NCAA Tournament Day 6 Live Blog: Florida State Surprises Notre Dame, Advances to Sweet 16

NCAA Tournament Day 6 Live Blog: Florida State Surprises Notre Dame, Advances to Sweet 16

11:58 p.m.: Florida State holds on, and they're advancing to the Sweet 16, ending a nightmarish run for the Big East.

11:35 p.m.: Did someone just say that Florida State was "clinging" to a 14-point lead?

Notre Dame has made a run, but it's still going to be very difficult to make up the difference in the game's last seven minutes going against a ferocious Seminole defense.

Regardless, the Irish have done a good job of cutting the lead from as much as 23 down to 14, but that was the relatively easy part.

11:16 p.m.: The Big East got 11 teams into the tournament this year. When the field is done being cut to 16, it seems as if only two of those teams will remain.

Florida State has increased its lead to 20 over Notre Dame, and they show no signs of letting up right now.

If the Irish can pull off the miracle comeback, they'll join UConn and Marquette as Big East programs in the Sweet 16.

11:06 p.m.: Kansas is Sweet 16 team No. 15.

Now we wait for the final team to join the mix, but it's looking more and more like that team will be the Florida State Seminoles.

The 'Noles continue to clamp down on defense, and they now lead the Irish by 17 points in the second half. There's still time for the Irish to make a move, but they're going to have to do so fast.

10:46 p.m.: Illinois looks like they're one shot away from making this a legitimate barn-burner, but they can't seem to make that shot. And then they compound that by giving up a bucket on the other end.

In the night's final game, Florida State has opened some eyes, as they lead Notre Dame at halftime.

If the Seminoles can hold on in the second half, they would play VCU on Friday. Raise your hand if you had that in your bracket, and if you did, you are a liar.

10:15 p.m.: Again, in case you missed our preview of Sunday's slate of games, we made mention of the problems that Florida State's defense may be able to give the Southwest's No. 2 seed Notre Dame.

So far, problems are being given. With seven and a half minutes to play in the first half, FSU holds a 23-15 lead. The Irish are shooting just 31.8 percent from the floor, including 1-of-7 from 3-point land. By the way, Notre Dame averaged 76 points per game this season.

Kansas has the lead in its slugfest with Illinois, sitting on a 43-37 lead at the moment.

9:50 p.m.: Darius Johnson-Odom hit a huge 3-pointer in the final minute of Syracuse-Marquette, and it ended up being the dagger in the heart of the Orange.

Marquette ensures that Buzz Williams won't find his voice for another week, as they advance to the Sweet 16.

Who benefits most from this? Ohio State does. After seeing Carolina on the ropes against Washington earlier in the day, the Buckeyes see the No. 3 seed in their region eliminated.

9:31 p.m.: VCU continues its impressive run, pulling off another pretty dominant win, this one at the hands of Purdue.

The Rams rolled to a 94-76 win, and they will now head to the Sweet 16.

VCU, who played in a First Four play-in game, has now won its three tournament games by an average of above 15 points.

They're as hot as any team left.

9:08 p.m.: VCU is just rolling in its game with Purdue, and barring a miracle comeback in the final couple of minutes, the Rams are heading to the Sweet 16.

Marquette has managed to give up its lead over Syracuse, as the Orange now lead by three, and Kansas is underway in its game with Illinois, leading early 13-6.

8:58 p.m.: Marquette and Syracuse open up the second half of their game in Cleveland, with MU holding the slim lead.

They did, however, just miss a layup. We've seen quite a few missed layups during the tournament, and it sounds so simple, but teams like Marquette simply can't afford to miss those bunnies.

They're essentially free points, and if you can't capitalize on that, you're going to be out of luck. You can only hold down a favored team for so long, you have to make sure you take advantage of every opportunity you get.

Just ask Princeton.

8:28 p.m.: Williams hits the free throw, and Texas is unable to convert on the other end, giving 'Zona the win.

Sure looked like there was a lot of contact on the attempted game-winner for Texas, but the referees decided to tuck the whistles away for the last few seconds.

Gary Johnson may have been fouled, but it also may have come after the clock read 0:00. Either way, it was another tremendous finish.

8:24 p.m.: Of course, Texas isn't able to inbound the ball in time, and Arizona gets the ball back on a 5-second violation. 

Derrick Williams gets the ball eventually, cuts to the rim, gets fouled and somehow throws one up to tie the game.

