TIPPING OFF: Looking at the second set of Sweet 16 games


By Jim O’Connell - AP Basketball Writer



Virginia's head coach Tony Bennett passes the ball during college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Chicago. Virginia plays against Iowa State in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey gestures while speaking at a news conference before college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. Notre Dame plays against Wisconsin in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Gonzaga players gather on the court during college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Chicago. Gonzaga plays against Syracuse in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)


The first set of Sweet 16 games were all double-digit wins. An average victory of 16.7 points.

The Atlantic Coast Conference had a record six teams in the Sweet 16 and people were speculating about its chance to match or break the Big East’s three teams in the 1985 Final Four.

The ACC lost Miami and Duke on Thursday and is looking to top-seeds Virginia (vs. Iowa State) and North Carolina (vs. Indiana) as well as sixth-seeded Notre Dame (vs. Wisconsin) and 10th-seeded Syracuse (vs. Gonzaga).

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ELITE TEAMS: Indiana center Thomas Bryant was asked about being a freshman and having to face Kentucky and North Carolina — two of college basketball’s premier programs — in consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament: “It feels great to face these teams. When you play for a great team like Indiana and you’re in the NCAA, you expect to face nothing but the best teams. And it feels great to do that.”

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STATE SECRET: Notre Dame coach Mike Brey gave away one of the keys to his game plan against Wisconsin.

“I’m going to reveal a big secret: Play (V.J. Beacham) a lot. Play him a lot. Play him 30-some minutes. Don’t mess with him,” Brey said.

Beacham is one of Notre Dame’s top offensive players, but hasn’t seen real starter’s minutes.

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SO LOOSE: Gonzaga players were laughing and having some fun at the podium during their news conference. Eric McClellan said that’s why the Zags are that good.

“It’s two sides of the spectrum. One side, we’re extremely competitive and we’re together, but on the other side, we’re really goofy and loose. Like (Kyle Dranginis) KD said, we weren’t even supposed to be here,” McClellan said.

“For us, this is our last go-around, so we want to enjoy it as much as we can. For a lot of collegiate athletes, they don’t get to experience moments like these. We just want to relish the opportunity and take it all in and continue to have fun with it.”

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OPPOSITES ATTRACT: When Virginia and Iowa State meet Friday, it’s going to be the deliberate, defensive style of Virginia against a team that loves to score and can’t wait to get the ball moving in transition.

“I think you’re not going to reinvent yourself at this stage, and I told our guys, it’s going to have to be our best against their best,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.

“They’re terrific offensively. They’re so efficient, how they can score, how they can stretch you with their balance, with (Georges) Niang, everybody talks about that. But we’re going to have to be really good at what we do, and try not to yield and of course make them earn everything and be as efficient as we can offensively.”

Virginia’s head coach Tony Bennett passes the ball during college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Chicago. Virginia plays against Iowa State in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_109425799-531263e9cb5b4741bae5764844318b7e.jpgVirginia’s head coach Tony Bennett passes the ball during college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Chicago. Virginia plays against Iowa State in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey gestures while speaking at a news conference before college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. Notre Dame plays against Wisconsin in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_109425799-9d905e82b1de4fef9fc74aa5536b425e.jpgNotre Dame head coach Mike Brey gestures while speaking at a news conference before college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Philadelphia. Notre Dame plays against Wisconsin in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Gonzaga players gather on the court during college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Chicago. Gonzaga plays against Syracuse in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
http://wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/web1_109425799-0c75a78f73a2444dbd116beb4297a8f1.jpgGonzaga players gather on the court during college basketball practice, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Chicago. Gonzaga plays against Syracuse in a regional semifinal game in the NCAA Tournament on Friday. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

By Jim O’Connell

AP Basketball Writer

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