With two weekends of the NCAA tournament come and gone, 64 teams have had their championship dreams crushed. Only four still have a chance of cutting down the nets in New Orleans. In the HP ENVY Bracket Challenge, JD Falcon Punchers leads a hungry pack of competitors smart enough to pencil Kentucky, Ohio State, Louisville, Kansas into their Final Fours.
There's one more weekend of pulse-pounding action and hundreds of entrants are still vying for a stable of great prizes from HP, including the HP ENVY 14 Spectre. The Spectre is a premium Ultrabook that commands attention with its scratch-resistant glass that covers the lid, display and palmrest. Weighing less than four pounds and equipped with a HD Radiance display and Radiance Backlit keyboard with a proximity sensor, the Spectre is a stunning notebook worthy of our Final Challenge Champion. Plus, you can maximize your Spectre’s Beats Audio experience with the HP Wireless Audio accessory, which allows you to stream audio to any compatible wireless speaker.
Here are the 10 most ENVY-ous plays from the tournament's second weekend.
Acy to the Hole
Quincy Acy’s thunderous alley-oop dunk on an inbound pass was the most outstanding highlight-reel play on a night full of them as Baylor outlasted Xavier, 75-70, to reach the regional finals for the second time in three years. Acy’s one-handed gem was part of a blistering first half for the Bears, who started the game off with a 22-4 run. Acy finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds in one of the most physically dominating performances of the tournament.
‘D’ Stands for Dieng
Louisville center Gorgui Dieng almost singlehandedly shut down a high-scoring Michigan State offense as the Cardinals advanced to the Elite Eight with a 57-44 win over the Spartans. Dieng blocked seven shots, altered many more, and was the catalyst for a stifling defensive effort. He also made his presence known on the offensive end, where he knocked down the first three-pointer of his career.
Syracuse forward C.J. Fair had been mired in a severe slump going into the Orange’s Sweet 16 matchup with Wisconsin, scoring just 20 points over a six-game stretch. But he broke out in a big way, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds. Syracuse would need everything they got from him as they held off a feverish Badger rally to prevail, 64-63.
One of the most memorable moments of this tournament won’t be a made shot. It will be a near miss. Ohio’s D.J. Cooper flung up a half-court heave at the end of regulation against North Carolina with the score knotted, 60-60. His heave came perilously close to lifting the Bobcats into the Elite Eight – a place no No. 13 seed has ever advanced. The Tar Heels were too much in overtime, ending the Cinderella run.
Kansas didn’t play its best game against North Carolina State. No one could make a jump shot all night, but in the end it didn’t matter. Jeff Withey blocked 10 Wolfpack shots – one shy of a tournament record – and the Jayhawks survived by the narrowest of margins, 60-57, to dance into the Elite Eight.
Freshman forward Chane Behanan scored the go-ahead bucket with 1:06 remaining as Louisville feverishly overtook Florida to secure a spot in the Final Four. The Cardinals outscored the Gators by 15 points over the game’s final 10 minutes and overcame the loss of point guard Peyton Siva, thanks large in part to Russ Smith, who stepped in to score 19 points.
Cleaned Up His Own Mess
Kentucky wasted no time asserting its will against Baylor in a Final Four-clinching win. The Wildcats led by 23 at one point before a Bear run made things slightly interesting in the second half. But Terrence Jones completely shut the door on any comeback bid by rebounding and dunking him his own miss of a free throw to give Kentucky a 69-50 lead. That’s something you rarely—if ever—see.
Bank Always Open
Jared Sullinger’s turnaround jumper kissed the glass not once, but twice on its way in, giving Ohio State a 57-54 lead as the Buckeyes went on to punch their ticket to the Final Four. The big man’s crucial shot staved off a Syracuse rally and was part of a foul-plagued 19-point performance.
Tyshawn Taylor’s steal and subsequent and-one gave Kansas a 74-67 lead over North Carolina and signaled the end of the Tar Heels. Taylor was fouled hard and lost the ball going up, but was able to get a shot at the rim. His heroics followed a three-pointer by Elijah Johnson that gave the Jayhawks some breathing room and helped pave the way to New Orleans.
Bradley Beal made the most of his 10 field goal attempts against Marquette. The Florida freshman went 8-for-10 and scored 21 points as the Gators dispatched the Golden Eagles, 68-58, to advance to the Elite Eight.