Phew! Was last night entertaining enough for you? Okay, the Western Kentucky vs. Mississippi Valley State game was a full-on car crash of a basketball game, but it featured one of the most
incredible comebacks horrible chokejobs you will ever see. Iona also solidified their case for tournament inclusion when they raced out to a 55 point first half against BYU before closing up shop the remainder of the game and losing. Two games, two come-from-behind victories, March Madness is here!
Okay, now on with the March Madness simulation. Helping me do the Midwest Region is frequent site follower/commenter/live-blog participant kt1000. Check out the results after the jump!
1st Round: Lamar vs Vermont
In the 1st round between the Catamounts & Cardinals, Vermont scored the opening five points of the contest, only to watch Lamar seize control midway through the half to lead 32-27 at halftime. Lamar weathered an early 2nd half storm from the Catamounts and eventually cruised home to a 68-58 victory. Lamar was paced with 4 starters scoring in double figures and advance to face UNC in Greensboro.
Lamar 68 Vermont 58
1st Round: Cal vs South Florida
In the other Dayton matchup, two of the last teams in the field took to the floor. South Florida took an early lead behind an extended 14-3 run, only to watch Cal quickly close the gap behind the play of Brandon Smith, so that the Bulls only led 30-28 at the break. The 2nd half was as close as you would expect in a game between these two evenly matched teams. The lead seesawed back and forth throughout the 2nd half, neither team gaining a lead of larger than 6 points. USF entered the final minute up 62-59, only to watch Ron Anderson and Gus Gilchrist miss 2 consecutive 1 and 1 opportunities, and the chance to lock the game. Cal took advantage, getting within 2 on a spectacular alley-oop by Brandon Thurman off the feed from Brandon Smith. After quickly fouling Ron Anderson, he then stunned the crowd by bricking the front end of the bonus opportunity, and Cal came down the floor looking for the lead.
“Cal has the ball.. 12..11..10, Guiterrez drives the lane and kicks out to Brandon Smith in the corner… AND HE HITS THE JUMPER FROM THE RIGHT BASELINE! CAL LEADS 63-62 WITH 5.5 SECONDS TO PLAY IN DAYTON! TIMEOUT BULLS!”
After the timeout, South Florida had one last chance.
“South Florida having trouble getting the ball into the front court. 4, 3.. Collins pressured and he has to heave it up…AND IT MISSES EVERYTHING! CAL HAS COME BACK TO ADVANCE TO THE MUSIC CITY!”
California 63 USF 62
16 Lamar vs 1. UNC
Lamar came out fighting, despite playing in front of 23,000 fans wearing Tar Heel Blue in Greensboro. Even though several of the Carolina players had off games, Harrison Barnes led the way with 27 points, while Tyler Zeller chipped in with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Despite shooting 45% from 3 point range, Lamar only shot 38.5% overall. The Cardinals trailed 43-33 at halftime and could not close the gap, with Carolina managing to hang on for the victory.
UNC 77 Lamar 67
9 Alabama vs 8 Creighton
It was a defensive slug fest in this matchup, with neither team shooting above 30% for the game. Fortunately for Creighton, Doug McDermott was a man amongst boys in this battle, scoring 17 points and adding 9 rebounds. Only Tony Mitchell managed to reach double figures for Alabama, who shot a woeful 25% from the floor and only hit 2 three pointers. This was a game that nobody enjoyed watching.
Creighton 53 Alabama 44
12 California vs 5 Temple
Cal had nothing left in the tank after their emotional victory over South Florida, coming out flat; which allowed Temple to roll up a 53-30 halftime advantage, leading to an easy victory for the Owls. Temple shot over 50% for the game, with all five starters scoring double figures. Their leader Juan Fernandez led the way with 16 points and 7 assists, despite not seeing much action in the 2nd half. Temple completely shut down Jorge Guiterrez, who only scored 7 points in the game.
Temple 85 Cal 62
13 Ohio vs 4 Michigan
Ohio played a spirited first half against Michigan, who had difficulty making shots, and only trailed 28-26 at halftime. But Zack Novak came out hot to start the 2nd half, making three pointers on Michigan’s first 2 possessions of the half, which keyed a hot shooting half for Michigan, who hit 8 of their 11 three point shots in the 2nd half. Novak had 4 threes in the half, and Trey Burke added two more, and this was enough to shoot Ohio out of the tournament. Only Walter Offutt scored more than 10 points for the Bobcats.
Michigan 71 Ohio 58
11 NC State vs 6 San Diego State
NC State led by as much as 11 in the 1st half, but a late Aztecs run cut the Wolfpack lead to 4 at the break. But, there was too much Scott Wood in the 2nd half. as he hit three 3 pointers on his way to 19 points. Chase Tapley led all scorers with 21 points while leading a futile late game Aztecs comeback attempt.
NC State 68 San Diego State 63
14 Belmont vs 3 Georgetown
Georgetown has earned a reputation as a NCAA Tournament disappointment and they only added to that legacy as they lost to the 14 seed Belmont Bruins. The Bruins forged a 30-30 halftime tie before starting the 2nd half on an extended 25-7 run, allowing them to cruise home with a nine point victory. Drew Hanlen led Belmont with 17 points, as only two Hoyas reached double figures.
Belmont 67 Georgetown 58
10 Purdue vs 7 Saint Mary’s
It was hard to tell which team played in the mighty Big 10 and which was from the West Coast Conference as Saint Mary’s blitzed Purdue. The Gaels shot an amazing 60% for the game and were 12/17 from three point range. Purdue’s led early 3-0 and never again were in front as Saint Mary’s dominated all aspects of the game.
