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NCAA Tournament 2017: B/R Expert Predictions and Updated Results for 2nd Round

Bleacher Report College Basketball StaffFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2017

NCAA Tournament 2017: B/R Expert Predictions and Updated Results for 2nd Round

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Round 2 of the 2017 NCAA Tournament is in the books, and we've seen some shockers.

    On Sunday, the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils were knocked out of the tournament thanks to their second-round loss to the No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks, and No. 2 Louisville was also upset by No. 7 Michigan.

    Those results come on the heels of the big upset from Saturday, when the 2016 tournament champion Villanova Wildcats dropped a 65-62 decision to Wisconsin.

    The Sweet 16 is now set. Teams will get a brief breather to rest and strategize before games resume on Thursday.

No. 7 Michigan 73, No. 2 Louisville 69

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Just when you thought the Michigan Wolverines' improbable postseason run would end at the hands of the Louisville Cardinals, John Beilein's team put together a terrific second half to rally and earn a spot in the Sweet 16. 

    Louisville took all of the momentum into halftime with a quick 8-0 run, but the Cardinals weren't able to deliver the dagger during the first 10 minutes of the second half. 

    Michigan took the lead for good with 6:40 remaining in the game on a three-pointer by Moritz Wagner, who broke out as the star of the contest with a career-high 26 points against the impressive frontcourt depth of Louisville.

    Two big shots by the struggling Derrick Walton and four free throws in the final minute by D.J. Wilson secured the Wolverines' spot in the Sweet 16 alongside fellow Big Ten teams Wisconsin and Purdue. 

     

    Top Performers

    Sunday's opener was all about Wagner, who displayed plenty of skill on the blocks against the length of Louisville's endless bigs. The German led all scorers with 26 points. Donovan Mitchell led Louisville with 19 points. 

     

    X-Factor

    With Walton failing to find a rhythm, the Wolverines needed a second scorer to complement Wagner and they received that in Wilson. The big man scored 17 points and sealed the victory with a quartet of free throws. 

     

    Next Round

    The Wolverines are off to Kansas City for the Sweet 16, where they will face the Oregon Ducks. 

     

    —Updated by Joe Tansey

No. 2 Kentucky 65, No. 10 Wichita State 62

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    It was a wild one, but Kentucky got the plays it needed to survive.

    Edrice Adebayo stuffed Landry Shamet's three-point attempt as time expired to seal a 65-62 Kentucky win over Wichita State on Sunday afternoon that sent John Calipari's team to the Sweet 16 in the South Region.

    The young Wildcats were clutch down the stretch with both Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox contributing key buckets in the closing minutes.

         

    Top Performers

    It was a team effort for the Wildcats. Adebayo dropped 13 points—11 after the half—and added 10 rebounds to go with several emphatic slams that kept the Kentucky crowd in the game during the second half in Indianapolis. Senior Derek Willis stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, eight boards, three steals and a block.

             

    X-Factor

    The Kentucky freshmen did not play like typical freshmen. Monk and Fox put the team on their shoulders with the game on the line to overcome a tremendous effort by Wichita State. Monk's difficult three with 2:10 to play put the Wildcats up by five, and they held on from there.

           

    Next Round

    Kentucky advances to the Sweet 16 and will meet No. 3 UCLA on Friday night in Memphis.

         

    —Updated by Kevin McRae

No. 1 Kansas 90, No. 9 Michigan State 70

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Kansas broke open a close game late in the second half to roll to a 90-70 win over Michigan State on Sunday afternoon. The victory will send the top-seeded Jayhawks off to Kansas City for the Sweet 16.

    The Spartans were competitive for most of the day and closed the Jayhawks' lead to just 54-53 with 12:18 remaining in the contest. But that was as close as they got. From that point, the blowout was on.

    Kansas outscored Michigan State 36-17 over the final 12-plus minutes of the game behind clutch contributions from Josh Jackson and several killer threes from Devonte' Graham to pull away in a marquee matchup usually reserved for the tournament's second week.


