March 23, 2007
North Carolina was down nine points at halftime against USC. Tyler Hansbrough was not a big factor in this contest. The quickness and transition game keyed the comeback.
This was a game of spurts. North Carolina did not score in the last four minutes of the first half. The Tar Heels bounced back and went on a 20-2 run in the second half.
Brandan Wright and Wayne Ellington keyed the North Carolina win. For all of the USC fans, the future is so bright with OJ Mayo coming in next season. Tim Floyd did a phenomenal job and his team was so athletic. In the end, Roy Williams' depth and run baby run was too much.
Oregon beat UNLV thanks to a super performance from Tajuan Porter. The Runnin' Rebels did a good job stopping Aaron Brooks in the first half. Ernie Kent's squad broke open a close game by hitting five ot its first six trifecta attempts in the second half.
The Pac-10 has a pair of teams in the Elite Eight with UCLA and Oregon still alive.
Butler gave it a gutsy, gutsy try. When it was all said and done, the defending national champion Gators had too much strength inside with Joakim Noah and Al Horford. The two combined for 29 points and 16 rebounds and that was a difference against a Butler team whose biggest starter was 6-7.
Florida had great balance with four players in double figures. Taurean Green had five big trifectas and 17 points, plus the point guard did not have a turnover. The Gators also did a super job on the foul line, hitting 23-of-28 from the line. Butler was 10-of-13 on its free throws.
Billy Donovan's team did a great job neutralizing A. J. Graves. He missed all six of his field goal attempts in going scoreless in the first half. He has been a brilliant performer all season long, but he finished four-of-13 from the field, scoring just 11 points. Mike Green also struggled, shooting four-of-12 from the field.
Corey Brewer had 11 points but hit just three-of-10 field goal tries.
Butler led by as many as nine points, but the Gators rallied and took a six-point lead at halftime. Todd Lickliter's team was right in the game until the final minute. A pair of missed free throws by Green really hurt. Florida took advantage and marched on to move a step closer to being the first repeat champion since Duke in 1991 and '92.
Georgetown moved on by beating a gallant Vanderbilt squad. The Commodores were right there at the end, but Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green made an amazing shot for the win. With two defenders on him, he powered it to the goal and got it up on the glass and converted.
It was heartbreak hotel for the kids in Nashville, but they certainly gave it a great effort against a Hoyas team that has won 18 of its last 19 games. Vanderbilt committed just five turnovers and had 17 assists on its 21 made baskets.
Green and Jonathan Wallace did enough to offset the absence of Roy Hibbert down the stretch. Hibbert fouled out and missed almost four minutes at the end of the contest. The big man still had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards.
The Hoyas rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit. Georgetown had a 40-26 rebound edge and that was also a factor.
One concern for the Hoyas … Georgetown's Jessie Sapp missed eight of his 10 shots from the floor. The Hoyas are one game away from the Final Four.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.