NCAA Conference Tournaments 2014: Predictions, Results for Friday's Top Games

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2014

NCAA Conference Tournaments 2014: Predictions, Results for Friday's Top Games

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Friday started with a buzzer-beater by a nephew of a legend and ended with an upset bid gone sour in Las Vegas. 

    The biggest upset from the power conferences came from St. Bonaventure, who defeated Saint Louis on a game-winner by Jordan Gathers, the nephew of the late Hank Gathers who starred at Loyola Marymount in the 1980s. 

    Out on the west coast, a pair of dream finals were set for Saturday in the Pac-12 and Mountain West, but that was almost not to be, as Boise State ran into a ton of trouble late against New Mexico.

    In the final game of the night, Boise State saw a player ejection and a backcourt violation ruin its dreams of an upset.

    Read on for the rest of the results from Friday's frantic schedule across the power conferences. 


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    (2) Louisville 94, (6) Houston 65

    For the second consecutive night, Louisville ran right through its opposition at the FedEx Forum. 

    Russ Smith scored the most points in a conference tournament game this season with 42 points for the Cardinals. 

    The Cardinals shot 50 percent from the field and saw Montrezl Harrell and Luke Hancock scored 12 points each as well. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey 

    (4) Connecticut 58, (1) Cincinnati 56

    Sean Kilpatrick had a chance to send the second AAC semifinal into overtime, but his layup bounced off the rim and to the right as the Bearcats' conference title hopes were erased. 

    Kilpatrick scored a team-high 14 points in the loss that saw UConn move on to the tournament final on Saturday against Louisville. 

    Shabazz Napier led all scorers with 15 points for the Huskies, who will have to play a bit better on Saturday against a red-hot Louisville team.

    — Updated by Joe Tansey 


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    (1) Virginia 64, (9) Florida State 51

    The top-seeded Cavaliers used 20 points from Joe Harris and their usual tenacious defense to run away from Florida State in the second half of Friday's quarterfinal game.

    The Cavaliers (26-6) forced 15 turnovers to turn a five-point halftime lead into a comfortable double-digit advantage for most of the second half. FSU (19-13) had 17 points from Okaro White and 13 from Aaron Thomas, but the Seminoles were never able to put together any runs to challenge Virginia.

    FSU, which came into the game on the NCAA tournament bubble, must now wait until Sunday to learn its postseason fate.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

    (5) Pittsburgh 80, (4) North Carolina 75

    Pittsburgh tried its hardest to give away a huge lead before eventually holding off the Tar Heels to move into Saturday's semifinal matchup with Virginia.

    The Panthers (25-8) led by 10 at halftime and upped the edge to 61-41 with 7:46 remaining when North Carolina (23-9) ramped up the urgency and capitalized from numerous Pittsburgh mistakes.

    UNC pulled within 73-65 with 2:12 left, and the lead was only four with a minute to go and as close as 78-75 before James Robinson made two free throws with 12 seconds left.

    Pitt went just 21-of-41 from the free-throw line, including 5-of-14 in the final four minutes of play. The wild finish overshadowed an immense effort from Talib Zanna, who had 19 points and 21 rebounds.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

    (7) NC State 66, (2) Syracuse 63

    Syracuse's stay in Greensboro was a short lived one as NC State took down the Orange by three points to keep its NCAA tournament dream alive. 

    The Wolfpack, who must win the ACC tournament to earn a spot in the Big Dance, received 28 points from T.J. Warren and 10 from Jordan Vandenberg. 

    Tyler Ennis scored 21 points in the loss for Jim Boeheim's team. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey

    (3) Duke 63, (6) Clemson 62

    Duke survived a disastrous final sequence by Clemson to advance to the ACC semifinals. 

    After being fouled by K.J. McDaniels, Duke's Rodney Hood hit two free throws with four seconds left to give Duke a one-point lead. Clemson failed to get a final shot off, allowing Duke to survive.

    Hood's 17-point performance, along with 18 from Jabari Parker, propelled the Blue Devils into an unexpected matchup with NC State. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey

Atlantic 10

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    Associated Press


    (9) St. Bonaventure 71, (1) Saint Louis 68

    Jordan Gathers swished a three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to lead the Bonnies to an upset of the A-10 regular-season champs in Friday's quarterfinals.

    St. Bonaventure (18-14) trailed by 10 points at halftime but slowly clawed its way back into the game, taking a 61-56 lead with 5:26 left. The teams traded threes in the final minute, with Saint Louis (26-6) knotting the score at 68 on a Dwayne Evans triple with 24 seconds remaining.

