The Latest on Day 3 of the NCAA Tournament (all times Eastern):
Kelan Martin scored 19 points, and Butler limited Middle Tennessee’s athletic scorers with smothering defense in a 74-65 victory Saturday night to advance to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals.
The Bulldogs (25-8) are going to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011, when they wrapped up back-to-back appearances in the national title game.
Andrew Chrabascz added 15 points for fourth-seeded Butler, including a 3 with 3:25 left that snapped a 7-0 run for Middle Tennessee to get the lead back to 62-56.
The senior forward played an even more important role in leading a sterling defensive effort for the Bulldogs.
Conference USA player of the year JaCorey Williams finished with 20 points, but had to work hard for nearly every bucket for No. 12 seed Middle Tennessee (31-5).
Giddy Potts, who averaged nearly 16 points a game this year, was held scoreless, going 0 of 8 from the field.
—Genaro Armas reporting from Milwaukee
Arizona starting guard Rawle Alkins has gone to the locker room with an apparent hand injury. The freshman left midway through the first half after doubling over in pain. Video showed Alkins headed to the locker room, then leaving it and heading down the hallway of the arena. He still has not returned to the bench.
Alkins averages 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He scored a career-high 20 in the first-round win over South Dakota.
The Wildcats were trailing St. Mary’s 24-16 late in the opening half.
—Kareem Copeland reporting from Salt Lake City.
Virginia forward Isaiah Wilkins (strep throat) is in uniform, but not taking part in pre-game warmups.
Wilkins, the team’s leading rebounder, was listed as doubtful to play Saturday against fourth-seeded Florida. The 6-foot-7 junior is averaging 6.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. He also leads the team in blocks (43) and steals (33).
Wilkins played just five minutes in the team’s opening-round win.
— Mark Long reporting from Orlando, Florida.
UCLA coach Steve Alford says freshman point guard Lonzo Ball is just fine after a hard fall in the Bruins’ opener against Kent State.
Ball was injured late in the first half when he was undercut and landed on his right hip. He came up limping, but stayed in the game and finished it. Ball was expected to practice on Saturday and Alford said he would be close to 100 percent for UCLA’s game against Cincinnati on Sunday.
UCLA also may get freshman forward Ike Anigbogu back for Sunday’s game. He sprained his foot in practice early in the week and didn’t play against Kent State. Alford said he was close to playing in that game and should be ready to go against the Bearcats.
-John Marshall reporting from Sacramento, California.
NCAA spokesman David Worlock released a statement Saturday saying that the officials missed a call with just under 5 minutes left in a second-round game between top-seeded Gonzaga and Northwestern.
Gonzaga’s Zach Collins put his arm through the rim to block a shot, which the NCAA says should have been called basket interference. Replays showed Collins violated the rule and that Northwestern should have been awarded the bucket.
Three seconds later, Northwestern coach Chris Collins was given a technical foul for coming on to the floor to argue while the ball was in play.
Gonzaga went on to win 79-73.
Butler is beating another opponent in the NCAA Tournament with a barrage of 3-pointers.
The fourth-seeded Bulldogs started 6 of 9 from behind the arc to take a 36-31 lead on 12th-seeded Middle Tennessee at halftime. Avery Woodson is 2 of 3 from the 3-point line in the first half. He was 5 of 7 from behind the line in the first half of the first-round win over Winthrop.
Middle Tennessee was able to chip away at a 13-point deficit to get within 5.
—Genaro Armas reporting from Milwaukee.
UPSET ALERT: No. 3 seed Florida State is on the verge of an early exit against a double-digit seed.
The Seminoles trail 11th-seeded Xavier 74-53 with about 7 minutes remaining in their West Region game in Orlando, Florida.
The Musketeers have controlled the tempo, the scoreboard and, most notably, the 3-point line for much of the night. Xavier is 10-of-15 shooting from behind the arc, making seven more from that range than FSU.
It would be a disappointing ending for coach Leonard Hamilton’s team, which tied its highest seeding in program history and has two players projected to be first-round picks in the NBA draft.
—Mark Long reporting from Orlando, Florida.
Top-seeded Gonzaga fought off a wild Northwestern comeback for a 79-73 victory Saturday night with help from an untimely technical foul on Wildcats coach Chris Collins.
Northwestern trimmed a 22-point deficit to five and had the ball when Gonzaga’s Zach Collins reached up through the basket to reject Dererk Pardon’s shot with 4:54 left.
There was no call, and Collins, jawing with the officials all day, ran onto the court and was slapped with a technical foul.
Nigel Williams-Goss made both free throws, and eighth-seeded Northwestern (24-12), in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, never got closer.
Williams-Goss led the Zags (34-1) with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Collins and Jordan Mathews had 14 points each.
Bryant McIntosh, who hit the go-ahead free throws in Northwestern’s opening-round win, had 20 for the Wildcats and Vic Law had 18.
—Eddie Pells reporting from Salt Lake City.
No. 11 seed Xavier is getting a complete team effort against third-seeded Florida State.
All eight guys who entered the game scored, helping the Musketeers build a 44-34 lead at halftime in the second round of the West Region.
Sean O’Mara leads Xavier with 9 points off the bench. But the main reason the Musketeers are on top is because they are 5 of 7 from 3-point range. The Seminoles are 1 for 8 from behind the arc.
FSU trailed by 15 points early, but Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Dwayne Bacon helped the Seminoles recover — albeit briefly. Rathan-Mayes has 11 points and Bacon 10 at the break.
— Mark Long reporting from Orlando, Florida.
