Shock waves in Kansas
The Jayhawks have avoided playing Wichita State for years. Yesterday in the NCAA Tournament, the Shockers knocked them off.
NO WONDER Kansas never wants anything to do with Wichita State.
Behind another steady performance from Fred VanVleet and the hot shooting of Evan Wessel, the No. 7 seed Shockers rolled past the second-seeded Jayhawks yesterday in Omaha, Neb., 78-65, earning a trip to the Sweet 16 at the expense of the school that has caused them so much chagrin.
Tekele Cotton led the way with 19 points for the Shockers (30-4). VanVleet finished with 17 and Wessel hit four three-pointers and scored 12, sending the Missouri Valley champions to Cleveland for the Midwest Regional semifinal against third-seeded Notre Dame.
"There's so much to be said about this rivalry with Kansas," VanVleet said, "but really, it's all about the fans. What better story is there for Wichita State?
"We don't have McDonald's All-Americans, we don't have guys that have been in the spotlight, and been given that pedestal," VanVleet said. "We work for everything we've got, from managers to coaches to our preacher to, you know, whoever. We've scrapped and fought our whole lives."
Devonte' Graham and Perry Ellis had 17 points each, and Frank Mason added 16 for the Jayhawks (27-9), who blew an early, eight-point lead and never really threatened in the second half.
"We'd been playing anybody else, it would have meant the same, advancing to the Sweet 16," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "It just so happens we played an in-state team to go where we wanted to go, and they were much better than us."
Wichita State has tried for years to schedule a game against the Jayhawks, but the Sunflower State's dominant program has always refused. They were playing for the first time since 1993.
In another Midwest Regional game:
* At Columbus, Ohio, Devin Williams had 16 points and 10 rebounds and fifth-seeded West Virginia (25-9) forced 23 turnovers in a 69-59 win over fourth-seeded Maryland (28-7).
* At Charlotte, N.C., Travis Trice received a text message yesterday from Golden State Warriors forward and former Michigan State player Draymond Green that read: "Don't let this be your last game."
The Spartans' senior guard texted back, "It won't."
Trice made sure of that, scoring 23 points and helping seventh-seeded Michigan State knock second-seeded Virginia out of the for the second straight year, 60-54.
The 6-foot, 175-pound Trice scored 13 of his team's first 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting, including three three-pointers, to help the Spartans build a 15-4 lead.
Branden Dawson added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Spartans, who advanced to the Sweet 16 for the seventh time in the last eight seasons under coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans (25-11) will play Oklahoma in Syracuse, N.Y., on Friday.
"Our thing was attack from the get-go and get a lead," said Trice, in his first full season as a starter after 3 years as a reserve.
With top seed Villanova having lost Saturday, it is the first time a No. 1 and 2 seed from the same region didn't advance to the Sweet 16 since Kentucky and Gonzaga in 2004.
The Cavaliers (30-4), the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to lose after a 9-0 start in the tournament, were led by Anthony Gill's 11 points and Darion Atkins' 10 points and 14 rebounds.
* At Columbus, Ohio, Jordan Woodard had 16 points and a steal that set up Buddy Hield for a layup to give Oklahoma a lead it never relinquished as the Sooners (24-10) locked down the Dayton Flyers, quieted their fans and advanced to the second weekend with a 72-66 victory.
The Sooners' Lon Kruger became the second coach to take four schools to the round of 16.
The Flyers (27-9) came up a victory short of their second straight trip to the Sweet 16 as an 11th seed.
* At Seattle, Terry Rozier scored 25 points to lift the fourth-seeded Louisville Cardinals to a 66-53 victory over fifth-seeded Northern Iowa.
Montrezl Harrell added 14 for Louisville (26-8), which advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth year in a row.
* At Charlotte, N.C., Jahlil Okafor scored 18 of his 26 points in a dominating first half and top-seeded Duke beat San Diego State, 68-49, sending the Blue Devils (31-4) back to the Sweet 16.
Fellow freshman Justise Winslow added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Duke, which for the second straight tournament game ran out to a quick lead and stayed in control the rest of the way.
Duke shot 55 percent against the eighth-seeded Aztecs (27-9), 2 days after shooting 63 percent against Robert Morris.
* At Seattle, Kyle Wiltjer scored 13 of his 24 points during Gonzaga's flawless first half, Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and the second-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 2009 with a 87-68 win over No. 7 seed Iowa.
After five straight departures on the first weekend, the Bulldogs (34-2) are back in the regional semifinals.
* At Omaha, Neb., Sam Dekker scored 17 points to lead four Wisconsin players in double figures, and the No. 1-seeded Badgers are headed back to the Sweet 16 after defeating Oregon, 72-65.
The Badgers (33-3) beat the Ducks (26-10) in the round of 32 for the second straight year and will go to Los Angeles to play fourth-seeded North Carolina in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.