 seconds left, his only points of the game, to give the Irish a 76-75 win.

The clock struck midnight for the Lumberjacks with a long heave that went wide. Since the tournament expanded to a 64 team format, this is the first time the Irish have reached the Sweet 16 twice in a row.

#7 Wisconsin vs. #2 Xavier:

The game lived up to its high profile predictions, the pendulum swinging wildly in the first half. At the half, the game favored the Badgers 33-30 but the six lead changes early in the second half gave Xavier an added boost to assert themselves.

Super-fan Bill Murray, the actor and comedian, whose son Luke is an assistant on Chris Mack’s staff, was in the stands cheering on the Musketeers who eventually pushed their lead to 58-49-their biggest of the game.  The Badgers weren’t done though, seeking a third straight trip to the Final Four. An offensive foul put the ball back in the Badgers’ hands with 4.3 seconds remaining.

Coming out of a time out, junior Bronson Koenig buried a three pointer for a 66-63 victory. Koenig finished with six 3-pointers and 20 points for the night and says he knew the last shot was going in.

The Musketeers lost their first game all season when leading at half, ending the year 26-1 in that stat.  Up next for seventh ranked Wisconsin, sixth ranked Notre Dame on Friday at 7:30.

Former Badger, Frank Kaminsky was elated to see his team pull off the upset in the final seconds.

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