SEC Rises: Football league has 3 teams vying for Elite Eight

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Tennessee's Rick Barnes has coached in the Big East, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12. He's made the NCAA Tournament nearly two dozen times and advanced to the Final Four. He's been around. He's seen it done a number of different ways. So Barnes has credibility when he raves about his current league, the Southeastern Conference.

NCAA Tournament picks up steam just before Sweet 16

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The first three days of this year's NCAA Tournament lacked the drama and multitude of upsets the previous few tournaments had, more March Meh-ness than madness. A scintillating Sunday of games jolted the tournament to life like a triple shot of espresso. The madness is back in March. North Carolina, the South Region No.

NCAA Tournament Capsules

Results from the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday: ___ EAST REGION WISCONSIN 65, VILLANOVA 62 BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Top-seeded Villanova was bounced from the NCAA Tournament by eighth-seeded Wisconsin, which overcame foul trouble for two of its stars in the second half Saturday to upset the defending champions 65-62 in the East region. Nigel Hayes scored 19 points, dropping a layup in traffic with 11.

Missed call, untimely T ends Wildcats rally; Zags win 79-73

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Chris Collins was right. It was goal-tending all the way. The Northwestern coach was also wrong. At the worst time possible. After not getting the call, Collins stomped onto the court and drew a technical foul with 4:54 left in Saturday's game, sucking life out of a frenetic comeback that fell short in a 79-73 loss to top-seeded Gonzaga.

The Latest: After quiet start, March Madness gets big upset

The Latest on Day 3 of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern): 12:05 p.m. It took three days for the NCAA Tournament to produce a major upset. It was a stunner that busted a ton of brackets. Villanova, the defending national champion and the top overall seed, was upended by eighth-seeded Wisconsin 65-62. Fellow No.

TIPPING OFF: Look for comedic parents in crowd on Saturday

A look at some interesting things as we head into Saturday, the first day of the second round of the NCAA Tournament: SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE There will be plenty of parent shots during two games Saturday. No. 12 seed Xavier and assistant coach Luke Murray, son of actor-comedian Bill Murray, faces third-seeded Florida State in Orlando, Florida.

Fouling flubs mark first 2 days of NCAA Tournament

Coaches across the country can use the first two days of the NCAA Tournament as examples when they're teaching the importance of knowing when and how to foul in late-game situations. One day after Northwestern sank the winning free throws in a 68-66 victory over Vanderbilt after an ill-timed foul, Arkansas clinched its 77-71 triumph over Seton Hall after the Pirates got called for a flagrant foul in the final minute.

Gonzaga looks to continue run vs. fan favorite Northwestern

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- No. 1 seed Gonzaga (33-1) vs. No. 8 Northwestern (24-11) Second round, West Region; Salt Lake City; 5:15 p.m. EDT BOTTOM LINE: Northwestern is playing with house money. The Wildcats advanced to the tournament for the first time and even won a game. Gonzaga, on the other hand, was expected to be here and expected to go much further. Northwestern will have to overcome Gonzaga's significant size advantage.

Thursday's Sports in Brief

NCAA TOURNAMENT The NCAA Tournament's first full day tipped off, and for 20 minutes, Villanova looked ordinary, vulnerable, maybe even a little scared. The Wildcats finished like champions. Donte DiVincenzo scored 21 points and the NCAA Tournament's top seed shook off a shocking start and stumbled forward in the East region Thursday night with a 76-56 victory over No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary's.

With 2 gift FTs, Northwestern prevails 68-66 over Vandy

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- At Northwestern, the party goes on. At Vanderbilt, there is only one question: What was he thinking? Northwestern's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, 68-66 over Vanderbilt, came after Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis inexplicably grabbed Bryant McIntosh of the Wildcats on purpose, sending McIntosh to the free throw line for the go-ahead points with 14.6 seconds left.

NCAA Tournament Capsules

Results from the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday: ___ WEST REGION NORTHWESTERN 68, VANDERBILT 66 SALT LAKE CITY -- Northwestern got its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, 68-66 over Vanderbilt, after Commodores guard Matthew Fisher-Davis inexplicably grabbed Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh on purpose, sending McIntosh to the free throw line for the go-ahead points with 15 seconds left.

The Latest: Arizona takes 1st step, beats North Dakota

The Latest on the NCAA Tournament (all times EDT): 12:55 a.m. It's been 20 years since a Pac-12 team won the national championship, and Arizona is out to match what the 1997 Wildcats pulled off. They're off on the right foot, beating North Dakota 100-82 in the final game of a day that saw two teams make their NCAA Tournament debuts. Northwestern's inaugural visit ended in a stunning victory over Vanderbilt.

A look at Thursday's opening day of the NCAA Tournament

A look at some interesting things in Thursday's opening round the NCAA Tournament: ___ CHANCE TO REPEAT Villanova comes into the tournament not only as the overall No. 1 seed but as defending champion. No champion has repeated since Florida in 2007. "I think pressure is pressure, so you want to embrace it and try to allow it to make you better," Villanova coach Jay Wright said.

Wisconsin shuts down Northwestern 76-48 in Big Ten semifinal

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Going up against Wisconsin's defense is a challenge under almost any circumstance. When the opposition is playing its third game in three days, it's a mismatch. And so it was Saturday, when the Badgers harassed and hounded weary Northwestern in a 76-48 victory that thrust No. 24 Wisconsin into the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the third time in five years.

Bubble Watch: Illinois State starts a long week

Imagine waiting a week to hear whether or not you have done enough to earn the biggest of your dreams. That's what Illinois State faces. The Redbirds, a true definition of a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, lost to No. 21 Wichita State in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Tournament on Sunday. Whether or not they are in the field of 68 won't be announced until next Sunday.

Edwards leads No. 16 Purdue past Northwestern, 69-65

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- With a regular-season Big Ten championship already locked up, Purdue wanted to send a few more positive notes to the NCAA Selection Committee. Vincent Edwards scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half and Caleb Swanigan added 20 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 16 Purdue beat Northwestern 69-65 on Sunday.

Top 25 Capsules

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Conner Frankamp scored 19 points, Markis McDuffie added 16 and No. 21 Wichita State beat Illinois State 71-51 in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game Sunday, earning an automatic NCAA Tournament berth. After splitting their regular-season series and sharing the conference championship, Wichita State left no doubt as to top team in the MVC was this season.