Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen on bench with 4 fouls after holding BYU’s Jimmer Fredette in check

By Dave Skretta, AP
Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kansas State’s Pullen on bench with 4 fouls

Jacob Pullen’s physical defense against BYU’s Jimmer Fredette has landed him on the bench with four fouls with 6:20 left. He’s held Fredette in check, though, with 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting.

The Wildcats had opened a 66-54 lead, but BYU answered with four quick points to get the lead back to single digits.

The early evening games are done in the women’s NCAA tournament, and higher seeds are finding the going awfully tough. They’re 0-12 so far.

Second-seeded Texas A&M beat Portland State 84-53 in the opener to the nightcaps. Fifth-seeded Georgetown handled Marist 62-42, fourth-seeded Oklahoma State beat Chattanooga 70-63, and eighth-seeded Iowa squeaked by Rutgers 70-63.

The final series of games Saturday night has top-seeded Stanford against UC-Riverside, fifth-seeded Georgia against Tulane, No. 4 seed Baylor versus Fresno State, and seventh-seeded Gonzaga against North Carolina.

BYU scoring star Jimmer Fredette got smacked in the face as K-State’s Denis Clemente sped past midcourt. It was at least the third time Fredette’s taken a shot to the face or head from the Wildcats, who used Dominique Sutton early and Jacob Pullen more recently against him.

Fredette took a seat with under 10 minutes left, and Kansas State is trying to build its advantage. Rodney McGruder got into the act with his first 3-pointer, giving the Wildcats 10 for the game. They’re shooting better from beyond the arc (43.5 percent) than inside.

Jacob Pullen has six 3-pointers for Kansas State, but he has a ways to go before he gets into rarified air. Jeff Fryer has the NCAA tournament record with 11 for Loyola Marymount against Michigan in the second round in 1990.

Freddie Banks and Roburt Sallie are next with 10 3-pointers each in a game, and more recently, Syracuse sharpshooter Gerry McNamara hit nine of them in a first-round game in 2004.

The opponent that night? BYU.

Kentucky’s Eric Bledsoe threw down a vicious one-handed dunk, hustled back to make a steal at the other end, then tossed in an off-balance layup to give the Wildcats a 66-37 lead.

They’re now 10 for 10 in the second half and are shooting 76 percent for the game.

BYU reserve Brandon Davies picked up his fourth foul, just 35 seconds after checking in for the first time in the second half. Starter Chris Miles and fellow reserve Jonathan Tavernari also have three fouls apiece, which could prove problematic down the stretch.

Ernie Barrett is on hand for Kansas State in Oklahoma City. He was an all-American for the Wildcats, served as athletic director and is still involved with the school after six decades as a fundraiser. He’s earned the title “Mr. K-State.”

Denis Clemente has been in double-figures scoring 17 consecutive games for Kansas State, his floater giving the Wildcats a 55-48 lead over BYU with under 12 to go. There are a lot of 5-for-18 and 4-for-15 games during that stretch for Clemente, but give him credit for never losing confidence in his stroke.

His 14 points are a nice complement to Jacob Pullen’s game-high 23, but the Wildcats still haven’t been able to shake BYU. Even with Jimmer Fredette struggling to get an open look, the Cougars are still within striking distance.

Kansas State had 10 offensive boards in the first half against BYU and already has one in the second half, with Luis Colon — whose hands usually resemble cinder blocks — showing a deft touch on the putback. The Wildcats lead by 10 with 18:46 to go in the West Regional.

Jimmer Fredette has been quiet after hitting his first two shots, going just 1 of 4 since then for eight points. He’s also turned the ball over five times as the Wildcats send multiple defenders at him whenever he gets the ball.

Ashley Judd has had plenty to root for as Kentucky blows open its second-round game against Wake Forest, building a 53-32 lead in the second half. She was asked by The Associated Press about Kentucky’s chances now that Kansas has been eliminated from the tournament:

“Our chances were good when Kansas was in,” she said.

Spoken like a true superfan.

After a review, officials nullified James Anderson’s tip-in at the buzzer for BYU. The Cougars trail No. 2 seed Kansas State 41-31 at halftime after scoring the first 10 points of the game — that’s a 41-21 run by the Wildcats.

Jacob Pullen has five 3-pointers and 20 first-half points, while Jimmer Fredette has been limited to only four shots and six points.

