While the West regional supplied the theatrics with Syracuse falling and Kansas State knocking off Xavier in 2OT, the East was relatively quiet thanks in large part to Kentucky's 62-45 win over Cornell.
As could be expected, the crowd in Syracuse was largely rooting for the Big Red, whose campus is not too far off and whose alumni litter the state of New York. It energized the pseudo-home team, helping it to get off to a 10-2 run in the first five minutes. Cornell went on to score just 35 points over the final 35 minutes though, as the Wildcat defense clamped down and held the Ivy Leaguers to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field and 23.8 percent shooting on the night. UK enjoyed leads that stretched as high as 16 during the course of the game, but late free throws counteracted a Cornell comeback and pushed the final margin out wide.
DeMarcus Cousins was the top cat with 16 points and seven boards, while Patrick Patterson had nine points and a game high 12 rebounds. John Wall didn't score a lot as he came away with just eight points, but he stuffed the stat sheet with seven rebounds and eight assists. Eric Bledsoe also chipped in 12 for Big Blue.
Next up for the Wildcats is West Virginia, which pulled away late from Washington after struggling with the Huskies for a good 27 minutes. It will easily be Kentucky's toughest test yet, as the big and tough Mountaineers are the first seed better than a nine that UK will have faced.