North Carolina 98, Gonzaga 77
Guess the toe’s OK, huh?
Certainly there will still be talk about Ty Lawson’s toe over the next 24 hours, especially because this will be the first time he’s had to turn around and play a game a day later.
But ABCers have got to be tired of the incessant attention on Lawson’s sore right big toe and then keep seeing him go out and dominate in the NCAA Tournament. Lawson was unreal in the game’s first 10-to-15 minutes against Gonzaga, racking up 15 quick points as the Heels played as well in the first half as they’ve played all season long.
Things got relatively shaky at times in the second half, as the Heels’ tendency to get a little lazy on the defensive end was so apparent that even Roy Williams called a timeout to get it stopped. And Roy should take heed of what happened right after that timely TO — Bobby Frasor buried two 3s and the Heels scored nine points in 40 seconds and 12 in 1:20 to absolutely put the game away.
Tyler Hansbrough was just as brilliant as Lawson, as was Wayne Ellington, and Danny Green seemed to find his rhythm. A great, great performance by the Heels, and one that they’ll need to replicate to knock off a sturdy Oklahoma team on Sunday.
Michigan State 67, Kansas 62
So there was at least one close game on Friday night.
Just a gutsy, gritty peformance by Michigan State, which seemed to trail Kansas from the get-go. Tom Izzo might be the best tournament coach in college basketball today, and now Michigan State, with a brilliant 3-minute stretch to close the game and steal a win from the defending champs, is one win from reaching the Final Four right down the road from East Lansing in Detroit.
Louisville 103, Arizona 64
I wrote this about UConn after its third dominating performance of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday:
If the tournament were to be reseeded, I think UConn would be given the No. 1 overall seed. The Huskies have been very, very good.
Well, Louisville restaked its claim to that overall top seed, destroying Arizona by a ridiculous 39 points, 103-64.
How do you win a regional semifinal game by almost 40 points? Unbelievable.
Oklahoma 84, Syracuse 71
Blake Griffin played. Which means he threw out 30 points and 14 boards.
And Oklahoma won again — easily.
Syracuse had a nice run, and became college basketball’s darling after clipping UConn in the game of the year, the six-OT thriller in the Big East Tournament.
But this game was never really close, and when the Orange’s Jonny Flynn went down, the air was out of the balloon. Flynn gave a gutsy effort, but it was never going to be enough.
And so the question remains, after Griffin tore apart the Cuse’s vaunted zone — how do you stop the should-be player of the year?
It doesn’t look like there is an answer.