After falling short the past few years, Tony Bennett's Virginia team has finally gotten over the hump. The No. 1 Cavaliers dominated No. 5 Iowa State, 84-71, reaching the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995. They'll move on to play either Gonzaga or Syracuse in the Midwest regional final on Sunday.
Virginia had a fast start to the game, jumping out to a 26-9 lead in the first half. The Cyclones never managed to come close for the rest of the half and the Cavaliers went into halftime leading, 35-41.
Iowa State tried to keep things interesting with an 8-4 run to start the second half, pulling back within seven points. Unfortunately, Georges Niang picked up his fourth foul of the game at the 13-minute mark, forcing him to the bench. The Cyclones were never the same with Niang out and Virginia proceeded to put the game out of reach.
Niang finished the game with 30 points and eight rebounds, doing his best to keep his team in the game despite the foul trouble. Anthony Gill led Virginia with 23 points and Mike Tobey added 18 off the bench. The Cavaliers as a team shot 56.1 percent from the field.
The second game of the day was far less eventful. No. 7 Wisconsin and No. 6 Notre Dame had non-existent offense, with the Badgers taking a 23-19 lead into halftime. The second half wasn't much more exciting, with the score tied at 44-44 with just four minutes left.
Wisconsin started to pull away late, with Nigel Hayes nailing a three-point shot and Jordan Hill chipping in a layup. However, Notre Dame came back to tie things up again with under three minutes to go.
The final 60 seconds were frenetic and nearly made up for the sluggish affair that was the rest of the game. Ethan Happ scored a put-back layup to give the Badgers a two-point lead, but he fouled out on the Irish's next possession, setting up Zach Auguste to hit his free throws and tie the game again.
Vitto Brown hit a three-pointer for another Wisconsin lead, but Notre Dame flipped the scoreboard for good after a timeout. Hayes took the inbounds pass, but he couldn't escape a trap and Demetrius Jackson stole the ball, setting himself up for an easy layup. Jackson got one more steal towards the end to ice the game for Notre Dame.
This is the Irish's second straight Elite Eight appearance. They'll face either North Carolina or Indiana next.
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No. 1 Virginia 84, No. 5 Iowa State 71
No. 6 Notre Dame 61, No. 7 Wisconsin 56
Still to come (all times Eastern)
No. 10 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Gonzaga (9:40 p.m., CBS)
No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Indiana (9:57 p.m., TBS)
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March Madness: Does 10-seed Syracuse qualify as a Cinderella story?
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