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Derwin Kitchen exploded for 15 points and Bernard James added 10 as the Florida State Seminoles defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 57-50 in the Second Round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Khris Thompson had a game high 16 points for the Aggies while Nathan Walkup added 11 and David Loubeau added 10 for Texas A&M in the loss.
Chris Singleton had 5 points and 2 rebounds in his first game back after a foot injury, but was saddled in foul trouble all day long and ended the game with 4 fouls.
Florida State’s defense tightened up in the 2nd half and held Texas A&M to 31% shooting for the contest. The Seminoles also had 10 blocks on the game, led by Bernard James’ 3 and Okaro White and John Kreft each had 2 blocks as well. Another quality defensive team effort from Leonard Hamilton’s squad tonight.
We figured this would be a defensive battle today in Chicago, and so far it has lived up to expectations, as Texas A&M takes a 26-23 lead on Florida State heading to halftime.
Chris Singleton has 2 points for the Seminoles after breaking his foot earlier this season, but he has picked up 3 quick fouls coming off the bench. Okaro White has 7 points to lead the ’Noles, and Ian Miller has 5 off the bench for FSU.
Florida State will need to stay out of foul trouble if they want to stay in the game today. FSU had 12 team fouls in the first half. Singleton already has 3 fouls, while Luke Loucks and Michael Snaer both have 2 fouls as well. The Aggies failed to take advantage of their chances at the free throw line, shooting 41% from the charity stripe on 7-17 attempts.
We will keep you updated with the Seminoles as the game continues.
In a little less than an hour, the No. 10 Florida State Seminoles face off against the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies in a second round battle in the NCAA Tournament. The game is scheduled to begin at 4:00 PM and will be televised on TBS.
Both the Seminoles and Aggies have strong defenses and are prone to struggling on offense, but the game may hinge upon the performance of Chris Singleton – Florida State’s star player that has been out since February with a fractured foot. Singleton is the Seminoles’ leading scorer and rebounder, and according to the Dallas Morning News, he practiced this morning and is expected to play today. Singleton would obviously be a large boost to the Seminoles’ offense.
Despite being a lower seeded team, Florida State is actually favored going into today’s game, given a 56% chance of winning today according to Nate Silver. If the Seminoles were to win, it would be their school’s first victory in the NCAA tournament in 13 years.
We will be updating this thread with news as the game progresses, so check back for more.
Yesterday was an exciting day at the St. Pete Forum, full of close second round battles between (mostly) evenly matched teams. Let's take a brief look back at all the action, with write-ups provided by Charlie Blackwell and Ken DeCelles:
After Clemson trimmed an 11-point lead down to three with 1:49 left, Dalton Pepper stole the ball from Clemson on three consecutive possessions, and West Virginia defeated Clemson 84-76 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Tampa.
It was a back and forth game all game long, and after Mavraides' tough turnaround jumper to tie the game at 57 all with 40 seconds to go, some thought we would have our first OT game of the 2nd round. Knight had other ideas, and was easily able to drive the lane for his only basket of the game. Princeton had a difficult time inbounding the ball after a timeout, and were not able to get a shot off in time.
Florida led by as many as 34 points in the second half, and were clearly deeper and more talented than the Gauchos. Chandler Parsons had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. He also had seven rebounds and might have collected a rare collegiate triple-double if coach Billy Donovan hadn't pulled his starters long before the final buzzer. Erving Walkerled the Gators with 18 points, and Kenny Boynton added 13.
And in possibly the craziest game of the day...
The Bruins were cruising for most of the night, fought off one Spartans surge early in the second half, and led by 19 points with 6:30 to play in the game. But then Michigan State got hot from three-point range and made another run to pull within 76-66 with a minute and a half to play.
Then things got really weird. UCLA missed an amazing 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch, keeping Michigan State alive. And when Keith Appling made a three with 4.4 seconds left, the Spartans had cut the lead down to 77-76. After an instant foul, the Bruins' Malcolm Leemade only one of two free throws, giving Michigan State one last chance. But Adrelan Payne had trouble corralling the rebound, and Kalin Lucas traveled before firing a desperation heave from near midcourt (which missed badly).
Kentucky and West Virginia will face off on Saturday at noon, while Florida and UCLA will play later that day at 2:30 PM. For more on these games, check out our coverage here.
