Two Historic Upsets Set Half of Final Four

Butler, West Virginia overcome odds to make it to the Big Dance

032810 WVU Butler Upset Split
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So much for the 1-seeds.

Half of the Final Four was decided Saturday night as both Butler and West Virginia overcame their lower seeds to punch their card to Indianapolis, continuing a chain of upsets that has made this year's NCAA tournament unlike any other.

Fifth-seeded Butler upended No. 2 seed and expert favorite Kansas State 63-56 Saturday in the first half of Elite Eight play, just days after it sent No. 1 seed Syracuse back to New York en route to the Final Four.

This will be the first time the Bulldogs, out of the Horizon League, have ever played in the national semifinals.

Butler star Gordon Hayward made a go-ahead layup with less than a minute to go in regulation against Kansas State, sparking a series of defensive stops and offensive plays for the Bulldogs that eventually put them up seven as the game ended.

Hayward finished with 22 points for Butler, whose stellar defense stifled K-State offensive machines Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen, who were held to less than 30 points combined.

West Virginia followed Butler's upset with one of their own, besting No. 1 seed Kentucky 73-66 to earn their own ticket to the Big Dance.

WVU star Da'Sean Butler, known for his clutch play for the Mountaineers, scored 18 points, while Joe Mazzulla scored a career-high 17 points to lead Bob Huggins' squad over John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats.

The Wildcats suffered a night of poor shooting -- they were held to 4-of-32 from three-point land and went 16-29 from the foul line. Kentucky wunderkind John Wall, the freshman expected to carry his team to the Final Four, finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Wall is expected to declare for the NBA draft.

West Virginia's win over the Wildcats means the Big East champions are in the Final Four for the first time since 1959, where they lost to California.

Sunday play will begin with fifth-seeded Michigan State against sixth-seeded Tennessee, the unexpected victors in a region that also included fallen giants No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Ohio State.

Duke, the lone remaining No. 1 seed, will also square off Sunday against Baylor, a Texas team expected to challenge the Blue Devils for the win.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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