SEC champion Florida is going to its third straight NCAA regional final, while the improbable tournament journey for Florida Gulf Coast is over.
The Eagles, the No. 15 seed few people even knew of on Selection Sunday, had their season ended just before midnight in Arlington, Texas, on Friday with a 62-50 loss to one of the big schools from Florida.
The high-flying team from "Dunk City" jumped out to an early 11-point lead. But the No. 3 seed Gators (29-7) and their roster filled with NCAA tourney experience were just too strong and too good. FGCU matched its season low for points.
Michael Frazier made a pair of 3-pointers from the left side, in front of the Gulf Coast bench, to start a 16-0 run late in the first half. Those were Frazier's only baskets of the game, but they came during a 4½-minute span when the Eagles (26-11) suddenly couldn't even get off a shot. They missed their only field goal attempt while turning the ball over four times in that span.
That slump finally ended when Sherwood Brown, their dreadlocked senior showman, made a layup in the final minute to get Florida Gulf Coast back within 30-26 by halftime.
But FGCU players walked down the steps off the raised court at Cowboys Stadium at the break with their heads down -- much different from the team that looked so loose and ready for a good time after an early 11-0 run -- similar to extended spurts they had in upsetting No. 2 seed Georgetown and No. 7 seed San Diego State.
After the Gators turned up the defensive pressure, the most fun team this side of the Harlem Globetrotters was suddenly having a lot fewer laughs. Those high-flying dunks and alley-oops weren't there and Florida forced 20 turnovers.
The Gators play Michigan on Sunday. They are trying to get to their first NCAA Final Four since consecutive national championships in 2006 and 2007.
Duke 71, Michigan State 61: Seth Curry shot Duke right into the regional finals -- and put Mike Krzyzewski on the verge of another milestone.
Curry scored 29 points in Indianapolis and the Blue Devils advanced to the Midwest Regional final in the NCAA tournament.
If No. 2 seed Duke (30-5) beats top-seeded Louisville (32-5) in Sunday's regional final, Krzyzewski would tie John Wooden's record with 12 Final Four trips.
Third-seeded Michigan State (27-9) just couldn't keep up with Curry and Duke's shooters. Keith Appling had 16 points for the Spartans, and Adreian Payne finished with 14.
Curry's sixth 3-pointer of the game broke a 38-38 tie early in the second half, sending Duke on a 9-0 run. It also matched the school record for most 3s in an NCAA tourney game, most recently accomplished by Jason Williams on March 22, 2001, against UCLA.
The Blue Devils never trailed again.
Louisville 77, Oregon 69: Russ Smith matched his career high with 31 points to lead three Cardinals in double figures, and top-seeded Louisville showed it can win close games, too, beating Oregon 77-69 on Friday night.
Kevin Ware added 11 and Gorgui Dieng had 10 points and nine rebounds for Louisville, which has won 13 straight. Coach Rick Pitino improved to 11-0 in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
The 12th-seeded Ducks (28-9) at least made a game of it late. After Louisville went up 66-48 with 9:01 left, Oregon made six straight field goals to close to 70-64 -- the closest anyone's been to the Cardinals in a couple of weeks.