After a first week of the 2016 NCAA Tournament shot through with chaos, Thursday's first games of the Sweet Sixteen were marked by the dominance of chalk — including the Rock Chalk variety.
No. 1 Kansas pulled away in the seocnd half for a 79-63 victory over No. 5 Maryland in the South Region, and No. 1 Oregon followed that with a 82-68 win of its own against No. 4 Duke in the West Region.
The Jayhawks got 27 points from senior Perry Ellis and 14 points and 11 rebounds from Landen Lucas in a bludgeoning effort inside that overwhelmed the Terrapins' talented front line. Kansas came into the game as one of the nation's most accurate teams from the perimeter, but largely eschewed the long ball in Louisville, taking just nine threes on the evening, a season low.
But Maryland never even managed to knot up the game in the second half, and so Kansas is in its first regional final since 2012, when the Jayhawks made the national championship game and lost to Kentucky. Kansas will meet No. 2 Villanova on Saturday.
Oregon, meanwhile, is in its first regional final since 2007, when it fell to Florida's defending national champions. The Ducks got 22 points and six assists from do-everything Dillon Brooks and had six players score at least seven points.
Freshman sensation Brandon Ingram poured in 24 points for Duke, but had a banking three rim out with just over a minute left, and Grayson Allen punctuated a disappointing 15-point night with a missed free throw shortly afterward to scuttle the Blue Devils' comeback attempt.
Oregon has not made the Final Four since 1939, when the then-Tall Firs had to win just one game to get there — then went on to win the inaugural NCAA Tournament. To make another one, the Ducks will have to get past No. 2 Oklahoma and sharpshooter Buddy Hield in Anaheim.
All of the final scores from Thursday's Sweet Sixteen action in the 2016 NCAA Tournament:
No. 2 Villanova 92, No. 3 Miami 69
No. 2 Oklahoma 77, No. 3 Texas A&M 63
No. 1 Kansas 79, No. 5 Maryland 63
No. 1 Oregon 82, No. 4 Duke 68