Villanova coach Jay Wright just headed for the arena exit where the team bus is parked after the No. 1-seeded Wildcat’ 65-62 loss to Wisconsin.
An arena security guard greeted Wright and said: “Have a safe trip home.”
Wright looked up and with a polite smile responded by saying, “Thank you.”
And then the security guard said something Wright nor anyone else at Villanova might ever want to hear: “Come back any time.”
The security guard was simply being polite, not realizing the Wildcats’ tournament history in Buffalo.
In 2014, Villanova was a No. 2 seed when it was knocked out in the second round by seventh-seeded and eventual champion Connecticut.
— John Wawrow reporting from Buffalo.
Northwestern’s dream season could be ending shortly.
The Wildcats are being outmanned by Gonzaga through the first half.
The top-seeded Bulldogs lead 38-20.
Nigel Williams-Goss leads Gonzaga with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists — three of which have come on alley-oops.
Northwestern, in its first tournament in program history, is having trouble finding an open shot.
The Wildcats are 9 for 30 from the floor and have committed eight turnovers.
If you picked third-seeded Florida State to make it to the Sweet 16, you might not want to listen to coach Leonard Hamilton.
Hamilton’s assessment of his team doesn’t exactly exude confidence, especially considering the talented Seminoles — who have two starters projected as first-round NBA draft picks — looked so sloppy in beating 14th-ranked Florida Gulf Coast in the opening round in Orlando, Florida. FSU is about to tip off against 11th-seeded Xavier, with a trip to San Jose, California, on the line.
“We’re not a great free throw shooting team. Sometimes we have a tendency not to take care of the ball,” Hamilton said Friday. “We kind of find ways to win. We would love to be a real smooth, solid, pinpoint-execution team, but that’s not the kind of how we’re built. We’re aggressive. We like to push the ball down the court. We like to move the ball at times. We like to attack the basket.
“I think what this team has done is we figure out ways to win. We have a lot of holes in our game, but this team’s well connected,” he said. “They like each other. We have great camaraderie and togetherness and esprit de corps. They’re connected. When we have to pull together, we find ways to do that.”
Defending champion Villanova has lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, falling to No. 8 seed Wisconsin 65-62 in the East Region.
Villanova, the No. 1 seed overall, had a chance to tied it at 64 but Josh Hart failed in a drive to the basket with 4 seconds to play and lost the ball.
Wisconsin plays the winner of Florida-Virginia in the Sweet 16.
How does Butler Blue III warm up for a big game in Milwaukee? With a little vanilla custard, of course.
The beloved bulldog hit Kopp’s Frozen Custard a few hours before Butler’s second-round game against Middle Tennessee State in the NCAA Tournament. He posed for a few pictures with fans and gobbled up some custard before hopping back into his official car to travel to an alumni event.
Butler Blue III, who also goes by Trip, lives with Michael Kaltenmark, 37, the director of external relations for the school, and his family; wife Tiffany and sons Everett, 6, and Miles 2. It’s his fourth trip of the year.
“This is a bonafide celebrity,” Kaltenmark said, “so when we take the dog out we get people hollering at us on social media and giving us shoutouts when we go places and they come running out and they want to get a picture with the dog. … Yeah, he’s a celebrity and he’s just a lot of fun to have around.”
The University of Illinois says it hired Brad Underwood as its men’s basketball coach, a day after Underwood’s Oklahoma State team lost to Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I am excited to welcome Brad Underwood, his wife Susan, and their three children to the Fighting Illini family,” Illini Athletic Josh Whitman said in a statement. “In searching for a new coach, we were looking for a proven winner who would build upon our proud tradition while developing an unmistakable identity for Illinois Basketball.
After watching Michigan make 16 3-pointers in Friday’s first-round win over Oklahoma State, Louisville coach Rick Pitino compared the Wolverines to the Golden State Warriors.
On Saturday, three Cardinals players were asked what NBA team they would compare themselves, too. The most creative answer came from Ray Spalding, who confessed he’s a Sacramento Kings fan. But it’s not a comparison Cardinals’ fans would likely accept. Or perhaps his teammates.
“I don’t know that we compare to the Sacramento Kings,” Spalding said. “Let’s go with the Cavs.”
Top-seeded Villanova has some work to do.
The defending national champion trails eight-seeded Wisconsin 31-27 at halftime of a second-round game in the East region. Trying to become the first back-to-back titlists in 10 years, the Big East champions shot only 30 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and that had a lot to do with Wisconsin’s stifling defense.
The only school to make the Sweet 16 in each of the past three years, Wisconsin withstood foul trouble for junior center Ethan Happ, who sat out the final 11:49 after picking up his second foul.
Josh Hart leads the Wildcats with 10 point, but Kris Jenkins, the star of last year’s title game, is just 1 for 7 from the field and has forced several shots.
Bronson Koenig and Vitto Brown have scored 9 apiece for the Badgers, who have upset top seeds in two of the past three tournaments.
— Tom Withers reporting from Buffalo.
North Carolina coach Roy Williams is raising the possibility that point guard Joel Berry II could miss Sunday’s second-round game against Arkansas in Greenville, South Carolina due to an ankle injury.
The junior, for his part, sure sounds like he plans to play.
Berry was injured in the first-round win against Texas Southern, though he returned to the game. Williams said Saturday that Berry wouldn’t practice that afternoon and would continue to get treatment, leaving him “hopeful” Berry will play.
Berry estimated himself at “75 to 80 percent.”
“I’m never a guy that lets something like this stops me from playing,” Berry said, adding: “I’m expecting to play. I want to play. If (Williams) tries to sit me out, I’m going to try to convince him my best that I want to play and I’m good.”
For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU