Tourney Buzz: Love, Lopez step up
Brook Lopez (AP Photo)
Brook Lopez (AP Photo)
FoxSports.com
Posted Mar 23, 2008


Tourney Buzz: UCLA's and Stanford's big bruisers made big shots. Jeff Goodman says Kevin Love and Brook Lopez were catalysts.

Brook Lopez made a baseline shot with 1.3 seconds left in overtime to give Stanford an 82-81 victory over Marquette, while Love sank a pretty 12-foot fadeaway with 1:35 left that gave UCLA a two-point lead and put his team in position to get past Texas A&M Saturday night.

Kevin Love's teammate, point guard Darren Collison, followed with a pair of runners off the glass as the Bruins finished off the Aggies with a defensive stop to seal the win.

Game of the day: Stanford's overtime victory against Marquette, in which Lopez made a baseline shot with 1.3 seconds left in the extra frame. The game was back and forth and Stanford won with its coach, Trent Johnson, in the locker room after he was ejected in the first half for arguing with the officials. The Lopez twins combined for 48 points and the Cardinal advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001.

Plenty of Love: The UCLA freshman stepped up when it mattered most and made a pair of huge shots in the final three minutes. While most of his teammates struggled, Love finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven blocks in the last-second victory against Texas A&M.

Upsetting experience: West Virginia coach Bob Huggins and his Mountaineers pulled off the win against No. 2 Duke. Joe Alexander scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but he had plenty of help from Alex Ruoff (17 points) and Joe Mazzulla (13 points). Huggins' decision to go with an extra guard in Mazzulla paid off.

Shining star: It's easy to go with Lopez or Love, but we're going with a lesser-known player. Wisconsin sophomore point guard Trevon Hughes tied a career high with 25 points, making 4-of-9 shots from long distance and also dishing out three assists in the Badgers' 72-55 victory against Michael Beasley and Kansas State.
Runner-up: West Virginia's unheralded sophomore point guard Joe Mazzulla finished with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in the upset against No. 2 Duke.

Duly impressed: Washington State. The No. 4 Cougars stonewalled a potent Notre Dame offense that had been averaging more than 80 points per game. The fifth-seeded Irish managed just 41 points and shot 24.5 percent from the field against Tony Bennett's club. The previous low for Mike Brey's club was 64 points in a loss against Baylor.

March sadness: Duke senior wing DeMarcus Nelson didn't exactly go out in style. After struggling in a near loss to Belmont, Nelson was 2-of-11 from the field and misfired on all three of his long-range attempts to finish with 6 points in the loss to West Virginia.
Runner-Up: Notre Dame big man Luke Harangody had his way on the glass with a ridiculous 22 rebounds, but he made just 3-of-17 shots from the field and finished with only 10 points in the loss.

By the numbers: 3. That's the amount of Sweet 16 appearances that the Wisconsin Badgers have in seven years under coach Bo Ryan.

He's back: Drew Lavender is the key to Xavier's Final Four hopes. Lavender hasn't been the same since a mid-February ankle injury, and the Musketeers offense hasn't been the same, either. However, Xavier scored 85 points — the most that Purdue has allowed all season. The diminutive Lavender finished with 18 points and nine assists in the win.

End of the line: In Kansas State freshman sensation Michael Beasley's likely finale, he went for 23 points and 13 rebounds. But Beasley had only six points after the break and took just six shots. K-State was 0-for-13 from 3-point range and managed a season-low 55 points in the loss to Wisconsin.

On guard: Michigan State's guards — senior Drew Neitzel and freshman Kalin Lucas — combined for 40 points and scored 21 of the Spartans' final 25 points in a victory over No. 4 Pittsburgh. Neitzel, who has been erratic shooting the ball for most of the season, made 5-of-8 shots from long distance, while Lucas utilized his speed to create easy baskets against the Panthers.

Balance: Kansas and Xavier are two teams that have displayed terrific balance all season, and Saturday was no different. The Jayhawks were paced by Mario Chalmers' 17 points, but five other players scored between 8-13 points in the win against UNLV. Sean Miller's Musketeers were led by C.J. Anderson and Drew Lavender, who each had 18 points, but also had Josh Duncan (16) and Stanley Burrell (11) in double figures and Derrick Brown and Jason Love with eight.

Coming up next: Here are my three most intriguing matchups for Sunday:

  • No. 7 Butler vs. No 2 Tennessee, 2:30 p.m. ET — It'll be all about which team can control tempo.
  • No. 13 San Diego vs. No. 12 Western Kentucky, 2:40 p.m. ET — One of these Cinderella stories will advance to the Sweet 16.
  • No. 7 Miami vs. No. 2 Texas, 2:15 p.m. ET — Former Rick Barnes aide Frank Haith will try and lead his team to an upset over the Longhorns.

    RANDOM NOTES: Marquette guard Jerel McNeal finished with a career-high 30 points in the loss to Stanford. ... Mazzulla, a Rhode Island native, wasn't offered a scholarship by former Friars coach Tim Welsh and his staff. ... Washington State advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. ... Kansas not only shot 58 percent from the field, but also held UNLV to 27 percent shooting. ... Kansas State tallied just four assists in the loss to Wisconsin.


Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. He can be reached at GoodmanonFOX@aol.com or check out his blog, Good 'N Plenty.


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