Midwest Region notes: Tampa tempest

Yahoo! Sports Staff
Yahoo! Sports


TAMPA, Fla. – Villanova completed the assault on brackets across America with its upset of Clemson in a Midwest Regional game Friday night. No subregional in the history of the NCAA tournament had seen four upsets in one day, and the Wildcats completed the sweep for the underdogs at the St. Pete Times Forum.

"We saw Western Kentucky-Drake (the first upset of the day), and we thought now we can't do it; then you watch it happen to UConn," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "Then you think there's no way it can happen four times in a row, but once the game starts, you forget about it."

The Wildcats fell behind by as many as 18 points in the first half but closed the gap to 12 by halftime. Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher took over in the second half, scoring a combined 26 points for Villanova. Reynolds finished with 21 points, Fisher with 17. The score was tied at 66 before the Wildcats scored their final nine points from the free-throw line.


While Villanova won the game at the line, Clemson may have lost it there as the Tigers' free-throw woes continued. Clemson made only 62.4 percent of its free throws all season and was worse against Villanova. Clemson was 14 of 23 from the line Friday but missed eight of its first 12 in the second half.


Wright cringed a little after being called for a technical foul late in the game after Clemson forced a jump ball. With Villanova up 64-60, Wright argued and was hit with the technical. Terrence Oglesby made both free throws to narrow Villanova's lead to two points. Wright was worried he may have created a turning point for the Tigers.

"I let a curse word come out. I deserved it," Wright said of the technical. "I hoped I didn't blow it for us."

– David Fox


TAMPA, Fla. – After team meetings Friday afternoon, Siena watched No. 12 seed Western Kentucky and No. 13 seed San Diego win in overtime at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Saints kept the upset trend intact by stunning Vanderbilt as Tampa turned into Upset City, USA.

"It must be in the air," Siena forward Alex Franklin said. "We were watching all of them. If San Diego can come in here and beat UConn, we can beat Vanderbilt – and that's what happened."

Said guard Tay Fisher: "We didn't want it to be a close game."

Mission accomplished. Vanderbilt never led, and the closest the Commodores got in the second half was seven points with 13:21 left.

"Going into it, I thought we were better than them," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "I told my team it doesn't matter who's better; it's who plays the best."


The star of the game wasn't SEC Player of the Year Shan Foster or Vandy's 6-foot-11 Australian freshman A.J. Ogilvy. It was Siena junior guard Kenny Hasbrouck, who scored a game-high 30 points. He was 9-for-14 from the field and 10-for-10 from the line.

"Kenny was the best player on the floor, no question about it," Siena coach Fran McCaffery said. As a team, Siena shot 56.5 percent from the field.


Foster's college career ended with a frustrating night. He finished with 13 points on 6-for-14 shooting from the floor. He was just 1-for-5 from beyond the arc. "We kept the pressure on him," Fisher said.

Indeed, the Saints seemingly kept constant pressure on Vandy's perimeter players and conceded Ogilvy’s inside presence. Ogilvy finished with 18 points.

"All these teams are bigger than us," Fisher said. "We have to use our quickness to our advantage and make them run."

– David Fox


OMAHA, Neb. – The knee problems that limited Kansas guard Sherron Collins in last year's NCAA tournament have popped up again – although this time the situation isn't nearly as serious.

Collins said Friday that his knee is "sore" but that it won't affect him in Saturday's second-round game against UNLV.

"I don't feel snakebitten," Collins said. "I've already been through so much this year. Anytime something gets tweaked I always get a little nervous."

Collins said he is wearing a "sleeve" – and not a brace – over his knee to keep it warm and loose.

• Considering UNLV starts just one player who stands taller than 6-foot-6, Kansas forwards Sasha Kaun, Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur may be called on for additional scoring Saturday.

"(The size advantage) will help the guards because it will suck in the whole defense and we can kick it out for easy shots and stuff," Kaun said.

Not so fast, Sasha.

Kansas has relied heavily on the three-pointer lately – making a combined 27 in its last two games – but the Runnin' Rebels lead the nation in three-point field-goal percentage defense.

"They get up under you," Collins said. "We can't look past their pressure, but I think our guards will get open looks and knock down shots. They're a good team, but we still have to run our offense."

• UNLV – which lost nine players from last year's Sweet 16 team – has an interesting collection of players. Two of the Runnin' Rebels starters are walk-ons and another, Corey Bailey, is 27 years old.

"You don't see that very often," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "At 27 I couldn't go up and down the floor twice."

– Jason King


OMAHA, Neb. – NBA scouts agree that Kansas State freshman Bill Walker has a future in the NBA. But there have been times this season when his performance has slipped because of his frustration with referees or because of his own missed shots.

And when Walker doesn't play well, the Wildcats don't, either.

"I guess I never thought I had that much control over the emotions of other grown men," Walker said. "If I play in control like I did yesterday and keep my composure, we're a tough team to beat."

K-State freshman Michael Beasley said Walker must duplicate Thursday's 22-point performance against Wisconsin Saturday if the Wildcats are to have a chance. But he knows staying "mature" isn't always easy for a college freshman.

"What would you expect?" Beasley said. "We're not 30-year-old men with wives and kids to feed. We were at our high school prom last year. When Bill shows a certain maturity level, we tend to follow him. But you've got to expect immaturity from kids like us. We're still young."

– Jason King


RALEIGH, N.C. – Georgetown, the second seed in the Midwest, didn't struggle as did fellow No. 2s Tennessee and Duke. The Hoyas easily handled No. 15 UMBC 66-47 on Friday at the RBC Center.

Next up for the Hoyas is 10th-seeded Davidson, which knocked off No. 7 Gonzaga 82-76 earlier Friday.

The Wildcats, who have played close games against North Carolina, Duke and UCLA this season, have Georgetown's complete attention. Davidson gave Maryland a scare in last season's Big Dance.

"That's a terrific team that's playing very well," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said of Bob McKillop's crew. "You don't accomplish what they've accomplished in their regular season and in their tournament and not be a very good team with very good players."

Sophomore guard Stephen Curry leads those good players. He struck for 40 points, including eight three-pointers, in the upset of the Bulldogs.

"He can shoot the cover off the ball and he has a group of people that he's playing with that is not threatened by that," Thompson said. "His teammates do a terrific job of screening for him and of getting him the ball.

"But anyone that's watched that team play knows you can't just focus on him. He has good players around him and they have people who can hurt you. They are a very confident team and I think they should be."

The Hoyas are also familiar with Davidson senior point guard Jason Richards, who averages eight assists a game. And forward Andrew Lovedale is coming off a 13-rebound effort in the first-round victory over the Zags.

"They have a great shooter and player in Curry, their point guard leads the nation in assists and their big man is really physical," Georgetown senior forward Patrick Ewing Jr. said. "We should have a good game with them."

– Gerry Ahern

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