Michigan State and Duke punched their tickets to the Final Four with victories their regional final contests Sunday. The Spartans will join Butler and West Virginia in Indianapolis next weekend.
Raymar Morgan sank the go-ahead free throw with 1.8 seconds left, and Michigan State held on to take a 70-69 win over Tennessee in the Midwest Region final and make it back to the Final Four. Durrell Summers made four three-pointers and finished with 21 points to lead the fifth-seeded Spartans (28-8), who will make a second straight Final Four appearance, having advanced to last year's title game before losing to North Carolina. They will face Butler, the West Region champion, next Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium. Michigan State has now reached the Final Four six times since 1999, and did so this year despite not having leading scorer Kalin Lucas for its last two games because of a ruptured Achilles tendon. Morgan helped fill the void Sunday with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Draymond Green also added 13 points in the victory. Wayne Chism had 13 points to pace Tennessee (28-9), which was playing in its first- ever Elite Eight contest, but failed to reach the Final Four for the first time in school history despite shooting better than 51 percent.
Nolan Smith finished with 29 points, leading top-seeded Duke back into the Final Four with a 78-71 victory over Baylor in the South Regional final. Duke had not advanced to the Final Four since 2004, but did so Sunday thanks to a potent three-point shooting attack. Smith hit 4-of-6, while Jon Scheyer made 5-of-10 on his way to 20 points. The Blue Devils (33-5) made only 22 field goals, but half of them came from beyond the arc. Duke is the only No. 1 seed left in the tourney and will look to advance to the national title game for the first time since 2001 next Saturday in Indianapolis. The Blue Devils will play West Virginia, the East Region champion, in a national semifinal. LaceDarius Dunn had 22 points and six rebounds for the Bears (28-8), who were looking to make the Final Four for the first time in the modern era, having last gotten there in 1950.
Iowa has tabbed Siena's Fran McCaffery to be its next head men's basketball coach, the school announced Sunday. McCaffery, who replaces Todd Lickliter, will be introduced by the school Monday morning. Iowa went 38-58 in three seasons under Lickliter. McCaffery, 50, has spent the last five seasons at Siena, compiling an overall record of 112-51 with the Saints. Siena has won the MAAC Tournament title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three seasons, reaching the second round of the national tourney in 2008 and 2009. Siena went 27-7 this past season, which ended with a loss to Purdue in the first round.
Connecticut won its 75th straight game, beating Iowa State, 74-36, Sunday and moving into the Dayton Regional final of the women's NCAA Tournament.With the victory the Huskies will now take on Florida State in the regional finals on Tuesday night after the Seminoles topped Mississippi State by a score of 74-71 in the second game of the day in Dayton. Nebraska became the second No. 1 seed to lose at the tournament, joining Tennessee. The Cornhuskers were beaten by Kentucky, 76-67, Sunday night. Kentucky now advances to a regional final for the first time in school history on Tuesday night and will clash with an Oklahoma squad that defeated Notre Dame earlier Sunday, 77-72.
A pair of regional finals are on the schedule for Monday for trips to the Final Four in San Antonio. Stanford is one step away from capturing the Sacramento Regional and a third straight trip to the Final Four, as the top- seeded Cardinal meet Xavier. The other contest will be from the Memphis Regional as Baylor takes on Duke. Baylor's Brittney Griner has blocked a total of 24 shots in the last two games and has 26 for the tournament, which is four shy of the all-time record held by Alison Bales for Duke in 2006.