The Latest: A tale of two teams, and Thomas chose Cyclones

The Latest on the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, with games Thursday night in Anaheim, California, and Louisville, Kentucky (all times Eastern):

12:20 p.m.

Keep your hugs to yourself.

Duke's Grayson Allen didn't want anything to do with a postgame hug or handshake from Oregon's Dillon Brooks.

Allen shrugged off Brooks' attempt to hug him moments after the buzzer sounded in Oregon's 82-68 victory.

Moments earlier, Brooks made a 3-pointer while the teams were pretty much standing around. But the shot clock was set to run out before the game clock, so Brooks launched - and made - to finish with 22 points.

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12:13 a.m.

Oregon is moving on. Duke will not be a repeat champion.

Dillon Brooks scored 22 points to lift the Ducks to an 82-68 victory over the defending champs. Oregon is on the brink of its first Final Four since the Final Four began - way back in 1939.

Next up for Oregon is a matchup with Oklahoma, which rolled to a 77-63 win over Texas A&M earlier in the evening.

Duke's leading scorer this season, Grayson Allen, struggled and finished with 15 points on 4-for-13 shooting

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12:03 a.m.

Duke's national title defense is in big trouble.

Oregon has maintained its double-digit lead for most of the second half against the Blue Devils. The Ducks are up 74-61 with less than 3 1/2 minutes to play, repeatedly hitting big shots down the stretch - none bigger than Dillon Brooks' 3-pointer with 4:46 left, giving him 19 points.

Unless Duke makes a big rally, coach Mike Krzyzewski won't get the Blue Devils halfway to his sixth national title. The Ducks could advance to the brink of their first Final Four since the very first Final Four, way back in 1939.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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11:55 p.m.

Chalk it up in the South Region.

Behind 27 points from Perry Ellis, top-seeded Kansas has beaten the No. 5 seed Maryland Terrapins 79-63, and now the Jayhawks will play the region's No. 2 seed Villanova in the championship Saturday with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

Villanova advanced by routing Miami 92-69 earlier Thursday night.

With the region's top two seeds playing, that might boost the price for tickets for Saturday's game. One site had tickets available for just $20 as the Jayhawks wrapped up their win over Maryland.

- Teresa M. Walker reporting from Louisville.

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11:50 p.m.

Oregon is trying to pull away from Duke with a strong second half. Elgin Cook's three-point play put the Ducks up 57-43 with 12:15 to play.

Oregon is 9 for 16 from the field to start the second half, and its usual balanced offense is led by fired-up Dillon Brooks with 16 points and Cook with 14.

Duke even tried out a zone defense to slow down the Ducks, but it hasn't made a dent so far.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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11:47 p.m.

The Kansas Jayhawks have taken control by hitting the glass.

The Jayhawks have simply dominated on the boards against Maryland with a 19-5 edge in the second half. That's allowed Kansas to outscore Maryland 11-4 for the game in second-chance points.

Kansas now leads Maryland 71-55 with less than 4 minutes standing between the Jayhawks and a regional final Saturday against No. 2 seed Villanova.

--Teresa M. Walker reporting from Louisville.

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11:45 p.m.

Kobe Bryant isn't the only celebrity in the Duke cheering section at Honda Center.

Apple CEO Tim Cook watched the game from a seat two rows behind Bryant, periodically getting out his iPhone during breaks in the action. Cook, an Alabama native, got his MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 1988.

Cook is a big sports fan who also has served on Nike's board of directors. Phil Knight, Nike's chairman and the patron of Oregon's athletic programs, watched the game from across the court in the Ducks' cheering section.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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11:30 p.m.

Kansas has pushed the tempo to seize the momentum from Maryland. The Jayhawks lead 62-53 with 7:10 left.

The Jayhawks have led by as many as 11 by being more physical inside and getting the ball in Perry Ellis' hands. The senior already has 25 points and has made several nifty moves near the basket that the Terps weren't able to stop.

Maryland hasn't been able to solve a Kansas defense that's swarming to the ball much better than in the first half. The Terps have made just 2 of their last 10 and are 6 of 15 so far in the second half.

-Gary B. Graves reporting from Louisville

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11:20 p.m.

More from Anaheim:

The second half is just about underway at Honda Center in a tight one between the Ducks and Blue Devils. Oregon leads 36-31.

Oregon outrebounded Duke 20-15 in the first half, but the teams combined for only seven offensive boards.

Grayson Allen's 1-for-6 shooting for Duke made the difference on the scoreboard, but the Ducks probably shouldn't count on Duke's leading scorer staying cold all night. The Blue Devils also should probably get to the paint more after shooting only two free throws in the first half.

Both teams committed five turnovers apiece. Oregon had 11 assists on 13 field goals, clearly moving the ball well.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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11:10 p.m.

Kansas didn't miss a shot over the first 6 minutes of the second half en route to its largest lead, 50-43 over Maryland, with just under 15 minutes left in the game.

After shooting 41 percent in the first half, the Jayhawks made their first six of the second. Wayne Selden Jr. has the last two, including the second of two 3-pointers by Kansas. Perry Ellis has added a couple of baskets as well and has 16 so far.

-Gary B. Graves reporting from Louisville.

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11:05 p.m.

Top-seeded Oregon leads defending national champion Duke 36-31 at halftime in the West Region semifinal, but it's still anybody's game.

The Ducks scored the final five points of the first half to take a lead to the locker room. Jordan Bell, Elgin Cook and Chris Boucher each made late contributions for the Ducks, who were led by 12 points from Dillon Brooks.

Duke got 14 points from Brandon Ingram, the skinny freshman with boundless talent. Grayson Allen only has three points on 1-for-6 shooting.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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10:50 p.m.

More from halftime in Louisville:

Kansas started to discover its shooting touch to take its two-point halftime lead.

