Saturday, March 24, 2012

Kansas Quells Fourth UNC v. N.C. State Matchup

LESLIE (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Kansas 60, N.C. STATE 57 -- Looking to get back to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1986 and face rival North Carolina for a fourth time this season, N.C. State came up short against the second-seeded Jayhawks in last night’s Midwest Regional semifinal.

The Wolfpack (24-13) went from one of the last at-large teams in the NCAA tournament field to the Sweet 16, prompting first year head coach Mark Gottfiried to say, "I'm not sure I can be more proud than I am of our team. This team learned how to compete and keep fighting and they did it again today. We just came up a little bit short."

For much of the game it looked like Kansas (30-6) might be making the “proud of” speech at game's end having shot 37% from the field and making just one of 14 from behind the arc.  The Jayhawks scored just two baskets in the final 7 minutes, 10 seconds of the game.  But N.C. State’s shooting touch was worse at 28.4%, but six three-pointers did keep them in the hunt.

ROBINSON (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
"We haven't been a picture-perfect team all season," Kansas head coach Bill Self said later, "but that's one thing that's exciting. The guys take pride in not being perfect. They take pride in winning ugly."

The Wolfpack had some ugly of their own.

The Pack pulled within 58-57 on a transition layup by C.J. Williams with just over a minute remaining. The teams swapped possessions before Kansas managed to get a layup from Elijah Johnson off an inbound pass from Taylor with 13.5 seconds left.

The Wolfpack crossed midcourt and called a timeout to set up a play, which was designed to get the ball to Wood off a baseline pass. Instead, a skip pass went high and the sharpshooter stepped out of bounds trying to pull it in, giving the ball back to Kansas with 5 seconds to go.

In addition, N.C. State had four other chances in the final minute to either take the lead or force an overtime. 


Richard Howell's contested three-pointer at the buzzer fell short and Scott Wood (12 points) missed from the top of the key with 20 seconds left. Down 58-57, C.J. Leslie (18 points) grabbed Wood's miss and drove to the basket but Kansas center Jeff Withey, who blocked 10 shots, altered Leslie's attempt.

WOOD (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
It simply wasn’t meant to be...

Howell had a tough night shooting 2 for 12 from the field and scoring just 2 points.  C.J. Williamas and Lorenzo Brown scored 10 each for N.C. State.

The victory gives Kansas a rematch of their 2008 National Semifinal against their former coach of 15 seasons.  

Thomas Robinson led the Jayhawks with 18 points and 15 rebounds.  Star point guard Tyshawn Taylor had 8 points on 2 for 20 shooting.

Pictures Of The Game

C.J. Leslie dives for a loose ball in the second half during N.C. State's 60-57 loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
Bummer. (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
Former player Chris Corchiani and friends show their support. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
All red. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
N.C. State coaching cadre doesn’t like what it sees.  (Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
N.C. State's Richard Howell (1), left, and N.C. State's Lorenzo Brown (2) sit in the locker room after N.C. State's 60-57 loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
N.C. State fans react as a call goes against the Wolfpack at the East Village Grill on Hillsborough St. in Raleigh, NC. (Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer)
Conner Teahan #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks dives for a loose ball in the first half. )Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks draws contact as he drives in the first half against DeShawn Painter #0 of and Richard Howell #1. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Elijah Johnson #15 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives for a shot attempt. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives for a shot attempt Richard Howell #1 and C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Semifinal. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Conner Teahan #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks attempts a shot in the second half. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Head coach Mark Gottfried of the North Carolina State Wolfpack argues with a referee. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
(L-R) Jordan Vandenberg #14, Alex Johnson #3 and C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack sit dejected on the bench in the second half. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives for a shot. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Rock, chalk, Jayhawk...whatever the hell that means...(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack looks to go up with a shot in the first half against Thomas Robinson #0, Conner Teahan #2 and Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Semifinal. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
DeShawn Painter #0 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack looks to pass. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack works the ball in the post. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks drives for a shot attempt in the first half against C.J. Williams. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
C.J. Leslie #5 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack attempts to dunk a put back shot on a rebound. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Richard Howell #1 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack has his shot attempt blocked in the first half by Kevin Young #40 of the Kansas Jayhawks. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Lorenzo Brown #2 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack drives. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Conner Teahan #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks attempts a shot in the first half against Scott Wood #15 and Alex Johnson #3. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Self of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on as he coaches in the first half against the North Carolina State Wolfpack. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Connor Teehan blocks C.J. Leslie’s shot in the first half. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Marshall-less Heels Survive And Advance

(Robert Willett/Raleigh News & Observer)
NORTH CAROLINA 73, Ohio 65 OT – North Carolina (32-5) overcame a season-high 24 turnovers, a horrible shooting performance from Harrison Barnes for most of the game and a shaky perimeter defense that gave up 12 three pointers  to somehow defeat the Bobcats to advance to the Elite Eight.

