Tennessee 76 Ohio State 73: The best game of the night. The Buckeyes banged home nine treys, but the Vols banged the boards and made a few more key plays down the stretch. Wayne Chism came up big in a big game, with 22 points and 11 rebounds, and forward Brian Williams had 12 more boards, his second such outing of this tournament. For Ohio State, Evan Turner was everything he’s been cracked up to be, with 31 points. But the players the Notebook identified as key to OSU success weren’t there. Guard Jon Diebler hit 1-of-7 on threes, and forward Dallas Lauderdale had just two points and seven rebounds.
Michigan State 59 Northern Iowa 52: Would you rather miss your best player or get breaks in the bracket? Michigan State moves on without Kalin Lucas, and now they get #6-seed Tennessee on Sunday. Tom Izzo combined great coaching with good living, as he gets the breaks at a time he needs them most.
Tennessee-Michigan State: My individual predictions in this tournament continue to be horrific, although my general view that this year had a 2006-esque chaotic quality to it has held up so far. But I’ll try again here, even though I had foreseen a Georgetown-Kansas game in this spot before the tourney began and Ohio State-Northern Iowa as recently as this week. I think the Vols win this one. The emergence of Brian Williams as a second rebounder inside, combined with Chism apparently dialed in and playing good ball is too much for shorthanded Michigan State.
Duke 70 Purdue 57: It was a familiar formula for the Dookies. The Triple S combo did the scoring. Singler (Kyle) had 24. Scheyer (Jon) had 18. Smith (Nolan) had 15. And the Big Z (Brian Zoubek) went after the glass with 14 rebounds. This was clearly the game Purdue’s loss of Robbie Hummel showed. Their other two stars, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson had nice games, but there was no third option. And the Blue Devils dominated the glass to the tune of 45-22.
Baylor 72 St. Mary’s 49: A blowout from the beginning. Backcourt defense was the key, as the Bears held the St. Mary’s combo of Matthew Dellavedova and Mickey McConnel to six points apiece, and the Gaels were just 6-of-22 behind the arc.
Duke-Baylor: Hey, one game I actually picked before the Dance started. I liked the Bears as my darkhorse then, and I still like them for Sunday. Believe it or not, Duke hasn’t been this far since their Final Four team in 2004.
By this time tomorrow half the Final Four will be filled out and the Notebook will be here to talk about them. At The Baseball Notebook, the Red Sox were previewed yesterday and the Cubbies are scheduled for later today.