Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sunshine State a basketball powerhouse? Sweet 16 says so

AUSTIN, Texas — Look out college basketball, here comes the Sunshine State.

The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators rolled through Austin on the first weekend of the NCAA tournament and will join upstart Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16.

Now a state known for breeding some of the best college football players in the country is charging through March behind the perennial-power Gators, the surging Hurricanes and the Eagles, the team that has become the national darlings of the postseason.

"The state of Florida has great basketball teams," Miami's standout guard Shane Larkin said. "Florida Gulf Coast was a team we played early in the season and they beat us. But now it's just show that they're a great team because they beat us."

Miami (29-6), the No. 2 seed in the East Region, advanced to the round of 16 in Washington, D.C., with a tough 63-59 win over No. 7 Illinois on Sunday night. Larkin hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left and Miami gained possession on a ball knocked out of bounds that probably should have gone to Illinois, helping the Hurricanes hold on for the win.

After Larkin's first field goal in about 9 1/2 minutes, Illinois guard D.J. Richardson missed a 3-pointer. In the fight for the rebound, the ball appeared to ricochet off the hands of Miami's Kenny Kadji out of bounds. But the Hurricanes kept the ball, and Durand Scott made two free throws after that.

Rion Brown's two free throws with 7 seconds left pushed the game out of reach and put the Hurricanes in the Sweet 16 for just the second time in school history. Miami will play the East Region's No. 3 seed, Marquette (25-8), on Thursday night.

Florida, which won national titles in 2006 and 2007 and lost in the regional final the last two seasons, will come back to Texas after using a big first half and clutch shooting by Mike Rosario to beat Minnesota 78-64.

The Gators, the No. 3 seed in the South, get a matchup with their high-flying statemates, No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast on Friday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

Rosario scored 25 points a day after coach Billy Donovan called him out in front of his team for a poor performance in the Gators' first tournament game against Northwestern State.

"The message that coach gave us and gave me personally was, 'You've got to go out there and compete,'" said Rosario, who was 8 of 12 shooting overall and 6 of 9 from 3-point range. "In the second half there, we dug deep."

Sunshine State a basketball powerhouse? Sweet 16 says so 03/25/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 25, 2013 1:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.