i>The Big Ten enjoyed immense success in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 5-1 overall record. Here is a closer look at how the conference fared ...
Illinois outscored Colorado 22-5 down the stretch to grasp a 57-49 first-round triumph. The Illini surrendered a 37-21 halftime lead, and fell behind 44-39 with 9:30 left in the second half, but senior guards Brandon Paul (17 points, four rebounds) and D.J. Richardson (14 points, 5 rebounds) bailed out John Groce's squad with consecutive three-point shots with six minutes left to capture a 48-44 lead it would not relinquish.
UI clashes with No. 2 seed Miami, which routed Pacific 78-49 in its previous contest, March 24 at 8:40 p.m.
Shannon Ryan- The Chicago Tribune : "Even for a former math teacher like Illinois coach John Groce, this didn't add up.
"The seventh-seeded Illini defied the laws of probability in a momentum-swinging 57-49 victory Friday against No. 10-seed Colorado in the second round of the NCAA tournament at the Frank Erwin Center.
"Despite making only three field goals in the second half, falling victim to a 23-2 Buffaloes run and enduring an 11 minute, 27 second stretch without a field goal, the Illini can say they are advancing in the tournament for just the second time since 2006."
IU should be a heavy favorite against No. 9 seed Temple when the two teams meet March 24 at 2:45 p.m.
Bob Kravitz - The Indianapolis Star : "Someday, a No. 16 seed is going to beat a No. 1 seed. I might be using a walker and breathing with the aid of an iron lung, but someday it's going to happen, as it nearly happened with Gonzaga and Southern on Thursday.
"It just wasn't happening here Friday when No. 1 seed IU met up with James Madison.
"IU 83, James Madison 62.
"And it wasn't that close."
Senior forward Derrick Nix scored 23 points and snatched a career-best 15 rebounds to fuel a dominant 65-54 victory over Valparaiso. Junior point guard Keith Appling reversed his recent shooting struggles, notching 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting (50.0 percent) and recorded six assists and without committing a single turnover.
The Spartans face No. 6 seed Memphis at the Palace of Auburn Hills March 23 at 2:45 p.m.
Joe Rexrode - The Detroit Free Press: "The second game of what should be a highly entertaining doubleheader at the Palace will feature several players who can do extraordinary things on a basketball court and will someday be paid well to do them. It will feature intriguing matchups at every position, with no significant advantage at any.
"And that's rare for the Spartans, who usually have at least one to exploit. And that's rare for the Tigers, who lost early in the season to Minnesota, VCU and Louisville and have just one loss -- at Xavier -- in their last 26 outings."
In the night cap of the second round, Minnesota displayed the potential to be a true bracket-busting force in the South Region. The eleventh-seeded Gophers, who entered the contest losers in seven of their last 10 games, hit 9-of-16 shots from downtown (56.3 percent) to demolish No. 6 seed UCLA 83-63.
Sophomore guard Andre Hollins paced UM with 28 points, 9 boards and five assists and junior guard Austin Hollins added 16 points. Minnesota challenges No. 3 Florida in a second-round matchup March 24 at 6:10 p.m.
Chip Scoggins - The Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Joe Coleman says he usually can discern in warmups if Andre Hollins will have a strong performance that night …
"In other words, he can sense whether Hollins is ready to establish an aggressive mindset for the Gophers basketball team. He can tell if the sophomore point guard is primed to push the pace, attack the basket and rise up and shoot his jump shot with confidence.
"Apparently, it has something to do with Hollins' body language. And facial expressions …
"Safe to say, Hollins showed that zeal Friday night."
On a night where no high seed was safe, the Buckeyes built a 43-33 halftime edge before scoring 52 second-half points in a 95-70 decimation of No. 15 seed Iona.
Junior guard Aaron Craft was his pesky self, notching seven steals and seven assists alongside four points, junior forward Deshaun Thomas contributed a team-high 24 points and sophomore forward Sam Thompson added a career-best 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Currently on a nine-game win streak, OSU will be tested by a dangerous Iowa State club March 24 at 12:15 p.m. The No. 10 seed Cyclones were impressive in a 76-58 rout of Notre Dame in their opening matchup.
Bob Hunter- The Columbus Dispatch: "As ridiculous as it might sound, there was a turning point last night in a 95-70 victory, Ohio State's NCAA Tournament second-round rout of Iona.
"A 17-point Buckeyes lead had shrunk to a mind-numbing four, 37-33, with a minute and a half left in the first half when guard Shannon Scott launched a pass where the ball might have been mistaken for a passing weather balloon. Sam Thompson somehow got his right hand on it - well, he does have a 46-inch vertical leap - and tomahawked it home with a dunk.
"The thunderclap that erupted from the University of Dayton Arena seats might have awakened the dead 70 miles away in Columbus. By halftime, the Buckeyes' lead was 10, and the margin was never that close again."
The lone loser of the Big Ten contingent, Wisconsin squandered a second half lead to No. 12 seed Ole Miss in a 57-46 decision. The SEC Champs, led by flamboyant sharpshooter Marshall Henderson, outscored the Badgers 35-21 in the second half.
Wisconsin converted just 15-of-59 field goal attempts (25.4 percent), and did not have a starter score in double-digits. Freshman forward Sam Dekker tallied 14 points off the bench. The win was Ole Miss's first in the NCAA Tournament in 12 years.
Tom Oates- The Wisconsin State Journal: "Marshall Henderson, Mississippi's controversial shooting star, hogged the spotlight prior to Friday's matchup between the Rebels and the University of Wisconsin.
"As it turned out, however, it wasn't Henderson the Badgers had to worry about in the opening game of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
"It was themselves."