Unlike last year's Upset Saturday in which the nation's top three teams and four other Top 10 teams lost one day before the NCAA tournament selections were announced and turned the top regional seedings topsy-turvy, things went pretty much according to form Saturday.
The teams that figure to receive No. 1 regional seedings--top-ranked Kentucky, No. 2 Massachusetts, No. 3 Connecticut and No. 5 Kansas--all won, as did two other Top 10 teams--No. 7 Texas Tech and No. 8 Cincinnati.
The NCAA tournament pairings will be announced today at 3:30 p.m. PST on Channel 2.
No. 2 Massachusetts 75, Temple 61--Guard Carmelo Travieso made seven three-point shots for 21 points to lead the Minutemen (31-1), who won their fifth consecutive tournament championship at Philadelphia and set a school record for victories.
It was the fourth consecutive year that Massachusetts defeated Temple (19-12) in the tournament final. The Owls figure to get an NCAA tournament berth because of a competitive nonconference schedule and victories over nationally ranked Kansas and Villanova.
Temple center Marc Jackson (24 points and nine rebounds) outplayed Massachusetts counterpart Marcus Camby (12 points and five blocked shots) but the Minutemen dominated the other Owls. Travieso was particularly effective against Levan Alston, holding him without a shot in the first half.
Massachusetts, which defeated Temple by 24 and 29 points in regular-season Atlantic 10 games, led by as many as 17 in this game.
No. 18 Georgia Tech 84, Maryland 79--Forward Michael Maddox, who averages 8.5 points, made four consecutive three-point shots in the first half to help the Yellow Jackets (22-10) reach the tournament final for the first time since 1993. Georgia Tech, the regular-season ACC champion, plays Wake Forest (22-5) today at Greensboro, N.C.
Forward Matt Harpring had 24 points, making all 10 of his free throws, and Maddox scored 13 as Georgia Tech increased its winning streak to nine. Maryland (17-12), the last team to beat Georgia Tech (Feb. 3), is still in contention for an NCAA tournament berth because of a nonconference schedule that included No. 1 Kentucky, No. 2 Massachusetts, No. 17 UCLA and George Washington. Forward Keith Booth had a career-high 33 points.
No. 12 Wake Forest 68, Clemson 60--Center Tim Duncan had 22 points and 19 rebounds for the Demon Deacons, who will try to become the first team to win consecutive ACC tournament championships since North Carolina in 1981-82.
When Wake Forest couldn't get the ball to Duncan through a collapsing Clemson zone defense, they shot well from the perimeter in the first half, making six of 12 three-point shots to take leads as big as 12 points. The Demon Deacons made only one three-point shot in the second half, but Tony Rutland's long-range shot with 41.8 seconds ended a Tiger rally that had brought them as close as four points.
Clemson (18-10) is in a precarious position for an NCAA tournament bid because of a soft nonconference schedule.
No. 5 Kansas 61, Kansas State 55--The Jayhawks (26-3) scored only two points in the final 3:42 but avoided their sixth semifinal loss in seven years at Kansas City, Mo. Kansas plays Iowa State (22-8) in the final today and should receive a No. 1 regional seeding in the NCAA tournament if it wins.
Center Raef LaFrentz led Kansas in scoring for the second consecutive game with 16 points and had 13 rebounds.
Kansas State (17-11) appears headed to the National Invitation Tournament. Wildcat guards Elliot Hatcher and Aaron Swartzendruber missed 22 of 25 shots.
No. 23 Iowa State 57, Missouri 53--Guard Dedric Willoughby, playing the full 40 minutes for the second consecutive game, had 25 points as the Cyclones reached the Big Eight final for a fourth time. Iowa State has never won the tournament.
Iowa State shot poorly (37%) but attempted 25 more throws than Missouri (17-14) for a 24-6 scoring advantage from the line.
No. 8 Cincinnati 85, No. 21 Marquette 84--Reserve guard Darnell Burton's basket with 40.5 seconds in overtime put the Bearcats (25-4) ahead for good as they won the first Conference USA tournament championship at Memphis. Cincinnati had won all four tournament championships in the defunct Great Midwest Tournament.
Guard Aaron Hutchins made a three-point shot with 1.3 seconds to pull Marquette (22-7) within a point but Cincinnati got the ball inbound as time ran out. Hutchins had 29 points.
Cincinnati had a chance to win in regulation. Center Art Long missed a 10-foot shot that forward Danny Fortson rebounded but his putback came after the buzzer. Fortson had 23 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out in overtime. Long (18 points, 11 rebounds) outplayed Marquette center Amal McCaskill.
Conference USA doesn't get an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament but Cincinnati figures to get a No. 2 regional seeding.
Eastern Michigan 77, Toledo 63--Guard Brian Tolbert scored 10 of his 21 points during a decisive 13-2 run late in the second half for the Eagles (24-5) in the championship game at Toledo. Eastern Michigan, also the regular-season Mid-American champion, compiled the best record in school history and will be making its third NCAA appearance.