Kentucky is shooting 67 percent (18 of 27) and just closed the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 44-28 lead into the locker room. The Wildcats also are outrebounding Wake Forest 19-15, a surprising stat given the Demon Deacons outrebounded Texas by 25 in the first round.

Darius Miller has 16 points, John Wall nine and DeMarcus Cousins eight for Kentucky. Chas McFarland has eight points for Wake Forest, which is shooting 36 percent (12 of 33).

BYU reserves Jonathan Tavernari and Brandon Davies both have three fouls as Kansas State — which shoots more free throws per game than any team in the nation — scored seven straight at the line to go up 35-29.

Jacob Pullen shook off the bump he took on the loose ball earlier, and has knocked down five 3-pointers and has 20 first-half points. The Wildcats have opened up a 41-31 lead with under a minute to go.

Kentucky superfan Ashley Judd is in the house to watch the Wildcats take on Wake Forest in New Orleans. The actress is a 1990 Kentucky grad and attends numerous games each year in Lexington and abroad.

Love or hate John Calipari, it’s hard to argue that he’s good on the sideline.

He’s also good in the living room. His recruiting class at Kentucky this season has drawn comparison’s to Michigan’s “Fab Five.” And one of those freshmen, DeMarcus Cousins, scored twice during a 7-0 spurt to make it 26-19 over Wake Forest with 6:44 left in the first half.

Wake Forest guard Ishmael Smith went end-to-end for a dunk attempt, missed off the back rim and the rebound went past half court.

It’s starting to look like that kind of game for the Demon Deacons.

Kentucky has pushed its lead to 24-19, forcing coach Dino Gaudio to call a timeout. The Wildcat faithful are loving it, and there are plenty of them. Few teams can count on their fans to follow the team with as much zeal.

The love for Northern Iowa hasn’t subsided in Oklahoma City, even with BYU and Kansas State on the floor. Panthers coach Ben Jacobson pumped his fist on his way past the school’s cheering section and on his way to a radio interview, bringing another round of applause.

Think he’ll ever have to buy another lunch in Cedar Falls?

Kansas State is wishing it had someone like the Panthers’ Ali Farokhmanesh right now. BYU is already ahead 23-16, and Jimmer Fredette is leading the way. Who would have guessed that?

Al-Farouq Aminu is sitting dejectedly on the bench with more than 11 minutes to go, already with three fouls in his box score. The Demon Deacons need to try to keep it close the rest of the first half with one of their stars riding the padded seats.

Kentucky is shooting 9 of 14 from the field early on, but the lead was just 21-19 with under 11 to go. Part of the problem for the Wildcats are three early turnovers.

Darius Miller scored seven straight points to give Kentucky an early 12-10 lead on Wake Forest. Everybody likes to talk about the Wildcat freshmen, and for good reason, but the sophomore is one of those “glue guys” that hold everything together. He’s only been in double-figures scoring five times this season.

Al-Farouq Aminu and Chas McFarland are going to be responsible for keeping Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins in check inside, and so far they’re doing a fine job. Neither of the Wildcats’ big men have taken a shot, and the game was tied 19-all with under 12 to go in the first half.

Congratulations to the CBS cameramen for capturing Kansas State coach Frank Martin smiling after Jacob Pullen knocked down a 3-pointer. The Wildcats started off sluggish, falling into a 12-2 hole against hot-shooting BYU, but five quick points has it back to 12-7.

Jimmer Fredette is 2 for 2 from the field for the Cougars.

While the New Orleans Hornets are in Utah, injured All-Star point guard Chris Paul is in New Orleans. He’s in a suite with his young son on his lap to watch his former team, Wake Forest, take on Kentucky.

Tyler Haws has made 44 straight free throws after knocking down his first two against Kansas State, staking BYU to an early lead. He’s shooting 91.2 percent from the line.

Jimmer Fredette added his first basket moments later. Haws going to the line and Fredette getting hot? Sounds like a recipe for disaster for Wildcat coach Frank Martin.

What are the chances that John Calipari made sure to tell his Kentucky team about ninth-seeded Northern Iowa’s upset of No. 1 seed Kansas?

The Wildcats and Jayhawks had both lost two games coming into the NCAA tournament, had both looked dominant in their conference tournaments, and had both been widely picked to win the national title. And just like Northern Iowa, Kentucky’s second-round foe Wake Forest has a little No. 9 next to its name on the bracket.

See any similarities?

