Countdown: the five most dramatic moments so far
No. 1 – Butler outwills Panthers
Head coach Jamie Dixon and the No. 1-seeded Pittsburgh were expected to have an easy route to the Final Four.
With 2.2 seconds to go, Butler took a one-point lead. While rushing the ball up the court, guard Shelvin Mack was whistled for a push with 0.9 seconds. Gilbert Brown took to the line and made his first free throw to tie it up. Brown missed the second free throw and Butler forward Matt Howard was fouled on his way down from grabbing the rebound by Nasir Robinson .
Howard went to the line and made the game-deciding shot to give Butler a 71-70 win.
No. 2 – Longhorns can’t close the deal
Texas was the No. 4 seed in the West region, and was the last hope for a local presence at the Final Four, but fell short.
The Longhorns were clinging to a two-point lead, until Arizona guard Derrick Williams made a lay-up and was fouled. He tied the score at 69, then hit a free throw to give the Wildcats the eventual game-winning point.
No. 3 – VCU on impressive run
Fans were outraged when Virginia Commonwealth was selected as one of the four play-in teams over Virginia Tech or Colorado.
With the enthusiasm of 32-year-old head coach Shaka Smart, the Rams are in the Sweet 16 taking on Florida State after taking care of USC in the First four. In the opening round, the Rams crushed the Georgetown Hoyas. The Purdue Boilermakers were the next victim, losing by 18.
No. 4 – Irish eliminated by Seminole effort
No. 2 seed Notre Dame was a popular Final Four pick coming out of the Southwest Region, but Florida State had other ideas.
The No. 10-seeded Seminoles blew past the Irish 71-57, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1993.
The Seminoles and VCU will fight for a spot in the Elite Eight at approximately 9 p.m. Friday in San Antonio. The matchup will be televised on TBS.
No. 5 – Tarheels avoid scare from Washington
When 66 basketball games are to be played, there are bound to be mistakes. In this game it was the officiating staff.
The East Region’s No. 2 seed, North Carolina, led 86-83 with five seconds left, when Huskie guard Venoy Overton hurried up the floor and launched a well-short half-court shot. The ball appeared it would sail out of bounds but Tarheel forward John Henson touched the ball.
Washington didn’t capitalize on the last possession, but the error made was the time the referees left on the clock. Half a second remained, but a video replay revealed more time should have been left.
Who knows if Washington would have had a better play with the extra fractions of a second — its fans and players would like to think so.