The last 10 minutes of tonight’s second-round NCAA Tournament game between the UCLA Bruins and Michigan State Spartans definitely made up for the first 30. The Bruins were cruising for most of the night, fought off one Spartans surge early in the second half, and led by 19 points with 6:30 to play in the game. But then Michigan State got hot from three-point range and made another run to pull within 76-66 with a minute and a half to play.
Then things got really weird. UCLA missed an amazing 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch, keeping Michigan State alive. And when Keith Appling made a three with 4.4 seconds left, the Spartans had cut the lead down to 77-76. After an instant foul, the Bruins’ Malcolm Lee made only one of two free throws, giving Michigan State one last chance. But Adrelan Payne had trouble corralling the rebound, and Kalin Lucas traveled before firing a desperation heave from near midcourt (which missed badly).
Lee and Tyler Honeycutt each scored 16 points for the Bruins, while 305-pound freshman center Joshua Smith was a revelation inside with 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting. For the Spartans, Draymond Green led the way with 23 points. Lucas, who didn’t score in the first half, recovered to score 11 in the second half, but finished only 4-for-15 from the field.
UCLA advances to Saturday’s third round, where they will face the Florida Gators in the second game of the day. West Virginia and Kentucky will meet early Saturday afternoon in a rematch of their 2010 East Regional final, won by the Mountaineers.
The #7 seed UCLA Bruins are imposing their will on the 10th-seeded Michigan State Spartans in their second-round Southeast Regional matchup at the St. Pete Times Forum. Defying their March inexperience (no one on the Bruins’ roster had ever scored a point in an NCAA Tournament game), UCLA dominated in the paint and used some tenacious defense to take a 42-24 halftime lead.
The Bruins pounded the ball inside on offense, getting many short baskets and 19 trips to the free throw line in the first half. They outrebounded Michigan State 21-10, forced eight turnovers, and set up the Spartans for some foul trouble issues if they can even get manage to back into the game.
UCLA was led by Tyler Honeycutt with nine points, while Reeves Nelson added eight points and seven rebounds. Michigan State’s Durrell Summers leads all scorers with 12, but the big story was the job UCLA’s defense, led by Malcolm Lee, did on guard Kalin Lucas. Lucas was 0-for-8 from the field and scored no points in the first half.
It was pretty obvious right away who the better team was in this game. The Florida Gators jumped on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos early and never let up, emptying the bench in a 79-51 win and getting some valuable rest for their key players before Saturday’s third-round matchup.
Florida led by as many as 34 points in the second half, and were clearly deeper and more talented than the Gauchos. Chandler Parsons had a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. He also had seven rebounds and might have collected a rare collegiate triple-double if coach Billy Donovan hadn’t pulled his starters long before the final buzzer. Erving Walker led the Gators with 18 points, and Kenny Boynton added 13.
UC Santa Barbara had two key players — Orlando Johnson, who led all scorers with 21 points, and James Nunnally, who had 12. But the rest of the Gaucho roster only added 18, and the team shot just 36% from the field.
The Gators now wait for the result of tonight’s nightcap between Michigan State and UCLA to see who they will play Saturday afternoon.
Quite a few highly-seeded teams have come out today, messed around, and gotten into a lot of trouble. The Florida Gators are not one of those teams. The second-seeded Gators opened up scoring 10 of the first 11 points and expanded their lead throughout the first half against the #15 seed UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, taking a 43-19 advantage to the locker room in their Southeast Regional second-round matchup.
The Gators shot 58% in the first half and held the Gauchos to only 27%. Florida’s balanced first-half attack was led by Kenny Boynton with 9 points, Chandler Parsons and Erving Walker with 8 points apiece, and Alex Tyus and Patric Young each adding 6. Florida had 15 assists on 18 made field goals in the first half, led by eight dimes from Parsons.
Orlando Johnson (7 points) and James Nunnally (6 points) led the UCSB offense, but the team committed 10 turnovers and was outrebounded 19-9. The Gauchos will need a dramatic turnaround in the second half to keep their season from coming to an end.
There have been a flurry of last second shots today in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament, and we have our first game winner in Tampa as Brandon Knight’s last second shot gives the 4th seeded Kentucky Wildcats a 59-57 victory over the 13 seeded Princeton Tigers.
