With the exit of Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Eric Gordon and Jerryd Bayless,
Derrick Rose and Kevin Love are the only marquee frosh still alive in the Sweet 16.
Memphis' freshman point guard and UCLA's big man were both in danger of joining
the other highly touted freshmen. But both are moving on after a late surge by
the Tigers in a victory against No. 8 Mississippi State on Sunday night and a
late rally by the Bruins on Saturday night to beat Texas A&M.
Up next for the Tigers is No. 5 seed Michigan State, while the Bruins draw
No. 12 seed Western Kentucky as the fab freshmen look to carry the torch to the
Final Four and beyond.
Game of the day: Butler had Tennessee on the ropes and had a
last-second shot to win the game in regulation, but the Bulldogs were unable to
put the Vols away as Bruce Pearl's team got a huge basket from Ramar Smith late
Upsetting experience: Bob McKillop's No. 10 seed Davidson followed up
an upset of Gonzaga with another one, this time against the second-seeded
Georgetown Hoyas. Stephen Curry was the star, especially down the stretch, but
point guard Jason Richards was also terrific with 20 points and five assists.
The Wildcats were down 46-29 at one point, but came back with a vengeance to
pull off the shocker.
Shining star: Stephen Curry started off by missing 10 of his first 12
shots, but the shots started falling when it mattered most. Curry finished with
30 points and had 25 after the break. His percentage wasn't all that impressive
(8-of-21 from the field and 5-of-15 from long distance), but he made a huge
trifecta with less than three minutes to put the Wildcats up by five points. He
also made 9-of-10 free throws.
Duly impressed: Louisville. Not only was the 30-point victory against
the Sooners impressive, but so was the job that Rick Pitino's club did on
freshman big man Blake Griffin. He didn't attempt a shot in the first 12 minutes
and finished with eight points in the loss.
March sadness: Georgetown big man Roy Hibbert came back for his senior
season and another chance to get back to the Final Four. The Hoyas were bounced
in the second round and Hibbert was a complete non-factor, fouling out with six
points and one rebound in 16 minutes.
By the numbers: 47. The percentage that Memphis shot from the charity
stripe. John Calipari's club was 15-of-32 from the line in its second-round
victory against Mississippi State on Sunday.
Rollin' along: North Carolina and Louisville could have slept through
the second halves of their victories. The Tar Heels crushed Arkansas 108-77 to
become the first team to go over the century mark in consecutive games since
Hank Gathers' Loyola Marymount club did it in 1990. While UNC was ahead 51-26 at
the break, No. 3 Louisville had doubled up No. 6 Oklahoma at the half, 44-22.
The Cardinals wound up with a 30-point win against the Sooners.
End of the line: Butler's backcourt of Mike Green and A.J. Graves had
a terrific run, especially over the past two seasons. The duo went to the Sweet
16 a year ago and led the team to a 30-4 mark this season. Green finished with
15 points, 7 boards and 5 assists in the loss to Tennessee, while A.J. Graves
struggled with his shot but still managed to score 21 points.
Most unlikely: Villanova was not only the last at-large team in the
field, but the Wildcats, less than three weeks ago, were also in danger of not
making the Big East tournament as one of the top 12 teams in the league. Now,
Jay Wright's team is in the Sweet 16 for the third time in the last four years.
Nothing to be ashamed about: Siena coach Fran McCaffery and the Saints
can return home with their heads held high after losing to Villanova in the
second round. Ditto for San Diego, which shocked the country with a first-round
win against UConn and nearly went to the Sweet 16 — if not for Western
Kentucky's Courtney Lee.
Stepping up: Memphis senior Joey Dorsey made certain it wasn't his
final game with a monster performance. The big man finished with 13 points, 12
rebounds and 6 blocks in the 77-74 victory against Mississippi State. Dorsey has
only scored more than 13 points once this season.
Taking care: Think Ty Lawson is back? The sophomore point guard, who
missed six games late in the year with a sprained ankle, didn't commit a single
turnover in the first two games. Lawson scored 40 points and had 11 assists in
the two routs.
Coming up next: Here are my three most intriguing matchups for the
Sweet 16 round:
- No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 3 Louisville — Both teams like to get up
and down the court and push the ball. This one will come down to defense.
- No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 5 Michigan State — John Calipari's team is
strong and athletic; Tom Izzo's has confidence after a win against
- No. 2 Texas vs. No. 3 Stanford — Can the Cardinal get past
another team loaded with terrific guards?
RANDOM NOTES: Memphis advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third
consecutive season. ... Texas freshman forward Gary Johnson, who didn't play
in the first round due to a sprained ankle in the Big 12 tournament, logged
six minutes on Sunday.
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