Kind of boring games yesterday
|(1) Oregon Ducks vs. (2) Oklahoma Sooners||6:09pm ET||CBS||NCAA.com & March Madness Live app||Verne Lundquist / Jim Spanarkel // Allie LaForce|
|(1) Kansas Jayhawks vs. (2) Villanova Wildcats||8:49pm ET||CBS||NCAA.com & March Madness Live app||Jim Nantz / Grant Hill / Bill Raftery // Tracy Wolfson|
But as we've covered before, there is no logic in the NCAA Tournament. Only magic and pain and luck and perseverance and insanity. That's how we live in a world where that Wes Johnson/Arinze Onuaku Syracuse team didn't make it out of the Sweet Sixteen and this often-infuriating sack of humans held together by Michael Gbinije is headed to the Elite Eight for the chance to go to the Final Four.
We can focus on all the negatives. We can focus on the fact that the Zags turned the ball over 15 times in the game. We can talk about how the Zags inbounded the ball in a way that drew up eerie similarities to that horrible game against UCLA. We can talk about how the Zags had a 10-second call in crunch time. We can talk about how the final play that was drawn up resulted in Trevor Cooney legitimately stealing the ball and basically sealing the collapse.
Here's the thing about Marcus Paige. Despite the fact he had been in a prolonged shooting slump going back to early January, there were still flashes and existed the possibility he could start hitting his shot again. That night was tonight. Paige scored 12 of UNC's first 14 points going 4-for-4 three to ignite the offense and stake the Tar Heels to an early 14-8 lead. Indiana started to find some traction but not nearly enough as Paige's fifth made basket in five attempts put the Tar Heels up 25-17 around the midway point of the half.
Cold shooting threatened Virginia's lead early in the second half, but when Niang picked up his fourth foul with over 13 minutes remaining in the game, the Hoos were able push back to a 14 point lead, until a nearly roughly four minute scoring drought gave Iowa State another chance, one the Cyclones were unable to capitalize on.