A lot will depend on which version of the Jekyll-and-Hyde Demon Deacons shows up. Wake Forest looked great in beating teams such as Gonzaga, Georgia Tech and Maryland, and were ghastly when they took the floor against William & Mary and woeful North Carolina.

Jimmer Fredette has all the ingredients to be the next out-of-nowhere star in the NCAA tournament: the catchy nickname, the sweet shot, the late-game heroics.

And after Northern Iowa upended Kansas, why shouldn’t Fredette’s BYU team believe it can do the same against second-seeded Kansas State on the same Ford Center floor? It’s a dangerous game for the Wildcats, who lost to the Jayhawks three times this season, including in the Big 12 title game in Kansas City.

Jacob Pullen and his busy beard have gotten all the pub this year for Kansas State, along with feisty, fiery and downright freaky coach Frank Martin. But keep an eye on Denis Clemente — that’s pronounced de-KNEE — who scored 17 in a first-round win over North Texas.

Washington apparently decided it had heard enough about how bad the Pac-10 was this season, how good New Mexico had been, how the Huskies’ star players never showed up when it mattered the most.

How does an 82-64 second-round rout sound?

The Huskies will play Missouri or West Virginia in the round of 16 in Syracuse.

Northern Iowa has never been in an NCAA tournament game that wasn’t decided in the closing minutes. The Panthers hadn’t won a tournament game since 1990, either, but now have won two to set up a regional semifinal with Michigan State or Maryland.

While the Panthers were celebrating at the Ford Center, Kansas senior Mario Little fell to his knees in front of the bench. He wouldn’t even get up when one of the Jayhawks’ coaches or trainers came over to attempt to console him, his title hopes coming to a crashing end far earlier than anybody would have anticipated.

Kentucky fans in New Orleans let out a roar when the Kansas score flashed in the arena.

Baylor reserve center Josh Lomers fouled out but got a huge ovation as he walked to the bench with head coach Scott Drew gesturing to a section of Baylor fans to give him a hand.

Lomers tied a career high with 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting, and had eight rebounds for the Bears. They’re advancing to the round of 16 after knocking off 11th-seeded Old Dominion 76-68, and will play 10th-seeded Saint Mary’s in Houston.

Northern Iowa has upset overall No. 1 seed Kansas 69-67, sending a Missouri Valley team to the round of 16 once again.

The Panthers led almost the whole way against the Jayhawks, who might never want to play at the Ford Center again. It was in the same building in Oklahoma City where Bill Self’s team lost to 14th-seeded Bucknell five years ago.

Ali Farokhmanesh had missed six straight 3-pointers in the second half, but he never stopped shooting, knocking one down from the wing with about 36 seconds left to deflate Kansas. The gritty guard added a pair of clinching free throws with 4.8 seconds to go.

Ali Farokhmanesh shows absolutely no fear. And absolutely never gets ahead of himself.

After knocking down the 3 that sent the Panthers out of the first round, he drilled a 3-pointer from the wing when nobody came over to guard him. It didn’t matter that Northern Iowa led overall No. 1 seed Kansas by one point with 36 seconds left, or that the prudent play would be to melt down the clock as much as possible.

The Jayhawk fans were just coming to their feet in the Ford Center, too, and Tyrel Reed was called for an offensive end on Kansas’ next possession.

Northern Iowa ball with 23.4 seconds left and a 66-62 lead.

Northern Iowa made a critical mistake by tossing an inbounds pass out of bounds at the other end, giving the Jayhawks the ball under their own basket because nobody touched it. Kansas got a decent shot inside but missed, and Marcus Morris ended up at the foul line.

His two free throws with 53.8 seconds left made it 63-60, and the Panthers promptly turned it over again — their fourth turnover in the closing minutes after a mostly error-free game.

Sherron Collins scored on a move to the basket to get within 63-62, and the 6-0 spurt has the Jayhawks as close as they’ve been since the early going.

Bill Self just blew his gasket on the sideline after Sherron Collins was whistled for charging with 1:53 left and the Jayhawks trailing Northern Iowa 61-56. Self’s face was about as cherry as the red striping on the KU jerseys.

UNI used up all the shot clock at the other end, and Adam Koch pulled down an offensive board after a missed 3-pointer and stuff it home. The lead is back to 63-56 with 1:07 left, and Jordan Eglseder is pounding his chest on the Panthers’ sideline.