Tyler Zeller had 20 points and 22 rebounds and Barnes scored five of his 12 points in overtime as the #1 seed in the region literally survived and advanced. Zellers 20/20 in the Big Dance was the first since Tim Duncan (Wake Forest) did it 15 years ago.

Reggie Bullock scored a much-needed 17 points including a critical three late in regulation and a big three in overtime.

The Tar Heels turned up the defensive heat in overtime outscoring the upstart and, by then, weary Bobcats 10-2.

Game over.

North Carolina was cleary out of sync without injured point guard Kendall Marshall.  His primary replacement Stillman White scored 2 points and had six assists while not contributing to the big Tar Heel turnover tally.  Nonetheless, UNC's offense was inconsistent at best.

ZELLER (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Ohio, only the seventh team seeded 13th or worse to reach the regional semifinals, had a chance to convert a three-point play with 25 seconds left in regulation that would have given them the lead. Walter Offutt missed from the line, though, the only free throw the Bobcats botched all night. Then they went 0 for 6 from the field in overtime.

Offutt led the 13th-seeded Bobcats (29-8) with 26 points, including 18 from 3-point range, and Nick Kellogg added 14. But D.J. Cooper, who had averaged 20 points in the first two NCAA tournament games, finished with just 10 on 3-of-20 shooting.

UNC outrebounded Ohio by a big 63 to 30 margin.

North Carolina shot 40.6% from the field, 31.8% from behind the arc a woeful 58.3% from the charity stripe.

Pictures Of The Game

Standing behind teammates Tyler Zeller and Stillman White, UNC's M.A.S.H. unit of Leslie McDonald, D.J. Johnson(?), Dexter Strickland and Kendall Marshall during the playing of the National Anthem prior to their game against Ohio. (Robert Willet/Raleigh News & Observer)
T.J. Hall #13 of the Ohio Bobcats dunks in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Semifinal at Edward Jones Dome on March 23, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
D.J. Cooper #5 of the Ohio Bobcats reacts against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Semifinal at Edward Jones Dome on March 23, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Harrison Barnes #40 of the North Carolina Tar Heels attempts a shot in the first half against D.J. Cooper. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Justin Watts #24 of the North Carolina Tar Heels attempts to save the ball from going out of bounds. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
James Michael McAdoo #43 of the North Carolina Tar Heels loses the ball in the first half against Ivo Baltic #23 and Jon Smith #21 of the Ohio Bobcats.  (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Head coach John Groce of the Ohio Bobcagts.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
D.J. Cooper #5 of the Ohio Bobcats drives in the second half past Stilman White #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regionals.  (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels grabs a rebound in the first half. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Head coach John Groce of the Ohio Bobcats lies on the court dejected. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels reacts as he coaches in the first half.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Tyler Zeller #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels attempts to control the ball in the second half. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Stevie Taylor #22 of the Ohio Bobcats reacts in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
John Henson #31 (C) of the North Carolina Tar Heels fights for rebound position in the second.  (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
D.J. Cooper #5 of the Ohio Bobcats drives against Reggie Bullock. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Harrison Barnes drives in the first half against Nick Kellogg.  Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
UNC's John Henson (31) dunks over the Ohio defense of Nick Kellogg (15) during the first half. (Robert Willet/Raleigh News & Observer)

North Carolina guard Justin Watts (24) and forward Tyler Zeller (44) blocks a shot by Ohio guard D.J. Cooper. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)



Duke’s Austin Rivers Going Pro?

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Duke freshman guard Austin Rivers will declare for the NBA draft, sources said Friday.

He will make the formal announcement next week after spending the weekend at home in Orlando.

CBSSports.com reported earlier Friday that Rivers was planning to enter the draft.

The Blue Devils' coaching staff knew in the latter part of the season that Rivers was going to leave, multiple sources with direct knowledge at Duke told ESPN.com.

Rivers will become the fourth player under Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to play one season for the Blue Devils before leaving for the NBA. The other three were Corey Maggette, Luol Deng and last season's No. 1 draft pick, Kyrie Irving.

Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, is expected to be a first-round draft pick.

That said, in no way is he likely to be an impact player in the NBA for a number of years to come. His departure seems premature.  John Wall he isn’t. 

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