Huskies, Gators, Badgers, Wildcats survive Elite Eight


NEW YORK -- Keith Appling sat facing the locker room stall he had been assigned in Madison Square Garden.

The senior guard from Michigan State was still in his uniform, a towel draped around his neck that he used to wipe his face every once in a while.

It was about 15 minutes after Appling and the Spartans lost 60-54 to Connecticut on Sunday in the East Regional final.

Not only was Appling’s season over. His college career was over. And it ended with him scoring two points and committing four of Michigan State’s uncharacteristic 16 turnovers.

Appling wasn’t in the game at the end because he fouled out with 30 seconds to go. The three free throws Shabazz Napier made after that foul made it 56-51.

"To foul out of the last game of your career is painful," he said. "To lose the game, that makes it even worse. It’s hard to talk about it right now."

For Appling and fellow senior Adreian Payne their careers end without a Final Four appearance.

Hundreds of college players end successful careers every season without reaching the Final Four. At Michigan State it’s different.

Since Tom Izzo started his head coaching career at Michigan State with the 1995-96 season, every four-year senior has made at least one trip to the Final Four.

The streak is over.

He has taken the Spartans to the Final Four six times and they won it all in 2000.

Harrison lifts Wildcats to 75-72 win over Michigan

INDIANAPOLIS -- Aaron Harrison made a 3-pointer from NBA range with 2.3 seconds left Sunday to lift Kentucky and its freshmen to a 75-72 win over Michigan and a trip to the Final Four.

The Wildcats will play Wisconsin next Saturday outside of Big D.

Stauskas finished with 24 points for the Wolverines, who finished a win shy of their second straight Final Four.

Wisconsin beats Arizona 64-63 in OT in West Region

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Every big shot Wisconsin needed, Frank Kaminsky hit.

The 7-footer carried Wisconsin to the Final Four with 28 points, including six in overtime, as the Badgers defeated Arizona 64-63 in a physical West Region final Saturday night.

Kaminsky had 11 rebounds and scored from inside and outside, including three 3-pointers, for the No. 2 seed Badgers (30-7). It’s Wisconsin’s first Final Four appearance since 2000, and first for 69-year-old coach Bo Ryan, who earned his 704th career victory.

Florida 1st to Final Four, beating Dayton 62-52

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- First yet again this season, the Florida Gators want more. Much more.

Try a national championship.

Scottie Wilbekin scored 23 points and Florida became the first team to advance to the Final Four with a 62-52 win Saturday night over the 11th-seeded Dayton Flyers in the South Region final.

The Gators reached their fifth Final Four after losing at this point in each of the past three NCAA tournaments. This time, they came in as the country’s top-ranked team and the overall No. 1 seed.

Florida won its 30th straight game and improved to 36-2, topping the 35 wins by the 2007 national championship squad.


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