Northern Iowa is beginning to implode in Oklahoma City, allowing the Jayhawks to get a couple of offensive boards to get the lead down to 59-56. Their pressure generated an easy turnover, and Xavier Henry headed to the line.

He missed the free throw though, yet another sign that nothing is going to come easy for Kansas in the round of 32.

Cole Aldrich is back in the game after limping off with what looked like a mildly twisted ankle, and so is Sherron Collins, who also got a breather. Kansas had trimmed it to 56-53 before Johnny Moran drilled a 3-pointer to restore the six-point advantage.

Kansas had scored on six straight trips down floor, but misfired twice, and all that momentum the Jayhawks had built up seems to be quickly dissipating.

Ohio State just finished practice about 15 minutes ago in Milwaukee and one of the security guards said over the radio that the Buckeyes are staying in the locker room to watch the rest of the Kansas-Northern Iowa game.

The Buckeyes play Georgia Tech on Sunday, and are in the same region as the Jayhawks and Panthers. Think they have a rooting interest?

Old Dominion and Baylor are getting scrappy going after loose balls, but commend them for not getting chippy. Good, hard basketball in New Orleans, where they’re tied 58-all with 5:42 left in a game that Bears have had in hand most of the way.

Kansas is ratcheting up the pressure on Northern Iowa, and the Panthers are starting to feel the squeeze. The Jayhawks are doing a better of job of moving the ball, finding some mismatches that they can use to their advantage.

Ali Farokhmanesh, who hit the game-winning 3 for Northern Iowa in the first round, is 0 for 5 on 3s in the second half after making all three of his attempts in the first half. He missed three in quick succession as Kansas has pulled within 52-49 with 5½ left.

“Discombobulated” might a good word for New Mexico’s offense.

So is “ineffective.”

The Lobos can’t seem to solve Washington’s switching man-to-man defense, content to pass and dribble around the perimeter and then take wild shots. It has to be making coach Steve Alford, one of the best shooters in Indiana schoolboy history, positively miffed.

The Huskies have pushed the lead to 53-36 with 15:44 remaining, forcing Alford to call a timeout with things threatening to get out of hand.

___More trouble for the Jayhawks: Cole Aldrich has limped off the floor after landing awkwardly following an offensive rebound. He’s 6 of 8 from the floor and has 10 rebounds, and his ability to clog the lane would be important for the Jayhawks down the stretch.

Kansas has trimmed the lead to 52-45 with 7 minutes left, and the Panthers — disciplined all game — are starting to take some ill-advised outside shots. Ali Farokhmanesh has missed five straight from deep after a hot first half.

Kansas is starting to force the issue against Northern Iowa, with some token three-quarter court pressure and a trap once the Panthers cross the midcourt line. The Jayhawks forced a timeout, but still trail 52-41 with 9:38 remaining.

Bryce Drew is in the house to see his brother Scott coach Baylor against Old Dominion in New Orleans. Bryce still looks he could throw on a yellow Valpo jersey, knock down a 3-pointer and slide across the floor in jubilation.

After his game-winning shot to beat fourth-seeded Ole Miss in 1998, Bryce went on to a short professional career with the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets and Pamesa Valencia in Europe.

He’s now an assistant coach at Valparaiso.

Five years ago, in Oklahoma City no less, 14th-seeded Bucknell beat Kansas in what coach Bill Self called one of the most difficult things he’s ever experienced. This one wouldn’t be quite as stunning as that first-round ouster, but it would still send ripples through plenty of tournament brackets.

Of course, the Panthers must play 40 minutes to get it done. Kansas came out of a timeout and scored four quick points to trim the deficit back to single digits, forcing UNI coach Ben Jacobson to call a quick timeout of his own.

Kansas and bitter rival Kansas State are hunkered down in locker rooms just steps away from each other in Oklahoma City. They’re in different regions but both playing at the Ford Center for the first two rounds.

Don’t think that the purple-clad Wildcat fans are joining the purple-clad Panthers fans as the Jayhawks struggle against Northern Iowa, though. There was a “Let’s Go Jayhawks!” versus “Let’s Go Panthers!” back-and-forth, and the K-State fans appeared to sit it out.

Out on the floor, Jake Koch hit Northern Iowa’s seventh 3-pointer of the game to put the Jayhawks in a 47-35 bind with 12:34 to play. Timeout Kansas.

Ben Finney’s 3 has Old Dominion on a 7-0 run to open the second half, and Baylor’s lead is now 38-35. The Bears don’t have an inside presence, which means they’ll keep shooting. And keep giving Old Dominion chances to claw back into the game.

