NCAA Tournament: Final Four now Set

Louisville and Michigan joined Wichita State and Syracuse in the Final Four set for Atlanta this weekend.  Louisville broke open their Midwest Regional Final in Indianapolis in the second half, and won over the Blue Devils 85-63.  The game was tied 42-42 early in the second half, but then the Cardinals went on a 20-4 run and went on from there to run away from Duke.  Peyton Siva and Russ Smith led the Cardinals, driving into the lane at will.  A big moment in the first half involved Louisville’s Kevin Ware  who suffered a gruesome compound fracture in his right leg, his bone sticking right through the skin.  The game was delayed for about ten minutes and seemingly had an emotional affect on both teams.  Russ Smith led the Louisville scoring with 23 points Peyton Siva had 16, and Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocked shots.  Mason Plumlee led the Blue Devils with 17 points and 12 rebounds.  Seth Curry was held to just twelve points, all in the second half, as he was 0-3 from the field in the first half.  Louisville, now 33-5 will face Wichita State Saturday night at Atlanta in the National Semifinal starting at 6:09 PM.  Duke’s season ends short of its goal to make the Final Four…..Michigan routed Florida in the South Regional Final 79-59.  The Wolverines scored the first thirteen points of the game and were never threatened by the Gators after that.   Michigan’s Nik  Stauskas led the winners with 22 points, and player of the year candidate, Trey Burke added sixteen.  Michigan had made a miracle comeback against top seeded Kansas on Thursday, had no drama for this one.  They will play Syracuse, a one sided winner over Marquette Saturday in the second semifinal game in Atlanta, with scheduled tipoff at 8:49 PM.

In the NCAA Women’s Tournament, top seeded Baylor was stunned by Louisville 82-81.  Baylor was the defending Champion, and overwhelming favorite to win this year with player of the Year, Britney Griner, but Griner’s career was ended stunningly with a couple of free throws Monique Reid with 2.6 seconds left.  Griner was held to just 14 points and ten rebounds, but did not convert a basket until there was 15 minutes and 20 seconds left in the game.  She had averaged 33 points in the first two games of the tournament.  They finished 34-2.  Louisville goes on to face Tennessee in a game Tuesday night that determines the Regional Champion and a Final Four Berth.  Also In the Women’s NCAA, Duke got past Nebraska 53-45 and plays Tuesday night against Notre Dame for the Norfolk Regional title and a final four berth.  Monday night, Georgia faces California at 9:30 PM and Kentucky takes on Connecticut at 7:30 PM for the Bridgeport Regional Championship and a Final Four berth.  The Women’s Final Four is in New Orleans Sunday April 7th and the Finals, Tuesday April 9th.

Maryland is the last ACC team left standing, as they play in New York City Tuesday night in the NIT Semifinals against Iowa at 9:30 PM.  The game follows the other Semifinal between BYU and Baylor at 7:00 PM.  The two winners of those games will play Thursday night for the Championship.  East Carolina, an 81-58 winner over Evansville in the CIT Semifinals Saturday, will play Weber State for that tournament Championship Tuesday night.