Guard Craig Thames had 17 points for Toledo (18-14) but missed 11 of 18 shots.
No. 1 Kentucky 95, Arkansas 75--The Wildcats (28-1), who have beaten their SEC opponents by an average of 24 points, led by as many as 30 in running the nation's longest winning streak to 27 in a semifinal game at New Orleans. Kentucky, which won the last four tournament championships, plays Mississippi State (21-7) in today's final.
Forward Antoine Walker had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Kentucky, which forced 25 turnovers.
Arkansas (18-11), which has reached the Final Four the last two years, is in danger of missing the NCAA tournament. The Razorbacks, who start four freshmen and a junior, lost five of their last nine games.
No. 25 Mississippi State 86, Georgia 68--Mississippi State shot 60% to reach the tournament final for the first time since 1933.
Mississippi State never trailed, making eight of its first nine shots to set the tone for the game. Guard Darryl Wilson had 21 points to lead four double-figure scorers.
Georgia (19-9) had won eight of its previous 10 games and still figures to get an NCAA tournament berth.
No. 7 Texas Tech 75, Texas 73--The Red Raiders (28-1) survived their poorest shooting performance (35%) to win the final tournament championship at Dallas and run the nation's second-longest winning streak to 21. It was the last basketball game for the Southwest Conference, with Texas Tech and Texas moving to the Big 12 next season.
Texas guard Reggie Freeman, the SWC's leading scorer, had 32 points, including seven three-point baskets, but missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity with 3.2 seconds remaining. Texas (20-9) figures to receive an NCAA tournament berth.
Texas Tech forward Jason Sasser, the SWC's player of the year, had 24 points.
New Mexico 64, No. 10 Utah 60--Freshman center Kenny Thomas had 30 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Lobos (27-4) past the Utes (25-6) in the tournament final at Albuquerque. Utah, the regular-season WAC champion, had defeated New Mexico six consecutive times, including twice this season by a total of 32 points.
Big Sky--Freshman guard Danny Sprinkle had 30 points to lead Montana State (21-8) to an 81-70 victory over Weber State (20-8) in the tournament final at Bozeman, Mont.
Southland--Northeast Louisiana (16-13) beat North Texas, 71-60, to win the tournament championship at Shreveport, La., and earn its fifth NCAA tournament berth in the '90s. North Texas (15-13) lost three times to Northeast Louisiana.
Southwestern Athletic--Powerful performances by Marcus Mann (27 points, 28 rebounds) and Dendrius Rucker (34 points, 16 rebounds) lifted Mississippi Valley State (22-6) to a 111-94 victory over Jackson State (16-13) in the tournament final at Montgomery, Ala.
No. 19 Iowa 56, No. 4 Purdue 52--The Boilermakers (25-5, 15-3) not only had their winning streak ended at 11 games at Iowa City, but also lost a possible No. 1 regional seeding in the NCAA tournament.
Iowa (22-8, 11-7) had 10 steals and held Purdue to 38.5% shooting. Forward Jess Settles provided the key defensive play, tying up guard Porter Roberts for a jump ball--and possession to Iowa--with 10.8 seconds remaining and Purdue trailing, 54-52. The Hawkeyes kept the Boilermakers from fouling them and got the ball to forward Kenyan Murray for a dunk with one second remaining.
No. 16 Penn State 86, Ohio State 70--The Nittany Lions (21-6, 12-6) finished the regular season unbeaten (16-0) at home and have a half-game lead over Indiana in the race for second place in the conference. Indiana (18-11, 11-6) plays Michigan State (15-14, 9-9) today at Bloomington, Ind.
One highlight for the crowd at Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pa., was the play in the opening minutes of walk-on Chris Rogers, a 5-foot-11 senior guard from nearby Bellefonte. Rogers made his first start, scored a three-point basket from the wing in the opening minute and received a huge ovation when he left the game with Penn State leading, 14-8. Penn State led Ohio State (10-17, 3-15) by as many as 22 points.
Michigan and Minnesota kept NCAA tournament hopes alive with victories. Michigan (20-11, 10-8) beat Wisconsin, 65-51, at Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines shot 58% in the first half to take a 36-23 lead and maintained double-digit leads in the second half. Wisconsin (16-14, 8-10) beat Michigan in January, starting a stretch in which the Wolverines went 1-6 and dropped for good out of the national rankings. Minnesota (18-12, 10-8) was a 67-66 winner over Illinois at Champaign, Ill. Forward Sam Jacobson's basket with 14.5 seconds remaining accounted for Minnesota's final points. Guard Kiwane Garris drove to the basket on Illinois' last possession but his shot bounced hard off the backboard and didn't draw iron. Illinois (18-12, 7-11) lost its last two games and will probably get a National Invitation Tournament berth. Illinois Coach Lou Henson (663-330 and one victory short of John Wooden on the all-time NCAA list) will retire at the end of the season.