IU celebrates a trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
After Saturday's action, the Big Ten has three teams in the Sweet Sixteen. Ohio State managed to pull away from Gonzaga in the final minutes for a 73-66 victory, Wisconsin won a close one against Vanderbilt and Indiana pulled off a dramatic comeback in the final minute to get past VCU.
The Hoosiers will face Kentucky in a highly anticipated rematch. The Buckeyes will take on the winner of the Cincinnati - Florida St. game. The Badgers get #1 seed Syracuse, who suffered a first-game scare against UNC-Asheville.
Click on for some more analysis from Saturday's games.
After both teams scored over 40 points in the first half, things took a defensive turn in the second. In the first half, Indiana turned the ball over a lot, but the Hoosiers made 2/3 of the shots that they managed to get up. The VCU Rams shot pretty well from inside the arc in the first half, but missed 9 of 14 three-pointers. The Rams went into halftime with a one-point lead.
In the second half, Indiana kept turning the ball over (22 total in the game), but they weren't hitting many of their shots either. VCU went even colder, managing to hit on only 25% of both their two-point and three-point FGs. With over twelve minutes left in the game, the Rams had 57 points (they ended with 61).
With a minute left, VCU missed two free throws that could have extended their lead to five points. Victor Oladipo scored, got fouled and made his free throw. After a missed three, Will Sheehey put in a baseline jump shot that gave the Hoosiers their first lead since early in the second half. Fittingly, VCU's final shot was one of their 21 missed threes in the game.
The Ohio State - Gonzaga game was not quite as dramatic as the IU game, but it ended favorably for the Big Ten team just the same. Jared Sullinger sat a lot of the first half with foul trouble and the Zags were able to stay with OSU, even leading by five at one point in the first half.
In the second half, the Buckeyes opened up a ten point lead, only to see Gonzaga claw their way back into a tie with four minutes remaining. OSU managed to get it up to a five point lead with about a minute left, and hit their free throws to close it out.
Aaron Craft and William Buford never came out of the game and Deshaun Thomas only sat for a minute. All three players scored in double figures, with Craft adding 10 of the team's 13 assists. Sullinger was limited to twenty-six minutes, but had an excellent offensive game: 18 points, 2-2 on threes, 6-7 FTs and 5 of 9 from inside the arc.
Wisconsin didn't shoot all that well from three-point range Saturday (10-33), but Vandy shot it even worse (5-19). The Badgers effectively slowed the game down to just 56 possessions, well below the Commodores average of 66 per game. It was even slower than the average of 59 possessions that UW had this season.
Wisconsin jumped out to a uncharacteristically fast start, leading 10-2 after four minutes of play. The Badgers cooled off and Vanderbilt got back into the game; Brad Tinsley hit a three at the end of the half to cut the lead to one.
Wisconsin's shooting took a turn for the worse in the second half as they only hit 35% from the field. UW also managed to shoot eleven more threes than twos for the game, which is usually a bad thing when they are only being made at a 30% rate.
The Badgers went up by nine with about seven minutes left in the game with a Ben Burst three. Two and a half minutes later, the lead was down to two and it was close for the remainder of the contest. Vanderbilt took the lead briefly with about two minutes left, but Jordan Taylor answered with a three and the Badgers never trailed again. UW didn't do a good job of hitting their free throws down the stretch, but Vandy couldn't capitalize and the Badgers are moving on to next week.