Darius Miller carried the Wildcats for long stretches today, and had a game high 18 points. Josh Harrellson used his considerable size advantage down low to finish with 15 points on 7-8 shooting and 10 rebounds. Dan Mavraides had 14 points to lead the Tigers, while Douglas Davis had 13 points, and Kareem Maddox has 12 points and 3 steals for Princeton.
It was a back and forth game all game long, and after Mavraides’ tough turnaround jumper to tie the game at 57 all with 40 seconds to go, some thought we would have our first OT game of the 2nd round. Knight had other ideas, and was easily able to drive the lane for his only basket of the game. Princeton had a difficult time inbounding the ball after a timeout, and were not able to get a shot off in time.
With a little under six minutes to go in the game, Princeton and Kentucky keep battling back and forth. Princeton came out strong from the half, taking a five point lead to go ahead 46-41 at one point, but Kentucky has battled back to now take a five point lead, 53-48. There have so far been eight lead changes in the game so far.
If Kentucky can get their big players going, they can really start to open up this game even further. Princeton is playing well, but Kentucky has yet to get any points out of top player Brandon Knight. Instead, their offense has been led by guard Darius Miller (17 points, 3 assists) and forward Josh Harrellson (13 points).
This game looks like it’s going to come right down to the wire.
Another tight game here at the St. Pete Times Forum as the 4th seeded Kentucky Wildcats have a 34-33 lead over the 13th seeded Princeton Tigers heading to the half. Darius Miller has 14 points to lead Kentucky, while Douglas Davis has 13 to lead the Tigers.
One big reason the game is so close is that Princeton is doing a good job on the glass against the more athletic Wildcats, leading the rebounding battle 13-12 so far. Princeton is also doing a nice job controlling the tempo of the game. Princeton is running when necessary, but is doing a quality job slowing the game down and limiting UK’s possessions.
A big surprise is Kentucky G Brandon Knight has been held scoreless so far today, but he does have a team high 5 assists for KU. If Knight can get going in the 2nd half, it would be a big plus for Coach Calipari’s team.
Should be an exciting 2nd half.
After Clemson trimmed an 11-point lead down to three with 1:49 left, Dalton Pepper stole the ball from Clemson on three consecutive possessions, and West Virginia defeats Clemson 84-76 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Tampa. The Mountaineers will play the winner of the Kentucky-Princeton game to be played later today at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Truck Bryant led the Mountaineers in scoring with 19 points, while Kevin Jones chipped in with 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Andre Young scored a game high 22 points while Demontez Stitt and 16 points, while Jerai Grant and Devin Booker each had 13 points for the Tigers.
There were a ton of fouls called today which shouldn’t be a surprise considering both teams playing aggressive basketball defensively. The two teams combined to shoot 57 free throws, and both teams shot an impressive 81% from the charity stripe.
Its not the Tampa Turmoil we experienced the last time the NCAA Tournament was held at the St. Pete Times Forum, but it was an exciting game from start to finish.
West Virginia has continued their strong play from the end of the first half, as they have dominated play so far in the second half, leading the Clemson Tigers 56-47 with 11:47 left to go in the game.
West Virginia F Kevin Jones has been relegated to the bench after picking up his 3rd foul early in the 2nd half, but Truck Bryant and Deniz Killicli have both stepped up for Bob Huggins and have 14 and 11 points respectively.
The short turnaround from their First Four victory against UAB may finally be catching up to the Tigers. Clemson seems to be just a step slow on defense this half, and the easy buckets that Jerai Grant had in the first half just aren’t there anymore.
If the Tigers can get back in the game, its due to the deep foul trouble that West Virginia is in. Jones, Joe Mazzula, John Flowers, and Cam Thourghmann all have three fouls. Something to keep an eye on as the game continues.
After the Clemson Tigers raced out to an early 10 point lead, West Virginia finished the first half on a 11-1 run, and the teams head into the break tied at 40 here at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.
Both teams have some degree of foul trouble that we should keep an eye on as the game goes on. Andre Young came out with 10 quick points for the Tigers, but he along with Bryan Narcisse have two fouls for Clemson and Kevin Jones, John Flowers, and Deniz Killicli all have two fouls dealing with Grant in the post.
Clemson has dictated the flow of the game so far, baiting West Virginia into running as much as possible to make it more a transition game which suits the Tigers. Joe Mazzula’s insertion back into the lineup after the Under 4 timeout seemed to calm down the Mountaineers, and West Virginia were able to slow things down and get into their half court offense.
Looks like this year might be another edition of Tampa Turmoil.
At 9:20 PM tonight, the No. 7 UCLA Bruins are facing off against the No. 10 Michigan State Spartans in what promises to be a close, competitive game. The game is being broadcast nationally on TBS with coverage by Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel.
Michigan State is led by senior Kalin Lucas, who has averaged 17.2 points and 3.3 assists per game, and junior Draymond Green, who averaged 12.3 points, 8.6 blocks, and 4.0 assists per game. Their team's overall offense was middle-of-the-road in their conference (69 points per game), but they make up for it with a strong defense.
On the other side of the ball, UCLA doesn't have one shooter as talented as Lucas, but instead has a range of well rounded offensive players. Sophomore Reeves Nelson leads the team with 13.9 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, while junior Malcolm Lee and sophomore Tyler Honeycutt also average around 12 points a game with a handful of rebounds.
Depending how you look at it, either team could realistically be picked to win tonight. UCLA has the higher seeding and has a 67% chance of winning according to Nate Silver's statistical forecasts, but Michigan St. is rated as a slightly stronger team according to KenPom.com. The game is essentially a toss up. Or as Michigan States' head coach Tom Izzo said:
What you have here is you have kind of two misfits in a way. We both had our issues, and we both...you always prepare like it's for the best, because once they've done something, that's what they're capable of doing on any given night. If you prepare that way, then if they don't play that well, I guess to be honest it's in our favor, and same for them. I mean, I'm sure they're scratching their head sometimes looking at our film...and rightfully so.
For all your bracket and prediction needs, check out SB Nation's printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.
In this second round game, the No. 2 Florida Gators will be facing up against the underdog No. 15 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. The game is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. tonight, and is being broadcast nationally on TBS with coverage by Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel.
Ever since the NCAA brackets were announced Sunday night, Florida has been receiving lots of coverage because of its high ranking. Many analysts feel as thought Florida's ranking was too high, as they recently lost to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament Championship Game, and some have even gone so far as to claim Florida is "overrated" and will lose early in the tournament.
While it is true that Florida got exceptionally luck with their seeding, Florida is still the heavy favorites in today's game against UC Santa Barbara. Not only are they playing with a home court advantage, but they are also a much stronger team according to KenPom.com and Nate Silver ranks them as having a 95% chance of winning today.
UC Santa Barbara reached the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big West Tournament, and it is led by its top scorer and rebounder, Orlando Johnson. According to its coach, Bob Williams, the team knows exactly what it's up against:
Boy, someone said, what a great draw. I said, yeah,that would be a little bit like sitting in the doctor's office and someone telling you you have cancer, but it's a good cancer. No. Playing Florida in the second round is a great draw? It's not a great draw. They're really talented. There's just no comparison on this thing. Physically, they're a No. 2 seed, you could stretch it and say they're a No. 1 seed. I don't think physically they're going to be overmatched against anybody they play. They're a talented basketball team.
The Gators don't appear to be underestimating the Gauchos, though, with center Vernon Macklin calling them an "aggressive team" with great defense, and noting how the Gators have started off many recent games slow.
I think we've got to come out more aggressive, looking to attack and looking to pass the ball to each other, just pass the ball harder in the first half than we do the second half.
The Gators have expectations weighing on their shoulders, and it'll be interesting to see how they play in their first game since the SEC Championship loss.
The 4th seeded Kentucky Wildcats and 13th seeded Princeton Tigers face off in the second game at the St. Pete Times Forum today. The winner of this East Regional battle will take on the winner of the game between West Virginia and Clemson played earlier in the day. The is scheduled to tip off at 2:45 p.m. on CBS, and doing the play-by-play today will be Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel.
This will be a clash of cultures and styles today in Tampa. Princeton runs a variation of the Princeton offense that former coach Pete Carill ran to perfection with the Tigers during his era. Princeton will take as much time as needed in their possession to find a hole in the Wildcats defense and send a cutter to the lane for an easy basket. Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins talks about their offense and how it reminds him of last year's contest versus Cornell in the Sweet 16,
I think they're much like a team from our perspective like Cornell last year. They make you defend the whole 35 seconds. We just have to be disciplined and watch their every move.
