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Saturday's men's basketball roundup: Villanova, Duke easily advance

Saturday's men's basketball roundup: Villanova, Duke easily advanceā€

A pair of high-scoring teams will do battle in the NCAA Tournament's East Region first round when No. 8 seed Virginia Tech takes on No. 9 Alabama on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Petty made a deep 3-pointer with 2:08 to play in the game off a dish by Sexton to give the Crimson Tide (20-15) a five-point lead - a big lead in this game - and Sexton made a tough fadeaway jumper 30 seconds later to maintain the lead.

The eighth-seeded Hokies had a little bit of spark left.

We projected Villanova (31-4) to beat First Four victor and No. 16 Radford 85-62 in the first round, and the final was 87-61 in the Wildcats' sixth straight victory - 87 points is what the nation's top-ranked offence averaged during the season.

Bridges and DiVincenzo each made five of Villanova's 14 three-pointers in a game that was a tale of two halves. For those who struggle with math, that's a crisp 81 percent. For moneyline bets, the line is Villanova: -760, Alabama: 530 and 84.2% have picked Villanova to win the game.

North Carolina coach Roy Williams was out to dinner in Charlotte with his staff Friday night watching the first half of the game between 16th-seeded UMBC and top-ranked Virginia. That team is a No. 1 seed because he is its leader. Wright would have liked it if Spellman grabbed a few rebounds earlier in the game, but overall, Wright was happy with the performance of all four of his rookies.

Second-seeded Duke will face a risky and veteran Rhode Island team, while Kentucky takes on 13th-seeded Buffalo - which blew out Arizona on Thursday.

Defensively, Buffalo neutralized Arizona's size inside by collapsing on the paint, forcing the Wildcats to shoot from the perimeter.

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College basketball's most highly regarded NBA point guard prospect will square off against college basketball's most highly esteemed point guard Saturday. The Hokies, who made their first back-to-back trips to the NCAA tournament since 1985-86, are still seeking their first tournament win since 2007.

Schofield is only 6-5, but he rebounds like a 7-footer. They finished ninth in a competitive SEC this season with a 20-15 record. They'll next play Loyola-Chicago on Saturday. He threw in a fast-break layup off his own steal and hit his fifth 3-pointer of the half to make it 32-27. The Buckeyes need to play together on defense and not let Daum go insane.

Kevin Knox scored 25 for Kentucky, which next plays the Arizona-Buffalo victor.

Sexton added four rebounds and three assists but also had five turnovers.

Did oddsmakers set the over/under for Saturday's Alabama and Villanova second-round March Madness matchup too low? Alabama wants to win a national championship in basketball.

There was nowhere to go but up from there, but things didn't get much better. A desperation pass by Miami (22-10) bounced away harmlessly. Alabama held close for almost 20 minutes, trailing 29-27 before the final possession of the first half. Sexton, who averaged 19.0 points per game entering Thursday night, managed three points in the first half. This time, though, both players are seniors.

Grayson Allen scored 16 points as the second-seeded Blue Devils (27-7) powered past 15th-seeded Iona (26-7).



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