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NCAA Tournament 2012: Top Seeds All Advance, But Not Easily

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Things settled down in the NCAA Tournament following Friday's madness as the higher seed found a way to advance in each of Saturday's matchups.

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Sure, Saturday may have handed the college basketball world straight chalk, but do you really need 15 seeds in action and complete chaos to enjoy your day? If you do, well, you only have to wait like a couple of hours for that to happen.

3 BEST GAMES

1. No. 4 Indiana 62, No. 12 VCU 59

Nice to (officially) have you back, Indiana.

Sophomore Will Sheehey made a 15-footer from the baseline with 12.7 seconds left after a shot was blocked right to him, propelling the fourth-seeded Hoosiers to an emotional 63-61 win over No. 12 seed VCU. The Rams had a chance to win the game at the buzzer, but Rob Brandenberg's clean look went wanting.

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The victory means IU will be crashing the Sweet 16 for the first time in a decade.

"All college basketball teams work really hard,'' said coach Tom Crean, who ook over a decimated program four years ago. "But these guys have had to come from a long way, a long way, and I'm proud of them.''

Indiana, which trailed by as many as nine in the second half, held VCU - a surprise national semifinalist a season ago - to just four points over the game's final 12 and-a-half minutes.

Next up for the Hoosiers? A top-seeded Kentucky team hellbent on revenge. Indiana defeated the Wildcats at the buzzer back in Dec. on a shot you've probably seen in a commercial if you have ESPN, have a friend or family member with ESPN, or have been outside in the past four weeks.

The border rivals will tip it off again Friday night in Atlanta.

2. No. 4 Wisconsin 60, No. 5 Vanderbilt 57

Wisconsin, the nation's top scoring defense, held Vanderbilt stars John Jenkins (20.1) and Jeffery Taylor (16.3) to 13 and 9 points, respectively, and saw its season prolonged as a result.

Though Jenkins was frustrated and harassed for the better part of 40 minutes, his best look of the night may have came in the game's closing seconds when he was left open for three with his team trailing 59-57. The All-American candidate could not take advantage of the situation.

Wisconsin, perhaps the most overlooked 1-4 seed in the tournament, moves on to face top-seeded Syracuse on Thursday.

3. No. 4 Louisville 59, No. 5 New Mexico 56

New Mexico got exactly the type of game it wanted, but still couldn't keep the Big East Tournament champions from snagging their sixth-straight postseason victory. The Lobos had been 58-0 under head coach Steve Alford when holding opponents to less than 60 points.

The Cardinals got 17 points off the bench from Russ Smith and led by as many as 15 before New Mexico roared back to make the game's final two minutes extremely anxious for the folks in Louisville.

Trailing 53-46, New Mexico star Drew Gordon hit a pair of free throws and then Demetrius Walker made a three-pointer to pull to within 53-51 with 1:36 left. Smith made a pair of free throws for Louisville, but Gordon answered with an impressive tip-in over Cardinal freshman Chane Behanan.

With the game seemingly hanging in the balance, Big East Tournament MVP Peyton Siva made a terrific pass to a cutting Gorgui Dieng, who slammed the Cards ahead by four with 32.3 seconds left. After a pair of Siva free-throws, Gordon hit a deep three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left, but it was too late for the Lobos, who have still never been to the round of 16.

"I'm really delighted, because I thought this team had a lot of limitations," said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. "I wanted to win that Big East tournament in the worst way because I knew their confidence would grow."

The Cardinals will face either Michigan State or Saint Louis on Thursday night in Phoenix.

3 TEAMS THAT WON IT BEST

1. Kentucky

The Wildcats took about as tough a shot as Iowa State has given all season, and they still rolled to a 20+ point second half lead and an 87-71 victory. When you watch Kentucky and then you watch the rest of the tournament, I don't think there's any question that it's going to take an uncharacteristically bad evening for UK not to be cutting down the nets in New Orleans on the first Monday in April.

2. Syracuse

Against a bigger and tougher Kansas State team that many folks had pegged to pull the upset, the Fab Melo-less Orange got a sensational effort in the paint from Rakeem Christmas and cruised to a surprisingly easy 75-59 victory.

3. Ohio State

He'd been overshadowed in the tournament by teammate DeShaun Thomas up until the last five minutes of the second half, but that was when Jared Sullinger went to work.

After the Bulldogs successfully erased a 10-point deficit to tie it at 61 on a 3-pointer by Elias Harris with 4:05 remaining, but Sullinger knocked down two pretty hook shots late while the Zags and star Kevin Pangos went cold.

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So often, the tournament comes down to star players making plays. With the outcome hanging in the balance, Sullinger made shots and Pangos did not. Ballgame.