Kentucky will press the Tigers all day offensively, using its size and athleticism to its advantage over the Ivy League champs. With the inexperience of the Wildcats, Calipari's dribble drive motion offense helps find breaks in opponents defensive coverages as the defense collapses on the ball handler in the lane. The Tigers will have to play disciplined defense to make sure guys like Doron Lamb and Darius Long have an open lane to the basket.
Princeton head coach Sydney Johnson was asked about the Kentucky's athletic advantage, and Coach Johnson talked about the keys to keeping them in check,
You've got to take care of the ball. You can't turn it over and let them capitalize on getting out in transition. We have to shoot the ball at a high clip. You know, if we do that, if there's limited possessions but we're shooting it well, all of a sudden all that athleticism gets neutralized.
Kentucky comes in as a 14-point favorite, but I think it will be much closer than that. As our Kentucky blog A Sea of Blue points out, Princeton is a quality team who shoots the ball and rebounds extremely well. I think Kentucky pulls away late, but don't be surprised if the final isn't decided until the final minutes.
The 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament kicks off in Tampa as the 5th seed West Virginia Mountaineers take on the 12th seed Clemson Tigers in a Big Six clash. Tipoff is at 12:15 p.m., Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel will have the call for you on CBS.
Clemson is playing its 2nd game in less than 48 hours after the Tigers defeated UAB 70-52 Tuesday in the First Four in Dayton. 6'8" Sr. F Jerai Grant led Clemson with a 22 point, seven rebound effort on 10-of-15 shooting, as Clemson raced out to a 25-7 lead against the Blazers and never looked back. UAB was led by 6'5" Sr. G Jamarr Sanders, who had 19 points on 7-17 shooting. The Tigers were on a plane as soon as the final buzzer sounded on Tuesday, and Demontez Stitt was asked about the trip from Dayton to Tampa,
We left right after the game, so we probably left around 12:00. I remember checking my phone; the last time I checked it, about 12:00 we were on a plane. We didn't get here until 3:30, almost 4:00.
A big key to watch for is how Clemson's depth figures into the game at the later stages of the contest. All five starters for the Tigers starting played at least 29 minutes, with only Zavier Anderson and Milton Jennings receiving any significant minutes off the bench. Coach Brownell was asked about the fatigue setting in, and he seems confident in his team, but will be ready in case they come out slow,
I think we'll really be ready. I'm hoping that there's not some ‑‑ I'll notice if our defense isn't the way it needs to be that we might have a little bit of fatigue and then we've got to figure some things out
But our mindset is that we should be fine, we should be fresh, we should be ready to play.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins thinks the Tigers won't have much of a fatigue factor and expects them to be at 100%,
Kids today, they play at 2:00 and they go get a hamburger and french fries and a chocolate shake and they come back and play at 6:00. It's kind of a different breed of athletes, I think. I think they'll be fine.
This should be a defensive struggle, as both teams rely on their defense to win this season. As our Clemson blog Shakin the Southland points out, both teams are in the Top 30 nationally in defensive efficiency, and it will be a struggle all afternoon to put points on the scoreboard. Sr. F Kevin Jones acknowledges the fact that WVU needs to take care of the ball in order to win today,
We've got to handle their pressure and we can't throw them the ball because that's where they thrive is in transition.
Surprisingly, West Virginia is only listed as a slight 2.5 point favorite this afternoon, but I think Clemson wilts late in the game and the Mountaineers win the race to 55.
Round two of the NCAA Tournament kicks off tomorrow, as four high-profile games are scheduled to be played at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Here are the game times:
12:15 p.m., CBS -- No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Clemson
2:45 p.m., CBS -- No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 13 Princeton
6:50 p.m., TBS -- No. 2 Florida vs. No. 15 UC Santa Barbara
9:20 p.m., TBS -- No. 7 UCLA vs. No. 10 Michigan St.
Both Clemson and Michigan St. look to put up a fight and threaten to upset the higher seeds, while UC Santa Barbara and Princeton are likely both outmatched. Of course, one can never predict how things are going to turn out once the games start, but both Florida and Kentucky have very favorable odds working in their favor. The winners of these games will face off against each other on Saturday at the Forum in round three.
We'll be updating this Stream with game previews, updates, and recaps throughout the day Thursday, so check back early and often.