Kent Bazemore is 4 of 5 from the field for the Monarchs, who are slowly heating up.

Sherron Collins is perhaps the most decorated player — at least from a team perspective — in the long, storied Kansas basketball history. A slew of Big 12 titles, that win over Memphis a couple years back. But he’s sure struggling against Northern Iowa.

Collins is just 2 of 8 from the floor and hasn’t hit a 3. He also has three turnovers.

The floor general is trying to do other things, though, hitting Xavier Henry with a nice pass to get the Jayhawks within 42-35 with about 14 minutes left.

Ali Farokhmanesh showed he can dish the ball, too, with a nifty behind-the-back pass that set up an easy layup for Northern Iowa. If anybody thought the Jayhawks were going to come out of halftime on fire, well, the Panthers are armed with extinguishers.

The lead swelled to 40-30 in the first 3 minutes out of the break, before gritty senior Sherron Collins finally took it to the rim for two. The Jayhawks have just four fastbreak points in the game as Northern Iowa keeps it at its favorite, grinding pace.

Duke is one of those programs where, if you don’t love ‘em, you probably hate ‘em. And former star Christian Laettner served as a microcosm of that, beloved by Blue Devil faithful and reviled by just about everyone else.

Even to this day.

Boos echoed throughout New Orleans Arena moments ago when they showed his turnaround game-winner for Duke in the 1992 tournament as part of a series of all-time NCAA highlights on the video board. Who would have thought Baylor and Old Dominion fans cared so much?

Oh, yeah, Kentucky is playing the late game in the Big Easy. Might have something to do with it.

Washington is trying to simply out-run New Mexico, especially behind Isaiah Thomas, their speedy little guard. He has nine points as the Huskies lead 34-25.

It’s a little surprising that President Barack Obama didn’t show much love for the Huskies and Thomas in his bracket. After all, among Thomas’ nicknames is “The Democrat” because he tends to go to his left. Funny stuff.

His other nickname, “Too Easy,” is a little more self-explanatory.

Tweety Carter’s runner in the lane beat the horn and put Baylor up 38-28 at halftime.

Baylor is shooting 56 percent (15 of 27), including 6 of 9 from 3-point range. LaceDarius Dunn is leading the Bears with 14 points, while Gerald Lee has scored 10 points for Old Dominion. The Monarchs are shooting 35.7 percent (10 of 28).

Suffice to say, the Bears are faring much better than some of their Big 12 brethren. No. 1 seed Kansas is losing to Northern Iowa at the half, while Oklahoma State and Texas went down in the opening round of the tournament.

Baylor has used exceptional 3-point shooting to lead throughout the first half against Old Dominion. Neither team has much size, so it’s no surprise jump shots have been plentiful.

LaceDarius Dunn, Tweety Carter and Anthony Jones have each knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, and the Baylor lead was 36-27 with 21 seconds left in the first half.

Kansas appeared to have the final shot of the first half against Northern Iowa, and star guard Sherron Collins let the clock melt down from 28 seconds to under 10 before making his move. Cole Aldrich set a high pick and … Northern Iowa promptly tied him up.

Jump ball.

It was the seventh Kansas turnover and a pretty good indication of the scrappy defense that the Panthers play. They’re on top, 36-28, after the first 20 minutes.

For all the success New Mexico has had, it’s hard to believe the Lobos have never made the round of 16. The last time they were this far was 1999, when Dave Bliss was still on the sidelines.

Ritchie McKay only made it to the NCAAs once before Steve Alford took over the program.

The success would feel all the sweeter for Alford considering he was basically forced out at Iowa, where fans became discontented with mediocrity. Alford went 17-14 in his last season there, after winning 25 games the previous year. He’s been to the round of 16 before, but that was with Missouri State — back then, Southwest Missouri State — in 1999.

Bill Self begged for a timeout, as if he were asking for mercy, after Ali Farokhmanesh hit again from about 15 feet to give Northern Iowa a 33-24 lead over the No. 1 overall seed. The Panthers are 6 of 11 from beyond the arc and shooting 52 percent from the field.

The nine-point lead feels much bigger considering Northern Iowa has one of the stingiest defenses in the country. And after the Jayhawks scored out of the timeout, they committed a foul at the other end to prevent themselves from getting any sort of momentum.