3 BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

1. VCU

It feels wrong to put a 12 seed which lost a four at the top of this list, but watching his team score just four points over the game's final 12:30 is going to haunt Shaka Smart for a long time.

2. Kansas State

They had a clear advantage against Syracuse inside, they out-rebounded the Orange by nine, and they lost the game by 16.

3. Colorado

Can't fault the Buffs for losing to Baylor, but can totally fault them for allowing the game to end on a 19-3 Bear run.

ALL-DAY TWO TEAM

Brady Heslip, Baylor

Scored 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting from three, but fell just short of both the NCAA Tournament record for threes in a game - Jeff Fryer sunk 11 for Loyola Marymount against Michigan in 1990 - and Baylor's own school record of 10 threes in a game, set by LaceDarius Dunn.

Marquis Teague, Kentucky

The freshman point freshman guard some have referred to as the one potential chink in UK's armor did not look the part on Saturday, as he scored 24 points and dished out seven assists.

Drew Gordon, New Mexico

The senior forward was the best player on the floor in Portland Friday night, scoring 24 points and snagging 14 rebounds, Unfortunately for New Mexico, it wasn't enough to get them into the round of 16 for the first time.

Royce White, Iowa State

Did it all for the Cyclones, scoring 23 points and snagging nine rebounds before fouling out with 4:32 left.

Jordan Henriquez, Kansas State

Was the lone major bright spot for the Wildcats, scoring 14 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, 11 of those on the offensive end.

3 SATURDAY CHEERS

1. Trollin' Marquette Kid

It's been a banner weekend for trollin' kids and babies at the NCAA Tournament, and this young man was only trying to keep the trend alive.

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Kid loves Marquette. HATED Double Jeopardy.

2. Overwhelmed Indiana Bench Player

Maybe the shock of his first Sweet 16 was just too much for him.

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3. Russ Smith

The things Russ Smith does on the court would drive any coach crazy, and Rick Pitino is no exception. But the two seem to have a very solid relationship off the floor, one which involves interview-bombing and bunny ears.

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"There's an Academy Award-wining moving called One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," Pitino said Friday night. "Coaching this young man is going to make me re-make that movie.When you coach Russ Smith, you have a nervous breakdown on every possession."

3 SATURDAY JEERS

1. Buzz Williams' Postgame Press Conference

I enjoy Buzz as much as the next guy and loved the emotion he showed after his Golden Eagles knocked off Murray State on Saturday, but that press conference got real bizarre, real quick.

Here' a transcript of one of Williams' answers:

A country kid that just hung in there. Hang in there, hang in there, hang in there, throw a good pitch, throw a good pitch. The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, show up and go to work and do it every day no matter what's surrounding you. That's really hard, man. You got to be a lion chaser to be married to me. She's tougher than all them kids we play with. It's really humbling, really humbling.

I mean, I guess.

2. Dog-Abusing Kentucky Fan

I'm pretty sure this might actually be illegal.

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3. Bob Knight Refusing To Say "Kentucky" On Air

You get paid (presumably well) to be an objective college basketball analyst. This is ridiculous.

5 BEST DUNKS

1. Drew Gordon, New Mexico

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2. Carlon Brown, Colorado

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3. Terrence Jones, Kentucky

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4. Quincy Acy, Baylor

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5. Jordan Henriquez, Kansas State

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3 BEST QUOTES

1. "Any 5-10 guy in the streets of New York can dunk." --Louisville coach Rick Pitino after guard Russ Smith missed a dunk near the end of the first half of his team's win over New Mexico

2. "We proved today that we belong, and we belonged on a national stage. We just weren't good enough the last seven minutes." --Murray State coach Steve Prohm

3. "I don't get over games like this." --VCU coach Shaka Smart after his team's 62-59 loss to Indiana

YOUR FULL SUNDAY SCHEDULE

N.C. State vs. Georgetown, 12:15 p.m. on CBS
Announcers: Tim Brando and Mike Gminski

Saint Louis vs. Michigan St., 2:45 p.m. (tentative) on CBS
Announcers: Tim Brando and Mike Gminski

Creighton vs. North Carolina, 5:15 p.m. on CBS
Announcers: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg

Norfolk St. vs. Florida, 6:10 p.m. on TNT
Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager

Ohio vs. South Florida, 7:10 p.m. on TBS
Announcers: Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel

Lehigh vs. Xavier, 7:45 p.m. (tentative) on truTV
Announcers: Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg

Purdue vs. Kansas, 8:40 p.m. (tentative) on TNT
Announcers: Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Craig Sager

Cincinnati vs. Florida St., 9:40 p.m. (tentative) on TBS
Announcers: Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel