Miami 69, BC 58 - I was sitting next to the Miami section, which contained a more doo-rags, toboggan hats and backwards baseball caps than the rest of the Coliseum combined. It was also, in terms of overall demographic composition, kind of like the Golden Girls meets the Jersey Shore. Very strange. Anyhoo, the game ( eventually) was WAY more competitive than anyone thought it would be, Miami's recent struggles notwithstanding. After the disciplined ( if athletically outclassed) Eagles fought back from being down 21-8 to take a 27-25 halftime lead. The game was tied at 55 with 3 minutes left, but the Canes made huge shot after huge shot while the Eagles turned the ball over on consecutive posessions. Game, set , match. Larkin was outstanding, particularly in the second half.
State 75, UVA 56 - The first half was a steady, slow grind ( no surprise for a Virginia game) as State grew a 4-2 lead with 16 minutes to play to 30-21 by halftime. CJ Leslie came out focused (for a change) and dropped in 9 first half points. The second half was exactly the opposite as Scott Wood hit three 3-point shots in a minute-and-half as State went on a 14-4 run in the first 3:30. Virginia ain't exactly built to put up points, so that 44-25 point lead made it a done deal. Scott Wood finished with 23 points on 7-12 from 3. When he's doing that, it's Katie-bar-the-door for State's offense just as when Leslie shows up, State can beat just about anyone. Richard Howell hurt his thigh in the second half and was limping noticeably by games end. That ain't good.
Maryland 83, Duke 74 - Dez Wells scored 30 points. Maryland was 23-25 from the line and shot 51% from the floor. Duke was 4-25 from beyond the arc and gave up 49 second half points. That followed up what was arguably their worst offensive half of the season in the first half. This was an egg-laying of the highest order, especially given how good Duke had been looking since Kelly's return. This game looked like Ryan's first game back (3-11, 0-6 from 3 in 28 minutes). Duke came out totally flat and missed three point blank shots right out of the gate. That set the offensive tone as they dug a hole they were never able to climb out of. Basically, it was a game in which the Devils were completely unable to make the big play; either to hit the momentum shot that would give them the lead and/or deliver the momentum stop on defense. Duke trimmed the Maryland lead to 2 at the 16 minute mark in the second half. It oscillated between 2 and 6 points until the 8:30 mark when Maryland pushed it to 7, effectively ending the game, as Duke was unable to play defense without fouling the rest of the way. There's a lot of blame to go around here. The only two Duke players who showed up were Rasheed and Mason, and Mason had one of those games where holding on to the ball was at times an incredible challenge. I'm not really sure where this leaves Duke, honestly. When an NIT team runs up 49 in a half on you, you should worry, I know that much.
UNC 83, FSU 62 - (by Zeke) Carolina has proved a number of times since implementing its smallball lineup that any number of guys in the starting five can carry the offensive load, and that's exactly what happened against FSU. James Michael McAdoo had a strong first half with 10 points despite getting in some foul trouble, Marcus Paige and Dexter Strickland combined for 17 assists to just 2 turnovers, and P.J. Hairston was hot from the start, going 3-3 from distance in the first half and finishing with 21 points. Unfortunately, the story of this game isn't how comfortably the Heels kept FSU at arms' length, but how Hairston sustained a nasty cut on the webbing between two of his fingers on a freak play in the second half. Hairston apparently received 8 stitches in his hand (though there is some minor solace that it's his non-shooting hand) and is questionable for the semifinal against Maryland. If it was a 50/50 decision, I think my temptation would be to rest him and just hope he heals up enough for the NCAA tournament - Maryland has proven that they can get up for Duke and then immediately come crashing down afterwards, and Carolina has actually beaten the Terps pre-smallball starting lineup this year already. We'll see what happens later today, but regardless of whether Hairston plays or not I feel fairly confident about UNC's chances.