Villanova and West Virginia Both Barely Escape, And I Mean Barely

SONG SELECTION:

“All Join In”, by Temples–found on the Volcano album

Released March 3, 2017 via Fat Possum Records.

Kansas State and Seton Hall had everything there for an upset on Friday night, but fell a little short in each game.

Villanova held on by a score of 55-53, while West Virginia survived a last second desperation three by Kansas State to barely escape in Kansas City, 51-50.

The title games in both the Big East and Big 12 will have some surprise teams as their opponents, Villanova draws Creighton, who beat Xavier 75-72 in the second semifinal at Madison Square Garden.  In the Big 12, Iowa State whipped TCU 84-63.

Northwestern continues their magical run

In the Big Ten Tournament, Northwestern stunned the home standing Maryland Terrapins to the tune of a 72-64 upset.  In so doing, they extend their school record for wins in a season with 23.  Scottie Lindsey broke open a tight game with a killer three with 9 minutes to play and Northwestern then leading by the slimmest of margins at 51-50.  Vic Law led the way for the Wildcats with 17 points and five rebounds.  Melo Trimble again led Maryland with 20 points and six boards.

The second semifinal on CBS, to air around 3:30 p.m. Eastern time will have the Wildcats play against Wisconsin–which pretty much ends Indiana’s tumultuous run of a season (especially after longtime former coach Bobby Knight said some very disgusting thoughts earlier in the day on The Dan Patrick Show).  James Blackmon brought the Hoosiers to within four as the clock ticked under a minute to play.  But the heady play of Bronson Koenig was simply too much as his 16 points proved to be the difference as the Badgers won 70-60.

The run of Stephen F. Austin is done

Finally, in the Southland Conference semifinal–Texas A&M, Corpus Christi ended the great run of SFA by a score of 77-69.  TAMCC will play against New Orleans on Saturday night–as a pair of double digit loss teams will batlle for the right to play probably in Dayton come either Tuesday or Wednesday night.

Duke breaks tie with North Carolina for most ACC Tournament wins at 23

When Joel Berry II committed his fourth foul in the middle of the second half, it definitely looked like a ticky-tack type of foul.  When he left for the bench, the Duke offense exploded on a 18-9 run to run away from their bitter in-state rival and earn a trip to Saturday’s night title game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Sparked by Grayson Allen and Luke Kinnard, their threes brought Duke and turned a 13 point deficit at 64-51 into a convincing 93-83 statement win.  Jason Tatum led the Dukies with 24 points and 7 rebounds.  Yes, I think the 2017 version of the Sleeping Giant might be residing in Durham, North Carolina (except if the NCAA puts them out West again, where they are often very vulnerable).

Their final opponent on Saturday night will be Notre Dame, who held off a late charge to win the rubber match against a determined group from Florida Staet by a close shave score of 77-73.  Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey remarked in his taped pre-game conversation with Jack Nolan on radio that, “We have to rebound better” in order to win.  The Irish were simply more focused and kept Florida State’s athletic bench from playing mind games by the time the final minutes ticked away.

One more very hectic day this week, since there will be 14 automatic bids to be decided on Saturday.  The first one starts at 11 a.m. Eastern time on ESPN2 in the America East Conference final, as Albany travels to Vermont.

I will give the general list of the other 13 final games and the 12 semifinal games, including the first ever tournament games in Ivy League history to be played at the historic Palestra in Philadelphia around midday on Saturday.

Have a good night.

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