Like a massive, unstoppable blue wave, Kentucky hit quickly and just kept coming. There was no escape for West Virginia, no place to hide. Trey Lyles scored 14 points, Andrew Harrison added 13 and the unbeaten Wildcats, chasing history and a ninth national title, made their 37th straight win look easy, blowing past the Mountaineers 78-39 on Thursday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. ''They were what I thought they were,'' West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said.
Just when Arizona appeared to be in serious trouble against underdog Xavier, T.J. McConnell sparked his Wildcats back to the brink of the Final Four. McConnell scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, freshman Stanley Johnson added 12 points, and second-seeded Arizona made a dominant late rally for a 68-60 victory over sixth-seeded Xavier in the West Regional semifinals on Thursday night. Kaleb Tarczewski had 12 points and 12 rebounds as the Wildcats (34-3) weathered a major scare from the Musketeers (23-14) and clamped down defensively during a game-ending 19-7 run. With its third Elite Eight berth in five years, Arizona gets another shot its first Final Four under coach Sean Miller, who led Xavier for five years until 2009.
Wisconsin looked like a beaten team for much of the game. It looked like a repeat of the Big Ten Conference title game, when the Badgers were left for road kill against Michigan State before coming back to win in overtime. The top-seeded Badgers again proved their grit, rallying in the final 10 minutes to hold off North Carolina 79-72 Thursday night and advance to the final eight of the NCAA Tournament. Sam Dekker had a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, Kaminsky added 19 and Nigel Hayes 12 to send Wisconsin (34-3) into the West Regional final Saturday against No. 2 seed Arizona, which beat sixth-seeded Xavier 68-60.
Momentum sagging and Wichita State surging, Mike Brey called time out and offered his Notre Dame players a reminder. Demetrius Jackson scored 20 points and third-seeded Notre Dame blitzed the Shockers in the second half of a surprisingly easy 81-70 victory Thursday night in the Midwest Regional semifinal to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in 36 years. The Irish (32-5) shot 75 percent (18 of 24) over the final 20 minutes, overwhelming the seventh-seeded Shockers (30-5) with a barrage of 3-pointers, expert cuts to the basket and enough fancy passing to fill an And-One mixtape. The 38-18 burst that turned a tight game into something else entirely came after Wichita State took its first and only lead on a layup by Darius Carter with 16:37 to go.
The fiancee of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be called to testify in his murder trial Friday, two people with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press. Shayanna Jenkins was granted immunity by the court in February, which means she can be compelled to testify or face time behind bars. There had been a question over whether prosecutors would call Jenkins, who has been in a relationship with Hernandez, 25, since high school and is the mother of his 2-year-old daughter. Prosecutors say she lied to a grand jury investigating the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating her younger sister, Shaneah.