March Madness News & Notes: Sunday

48 games over four days is going to produce some drama, and Sunday’s action was no different…

– #1 seed Pitt gave another scare to those that had the Panthers going to the Final Four (or in my case, all the way to a title) with a less than stellar effort against Oklahoma State. They continue to underwhelm, but they’ve been getting the job done in crunch time. They’re not going to be able to phone in a win against Xavier next week, however, so they better bring their “A” game.

– Syracuse continues its hot run that started in the Big East tournament. Arizona State pushed them a bit in the second half but the Orangemen were able to limit James Harden by utilizing their patented zone defense. I like Harden, but he has a tendency to disappear at times. There were long stretches over the two tournament games where he faded into the background.

– Dayton pushed Kansas for a while, but the Jayhawks were able to pull away in the second half. Cole Aldrich had an unlikely triple-double — 13 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks — to lead the way for Kansas. The Jayhawks have a nice inside-outside game with Aldrich and point guard Sherron Collins (25 points, seven rebounds).

– Arizona ended #13-seed Cleveland State’s Cinderella run, but in a way, the Wildcats have been fitted with their own glass slipper. It will be interesting to see how Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill and Co. can fare against Louisville next week. Everyone knew that Arizona was capable of winning a couple of games in the tourney, but they’ll really be tested against the Cardinals.

– Tough finish for Marquette, who had a chance to tie (or win the game with a three) when Lazar Hayward stepped on the end line when trying to inbound the ball. In his defense, the inbounds play wasn’t drawn out very well, so the guy he was thinking about throwing the ball too was “kind of” open. Anytime you put a player in a position of indecisiveness, bad things can happen. Hayward had a nice game (13 points, 12 rebounds), so the Golden Eagles wouldn’t have even been in that position without him. Down four, Marquette head coach Buzz Williams wanted a foul on Maurice Acker’s three-point attempt, but there wasn’t much contact there and Acker was the one who created it. Williams was acting like a petulant child on the sideline down the stretch. Basketball is the only sport where a grown man can throw a two-hour tantrum and get away with it.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for a complete preview of the Sweet Sixteen.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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