The Jayhawks need to quit stubbing their toe — talon? — if the heavy favorites to win the entire tournament wants to keep playing next week.

There are plenty of strange names in the NCAA tournament this season, and Tweety Carter might be the best of them. Demond Carvez can thank his grandmother for it. She gave the Baylor point guard the nickname “Tweety” because of the sound he made when he cried as a baby.

It stuck, as almost all embarrassing nicknames do.

Carter comes from quite the athletic family, too. His father, Herbert, played baseball in the Minnesota Twins organization.

New Mexico and Washington have tipped off from the Shark Tank in San Jose, where Steve Alford’s Lobos are trying to match Murray State with its 31st win.

Keep an eye on New Mexico star Darington Hobson, who has a tender left wrist, because Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is certain to be watching. Romar recruited Hobson.

Who said Ali Farokhmanesh is the only guy who can step outside for Northern Iowa?

Seven-footer Jordan Eglseder hit a 3-pointer from the left wing — his second of the season in only 10 attempts — and the Panthers are 5 for 8 from deep against Kansas.

The Panthers have a 28-23 lead with 5:28 left in the first half, and don’t think for a second that it’s a fluke. They’re outplaying Kansas at both ends of the court.

Kansas faithful let out a huge cheer as Northern Iowa was whistled for its first foul with 10:14 to play in first half, then two more within the next 20 seconds.

An interesting matchup to watch will be 7-footer Jordan Eglseder of Northern Iowa against Kansas big man Cole Aldrich. It’s a bit like seeing a couple of polar bears wrestling in the paint, and the little guys — Sherron Collins, Ali Farokhmanesh, Kwadzo Ahelegbe — had better wear a crash helmet when they try to drive the lane.

Kansas coach Bill Self said that Northern Iowa is one of the best defensive teams he’s seen in quite a while, and the observation is playing out. The Panthers led 19-12 with under 12 minutes to go in the first half.

Kansas has six early team fouls, while Northern Iowa had none.

Baylor isn’t about to bow down before the Monarchs, going on a 20-6 run over the first 8 minutes in New Orleans. The Bears hit 8 of their first 12 shots, including four 3-pointers.

LaceDarius Dunn had 10 points, including two of the triples.

Ali Farokhmanesh was overlooked coming out of high school, easy to do when you’re a 5-foot-9 guard. He ended up going to junior college before landing at Northern Iowa, where he hit two 3-pointers in overtime to help the Panthers win the Missouri Valley tournament.

It makes sense, then, that he was calm in the closing minutes against UNLV in the NCAA tournament. His 3-pointer from well beyond the arc beat the buzzer — and the Runnin’ Rebels.

His parents are volleyball coaches, and his father, Mashallah, played for the Iranian national volleyball team. Farokhmanesh said his dad claims a 42-inch vertical jump, something that would serve basketball players just as well as volleyball players.

Ohio finally ran out of energy, time, magic. After stunning third-seeded Georgetown and playing tough for about 30 minutes Saturday, Tennessee finally put the Bobcats away with a late surge in an 83-68 victory.

The Vols advance to play Georgia Tech or Ohio State in St. Louis next week.

Tommy Freeman ended up with 23 points for Ohio, while the Vols got 18 points from J.P. Prince and 17 from backcourt mate Scotty Hopson.

Baylor and Old Dominion have tipped off for the right to play in Houston next week. The Bears outlasted Sam Houston State for its first NCAA tournament win in 60 years — a big milestone for a program that only a few years ago was banned from playing non-conference games as part of NCAA penalties for numerous violations under former coach Dave Bliss.

Old Dominion shut down Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody in its victory Thursday, and in a tournament with plenty of upsets already, the thought of a double-digit seed reaching the round of 16 isn’t far fetched anymore.

Just ask Saint Mary’s.

A late-winter, early-spring blizzard hasn’t affected attendance in Oklahoma City too much. The Ford Center is nearly full to watch Kansas-Northern Iowa play for a spot in St. Louis. The intrepid Jayhawk fans represent about 80 percent of the crowd.

It’s a pretty easy drive from Lawrence to Oklahoma City, and most of the fans were on hand Thursday — before the storm hit — to see the Jayhawks give Lehigh a Big 12 beating.

Northern Iowa beat UNLV on Ali Faroukmanesh’s 3-pointer from about 10 feet beyond the arc in the closing seconds. The Panthers will do their best to slow down the high-flying Jayhawks, and if the game stays in the 60s they have a chance.

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