Winthrop plays Oregon in a game today that Times Columnist Jerry Brewer has called the battle of the shoe companies. I like Brewer, an excellent addition to the Seattle Times staff, and this article really makes you want to root for New Balance and Winthrop. I am a New Balance type of guy, and any company that gives money to Oregon isn't worthy of my patronage.
I just thought I would put my picks for today in bold. Why Winthrop over Oregon? It has little to do with whether I like the Duck's, or Nike, I just have a feeling that Winthrop is this years mid major team of destiny. As we saw yesterday most of the games come down to the last few minutes once you get to this level so the team that has the most cool, makes the least mistakes, usually comes out on top.
Tennessee 77 Virginia 74
Fifth-seeded Tennessee (24-10) reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2000 under second-year coach Bruce Pearl.The Volunteers slowly cut into the lead, and Smith had a three-point play and a steal-and-layup during a 15-2 spurt early in the second half that put Tennessee ahead to stay 54-44. Smith finished with 16 points. At that point, Singletary tried to bring Virginia back. He got a rebound while falling and, while on his chest, passed to Adrian Joseph for a lay-in that cut it to 61-59. Smith ended the comeback there by hitting a 3-pointer, then taking a charge from Singletary. Lofton, an 80.5 percent free-throw shooter, then finished it off by going 6-for-6 from the line.
Florida 74 Purdue 67
Close game with 5:41 left. Florida is holding on to a 54-49 lead. the defending national champions withstand a game effort by plucky Purdue in a 74-67 victory Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Ninth-seeded Purdue played just about how it wanted against the Gators -- slowing down the tempo, rebounding well with a smaller lineup and keeping the game close much of the way. But the top-seeded Gators took advantage of their tournament experience. They never panicked and made several clutch shots down the stretch to advance to the round of 16.
UNLV 74 Wisconsin 68
Seventh-seeded UNLV (30-6) led by 12 at the half, but Wisconsin rallied with 11 straight points. A 16-2 run gave the Badgers a five-point lead to the delight of their red-clad fans at the United Center. Still it wasn't enough as thr Running Rebels advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
Southern Illinois 63 Virginia Tech 48
Driven by the tenacious defense instilled during those workouts -- and three big 3-pointers by Jamaal Tatum -- Southern Illinois pulled away from Virginia Tech 63-48 Sunday in the second round of the West Regional. The Salukis advance to meet the Kansas-Kentucky winner in a regional semifinal on Thursday night in San Jose, Calif. Rest assured that neither team wants to face a team so dedicated to floor burns and physical play.
Oregon 75 Winthrop 61
The third-seeded Ducks (28-7), who have won more games than any Oregon team since the 1944-45 squad won 30, will play seventh-seeded UNLV in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional in St. Louis.
Memphis 78 Nevada 62
A deep, versatile Memphis club pulled together and shut out Nick Fazekas and Nevada over the final 6:17 Sunday, carrying the Tigers to a 78-62 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament and bumping the nation's longest winning streak to 24 in a row.Kansas 88 Kentucky 76
This rout was practically a repeat of last year's meeting between the teams in Lawrence, Kan. Rush led the way in that one, a 73-46 blowout that was Kentucky's worst loss in Tubby Smith's 10 years as coach.
USC 87 Texas 68
The fifth-seeded Trojans (25-11) got 20 points from Daniel Hackett and 17 points and 14 rebounds from Taj Gibson a 6-foot-9 freshman. USC won by playing smarter, more disciplined basketball, especially on the defensive end, and looking much more like a team in doing it.