He'll be at the line after a Texas timeout with one shot to take the lead.

8:21 p.m.: If Texas loses this game, they have no one to blame but themselves.

After J'Covan Brown put the Longhorns up by two, Texas allows Arizona three offensive boards on the other end, leading to a timeout.

After that timeout, the ball goes to Williams, who can't do anything with it.

With 12.3 to play, Texas will inbound under its own basket.

8:16 p.m.: No wonder Derrick Williams averages just under a double-double. He just failed to convert three put-backs, but as a result, he picked up three offensive rebounds in the process.

He makes one of two free throws, though, and it's tied at 67 with the clock reading 1:48.

8:11 p.m.: Business is picking up in Tulsa. Texas just tied the game with a pair of free throws with just under 3 minutes to play.That's the good news.

The bad news, is that Tristan Thompson just picked up his fourth foul.

Syracuse and Marquette are just a little more than halfway through the first half, with the Orange leading by five.

7:56 p.m.: Also, in Chicago, VCU has played a terrific first half it would seem. Haven't been paying too much attention to that one, but they've opened up a 10-point lead with a minute to go in the first.

The Rams, by the way, are one of the two teams — along with UAB — that much of the country criticized the committee for including in the tournament just a week ago. Oops.

7:52 p.m.: Seconds after Texas cuts the lead to two, bringing the BOK Center crowd to its feet, Derrick Williams responds at the other end with a gorgeous first step, spin move and finish with a lay-up at the rim pushing the lead to four.

He's really, really good.

7:30 p.m.: A 10-2 run has Texas right back in it against Arizona.

Well, at least until Arizona responds with a pair of jump shots pushing the lead back to eight.

In D.C., VCU and Purdue are about halfway through the first. This one had the least amount of anticipation heading into the day, so by that logic, it will probably end up being the afternoon's best game. Stay tuned.

7:15 p.m.: Luckily for George Mason, and for the general viewing public, the beatdown in Cleveland is over.

Ohio State, down 11-2 early on, storms back and sends a statement to rest of the remaining teams with a 98-66 walloping of the Patriots.

Mason head coach Jim Larranaga had another pregame speech before this one, but it's going to take more than that to knock off the Buckeyes this year.

7:00 p.m.: The bloodbath continues in Cleveland as Ohio State is making a statement against George Mason.

They're now leading 89-55, and you've gotta think they can protect that lead in the last 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Arizona looks good. Texas, as they have all too often in the Rick Barnes era, looks like the opposite of good.

Through one half, the Longhorns have turned it over 10 times, while the Arizona bench — led by Jordin Mayes and his 11 points — are outscoring the Texas reserves 18-2.

Arizona by 11 at halftime.

6:23 p.m.: Things are underway in Tulsa between Arizona and Texas, a game that has the potential to be the best game of the day.

As we pointed out in our Sunday preview, you've got to keep an eye on the matchup between Arizona's Derrick Williams and Texas freshman Tristan Thompson.

NBAdraft.net projects Williams to be the No. 1 pick this year, while Thompson's raw skill should make him a lottery pick should he choose to leave Texas.

The winner of this one gets Duke on Friday.

6:07 p.m.: Luckily, there's another game coming right up. Texas and Arizona tip things off at 6:10, so everyone can change the channel. Ohio State is absolutely demolishing George Mason. The Patriots' season is O-V-E-R.

David Lighty has shot a perfect 5-for-5 from 3-point range, and he's got a game high of 17 points. Jared Sullinger has 13 points and seven rebounds.

It's 52-26 Ohio State. Mason is getting doubled up.

Let's move on.

6 p.m.: Oh, wow. This is ugly.

It's now a 44-13 run for the Buckeyes, who are knocking down 3s like cold-blooded killers. They're 7-for-10 from long range. David Lighty is 5-for-5.

Is this game over already? How depressing.

After a thrilling first two games this afternoon, this one is turning into a laugher.

5:54 p.m.: The Buckeyes briefly open their lead to double digits at 33-22, but Cam Long gets to the line and makes two shots.

The Patriots are still within nine.

5:42 p.m.: George Mason's sterling start didn't last long. You're now looking at a 27-11 run for Ohio State, dramatically swinging the momentum of this game.

Jared Sullinger has seven points. Swingman David Lighty has outdone him, though, with 12 points, three assists and two rebounds.