    Top Performers

    Take your pick. Kansas got a lot from a lot of players. Jackson had a game-high 23 points to key his team, but 20 points from Frank Mason III, 18 from Graham, including 4-of-6 from behind the arc, and a double-double from Landen Lucas were also huge. Miles Bridges led the Spartans with 22 points and eight rebounds.


    X-Factor

    The Jayhawks played big when the game was on the line. This was a tough game between two big-time programs, and the 20-point spread doesn’t do justice to how hard both teams played. Kansas just had too many weapons down the stretch.

     

    Next Round

    Kansas advances to the Sweet 16 in Kansas City where it will face No. 4 Purdue.

     

    —Updated by Kevin McRae

No. 1 North Carolina 72, No. 3 Arkansas 65

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The top-seeded Tar Heels bent, but they didn’t break. After falling behind by five points with 3:31 to play in the second half, North Carolina scored the last 12 points of the game to escape Greenville with a 72-65 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

    Early on, it didn’t look like this 1-vs-8 matchup would be close. The Razorbacks were down by as many as 17 points and trailed 30-13 with 5:32 to play in the first half before going on a 20-8 run and narrowing North Carolina's lead to just five points at halftime.

    Sunday marks the third straight time that the Razorbacks have gone out to North Carolina in the Round of 32, matching their fates from 2015 and 2008.

     

    
Top Performers


    Kennedy Meeks led the way with 16 points and 11 boards for the Tar Heels, including a crucial offensive rebound and putback to give North Carolina a 68-65 lead with 49 seconds left in the game.

    Off the bench, Daryl Macon went 3-of-5 from long range to lead the Razorbacks with 19 points of his own.

     

    X-Factor 


    There's no doubt, North Carolina's big-game experience made the difference in the closing minutes. The five-time NCAA tournament champions dug in to reach the Sweet 16 for 28th time since it took on that branding in 1979.

     

    
Next Round

    
North Carolina’s next game will be against No. 4 Butler on Friday in Memphis.
 

     

    
—Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 Oregon 75, No. 11 Rhode Island 72

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    Another tournament favorite spent half a game on the ropes but in the end, the No. 3 Oregon Ducks prevailed off a last-minute three pointer to defeat the Rhode Island Rams 75-72.

    Rhode Island initially claimed the lead with 2:54 left to play in the first half and was up 46-38 at halftime, but the Ducks fought back. Oregon’s first lead of the second half came at 68-66 with 4:51 left to play, but the game continued to see-saw back and forth until Tyler Dorsey hit a three off a Jordan Bell steal to put the game away with 40 seconds left on the clock.

     

    
Top Performers


    Sophomore guard Dorsey continues to have an outstanding tournament, following up 24 points against Iona in the first round with 27 points against Rhode Island off 9-of-10 shooting.

    Stanford Robinson tied his career high for the Rams with 21 points off 10-of-12 shooting.

     

    X-Factor 


    Rebounding was a strong suit for the Ducks, who out-boarded the Rams 35-28 overall and 15-9 on the offensive glass.

    
Next Round

    
Oregon will face No. 7 Michigan in Kansas City on Thursday, thanks to the Wolverines’ upset win over Louisville earlier on Sunday.
 


     

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 Baylor 82, No. 11 USC 78

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    J Pat Carter/Getty Images

    One strong second-half minute from Manu Lecomte delivered the win as the Baylor Bears dispatched the USC Trojans by a score of 82-78 in their second round East Region game.

    A tightly-contested game broke open with 4:52 to play in the second half and the Bears trailing 67-65. In the span of 45 seconds, Lecomte went on a personal 8-0 run. He hit a three, three free throws and a layup to put the Bears in front by a score of 73-67—a lead they didn't relinquish.

    With the win, Baylor coach Scott Drew is on his way to the Sweet 16 for the fourth time in eight years.

     

    Top Performers


    Lecomte may have been the game-changer with those eight points, but he only scored 12 in total in the game. The Bears had four players in double digits, led by a double-double from Johnathan Motley, who chipped in 19 points and 10 rebounds.

