The defending champ goes down

At Indianapolis, Goran Suton had 20 points and nine rebounds and Michigan State was steady from the foul line, rallying to defeat defending NCAA champion Kansas in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

Michigan State 67, Kansas 62

At Indianapolis, Goran Suton had 20 points and nine rebounds and Michigan State was steady from the foul line, rallying to defeat defending NCAA champion Kansas in the Midwest Regional semifinals.

Kalin Lucas added 18 points for the second-seeded Spartans (29-6). He shot just 5-for-15 from the field, but made all five of his free throws in the final minute. Overall, Michigan State went 16 of 17 from the line.

Michigan State overcame a 13-point deficit in the first half and advanced to play Louisville on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four.

Sherron Collins scored 20 points and Cole Aldrich had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Kansas (27-7).

With the game tied at 60, Lucas spun, pump-faked in the lane, drew contact from Collins, then dropped in a shot. He made the free throw with 48 seconds left.

Louisville 103, Arizona 64

At Indianapolis, Louisville proved it was the best in the Big East. Now, the Cardinals are showing just how mighty they might be.

Earl Clark had 19 points and nine rebounds and the top-seeded team in the NCAA tournament delivered one of the most crushing blowouts in regional round history — a 103-64 romp over Arizona on Friday night.

Coach Rick Pitino and the Cardinals (31-5) topped 100 points for the first time this season, hit 14 three-pointers and nearly 57 per cent from the field, moving into the Midwest final in impressive fashion. They will play Michigan State on Sunday.

The Big East regular season and tourney champs became the fourth team from the league to reach a regional final this season with a victory that just missed cracking the top five for most lopsided routs in regional round history.

UCLA set the record with a 49-point victory over Wyoming in 1967, and all the top five were recorded before 1972.

The 12th-seeded Wildcats (21-4) got 22 points from Chase Budinger.

It was by far the Cardinals’ biggest rout in their long NCAA tournament, and easily was Arizona’s most-lopsided loss.

South Regional

Oklahoma 84, Syracuse 71

At Memphis, Tenn., Blake Griffin bulled his way to 30 points and 14 rebounds, and Tony Crocker added a career-high 28 points as second-seeded Oklahoma beat Syracuse to reach its first regional final since 2003.

Oklahoma (30-5) will play top-seeded North Carolina in the South Regional final Sunday. The last time the Sooners made it this far, Syracuse beat them en route to their own national championship.

And all that talk of an All-Big East Final Four? That’s over with now.

Syracuse was the league’s lone representative left in the South Region. The Orange (28-10) finally ran out of the magic that helped them pull off such wins as their six-overtime marathon over Connecticut in the Big East tournament.

The Sooners began pulling away midway through the first half. Griffin mowed over Syracuse’s gutsy guard Jonny Flynn going to the basket and also banged his noggin against the bottom of the backboard while going for a rim-rocking dunk.

Flynn led Syracuse with 22 points despite playing the second half with a bruised back after that crunching collision with Griffin.

North Carolina 98,

Gonzaga 77

At Memphis, Tenn., Ty Lawson scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half, and top-seeded North Carolina routed Gonzaga in a South Regional semifinal.

Tyler Hansbrough added 24 points and 10 rebounds for North Carolina, which won its 99th NCAA tournament game, breaking a tie with Kentucky for the most by any school.

Wayne Ellington scored 19 points and Danny Green added 13 for the Tar Heels (31-4), who reached the regional finals for the third straight year.

Jeremy Pargo led Gonzaga (28-6) with 16 points.

Lawson didn’t seem slowed in the least by his much-discussed toe injury. He breezed past a defender for a layup to make it 23-16, then added an acrobatic layup while being fouled on a fast break to put the Tar Heels ahead 35-25.

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