Second-seeded Ohio State University and fourth-seeded University of Louisville advanced to the semifinals of the national men’s college basketball championship.
Ohio State, which toppled No. 1 seed Syracuse 77-70, will play top-seeded North Carolina or No. 2 seed Kansas in the next round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament. Louisville, which rallied to beat No. 7 Florida 72-68, will meet No. 1 seed Kentucky or third-seeded Baylor.
The matchups will be decided today for the semifinals being held on March 31.
Jared Sullinger had 19 points for the Buckeyes who captured the East Region’s championship last night at TD Garden in Boston. Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 18 for Ohio State (31-7), which is making its first trip to the semifinals since 2007 when it lost to Florida in the national championship.
“We’re not going down to New Orleans for a vacation. It’s a business trip,” Sullinger told reporters.
Ohio State was one of four Ohio teams in the regional semifinals and the only one to reach the regional finals. It is the only surviving team from the Big 10’s original six.
Brandon Triche had 15 points and Scoop Jardine had 14 for the Orange (34-3).
‘Can’t Lose Confidence’
At US Airways Center in Phoenix, Chane Behanan hit the go- ahead basket for Louisville (30-9) with one minute, four seconds left in the West Region’s final to extend the team’s winning streak to eight. The Cardinals, down by 41-33 at the half, outscored the Gators (26-11) by 15 points in the final 10 minutes.
Russ Smith had 19 points and Behanan added 17 for Louisville, which reached the semifinals for the first time since 2005.
“What happens is, you can’t lose confidence,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino told reporters. “I kept telling our guys we’re going to the Final Four. Win the Big East tournament, we’re going to the Final Four. And they did.”
Erik Murphy and Bradley Beal led the Gators with 14 points each.
The championship game is April 2.
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