The Buckeyes are shooting over 60 percent. They lead 29-22.

5:30 p.m.: Jared Sullinger has turned it on, knocking down a couple shots in the paint. As he goes, the Buckeyes go. It's now 17-16 with about 12 minutes left in the first half.

The Patriots have settled for a lot of long jumpers early in this game, but with Sullinger coming out now for a breather, now's their chance to make a run by pushing the ball inside.

5:20 p.m.: George Mason couldn't have drawn up a better start if they'd tried. They're up 11-2 after the first four minutes. They're hitting every shot in sight — four Patriots have already scored.

Jared Sullinger already has three turnovers and a foul. He's yet to take a shot. He looks a bit rattled by the moment.

We've already seen one No. 1 seed fall this weekend. Could Ohio State become the second?

5:02 p.m.: Duke survives.

It's a 73-71 win for the Blue Devils, who advance to the Sweet Sixteen yet again. Darius Morris gets a shot at a game-tying floater in the lane to force overtime, but it rims out. Nolan Smith gets the rebound, and that's it.

The Devils live on; the Wolverines are done.

Next on the docket: It's Ohio State versus George Mason. The No. 1-seeded Buckeyes will look to defend their honor at 5:15 p.m.

4:54 p.m.: Unbelievable. Just a minute ago, this was a 15-point game. The Wolverines have cut it all the way down to one. Tim Hardaway, Jr. has been huge, with a couple of big shots including a 3 to make it 70-69.

Still 1:18 to go. Anything can happen.

4:37 p.m.: The Wolverines go on a 9-0 run, cutting the Blue Devils' lead from 58-43 to 58-52. Coach K's getting a little nervous.

But then Kyrie Irving takes control again, first getting two free throws and then getting an open look inside for Ryan Kelly.

It's back to an eight-point lead for Duke. Time's ticking away. Under eight minutes to go.

4:30 p.m.: Zack Novak makes a 3, his fourth of the game. Michigan isn't dead yet.

It's still a double-digit lead at 58-48 Duke. But the Wolverines appear to have all the momentum here — the Blue Devils aren't getting anything going. They're moving the ball beautifully and getting nice looks, but the shots aren't falling.

4:18 p.m.: Uh-oh. Look out, Michigan. Nolan Smith's getting hot.

Fantastic play there — getting the defensive board, taking it coast to coast, and then stepping back for a smooth jumper.

That's a 7-0 run for Duke. Smith has the Devils' last nine. It's 46-37 with 14:51 to play.

4:08 p.m.: Michigan is hanging in there. It's still a four-point game — 39-35 with 16:59 left.

Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler have missed a couple easy looks. The Blue Devils are off their game a little bit.

If the Wolverines want to capitalize, they should start knocking down a few 3s. That's what got them here, and it's what could put them in the Sweet Sixteen.

3:42 p.m.: Matt Vogrich has a shot at a 3-pointer to tie the game at halftime, but he misses and Kyrie Irving gets fouled. Irvin makes a free throw.

It's a 37-33 edge for the Blue Devils at the half. No upset scare just yet — higher-seeded Duke is still in control.

Kyle Singler is putting together a fantastic all-around game for Duke. He's got 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.

3:24 p.m.: The Wolverines may have their weaknesses — they can't get to the line, for instance — but they're really holding their own right now. Zack Novak has nine points for the guys in yellow, and Evan Smotrycz has impressively come off the bench with 11.

This is a young, small, soft Michigan team. But these guys can shoot with all kinds of range, so they can put points up. Don't sleep on them.

3:03 p.m.: The Blue Devils are using Kyrie Irving off the bench. With 13 minutes left in the first half and a 10-6 lead, coach Mike Krzyzewski just sent the sensational freshman into the ballgame.

Irving has been fantastic in limited minutes. Let's see what he's got in store for the Wolverines.

2:52 p.m.: After a short break, the action resumes with Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and the Duke Blue Devils taking on Michigan.

Singler opens the ballgame with a smooth jumper, and it's 2-0 Duke.

The Blue Devils are heavy favorites in this one. It'll take an epic 3-point shooting performance from the Wolverines to pull off an upset.

2:18 p.m.: The Tar Heels survive after an absolutely ugly final 10 seconds. Missed free throws, bad inbounds passes, and an absolutely ridiculous halfcourt heave from Isaiah Thomas.

