warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

NCAA Tournament Round Of 32, Day 2: Pride Of Ohio

Danny Lee |
March 18, 2012 | 11:36 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

The Bearcats win allows the dancing to continue. (MattBritt00/Creative Commons)
The Bearcats win allows the dancing to continue. (MattBritt00/Creative Commons)
The Sweet 16 field is finally set and after six days of action, the state of Ohio came out a big winner. The Ohio Bobcats, Xavier Musketeers and Cincinnati Bearcats all emerged victorious in Sunday's late games to join Ohio State in the second week of competition.

In the one late matchup not featuring a team from Ohio, the Kansas Jayhawks pulled away late against Purdue to avoid becoming the third No. 2 seed in the tournament to get bounced. Here is a rundown of how the last four games of the Round of 32 played out.

Bearcats Bear Down

Cincinnati escaped with a 62-56 win against Florida State in an offensive struggle where both teams shot just 38 percent from the field.

The Seminoles led, 50-49, with 1:40 remaining in regulation and that was when things began to unravel. After a Yancy Gates free throw to tie the game, Bearcats guard Dion Dixon stole a lazy inbound pass and slammed it home to give Cincinnati a 52-50 lead.

That dunk came in the middle of a 7-0 Bearcats run that eventually lifted the program to its first-ever NCAA tournament win over a higher-seeded team.

Kansas Survives

It was not a memorable offensive performance for the Jayhawks, but they found a way to slip past Purdue, 63-60, to earn a Sweet 16 date with North Carolina State.

Kansas registered just 33.9 percent shooting from the field and trailed by a point with 30 seconds left in the game. That was when guard Elijah Johnson came away with a steal and sprinted the length of the court for the go-ahead layup.

Purdue had a chance to take back the lead with 12 seconds left, but Robbie Hummel's three-pointer clanked short and Jayhawks guard Tyshawn Taylor punctuated the win with a fast-break dunk.

The "X" Factor

Xavier ran away late to a 70-58 win against Lehigh, ending the Mountain Hawks' unexpected run to the Round of 32.

Lehigh had sprinted out to a 29-16 lead, before Patriot League Player of the Year C.J. McCollum was sent to the bench with his second foul halfway through the first half. The Mountain Hawks' offense then spiraled downward as the team shot a woeful 3 for 22 from three-point range. Xavier pulled away after outscoring Lehigh, 37-21, in the second half.

Sunday's victory earned the Musketeers their fifth Sweet 16 appearance since 2003. Compared to other non-BCS standard-bearers, Butler has four Sweet 16 trips during the same timespan and Gonzaga has just two.

Bobcats Still Clawing Away

No. 13-seeded Ohio pulled out a 62-56 win over South Florida to earn its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1964.

The Bulls successfully held their 13th consecutive opponent to 65 points or less, but the team's lack of firepower was costly. South Florida made just 2 of 15 from three-point range, while Ohio shot 9 of 18 from long range.

The Bobcats' Sweet 16 appearance is the first for a Mid-American Conference school since Kent State in 2002.

Buckeye State Of Mind

LeBron James may have taken his talents to South Beach, but there's still plenty of basketball talent left to go around in Ohio, as all four tournament teams from that state advanced to the Sweet 16.

Ohio State advancing to the Sweet 16 was pretty much expected. And there's a great chance few out there had Ohio going this far in their brackets.

With the win, Cincinnati will take on Ohio St. Thursday evening in an intrastate matchup. (ElevenWarriors/Creative Commons)
With the win, Cincinnati will take on Ohio St. Thursday evening in an intrastate matchup. (ElevenWarriors/Creative Commons)
But for Cincinnati and Xavier, their Sweet 16 appearances came just three months after an ugly brawl in December could have derailed both teams' seasons.

For the sadists hoping to see them put on the boxing gloves for Round 2, the Queen City rivals are just three wins away from a potential rematch in the NCAA title game.

Mid Major Meltdown

With 11 at-large bids going to non-BCS teams, mid major conferences had plenty of suitors vying to become this year's Butler. But after Gonzaga, Murray State, New Mexico and VCU bowed out of the Round of 32 on Saturday, that list was trimmed considerably.

Non-BCS teams were 0-7 in Round of 32 games against power conference schools until Ohio broke through against South Florida. Ohio and Xavier will be the only teams from outside the power-six conferences in the Sweet 16 and of those two, many would say Xavier graduated from the mid major label long ago.

Top Performers

Kenny Frease (Xavier, center): The 7-foot, 275-pound senior scored 25 points on 11 of 13 shooting from the field and pulled down 13 rebounds.

Walter Offutt (Ohio, guard): The junior led the Bobcats with 21 points and shot a perfect 4 of 4 from three-point range to go along with four steals.

Robbie Hummel (Purdue, forward): The fifth-year senior had 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting and pulled down nine rebounds in the Boilermakers' loss. But Hummel earned his spot in this category for coming back from two ACL surgeries and closing out a stellar, but injury-plagued college career by nearly willing his team past the No. 2-seeded Jayhawks.

Conference Call

Teams in Sweet 16:

Big East: 4
Big Ten: 4
ACC: 2
Big 12: 2
SEC: 2
Atlantic 10: 1
Mid-American: 1

Conference records (Leagues with multiple bids):

Big Ten: 9-2 (.818)
SEC: 5-2 (.714)
Big East: 11-5 (.688)
ACC: 5-3 (.625)
Big 12: 6-4 (.600)
Atlantic 10: 3-3 (.500)
West Coast: 2-3 (.400)
Missouri Valley: 1-2 (.333)
Pac-12: 1-2 (.333)
Mountain West: 1-4 (.200)
Conference USA: 0-2 (.000)
Metro Atlantic: 0-2 (.000)

Reach Danny by email, or follow him on Twitter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.