    The Bonnies set up the final play with 12 seconds left, and Charlon Kloof—who led all scorers with 22 points—drew the defense and then dished over to an open Gathers for the game-winner.

    The loss was the fourth in five games for Saint Louis since a 19-game win streak.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

    (4) St. Joseph's 70, (5) Dayton 67

    Langston Galloway's three-pointer from the top of the key with 19 seconds left pushed St. Joseph's into the semifinals, almost as firmly as the push-off Galloway used to get space for his game-winner.

    Galloway, who finished with 31 points and made six of 11 three-pointers, initially drove toward the basket but then shoved a Dayton defender away before swishing the open shot for a 69-67 lead.

    Dayton (23-10) went for a three to win it on the ensuing possession instead of driving inside, but Devin Oliver's shot was too strong.

    The Hawks (22-9) will face St. Bonaventure in Saturday's semifinals.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen 

    (2) VCU 71, (7) Richmond 53

    VCU took care of business against crosstown rival Richmond in dominant fashion as the Rams won by 18 points over the Spiders at the Barclays Center. 

    Briante Weber, Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson all scored over 10 points for the Rams as they cruised on to the A-10 semifinals. 

    Richmond received 18 points from ShawnDre' Jones in defeat.

    — Updated by Joe Tansey 

    (3) George Washington 85, (6) UMass 77

    George Washington rounded out the quartet of semifinalists at the A-10 tournament with an eight-point win over UMass. 

    The Colonials had all five of their starters score over 10 points as they advanced on to play VCU.

    Despite falling in the quarterfinals, UMass will still find itself in the NCAA tournament. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey 

Big 12

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    (4) Iowa State 94, (1) Kansas 83

    Georges Niang came alive in the second half to lead Iowa State to the Big 12 tournament final. 

    Niang scored a team-high 25 points in one of the most entertaining games of the entire season.

    Kansas missed the presence of Joel Embiid inside as the Cyclones continued to exploit the Jayhawks' weakness down low throughout the second half.

    Perry Ellis and Andrew Wiggins combined for 52 points in the defeat. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey

    (7) Baylor 86, (3) Texas 69

    Baylor continued its tear through the Big 12 tournament with a thrashing of Texas. 

    Brady Heslip made six three-pointers on his way to 24 points for the Bears, who also saw Cory Jefferson haul in a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds. 

    The Bears will now take on Iowa State in a final matchup that few expected to see at the Sprint Center in primetime on Saturday night. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey

Big East

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    (4) Providence 80, (8) Seton Hall 74

    Providence's road to the NCAA tournament got a bit easier after it won by six over Seton Hall to advance to the Big East tournament final. 

    LaDontae Henton scored a game-high 26 points for the Friars, while Bryce Cotton scored 18 of his own for Ed Cooley's team. 

    The Friars will earn an automatic berth with a win in Saturday's final. If they lose, they need to play well in the final to keep themselves in the minds of the selection committee.

    — Updated by Joe Tansey

    (2) Creighton 86, (3) Xavier 78

    Doug McDermott moved up to fifth on the all-time scoring chart thanks to a 32-point performance in Creighton's win over Xavier. 

    Ethan Wragge also netted 17 points of his own to help the Bluejays advance to the tournament final in their first year in the Big East. 

    The Bluejays will take on an upset-minded Providence team in Saturday's final at Madison Square Garden.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 

Big Ten

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    Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press


    (1) Michigan 64, (9) Illinois 63

    Jordan Morgan rattled in a layup with 7.9 seconds left to keep regular-season champ Michigan from suffering a far-too-early loss in quarterfinal play.

    Morgan took a feed from Nik Stauskas, who drew two Fighting Illini defenders with a stuttered drive to the right before dumping off to the streaking Morgan for the game-winner. The Wolverines (24-7) set up the final score by forcing Illinois (19-14) into a shot-clock violation with 19 seconds remaining.

    Illinois' Tracy Abrams got near the rim for a shot at the buzzer, but the floater hit off the front of the rim.

    Michigan led 38-33 at halftime but couldn't pull away from the Illini, who rallied to lead 61-58 with 3:17 remaining.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

    (5) Ohio State 71, (4) Nebraska 67

    Ohio State rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half to slip past the Cornhuskers, moving into a Saturday clash with top-seeded Michigan in the Big Ten semifinals.

    The Buckeyes (25-8) trailed 31-28 at the half but a 17-2 run by Nebraska (19-12) had the game looking like a runaway. Ohio State slowly chipped away at the margin, with LaQuinton Ross scoring 12 of his 26 points in a six-minute span to get withing 56-50.

    Ross tied it at 63 with a pair of free throws at the 1:52 mark, and less than a minute later his two foul shots gave OSU the lead for good.

