Trey Burke’s clutch 3-pointer highlights stunning Michigan comeback (Video)

Trey Burke MichiganTrey Burke made the kind of shot Friday that will be replayed on March Madness highlight reels for years to come.

With Michigan down by three and 4.2 seconds left in their South Region NCAA tournament semifinal game, Burke bombed a 3-pointer from nearly 30 feet away that tied the game at 76. Kansas missed a three on the ensuing possession to send the game to overtime where the Wolverines won 87-85.

What makes Burke’s 3-pointer so remarkable is that the sophomore point guard erased a poor first half with an incredible second half. After going 0-for-4 with no points in the first half, Burke went 9-for-17 in the second half and overtime to give him 23 points in the win.

Michigan was down by 10 with under three minutes left in the game and managed to come back to tie the game. Burke made a layup, assisted on another, and nailed a pair of threes in the final two minutes of regulation. Burke’s hot streak extended into overtime where he made his first two shots.

A lot of blame can be ascribed to Kansas for the collapse, but Burke deserves credit for his incredible clutch play during the comeback.

Michigan faces Florida Sunday with a trip to the Final Four at stake.

Video via MGoBlog

Reggie Johnson to miss Miami’s next game with knee injury

Reggie Johnson MiamiReggie Johnson is not traveling with Miami to Washington DC for the team’s Sweet 16 game against Marquette because of a knee injury, according to The Miami Herald.

The Herald’s Manny Navarro reported Tuesday that Johnson was not on the team bus as it embarked on its journey to DC. Two Hurricanes players told Navarro that Johnson’s knee injury is the reason the center stayed home.

“We’re all just going to have to step up,” forward Julian Gamble told the Herald. “Hopefully we get him back for the Final Four.”

Johnson, a senior center, played 18 minutes in the team’s NCAA tournament win over Illinois Sunday. He had five rebounds and did not score.

Johnson has only played more than 20 minutes once in the team’s past 12 games, but the near-300 pounder has still been a presence inside grabbing rebounds.

Since he did not make the trip, Johnson likely will not be available for the regional final should Miami defeat Marquette. The ‘Canes would face the winner of the Syracuse-Indiana game.

UPDATE: The Herald’s Michelle Kaufman says Johnson had arthroscopic surgery on his knee. If that’s the case, he’s probably done for the season.

Jim Larranaga danced like Muhammad Ali after win

Jim Larranaga gave us one of the best and most stunning postgame celebration dances after his team squeaked out a win over Illinois Sunday to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

“I told you guys I wanted to see fighters,” Larranaga told his team. “You know what I saw out there? Muhammad Ali.”

The 63-year-old coach then busted out his best impression of the legendary fighter, shuffling his feet while throwing punches in the air. The ‘Canes loved it, as did we. I can’t stop watching this. It’s even better on repeat.

Video via Ride The Pine; GIF via b/r

Did Illinois get robbed by referees at end of loss to Miami?

Kenny Kadji IllinoisReferees may have hurt Illinois with a bad call in the final minute of their 63-59 loss to Miami in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament Sunday.

Illinois was down 57-55 with 45 seconds left when senior guard D.J. Richardson attempted a 3-pointer from the wing. Richardson’s shot was short and his ball appeared to be knocked out of bounds by Miami’s Kenny Kadji, who had jumped to try grabbing the ball. The referee along the baseline awarded the ball to Miami, which caused Illinois coach John Groce to lose his mind.

Replays appeared to show Kadji knocked the ball out of bounds, though there is a slight chance the ball went off Illinois guard Brandon Paul’s fingertips. Most people felt the ball went off on Kadji, including one of his teammates.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami big man Julian Gamble thought replays showed the ball went off Kadji.

The call completely changed the game. Miami’s Durand Scott was fouled and made both his free throws. Instead of Illinois being down two and taking the ball out beneath the basket, they were suddenly down four with 36 seconds left.

After the game, Groce wouldn’t let Paul respond when the guard was asked by reporters about the play. Groce did give his thoughts when asked about it.

“You saw the same video that I did,” Groce said. “I thought the officiating Friday and [Sunday] was tremendous. These guys did a good job, they did. It’s a hard game to officiate. 50-50 calls are hard sometimes. That’s how he saw the play in live speed. I certainly respect that, respect him, and respect the call that he made.”

Announcer Tim Brando was also incensed by the call. He pointed out that officials could not review the play on instant replay, and he recommended the NCAA make a change to the rule for the future. We hope they follow his advice.

Florida Gulf Coast had the celebration to end all celebrations

Florida Gulf Coast celebrationFlorida Gulf Coast went a little crazy in its celebration after beating San Diego State 81-71 Sunday to reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. At this point, the grouchy types would tell them to “act like they’ve been there before.” But how can you blame them? They became the first 15 seed to ever reach the Sweet 16, and they celebrated accordingly. These dudes were running around the court tearing the roof off. They were chicken dancing, slapping hands with Reggie Miller, and popping water bottles like they were VIP members at the club. But nothing, and I mean nothing, can possibly top the awesome site of their team manager hopping around and busting moves like he was auditioning for a part in “Soul Train.”

More awesome Florida Gulf Coast celebration GIFs and video below:

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North Carolina made one of its fans cry

North Carolina fanNorth Carolina got wiped by Kansas in their South Region NCAA Tournament game Sunday 70-58, and the blowout loss left one Tar Heels fan in tears. Following a block by Kansas’ Jeff Withey, the UNC fan seen above gave his sad face.

It’s understandable why the North Carolina fan was so distraught. The Tar Heels were actually in control and winning for a 10-minute span between the end of the first half and beginning of the second half, but that turned out to be nothing more than a tease. Kansas went up by as much as 17 before settling for the 12-point victory.

GIF via Mock Session

Tom Izzo loved that his players got into a towel fight in team huddle (Video)

Derrick Nix towelMichigan State looked like it had some chemistry problems when Derrick Nix and Keith Appling got into a towel fight in a team huddle Saturday during the Spartans’ 70-48 win over Memphis, but coach Tom Izzo says he loved it.

“Oh it’s great, isn’t it?” Izzo responded when asked about the incident by CBS’ Rachel Nichols after the game. “It reminds me of [Mateen] Cleaves and them. It’s better when your team’s getting a little feisty a little bit. Keith didn’t want to take anything from Nix and he told him, so, that’s all good.”

Nichols pointed out that Izzo didn’t look too happy about the fighting at the time, but Izzo insisted it wasn’t a bad thing.

“Trust me, in my program, that’s all good. They got after it a little bit and I kind of enjoyed it. That’s the way we are. We’re a blue-collar group, and that’s the way we play.”

When Izzo mentioned “Cleaves and them,” he was referring to his 1999-2000 team that won the national championship. They were led by Cleaves, then a senior, who had a tough, take-charge type of mentality. That team also featured the “Flintstones,” which was comprised of Cleaves, Charlie Bell, and Morris Peterson (Antonio Smith had graduated), all of whom grew up playing ball together in Flint, Mich. Nix and Appling live together and played together at Detroit Pershing in high school.

In postgame comments shared by MLive.com, both Appling and Nix said there is nothing but love between them, and that that sort of petty fighting is typical. We encourage you to follow that link to read more about the relationship between Appling and Nix.