Finally Thomas gets one more shot at it. He puts up a two, not a three, and John Henson arguably goaltends an obvious miss. Terrible play all around, but UNC will take it. They're going on to the next round. The Huskies are going home.

Don't go anywhere, people. Duke-Michigan is up next.

2:09 p.m.: This one's far from over. The Huskies go on a 5-0 run. Scott Suggs knocks down a huge 3 to make it a one-point game.

Time for the biggest defensive possession of these young kids' lives. They're down one with 17 seconds left, and they need a stop. Can they get it done?

2:07 p.m.: The Tar Heels have jumped out to a six-point lead with under two minutes to play. The're up 84-78.

They've trailed for almost this entire game, but good teams find a way in the end.

UNC's now in position to close this thing out.

1:47 p.m.: Terrence Ross has 19 points and five rebounds with just over seven minutes still to play. Heck of a performance from an unheralded bench guy.

Tyler Zeller has 21 and four. He's been a beast in this second half.

We're all tied, 69-69.

Will the Heels stay alive, or will the Huskies pull off a very impressive upset?

1:41 p.m.: UNC's Leslie McDonald and UW's Matthew Bryan-Amaning practically come to blows over a simple jump ball. Wow. This game is getting heated.

Washington clings to a two-point lead, 60-58, with 11:08 left. But this game is going to be a dogfight down the stretch, guaranteed.

1:30 p.m.: About 15 minutes to play in UNC-UW, and the Heels are still making their charge. John Henson just threw down an emphatic slam, and no one even tried to challenge him. He's scary.

Washington has led for this entire game, but you have to wonder if North Carolina just has too much size to be denied in this one. The Huskies just don't stack up inside.

12:59 p.m.: As expected, it's a big first half for Harrison Barnes, who leads all scorers in UNC-UW with 14 points. The Tar Heels' freshman is lighting it up.

But that might not be enough. Terrence Ross and the Huskies have a halftime lead, 45-44.

These 2-versus-7 games are no cakewalk. If the Heels want to survive, they'll have to fight for this one.

12:46 p.m.: Tyler Zeller is a man possessed. The UNC big man is running the floor and terrorizing the Huskies.

Zeller has the Heels' last six points. They're on a 17-8 run.

When you have a big guy that can run up and down the court like that, it's scary good. Especially at the college level. Athletic guys that can chase around a speedy 7-footer are next to nonexistent around these parts.

12:32 p.m.: The Huskies are a deceptively deep squad. A couple of purple-clad bench guys just stepped up and hit big shots.

Terrence Ross and Darnell Gant are 3-for-3 from 3-point range off the bench. That's why Washington now has a double-digit lead over UNC — it's 25-15.

The Heels are an experienced team with guys who can remain composed and focused. There's still plenty of game to go.

12:21 p.m.: It's still early, but the fireworks are already underway. Isaiah Thomas just threw up a sick alley, and Justin Holiday finished with a mean oop.

Thomas isn't quite as skilled as that other guy with a similar name (remember him? I think he's coaching college hoops now). But he's a pretty skilled player. Fun to watch.

The Huskies grab an 8-6 lead over the Tar Heels.

12:15 p.m.: The day of hoops begins with Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and John Henson leading the East's No. 2, North Carolina, into its second round game. The Tar Heels will take on the No. 7 Washington Huskies.

The Heels are 14-2 in their last 16 NCAA Tournament games. Moreover, they're 24-0 in their last 24 tourney games played in the state of North Carolina.

This one's in Charlotte. Make of that what you will.

9 a.m.: It's already been an eventful opening weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. Could it get even better?

On Saturday alone, we saw Jimmer Fredette carry Brigham Young to the Sweet Sixteen, SEC heavyweights Kentucky and Florida advance, and No. 1 seed Pitt fall in shocking fashion to Butler. What's next?

There's a lot on tap Sunday. The remaining three No. 1 seeds — Kansas, Ohio State and defending champion Duke — will all put their tournament lives on the line, while a few potential Cinderellas, including Marquette and VCU, will look to keep hope alive.

The action tips off early, with North Carolina and Washington getting underway at 12:15 p.m. Eastern, and it keeps going into the night. If you're parked in front of the TV enjoying all the Madness, then keep your browser tuned to NESN.com for quick-hitting analysis.

NESN's college basketball coverage is presented by Bodog.net.

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