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Michigan routs VCU, advances to Sweet 16

LEXINGTON, KY - MARCH 23: Vander Blue #13 of the Marquette Golden Eagles celebrates during the third round game against the Butler Bulldogs in the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena on March 23, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Vander Blue’s steal and dunk for 2 of his 19 second-half points helped spark Marquette’s rally that eliminated Butler. (Getty Images)Getty Images

Michigan made Havoc look helpless.

Now Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and the rest of the cool-headed Wolverines are part of the school’s longest NCAA Tournament run in nearly two decades.

Mitch McGary had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and fourth-seeded Michigan breezed through Virginia Commonwealth’s vaunted pressure with a clinical performance Saturday, beating the fifth-seeded Rams, 78-53, in Auburn Hills, Mich., to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1994. VCU couldn’t create many easy baskets with its press, even though the Wolverines didn’t have much time to prepare for it.

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‘‘This is a very high-IQ team that can pick up things very quickly,’’ Michigan coach John Beilein said. ‘‘Everybody that played in the game — even the guys that did not play — just responded beautifully in the way we want Michigan to respond in these situations.’’

McGary, a 6-foot-10-inch freshman, set season highs in scoring and rebounding and was a huge physical presence inside. VCU had no answer for him around the basket, and that pressure defense — the Rams call it ‘‘Havoc’’ — wasn’t much of a factor.

VCU was relentless in a 46-point rout of Akron Thursday night, but the Rams met their match against Michigan’s backcourt. Burke and Hardaway rarely looked rattled, and Michigan (28-7) committed only 12 turnovers.

The 71-point swing by VCU — from a 46-point win to a 25-point loss — was the largest in NCAA Tournament history, according to STATS, Inc. In 1968, Houston beat Texas Christian, 103-68, to reach the Final Four, then lost to UCLA, 101-69, for a 67-point swing.

VCU (27-9) went 0-8 this season when forcing fewer than 15 turnovers.

Michigan heads to Arlington, Texas, to play Kansas or North Carolina on Friday. The Wolverines are advancing farther in the NCAA Tournament than they have since 1994.

Midwest Oregon 74, Saint Louis 57 — Oregon is riding its much-debated No. 12 seed all the way to the round of 16.

Damyean Dotson scored 23 points, Carlos Emory added 14 points, and the hot-shooting Ducks sprinted past fourth-seeded Saint Louis in San Jose, Calif.

Dotson made his first five 3-pointers to carry Oregon (28-8) into the second weekend for the first time since 2007, when it lost to eventual repeat champion Florida in the regional final. The Ducks made 8 of 11 shots from beyond the arc, while the Billikens were 3 for 21.

Oregon will play No. 1 overall seed Louisville in the Midwest Regional in Indianapolis next.

Kwamain Mitchell scored 18 points and Dwayne Evans had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Billikens (28-7), who set a school record for wins this season following the death of coach Rick Majerus in December.

Michigan State 70, Memphis 48 — Gary Harris scored 16 of his career-high 23 points in the first half and the third-seeded Spartans cruised past the sixth-seeded Tigers in Ann Arbor, Mich., putting the Tom Izzo-led program in the regional semifinals for the fifth time in six years and the 11th time in his career.

Michigan State (27-8) will play the winner of the Duke-Creighton game on Friday in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis.

Memphis (31-5) had advanced in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in Josh Pastner’s four seasons as coach.

Michigan guard Keith Appling left with a shoulder injury with 8:35 left and didn’t return. He said he expects to play in the regional semifinal.

Louisville 82, Colorado State 56 — Russ Smith led four players in double figures with 27 points, and the Cardinals put on a defensive clinic as they dismantled the Rams in Lexington, Ky.

It was the 12th straight win for Louisville (31-5), which forced eighth-seeded Colorado State (26-9) into a season-high 20 turnovers.

East

Marquette 74, Butler 72 — Vander Blue scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half to rally the third-seeded Golden Eagles out of another hole in Lexington, Ky., to reach the round of 16.

Marquette (25-8) will meet the winner of Sunday’s game between Illinois and Miami on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

Blue, the junior whose last-second layup edged Davidson Thursday, led the Golden Eagles’ rally from a 35-27 halftime deficit and tied the game at 69 on 3-pointer with 1:25 remaining.

Rotnei Clarke’s 24 points led Butler (27-9).

Syracuse 66, California 60 — C.J. Fair scored 18 points, James Southerland added 14, and the fourth-seeded Orange survived a second-half drought of more than 12 minutes without a field goal to get past the 12th-seeded Bears (21-12) in San Jose.

Syracuse (28-9) frustrated California with its zone defense to overcome a dismal shooting night when it made just 39 percent of its shots and missed 15 of 41 free throws. But it proved to be enough to send Syracuse to regional semifinal in Washington against Indiana or Temple.

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