    Chimezie Metu was the game’s leading scorer, shooting 11-of-14 for 28 points for USC.

     

    X-Factor 



    Credit Baylor for strong clutch play in the dying minutes and good work on the board. The Bears outrebounded the Trojans 34-23, including 14-6 on the offensive glass.

     

    
Next Round

    
Baylor will face underdog No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks in the Sweet 16 in New York City.

    
—Updated by Carol Schram

No. 2 South Carolina 88, No. 7 Duke 81

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    Rainier Ehrhardt/Associated Press

    The South Carolina Gamecocks rode a sharp-shooting second half to an upset 88-81 win over the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday in Greenville.

    The favored Blue Devils took a comfortable 30-23 lead into halftime, but were stunned by a South Carolina team that came out on a 19-11 run early in the second half to take over a lead that they didn't relinquish. South Carolina outscored Duke by an astounding 65-51 margin in the second half.

    After heating up to win their 20th ACC tournament earlier in the month, the 28-8 Blue Devils make an uncharacteristically early exit from March Madness. The last time the 2015 NCAA champions went out this soon was one year earlier, when they lost 78-71 to Mercer in 2014.

     

    Top Performers


    The Gamecocks had five players score in double digits, led by Sindarius Thornwell with 24 points. Chris Silva recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

    Duke's villainous point guard Grayson Allen shot just 5-of-13 from the field, but was a perfect 7-of-7 from the line to lead his team with 20 points.

     

    X-Factor 


    The Gamecocks’ sheer determination to shoot the ball was the ticket to their unexpected win. South Carolina shot a so-so 42.9 percent, but took an amazing 63 shots from the field. That's compared to 53 for Duke—a differential that got much smaller once the Gamecocks had their win in hand.

    South Carolina out-rebounded Duke 15-10 on the offensive glass and took better care of the ball than their opponent—the Blue Devils had 18 turnovers compared to just 11 for South Carolina.

     

    Next Round

    The Gamecocks are off to New York, where their Sweet 16 game will be against Baylor on Friday at Madison Square Garden.

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 3 UCLA 79, No. 6 Cincinnati 67

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    UCLA punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 with an efficient 79-67 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday in Sacramento.

    After a solid 75-61 first-round win over Kansas State, Cincinnati made a game of it in the early going and took a three-point lead into the locker room at halftime. But the Bruins put on a clinic in the second half, shooting well from all over the court and outscoring their opponent 49-34 in the final 20 minutes.

    UCLA advances to the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years, after being excluded from the NCAA tournament in 2016.

     

    Top Performers


    Top NCAA draft prospect Lonzo Ball continued to show the skills that have helped him make his way into the conversation for this year’s top overall draft pick. Ball has done an impressive job of blocking out the distractions—he led his team with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds against Cincinnati.

    Scoring was handled by committee for Cincinnati. Five players hit double-digits, led by Jarron Cumberland with 15 points.

     

    
X-Factor

    Love him or hate him, you can't deny Lonzo Ball's big-game impact. He had 15 points in UCLA's first-round win over Kent State on Friday before delivering the performance of his life on Sunday.

    
 


    Next Round

    UCLA will square off against No. 2 Kentucky in its Sweet 16 game on Friday in Memphis.
 


     

    —Updated by Carol Schram

Matchup: No. 10 Seed Wichita State vs. No. 2 Seed Kentucky

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    Details: Sunday at 2:40 p.m. ET (CBS) in Indianapolis

     

    Wichita State wins if…

    The Shockers are able to keep Kentucky out of transition and force Malik Monk to take difficult shots. Monk is so talented that sometimes it doesn’t matter what kind of shots you make him take. But the Shockers are so physical and sound on the defensive end that the Wildcats could struggle to score if they're forced to play in the half court and Monk isn't able to get clean looks.

    Wichita State could get its offense going by finding a way to get sharpshooter Conner Frankamp some clean looks. On Friday, the Dayton Flyers were glued to Frankamp all game, and he only got three three-point attempts up, finally getting in the scorebook in the final two minutes.

