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K-State Slate: 3.16.12

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K-State Basketball

Rodney McGruder scored 30 points to lead K-State past a game Southern Mississippi team in the opening round (yes, I know it's technically the "second round," but I'm still resisting that) of the NCAA Tournament.

K-State's opponent on Saturday will be the Syracuse Orange, who survived an upset bid by No. 16-seed UNC-Asheville yesterday. The Orange got some help from a few atrocious calls down the stretch. It will be another early start, with tipoff slated for 11:15 a.m. CDT.

The Wildcats won despite the fact that not only did Jamar Samuels not score, but he didn't even take a shot. At least he grabbed some rebounds this time, unlike last week in Kansas City. Let's hope that getting the win will settle him down and he'll be ready to roll against Syracuse.

Despite a few potentially killer turnovers, Angel Rodriguez put together an overall solid game for K-State, and made some big free throws down the stretch.

Speaking of Rodriguez, USM's band chanted "where's your green card?" at the Puerto Rican while he shot free throws in the first half. Because to someone from Mississippi, if your name is Rodriguez, you're clearly not a citizen of the United States. USM's university president and interim athletic director apologized for the incident, but I'm skeptical of the interim AD's comment that the incident is not representative of the state or the university. Hundreds of years of history would indicate otherwise.

Big 12!

It was a good day for the Big 12 in the NCAA Tournament yesterday. Iowa State blitzed Connecticut early and squeezed the life out of the Huskies in the second half to advance for a matchup with top-seeded Kentucky on Saturday. Baylor did the opposite, falling behind big early to South Dakota State, but battling back to take a 68-60 win over the Jackrabbits. The Bears will face Colorado on Saturday in Albuquerque.