    Nebraska got 20 points from Terran Petteway, but he fouled out with 59 seconds left just before Ross' game-winning free throws.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

    (2) Wisconsin 83, (7) Minnesota 57

    Ben Brust scored a career-high 29 points to lead Wisconsin past rival Minnesota in the quarterfinal round. 

    Three other Badger players found themselves in double digits as the team continued its chase for a No. 1 overall seed at the NCAA tournament. 

    Minnesota, who received 18 from DeAndre Mathieu, will now have to sweat it out on Selection Sunday as it needed one more win to ensure safety into the Big Dance.

    — Updated by Joe Tansey

    (3) Michigan St. 67, (11) Northwestern 51

    Northwestern's bid for its first NCAA tournament appearance will have to wait one more year after the Wildcats fell to Michigan State in the nightcap on Friday. 

    Branden Dawson scored 16 for the victorious Spartans, who are starting to jell once again as the Big Dance approaches. 

    The Spartans will face off with Wisconsin in the semifinals on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 

Mountain West

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    (1) San Diego State 59, (4) UNLV 51

    San Diego State won a low-scoring affair in Las Vegas against the host Rebels at the Thomas and Mack Center. 

    Dwayne Polee led the Aztecs with 18 points on their way to the Mountain West tournament final. 

    The Aztecs have a chance to pad their resume on one more occasion if they draw New Mexico in the championship game. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey 

    (2) New Mexico 70, (6) Boise State 67

    New Mexico survived an upset bid from Boise State thanks to clutch free-throw shooting and a backcourt violation. 

    Boise State was down by three with three seconds to go and it was called for a backcourt violation trying to set up a game-tying shot. 

    It also didn't help the Broncos that Thomas Bropleh was ejected in the second half for a flagrant-two foul.

    The Lobos, led by Cameron Bairstow's 22, will take on San Diego State in what is expected to be a heated affair in the tournament final. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


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    (1) Arizona 63, (5) Colorado 43

    There was never any doubt that the Arizona Wildcats would advance to the Pac-12 tournament final on Friday night. 

    The Wildcats took care of business against Colorado as they held the Buffaloes to 19 second-half points. 

    Nick Johnson and T.J. McConnell combined for 28 points to lead the charge for the Wildcats.

    — Updated by Joe Tansey 

    (2) UCLA 84, (6) Stanford 59

    UCLA set up the dream final in the Pac-12 tournament as it destroyed Stanford in the semifinals. 

    Norman Powell scored 22 points for the Bruins as they earned a game against top-seed Arizona for the second time this season. 

    Travis Wear (16) and Kyle Anderson (13) both had solid days on the offensive end for the Bruins as well.

    -Updated by Joe Tansey. 


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    (1) Florida 72, (8) Missouri 49

    Florida turned a tight, low-scoring game midway through the second half into a blowout, sending Missouri further down into the NCAA tournament bubble mess.

    The top-seeded Gators (30-2) led 38-36 with just under 12 minutes left after Jordan Clarkson's layup for Mizzou. From there Florida went on a 13-0 run and never looked back en route to its 24th straight victory.

    Florida connected on a season-best 12 three-pointers, including five apiece from Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II, while on defense it held the Tigers (22-11) to 36.4 percent shooting.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen 

    (4) Tennessee 59, (13) South Carolina 44

    Tennessee controlled from the outset in a game that likely moved it off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament.

    The Volunteers (21-11) limited South Carolina to 18 first-half points and held the Gamecocks (14-20) to 27.1 percent shooting, while on their own end got 22 points and 15 rebounds from Jarnell Stokes.

    Tennessee will face top-seeded Florida in Saturday's semifinals.

    Updated by Brian J. Pedersen

    (2) Kentucky 85, (7) LSU 67

    Kentucky avoided a second upset loss to LSU this season by beating the Tigers at the Georgia Dome in front of many members of Big Blue nation. 

    James Young led the way for the Wildcats with 21 points, while Julius Randle and the Harrison twins also scored in double digits. 

    LSU tried its best to take down the Wildcats, but it didn't have enough left in the tank after winning the night before. 

    — Updated by Joe Tansey

    (3) Georgia 75, (6) Ole Miss 73

    Georgia survived to live another day in Atlanta as it won a back and forth quarterfinal clash with Ole Miss. 

    Despite 45 combined points from the dynamic duo of Jarvis Summers and Marshall Henderson, the Bulldogs kept their slim NCAA tournament hopes alive. 

    For the Bulldogs to make the Big Dance, winning it all in Atlanta would be ideal, but that may not happen with Kentucky up next. 

    -Updated by Joe Tansey.