How Sweet It Is: FedEx Forum To Host Riveting NCAA Tournament Games Tonight
Memphis will come alive tonight...and not the Memphis Tigers, who fell short last night during their time to shine. No, I am talking about the South regional of the NCAA men's basketball tournament being held at Memphis' FedExForum.
At 7:37 p.m. EST, the No. 3 Syracuse Orange (28-9) will face the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners (29-5).
Syracuse looked mighty impressive in their first two games, defeating Stephen F. Austin by 15 and knocking off Arizona St. by 11. They have taken down the likes of Pittsburgh and Connecticut in conference play, but can the Orange handle Oklahoma's Blake Griffin?
The Sooners cruised past No. 15 Morgan St. in the first round by 26 and battled past Michigan 73-63 in the second round. Griffin again got into an altercation on the court, except in this instance, he did nothing wrong. The Morgan St. player was immediately ejected.
Will Syracuse have a bull’s eye on Blake? I guess we will have to watch and see, but this is setting up to be one of the premier games in this year's tournament.
Thirty minutes following the Orange and Sooners battle, the No. 4 Gonzaga Bulldogs (28-5) will take on the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (30-4).
Gonzaga has been peaking at the right time. They won the West Coast Conference easily and picked up a solid 13-point win over No. 13 Akron in the first round. In the second round, Western Kentucky almost took down the 'Zags, but a runner by Demitri Goodson with .9 seconds to play proved to be the crack in Cinderella's glass slipper.
The Tar Heels have their guy back, Ty Lawson. He is not 100 percent, but he is playing well enough to help his team make it back to a consecutive Final Four. UNC put on a showcase in their 101-58 win over Radford, despite not having Lawson in the lineup.
Their second game, however, was much different. They faced the No. 8 LSU Tigers (like that was fair for a No. 1). It was a sluggish start, to say the least, for Carolina. If it were not for Lawson's 23 points, 21 in the second half, LSU could have been playing the 'Zags tonight. But UNC was playing in Greensboro and the Heels are 27-1 in tournament games in their home state, so no one was surprised when they won.
Both games should be exciting, but do not sleep on Gonzaga. They are playing at a level that will be tough for UNC tonight, but it is still Hansbrough, Lawson, and Ellington who can score at will.
The winners of tonight's games in Memphis will play in the regional title game on Sunday. The champion of the South will play either Pittsburgh or Villanova in Detroit next weekend.
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