Saint Mary’s 85 Purdue 64
15 Detroit vs 2 Kansas
Kansas used the dominating inside play of Thomas Robinson to overwhelm Detroit. Robinson had 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 4 blocks as Detroit had no answers to contain him. The Jayhawks also used swarming defense to hold the Titans to 35% shooting and only one made three point shot in a game Kansas never trailed.
Kansas 76 Detroit 62
8 Creighton vs 1 North Carolina
North Carolina scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back as they overwhelmed Creighton. Tyler Zeller could not be stopped as he recorded 24 points and 11 rebounds. Harrison Barnes also chipped in 20 points, while Kendall Marshall dished out 12 assists. The Tar Heels dominated the rebounding margin 45-27 in a game that was over as soon as it started.
UNC 91 Creighton 71
5 Temple vs 4 Michigan
Temple and Michigan battled in an all-time classic. Zack Novak picked up right where he left off in the Ohio game, knocking down 3 three pointers in the first half, to power Michigan to a 32-19 halftime advantage. The 2nd half was a different story. The Owls turned their game up and only needed 9 minutes to wipe out the Michigan lead. A Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson dunk capped an extended 38-14 run for Temple, giving them a 57-46 lead with 5:35 to play. The Wolverines refused to quit and closed the gap to 3 points with 30 seconds to play. After Trey Burke missed a three, Michigan had to put Hollis-Jefferson on the line with a chance to clinch the game.
“Here’s Jefferson shooting the front end of a 1 and 1. It rolls around and out! Michigan has it. Burke has 5, 4…finds Novak in the corner , the shottttt….IT’S GOOD! IT’S GOOD! NOVAK HITS THE THREE AT THE HORN AND THIS GAME IS TIED AT 65! OVERTIME IN NASHVILLE!”
The overtime was intense, with the lead going back and forth. After Khalif Wyatt made two free throws to extend the Owls to a 75-72 lead, Michigan had the ball with 30 seconds remaining.
“Hardaway has the ball. Michigan clears out for him, he wants to go one on one. Hardaway launches the step back 3 AND IT HITS BOTTOM! THIS GAME IS TIED AT 75! Here come the Owls. Juan Fernandez directing traffic…drives the lane, dishes and HOLLIS-JEFFERSON SLAMS IT HOME! OWLS LEAD BY 2. HARDAWAY TAKES THE BALL DOWN THE COURT… INTO THE LANE…AT THE HORN…COUNT IT! HARDAWAY MAKES THE JUMPER AT THE BUZZER AND WE ARE GOING TO DOUBLE OVERTIME TIED AT 77! WOW!”
Michigan ran out of miracles in the double overtime. Back to back threes by Fernandez and Wyatt extended Temple’s lead to 5, which was too much for the Wolverines to make a third comeback. Temple finally closed out the game, advancing to the Sweet 16. Temple 91 Michigan 84- 2OT
14 Belmont vs 11 NC State
The Belmont Bruins are the new Cinderella in town. After defeating Georgetown of the Big East, the Bruins slayed another BCS conference foe, taking down NC State of the ACC. The game was not as close as the final score would indicate. Belmont never trailed, using a balanced attack led by Mick Hedgepeth’s 19 points and 8 rebounds. NC State only shot 37% for the game and were a woeful 9-19 shooting free throws. Belmont 71 NC State 61
7 Saint Mary’s vs 2 Kansas
Saint Mary’s led this game 32-25 at halftime and it looked like Kansas were on the verge of losing to yet another mid-major school in tournament play. But, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor would not let it happen again, as they powered Kansas to a 52 point 2nd half and the victory. The Jayhawks used their frontcourt advantage, shooting 55% for the game and out-rebounding the Gaels by 9.
Kansas 77 Saint Mary’s 63
5 Temple vs 1 North Carolina
In a fast paced, entertaining game, North Carolina had just enough to withstand a late Temple charge to advance into the regional final. Tyler Zeller (22-11) and John Henson (17-10-7 blocks) dominated the game, frustrating Temple all game long inside. Khalif Wyatt and Juan Fernandez’s 8 three pointers between them weren’t enough to overcome the Tar Heels size dominance. The Heels outrebounded the Owls 46-24 on their way to victory.
North Carolina 85 Temple 78
14 Belmont vs 2 Kansas
Belmont’s Cinderella run struck midnight as Kansas dominated the Bruins in an easy win. Kansas used an extended 36-7 run to end the first half, leading 44-15 at intermission. Thomas Robinson had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and the Jayhawks shot over 50% from the field for the 2nd straight game. Belmont only shot 32% from the floor, while no Bruin scored more than 9 points due to the suffocating defense.
Kansas 80 Belmont 48
2 Kansas vs 1 North Carolina
In the regional final, Kansas got their revenge for Roy Williams leaving the school to coach North Carolina. The Tar Heels raced out to an early 24-11 lead, only to watch Tyshawn Taylor take the game over. His play slowly brought Kansas back, as they only trailed 42-41 at halftime. The 2nd half was all Taylor, as he was able to consistently beat the Tar Heel defense to score himself, or find teammates for easy baskets. Taylor ended the game with 24 points and 7 assists. The big men for both teams cancelled each other out, as none of them had a standout game. Kansas as a team shot 53% from the field, while holding Carolina to only 37% shooting.
Kansas 76 North Carolina 67
Kansas wins the Midwest Regional
Thanks again, kt1000. Kansas joins Baylor and Louisville in the Final Four. One more region to simulate, and I saved it for last for good reason as Fab Melo of Syracuse is suspended for the entire tournament.
NEXT REGION: East