After Kansas became the first top seed to fall at this year's NCAA Tournament, Syracuse took notice and rolled to an 87-65 victory over Gonzaga in the West Region on Sunday afternoon. Wes Johnson poured in a career-high 31 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the top-seeded Orange, who have won their first two games by a combined 45 points. Syracuse will next face Butler in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Salt Lake City. The other game from the West Region saw sixth-seeded Xavier moving on to the Seeet 16 for a third consecutive year after bouncing third-seeded Pittsburgh with a slim 71-68 triumph. Jordan Crawford's 27 points led the way as the Musketeers avenged a loss to Pitt in the regional semifinals of the 2009 NCAA Tournament and advanced to play Kansas State on Thursday in Utah.
The South Region's top seed, Duke, rolled to a 68-53 win over California to reach the round of 16 for a second straight year. Nolan Smith stepped up with 20 points and Kyle Singler added 17, delivering the Blue Devils a matchup with fourth-seeded Purdue in Houston. The Boilermakers outlasted Texas A&M in overtime for a 63-61 triumph, advancing on Chris Kramer's layup with 4.2 seconds remaining.
In the East Region, second-seeded West Virginia beat Missouri, 68-59, in Buffalo, while Ivy League champ Cornell, the 12th seed, routed No. 4 Wisconsin, 87-69, in Jacksonville to set up a meeting with top-seeded Kentucky in the Sweet 16. West Virginia will face upstart Washington in the next round.
The Midwest Region is now wide open after Kansas' loss on Saturday. Northern Iowa sent shockwaves through the tournament with a 69-67 victory and next Friday in St. Louis will face fifth-seeded Michigan State, who earned a dramatic win over fourth-seeded Maryland Sunday on Korie Lucious' three- pointer from the top of the arc to beat the buzzer for a 85-83 final. In the other Midwest matchup, second-seeded Ohio State took down upset hungry Georgia Tech, 75-66. The Buckeyes will face Tennessee in the regional semifinal.
University of Houston men's basketball coach Tom Penders will reportedly announce his resignation on Monday despite having just led the program to its first NCAA Tournament berth in 18 years. A Houston newspaper is reporting the 64-year-old Penders met with athletic director Mack Rhoades on Sunday where the decision was made. The paper quoted Rhoades as saying the school would make an announcement regarding the program in the near future. Penders has led the Cougars to five postseason appearances in the last six seasons and capped the run with an improbable journey to a Conference USA Tournament title this year and a NCAA berth with a win over UTEP. The Cougars went on to drop their first-round game in the NCAA Tournament to Maryland on Friday to finish 19-16 on the year. Penders would leave with a 121-77 record in six seasons at Houston, having compiled more wins than any coach in the program's history.