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Dukies hang on, Kent State still alive


(1) Duke 84, (8) Notre Dame 77: What a classic it was when the Irish and Blue Devils locked horns in a thrilling second-round matchup Saturday. The pupil -- Mike Brey -- vs. the mentor -- Coach K. Brey served on Mike Krzyzewski's staff for eight years, and he was there as the Dukies made six trips to the Final Four. But on Saturday, Brey had the Irish prepared to face his former team, and they came out with an unexpected determination, scrapping and clawing all the way. It was anyone's game, baby! More on the Dukies and the Irish...

(10) Kent State 71, (2) Alabama 58: Has Kent State proved yet that the Mid-American Conference can play with the big guys? The SEC was the best conference in college basketball this year, but mid-major Kent State upset the No. 2 seed Alabama who hails from the mighty SEC.

Led by Trevor Huffman's 20 points, Andrew Mitchell's play on the perimeter, and Antonio Gates' inside game, the Golden Flashes shut down the Crimson Tide. Kent State held Maurice Williams to three-for-10 shooting and forced him into six turnovers. This one was all Kent State from the first tip; it was a terrific performance from Stan Heath's kids. Heath, the former assistant for Michigan State's Tom Izzo, is without a doubt the diaper dandy coach of the year! The Golden Flashes have their sights set on more than the Sweet 16 -- and they just might be right.

(5) Indiana 76, (13) UNC Wilmington 67: Jared Jeffries was a big key for the Hoosiers in the second half -- he only scored two points in the first half, but he had a big 20 in the second half. Jeffries offset a strong performance by Brett Blizzard of UNC Wilmington, who had 29 points. Indiana moves forward to take on Duke in the Sweet 16 -- a great matchup of traditional powers. This is the Hoosiers' first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1994 -- congratulations to Mike Davis and his hard-working kids.

(2) Oregon 92, (7) Wake Forest 87: The Pac-10 regular-season champ Oregon Ducks had to rely on the free-throw line to win this one -- and they came up big from the charity stripe when they needed to. Ernie Kent's kids knocked down 22 of 24 free throws down the stretch in a clutch performance. The two Lukes had equally big nights -- with Jackson tallying 29 and Ridnour 28. Frederick Jones put up 24 of his own, as the "Big Three" finished with 81 of the Ducks' 92 total points.

Wake Forest suffered a tough blow when Craig Dawson went out in the second half with a shoulder injury. The Demon Deacons got a strong performance from Darius Songaila with 19 points and 13 boards, but they really missed Dawson down the stretch. The Ducks and their high-flying offense gave the folks in Eugene plenty to be happy about Saturday.

(1) Kansas 86, (8) Stanford 63: Roy Williams' team was obviously fired up and ready to play. When the Jayhawks went on a 15-0 run at the beginning of the game, this one was over almost before it started. After struggling against Holy Cross, it was obvious the Jayhawks wanted to be well-prepared for this one. Kirk Hinrich is clearly healthy -- he looked good scoring 15 big points as Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Jeff Boschee added balance. The Jayhawks are rolling.

(12) Missouri 83, (4) Ohio State 67: If you are going to talk about redemption, you have to talk about the Missouri Tigers. Quin Snyder has been unfairly ripped, critics saying his team has not met expectations.

People don't realize how tough it is to compete day in and day out in the very tough Big 12 conference. After their up-and-down year, many people thought this club would be a goner early in the Tourney, but goner they are not.

Rickey Paulding and Clarence Gilbert gave great performances to hold down the Buckeyes. And despite the 21 stitches in his lip, Kareem Rush tallied 17. The Tigers played better-than-solid defense, holding OSU star Brent Darby to two-for-11 shooting.

(3) Arizona 68, (11) Wyoming 60: After losing the likes of Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson, Michael Wright and Loren Woods, who would have ever believed that Lute Olson and the Arizona Wildcats would make it to the Sweet 16? Olson is always a terrific leader, but getting these kids this far in the tourney might be one of his best performances yet.

Jason Gardner responded against Wyoming with 14 points, but it was the all-around play of Mr. Versatility, Luke Walton -- the best passing big man in the country. Walton scored 21 and grabbed nine boards. Diaper dandy Channing Frye finished with a double-double -- 18 points and 11 rebounds. The Wildcats were just too strong for Steve McClain's gallant Wyoming Cowboys.

(4) Kentucky 87, (12) Tulsa 82: It has been a soap opera year for the Kentucky Wildcats -- the suspensions, players moaning about playing time, players talking about transferring. But the bottom line shone through on Saturday -- the Wildcats respond at tournament time. They have a tourney-tested coach in Tubby Smith, who faced Tulsa -- the school that first gave him his first opportunity as a head coach -- in the second round.

Tulsa head coach John Phillips can be proud of the Golden Hurricane. They had a great year and are a quality team, but they couldn't contain Tayshaun Prince, who had a career-high 41. Keith Bogans, who had 21 points in the Wildcats' first-round victory over Valparaiso, added 19 against Tulsa.

Prince and Bogans looked as good as they have all year -- which only can mean good things for the Wildcat faithful. Ashley Judd will be doing her dance, and they'll be smiling in Lexington as the 'Cats march on to the Sweet 16.

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