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March Madness Coasts Into The Sweet 16
The NCAA tournament hasn't been in Madison Square Garden since 1961. One of the teams headed there this week has some great memories already of the building known as "the world's most famous arena."
Michigan State was the nation's pick for the national championship even if it was a No. 4 seed. The injuries are a thing of the past and the Spartans look like the team that held the No. 1 ranking this season. They had their hands full with Harvard in the third round, but pulled away in the final minutes.
The Billion Dollar Dream has been over for a while. Most bracket sheets are loaded with red X's. Still, there is plenty of March Madness ahead of us in the NCAA tournament's round of 16.
Stanford gets to wear home whites after beating New Mexico and Kansas. The Cardinal are in the round of 16 for the first time since 2008, the last time they were in the tournament. They haven't given up more than 57 points and they have been great at the free throw line.
Tennessee, a No. 11 seed, is the third team that played in the First Four to reach the regional semifinals. The Volunteers have won eight of nine with the only loss to Florida in the SEC tournament. They reached the Sweet 16 with a frontcourt dismantling of Mercer, outrebounding the team that beat Duke 41 19.
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Florida, Arizona, Virginia are alive and well after two rounds.
Arizona was impressive on defense in dispatching Gonzaga in Puma Basket Platform Explosive
Dayton followed the win over Ohio State with a squeaker over Syracuse and the Flyers are in the round of 16 for the first time since 1984. They got here with two wins by a total of three points and they have yet to break 60, but they have done just enough. Coach Archie Miller couldn't meet his brother Sean and Arizona until the national semifinals.
These teams met in San Diego on Nov. 14 and Arizona won 69 60 behind the 23 points of Nick Johnson. The Wildcats were ranked No. 6 at the time and four weeks later were No. 1, a spot they held for eight weeks.
Connecticut won a record seven Big East tournament titles at Madison Square Garden, the last in 2011 when Kemba Walker led them to the national championship. Those wearing red are for Louisville, those wearing blue are for the University of Kentucky. There will be fans of Tennessee and Michigan in town, but they will be hard to notice with all those Kentuckians in for a visit.
Florida has lived up to its billing as the overall No. 1 seed. The Gators have increased their winning streak to 28 games with a couple of double figure victories. This is their fourth straight year in the round of 16, the longest current streak.
Virginia, the quietest of the four No. 1s, played its kind of game good defense and patient offense in beating Memphis by 18 points. That got the Cavaliers to the round of 16 for the first time since 1995. They are the sole team remaining from the Atlantic Coast Puma Basket Heart Review
Third seeded Iowa State was able to overcome the loss of third leading scorer Georges Niang to a broken foot by beating North Carolina in a game that came down to DeAndre Kane's driving basket with 1.6 seconds to play. The Cyclones, in the regional semifinals for the first time since 2000, are still a team with plenty of scorers.
San Diego State finally showed its defensive prowess in a third round win over North Dakota State, which had a season low 44 points.
the third round and the Wildcats are in the round of 16 for the third time in four years.
Wisconsin is going from facing one set of highlighter yellow uniforms to another. The Badgers beat Oregon to get to the Sweet 16 Puma Basket Ii after missing to get there last season. Frank Kaminsky, who had 19 points against Oregon, will be in for quite a test against Baylor's tall, athletic front line.
UCLA won both its games by 17 points and the Bruins have won five straight and seven of eight, including an upset of Arizona. This is their first Sweet 16 appearance since 2008.
Florida beat UCLA in the national championship game in 2006 and in the national semifinals the following season. Top seeded Arizona, No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 San Diego State are still playing along with seventh seeded Baylor.
You get the point. Four days, 12 games. It's regional weekend when the Sweet 16 is cut to the Final Four. Dayton, will be followed by the overall top seed, Florida, facing a familiar tournament opponent in UCLA.
The Bears come in off a 30 point demolition of Creighton in which they held Doug McDermott, the nation's leading scorer, to 15 points. They won't be able to concentrate on one of the Badgers, who have six players averaging from 13.4 points to 7.9 points.
EAST REGIONAL, New York, Friday Sunday.
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