Missed anything? West, East, Midwest, and South results. Syracuse plays Maryland and West Virginia battles Louisville for the right to play in the National Championship Game. Check out everything after the jump.
#1 Syracuse vs. #4 Maryland
Greivis Vasquez had a hot start, dishing out assists and scoring from short and long range, but Syracuse had the lead 28-23 with 6:39 to go in the 1st half. From that point to the end of the 1st, Vasquez was held to only an assist and no made shots. As a result, everything stopped functioning for Maryland the rest of the way. Syracuse took over and blew a close game wide open and led an astounding 46-29 at the break.
The good news for the Terps is that Syracuse couldn’t extend that lead past 20. However, the Orange led double digits the rest of the way and advanced to the National Championship Game in a surprisingly easy rout. Jim Boeheim’s team was on fire shooting the ball, hitting 34-56 shots, an astonishing 61%. This win also assured an All Big East Final. Syracuse 88 Maryland 70
#2 West Virginia vs. #9 Louisville
In their last meeting, Da’Sean Butler won another game for WVU with a late shot that put them past the Cards 77-74. Would he be called upon again?
Much like their previous encounter it was a furious pace in the 1st half. The lead had swayed back and forth before Rick Pitino’s squad went on a 10-5 run to take a 31-22 advantage with 5:51 to go in the half. Da’Sean Butler ended the half completing a three point play to tie the game at 38-38 and also scored a jumper at the buzzer to keep the game close, with Louisville holding a slender 41-40 lead.
Neither side could keep up that 1st half explosion and the defenses took over in the 2nd. West Virginia regained the lead and with 2:41 to go in regulation a Darryl Bryant jumper made it 69-61 Mountaineers and it should’ve put the game away. Reggie Delk drained a three and Terrence Jennings soon thereafter hit a jumper to slice that lead down to 3. Back came John Flowers for WVU, slicing his way inside to hit a great reverse lay-up to put them up 71-66. Jennings came through in the clutch again with a replying jumper to make it 71-68 with 1:40 to go.
And then things got interesting….
“Smith beyond the arch shoots!!! AND HE’S FOULED SHOOTING A THREE!! FLOWERS CALLED FOR THE FOUL AND HE’LL SHOOT THE POTENTIAL TYING FREE THROWS WITH :42 LEFT!”
Smith only made 1 of 3, but Da’Sean Butler had his potential clinching shot blocked by Samardo Samuels, and with :15 left Louisville had one last chance…
“SOSA INSIDE TO SAMUELS! HE FADES AWAY FOR THE TIE!!!! NO!!!! REBOUND DELK WITH :06!!!! THREE SECONDS NOW!! HE ATTACKS AND OHHHHHHH WELLINGTON SMITH TOOK IT AWAY!!!! TIME EXPIRES! NO FOUL CALLED! WEST VIRGINIA WINS!!!” West Virginia 71 Louisville 69
So the stage was set at Lucas Oil Stadium. Syracuse was looking for their first NCAA Championship since 2003, and West Virginia was looking for their first since the days of Jerry West. When these two met in conference play the Orange came out victorious at West Virginia by just 1 point. Revenge was on the mind of Bob Huggins’ team, and tip-off awaited.
National Championship Game: #1 Syracuse vs. #2 West Virginia
Syracuse put up the first 5 points of the game. West Virginia quickly replied. It would be that kind of affair all night. There was a chance for the Mountaineers to assert themselves when up 30-22, but there would be no quit from the Orange as they clamped down on every body West Virginia had on the court, and started their aggressive run on offense. The Mountaineers finished the remainder of the half shooting just 1-12 from the field and saw themselves down 35-33 at halftime.
West Virginia came flying out of the break with an 11-2 run, stunning Syracuse and putting WVU back up by 7. Jim Boeheim calmed his squad down and once again WVU went cold from the field and Syracuse went on an even bigger 14-2 spurt to go up 51-46 halfway through the 2nd half.
The score was tied at 57-57 when Darryl Bryant drilled his only three pointer of the game to break the tie with 4:46 remaining. Neither team scored for the next two minutes until Da’Sean Butler hit a tough bank shot to put WVU up by 5. Following another Syracuse miss, the dagger came….
“Butler with it now. Shot clock at 15. HE’LL FIRE UP A THREE!!!!! BANG!!!!!! BUTLER WITH A HUGE SHOT AND THE LEAD IS NOW 8 WITH 2:15 TO GO!!!!”
Syracuse had gone on a drought at the worst possible time. They would not score until :09 left when Brandon Triche hit a desperation three to cut the lead to 65-60. With :05 left Wellington Smith went to the free throw line to ice it….
“Smith hits the first free throw. The next one should do it! HE HAS MADE BOTH!!! SYRACUSE IS OUT OF IT! RAUTINS ON THE RUNNER AND IT’S NO GOOD!!!! AND THAT IS IT!!! WEST VIRGINIA IS YOUR NATIONAL CHAMPION!!!!!”
Revenge is a sweet thing, isn’t it? Bob Huggins trumps Jim Boeheim in a great game defined by scoring spurts. Da’Sean Butler finished the game with 25 points on 8-15 shooting, none bigger than his last three pointer to essentially seal the deal. He was named the tournament MOP.
Congratulations to West Virginia, let’s see how you do in the real tournament.
Thanks to JFein for helping me simulate these games, and thank you for following this great simulated series. Enjoy March Madness everybody.