               

    Kentucky wins if…

    The Wildcats are able to push the pace and not get frustrated by Wichita State's physicality. Kentucky has had a tendency of getting away from running smart offense when things don't come easily, and things are not going to be easy against the Shockers unless UK is able to get transition opportunities.

    The Wildcats need to find a way to get De'Aaron Fox some driving lanes because the freshman's speed could give Wichita State issues. The last time the Shockers faced a guard even close to as talented as Fox was mid-December against Oklahoma State and Jawun Evans. The Cowboys won by 17 in Wichita, Kansas, and Evans scored 22 points.

     

    Most important players:

    Frankamp entered the NCAA tournament on fire. He made 50.6 percent of his threes during Missouri Valley play and was the MVP of the conference tourney. Dayton made it a priority to slow him down, and that helped lead to Wichita State's having its most inefficient performance since late January.

    The Wildcats need their big three freshman stars—Monk, Fox and Edrice "Bam" Adebayo—to show up. The Cats live and die by those freshmen. 

     

    Predictions:

    Miller: Kentucky

    Moore: Kentucky

    Pedersen: Kentucky

No. 4 West Virginia 83, No. 5 Notre Dame 71

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    Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

    West Virginia scored the first 10 points of the contest and never trailed in an 83-71 win over Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon that made the Mountaineers the first team to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA tournament.

    Bob Huggins’ group used a suffocating pressure defense to force the usually steady Irish into a slew of first-half turnovers and keep them unbalanced on offense and down seven at the half.

    Notre Dame had its chances in the second half to eat into the deficit, but every time it got close West Virginia shut the door with a run of its own. The Irish were limited to just 40 percent shooting from the field and turned the ball over 14 times.

     

    Top Performers

    Jevon Carter had a huge game for the Mountaineers. He scored a team-high 24 points and always seemed to come up with the big shot whenever the Irish appeared to be creeping back into the contest. Bonzie Colson tried to do it all for Notre Dame with a game-high 27 points despite playing much of the second half in foul trouble.

     

    X Factor

    Pressure. West Virginia makes its mark on the defensive end by pressuring the ball, and it made things miserable offensively for the Irish all afternoon. The Mountaineers forced 14 turnovers (10 in the first half) to keep Notre Dame out of rhythm and limit its explosive offense.

     

    Next Round

    West Virginia advances to the Sweet 16 in San Jose, California, where it will face the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs. 

     

    —Updated by Kevin McRae

No. 8 Wisconsin 65, No. 1 Villanova 62

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    The Wisconsin Badgers aren't an ordinary No. 8 seed. Head coach Greg Gard's team is chock-full of experience and knocked off the defending champion No. 1 Villanova Wildcats in a back-and-forth duel at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York on Saturday.

    Nigel Hayes used a terrific move on the baseline to get to the basket and score the game-winner with 11 seconds left on the clock.

    Villanova had a chance to tie or win the game on its final possession, but Vitto Brown thwarted Josh Hart's drive to the hoop. Brown took the last free throws of the game, making the first, to finish off the Wildcats and send the Badgers to the Sweet 16. 

    Wisconsin ended the game on a 15-5 run led by Bronson Koenig, who sat for over 10 minutes with four fouls in the second half. Koenig drained two key three-pointers in the final four minutes.

     

    Top Performers

    Hayes led the Badgers with 19 points, while Koenig added 17 despite his long stretch on the bench in foul trouble. Josh Hart scored 19 for Villanova, with Donte DiVincenzo contributing 15 in defeat.

     

    X-Factor

    Vitto Brown was key on the final drive by Hart. The Wisconsin forward stopped the Villanova star from scoring the tying basket with his presence in the paint. Brown added 10 points, three rebounds and two assists. 

     

    Next Round

    The Badgers are off to Madison Square Garden to play No. 4 Florida Gators next Friday. 

              

    —Updated by Joe Tansey 

No. 1 Gonzaga 79, No. 8 Northwestern 73

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    Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    After one half, it appeared the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs would breeze into the Sweet 16 without a challenge from the No. 8 Northwestern Wildcats. 

    However, the Wildcats showed plenty of fight and cut the Gonzaga lead to single digits for the closing stages of the contest. 

    Northwestern had a chance to get within three points of the top seed in the West region, but a basket interference was not called and head coach Chris Collins erupted, which led to a technical foul. 

    After Collins' technical was called at the 4:54 mark of the second half, the Wildcats weren't able to get within five of Mark Few's men.

     

    Top Performers

    Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss and Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh led all scorers with 20 points. Jordan Mathews and Zach Collins each contributed 14 points for the victors. 

     

    X-Factor

    Zach Collins gave Gonzaga some terrific minutes off the bench, and he was in the middle of the controversial no-call that led to Chris Collins' technical. The Gonzaga big man leaped to block a shot, but his hand went through the net, something the referees failed to recognize. 

     

    Next Round 

    The top-seeded Bulldogs will head to San Jose for the Sweet 16 to take on the No. 4 West Virginia Mountaineers. 

     

    --Update by Joe Tansey 

No. 11 Xavier 91, No. 3 Florida State 66

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Add another team to the upset list. A No. 11 seed is on its way to the Sweet 16 after Xavier did a number on third-seeded Florida State in Orlando, Florida.

    After knocking out sixth-seeded Maryland by a score of 76-65 in the first round, a confident group of Musketeers built a 10-point lead by halftime, then extended that margin for an 91-66 win.

    Three-point shooting was one of many aspects of the game where Xavier dominated. Xavier went 11-of-17 from long range, while Florida State shot just 4-of-21.

     

     

    Top Performers


    After scoring a game-high 21 points against Maryland, Xavier guard Trevon Bluiett scored 21 in the second half alone on Saturday and led all players with 29 points total.

    Dwayne Bacon scored 25 in Florida State’s opener against Florida Gulf Coast. He led his team again with 20 points on 9-of-18 shooting against Xavier, but he was 0-of-5 from three-point range.
 


     

    X-Factor 


    In Chris Mack’s eight years of coaching at Xavier, he has guided his group to the NCAA tournament seven times but has never been past the Sweet 16. As one of basketball’s more cerebral bench bosses, will he find the magic formula this year to keep his team’s positive momentum flowing?

     

    Next Round

    
The Musketeers will face No. 2 Arizona as the West bracket progresses to the Sweet 16 in San Jose, California, on Thursday.
 

     

    
—Updated by Carol Schram

No. 4 Butler 74, No. 12 Middle Tennessee 65

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    Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

    For the first time since 2011, Butler is on its way to the Sweet 16 after a 74-65 second-round win over Middle Tennessee in Milwaukee.

    Though Butler led from wire to wire, the Blue Raiders put up a good fight. Middle Tennessee narrowed a 13-point deficit to five points at halftime, then climbed within three with less than four minutes to play. The sharp-shooting Bulldogs went 24-of-47 for a 51.1 percent mark from the field, and went 4-of-4 from three in the first 10 minutes of the first half, finishing at 8-of-15 from behind the arc.

    Butler prevailed despite foul trouble. Nate Fowler fouled out off the bench midway through the second half, while starter Tyler Wideman played limited minutes due to four fouls. Andrew Chrabascz had three.

           

    Top Performers


    Kelan Martin led the way for Butler with 19 points and six boards, while Chrabascz added 15 points.

    Middle Tennessee's JaCorey Williams was the game's leading scorer with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He also had nine rebounds. Antwain Johnson chipped in 19 points and six assists for the Blue Raiders.

          

    X-Factor

    Momentum is on the Bulldogs' side after a pair of nine-plus-point tourney wins. They snapped a two-game losing streak by securing their first-round win over Winthrop before their victory Saturday.

         

    Next Round

    
Next up for the Bulldogs: top-seeded North Carolina, fresh off a come-from-behind win over Arkansas.

