March Madness continued with big NCAA Tournament 2012 Wins for Vermont and the University of South Florida Wednesday night.
The final "First Four" games between the University of Vermont and Lamar University, and between USF and Cal, set up the field of 64 that will participate in the weeks of insanity that culminate in the Final Four, and ultimately the NCAA National Championship.
The Vermont team had a good showing, as freshman Four McGlynn put up 18 points and sophomore Brian Voelkel notched 12 points, 7 assists and a steal to carry the team to a relatively easy tourney win.
But their next game will be against the mighty University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels, a one-seed, and the choice of many (including President Barack Obama) to be cutting down the nets after the NCAA Championship game this year.
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Lamar's Devon Lamb and Mike James each had 16-point games, but their performances couldn't carry Lamar to a seventh win in a row.
The University of South Florida has been a rising team throughout the season, and Cal's prospects only sank as the season passed by, so it wasn't too surprising to see the Bears fall to the USF Bulls by a wide margin of 64-54.
South Florida stunned Cal by keeping them to a measly 13 points in the first half, and the Big East's sleeper candidate for a deep tourney run showed they're coming to the Big Dance with the guns out, scrapping out a win that likely has the Bulls' next foe, five-seeded Temple University, a little concerned about their chances against the team.
Cal's Harper Kamp still somehow got 19 points, but South Florida's Victor Rudd Jr.'s 15 points, along with the team's massive defensive effort, sunk the Bears before early, and the team couldn't dig itself out of the hole it found itself in at halftime.
Vermont had a 23-11 record this past regular season, as did Lamar, and the game was a massive showdown as the two team's players fought all year for the glory of a single real NCAA Tournament game.
USF ended the season with a 20-13 regular season record, but that included a great 12-6 Big East showing that includes a win Feb. 29 over then-#18 Louisville (a four-seed in the tourney).
So Cal was rightfully worried about last night's game, though the Bears had a none-too-shabby 24-9 record and averaged more than 12 points more per game in the regular season than USF did.
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