Rose, Love only star freshmen left
Derrick Rose (AP Photo/Mark Weber)
Derrick Rose (AP Photo/Mark Weber)
Posted Mar 24, 2008

Tourney Buzz: Derrick Rose powered Memphis to the Sweet 16. He's one of just two fab freshmen still dancing, Jeff Goodman says.

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 in overtime.

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 Pittsburgh.
  • 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 He can be reached at or check out his blog, Good 'N Plenty.

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