           

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 2 Arizona 69, No. 7 Saint Mary’s 60

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    Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

    They didn’t find their groove until midway through the second half, but the favored Arizona Wildcats ultimately punched their ticket to the Sweet 16 with a 69-60 win over the Saint Mary’s Gaels.

    Coming off an 85-77 win over VCU in the first round, Saint Mary’s played stifling defense throughout the first half, holding the Wildcats to 10-of-29 shooting and just 1-of-7 from three-point territory. The Gaels went to the locker room at the break with an unlikely 30-29 lead.

    Both sides came out strong in the second half, creating a seesaw start that saw multiple lead changes. Two straight buckets by Allonzo Trier midway through the frame gave Arizona a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.

     

    
Top Performers


    Junior center Jock Landale started the game 5-of-5 for Saint Mary’s and finished the night with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, tops among all players.

    Trier’s 4-of-10 stat line looks unspectacular, but he came through at the right time for the Wildcats and went 5-of-6 on free throws to finish with 14 points. Lauri Markkanen made nine of his 10 free throws and led Arizona with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

     

    X-Factor 


    A heavy collision under the basket led to a foul on Saint Mary’s Jordan Hunter with the Gaels down by five with 1:25 left to play. Arizona took control the rest of the way.

     

    
Next Round

    
A No. 11 seed should be an easy opponent, but there’s nothing easy about Xavier in this tournament. The Wildcats will have their hands full when they meet the Musketeers in the Sweet 16 on Thursday in San Jose, California.


     

    —Updated by Carol Schram

No. 4 Florida 65, No. 5 Virginia 39

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    The Florida Gators have advanced to the Sweet 16 after a decisive 65-39 win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Saturday in Orlando.

    After a tight start, the Gators took control with a 12-0 run that gave them a 31-17 halftime lead, then they refused to let up. Virginia was outscored 34-22 in the second half, shot just 30.2 percent in the game and didn't get a single player into double digits.

            

    Top Performers


    Forwards Justin Leon and Devin Robinson had strong games at both ends of the court for the Gators. Both had double-doubles with 14 points and at least 10 rebounds.

             


    X-Factor 


    Offensive output has been the fatal flaw for Virginia. In the Cavaliers' last six NCAA tournament losses, they've averaged just 51 points.

           

    Next Round

    
Florida advanced to the Sweet 16 and will face No. 8 seed Wisconsin, the team that pulled off the upset of the tournament so far with a win over defending champs Villanova on Saturday afternoon.

     

    
—Updated by Carol Schram

No. 4 Purdue 80, No. 5 Iowa State 76

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    Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

    Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan flirted with a triple-double and the Iowa State Cyclones flirted with an upset, but the Purdue Boilermakers hung on to advance to the Sweet 16 on Saturday night in Milwaukee.

    After being knocked out of the NCAA tournament in the first round in of each of the last two seasons, Matt Painter’s team started out sharp on Saturday. The Boilermakers built a 19-point second-half lead before letting the Cyclones get within two points late, but they eked out the win.

    Painter has now matched his most successful runs in his previous 11 seasons at Purdue. He took the Boilermakers to back-to-back Sweet 16 berths in 2009 and 2010.

     

    
Top Performers


    Swanigan finished the night with 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, while teammate Vincent Edwards shot 9-of-14 for 21 points and delivered 10 rebounds.

    Deonte Burton delivered 25 points for the Cyclones, and Matt Thomas added 20 on 9-of-11 shooting.

     

    X-Factor 


    Purdue's best tool on Saturday was strong play in the first half, when they built a 13-point lead. They'd need every bit of it—the lead extended to 19 in the second before the Cyclones upset the apple cart with their furious comeback attempt.

    Holding off a tough challenger can be a great character-builder as a team goes deeper into the tournament.

     

    
Next Round

    
The Boilermakers will face the winner of Sunday’s second-round matchup between No. 1 Kansas and No. 9 Michigan State in Kansas City, Missouri.
 




    —Updated by Carol Schram

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