The night started with top-seed Syracuse playing Wisconsin. Syracuse played unevenly through the first two rounds and narrowly avoided an historic upset in the first round. Wisconsin is the veteran fighter lacking the transcendent qualities of a potential champion, but who’s resolve and durable chin serves as gatekeeper to the crown. Surprising no one that just read the previous sentence, the honeyless Badgers battled to the final horn before allowing Syracuse to pass through the gate to the final eight.
Ohio State road the ample back of Jared Sullinger past a game, but inferior Cincy team.
There was a time when Rick Pitino was John Calipari, maybe better. He has led three teams to the final four and actually won an NCAA title. At Kentucky, he built a juggernaut that had he not been seduced to the Celtics may have rivaled only Wooden. Sometimes that gets lost in the back of an Italian eatery or the wrinkles of his aging face, but last night Pitino’s Lousiville Cardinal knocked off top-seeded Michigan State rather easily.
The nightcap was a bit of a downer. Over the last week, I have developed a growing fodness for Buzz Williams, but his team couldn’t buy a basket or disrupt the Gators and fell by 10. After an early Marquette lead, Florida made a 19-4 run and the game was never in doubt. Credit to Billy Donovan, who has his team playing their best basketball when it matters most.
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