Alabama Loses Heartbreaker to Creighton, Florida Demolishes Virginia

Florida made things very difficult for Virginia today.

Alabama played its game and played it well most of the afternoon, but the Crimson Tide fell just short 59-58 against 8-seed Creighton.

Bama led by as much as 11 in the second half at 36-25 with 17:33 to go, but Creighton chipped away at the lead through most of the period. The Bluejays finally took the lead 50-49 with 5:40 to go, but they were unable to sustain their momentum to turn it into a substantive lead. Andrew Steele made a layup to pull within one with 18 seconds to go, and Creighton missed both of its ensuing free throws to leave the margin at just a single point.

The next sequence is one that will be analysed for a while. With nine seconds to go, Bama snatched the rebound and raced up the court. Creighton used its one foul to give to stop the clock with 4.7 seconds to go. Alabama then inbounded it, but Anthony Grant called a timeout as the play was developing with no apparent prompting. Grant would say after the game that it was because he called a play for a man defense, but Creighton came out in zone. That left just 2.4 seconds on the clock.

After a pair of 30-second timeouts, one by each team, Bama got it in to Trevor Releford. He put up a three, but it was apparently blocked and the game was over. However, the replay showed that Creighton's Josh Jones barely got the ball if at all and mostly hit Releford's wrist. It should have put Releford on the line for three free throws with basically no time left, but there was no reversing the call.

Meanwhile, Florida turned in the most dominant performance of the tournament so far in beating Virginia 71-45. The 26-point victory is the largest of any game through the time of this posting. The game was close through the first half, with UVA actually leading until about seven minutes to go in the period. The Gators' superior talent and athleticism won out through the second half as Florida outscored the Cavaliers 41-23 after intermission. Bradley Beal had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Casey Prather had the best game of his career in scoring 14 points off the bench.

Florida will play the winner of Missouri-Norfolk State next, which is to say it will play Missouri next.

UPDATE

Just kidding! Norfolk State upset Mizzou. The Gators will play the Spartans instead. Which conference is Missouri moving to next year? I can't remember...

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