The Jayhawks made 8 of 11 from the field to briefly lead 29-26 before Maryland answered with a 6-2 run to go back ahead. Kansas then closed the half with a 6-2 run of its own and ended at 40 percent shooting after hovering in the 30s for much of the half.

-Gary B. Graves reporting from Louisville.

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10:45 p.m.

Duke and Oregon have started off relatively even, with the Ducks getting seven early points from Jordan Bell, including a roof-raising alley-oop.

Duke relied on six early points from Brandon Ingram before finally getting the first bucket by Grayson Allen, the Blue Devils' leading scorer, with 9:21 left in the first half.

Dillon Brooks got Duke's attention when he hit a 3-pointer while falling and then stared down the Blue Devils' bench while getting back up.

It's 29-27 Oregon with 4 1/2 left in the first half. Still anybody's game.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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10:40 p.m.

Behind 12 points from Perry Ellis, Kansas has a 36-34 lead over Maryland at halftime in the South Regional.

It's been a nip-and-tuck game. Neither team has led by more than six.

Rasheed Sulaimon leads the fifth-seeded Terrapins with 12 points.

Winner plays Villanova, which cruised to a 92-69 victory over Miami in the first game.

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10:20 p.m.

With Kobe Bryant watching from the stands, top-seeded Oregon (30-6) and fourth-seeded Duke (25-10) are underway in the nightcap at Honda Center.

The Ducks are trying to cement their arrival on the national stage with a victory over the defending national champions, while Duke is seeking yet another deep run in the tournament. Both teams are balanced and tall, and both present matchup problems for the other.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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10 p.m.

Rasheed Sulaimon has the early hot hand for No. 5 Maryland against top-seeded Kansas.

The former Duke player has made all three shots, including two 3-pointers, to give the Terps an 18-12 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

Kansas just ended a 5 1/2-minute stretch without a field goal.

Maryland has already doubled its 3-pointer total from Sunday's victory over Hawaii, when it missed its first 15 from behind the arc.

-Gary B. Graves reporting from Louisville.

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9:50 p.m.

So much for the madness.

Tonight's opening games were a pair of double-digit blowouts.

Finals: Oklahoma 77, Texas A&M 63 and Villanova 92, Miami 69.

The second game in Louisville has started. Kansas has a one-point lead over Maryland at the first media timeout.

Warming up in Anaheim: Duke and Oregon, with the winner to play OU.

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9:40 p.m.

Oklahoma is moving on to the Elite 8.

The second-seeded Sooners got 22 points from Jordan Woodard and 17 more from Buddy Hield in a 77-63 runaway over No. 3 Texas A&M.

The Aggies were in Anaheim thanks to a never-seen-before comeback against Northern Iowa last weekend.

No such thing this time. The Sooners went up by double-digits early and never let Texas A&M back in the game.

Next up for Oklahoma is a meeting Saturday against tonight's winner between Oregon and Duke.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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9:35 p.m.

Super Bowl MVP Von Miller can't like what he's seeing at Honda Center from his Texas A&M Aggies, who will need an 18-point comeback in the final 2:40 to stay alive in the NCAA Tournament.

The Denver Broncos superstar is quietly watching the Aggies with friends in the stands in Anaheim. He got surprisingly little recognition from the rest of the crowd when he appeared on the scoreboard midway through the second half.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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9:20 p.m.

Texas A&M is putting in the work in the second half, but isn't seeing the results.

With eight minutes to play in the opening game in Anaheim, Oklahoma has maintained every bit of its 19-point halftime lead over the Aggies, thanks to eight points from Ryan Spangler and a handful of buckets from Buddy Hield. The Sooners are playing solid defense and hitting the offensive boards, and it's tough to imagine this experienced club folding in the same way Northern Iowa did against the Aggies last weekend.

The Sooners are closing in on the Elite Eight and a date with Duke or Oregon.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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9:10 p.m.

No. 2 seed Villanova is on to Saturday's Elite Eight after a 92-69 rout of No. 3 Miami on Thursday night.

The Wildcats scored the game's first eight points and led throughout, helped by 10-of-15 shooting from 3-point range.

Ryan Arcidiacono and Kris Jenkins combined to make 9 of 13 from behind the arc to score 21 points each for the Wildcats (32-5), who will face the winner between top-seeded Kansas and No. 5 Maryland.

Sheldon McClellan scored 26 points for the Hurricanes (27-8), who allowed the second-most points they've given up this season.

-Gary B. Graves reporting from Louisville.

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9 p.m.

The Aggies aren't done just yet in Anaheim.

Texas A&M scored the first five points out of halftime against Oklahoma, forcing the No. 2 seed to call a quick timeout. The Sooners answered with a handful of baskets aided by a quick transition game, but the Aggies appear much more lively than they did in their miserable first half.

Score: OU 53, A&M 38 with just under 16 minutes left.

The Aggies need an even bigger rally than their 12-point comeback in 44 seconds to force overtime against Northern Iowa last weekend. They've also got much more time.

-Greg Beacham reporting from Anaheim.

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8:55 p.m.

For a while, the Miami bench looked like the loneliest place in the world - judging from the empty section of seats behind the Hurricanes.

The seats are filling up now.

They belong to Kansas fans, who slowly filled them in late in the first half, as they got ready for the Jayhawks game against Maryland, which is the second part of the twin bill at the South Regional tonight.

-Gary B. Graves reporting from Louisville.

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8:45 p.m.

Villanova leads Miami 65-54 with a little less than 8 minutes left in the South Regional.

The Wildcats led by as many as 14 in the second half after Daniel Ochefu hit two free throws for a 58-44 advantage. The question now is whether Miami can make this a game.

-Gary B. Graves reporting from Louisville.

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8:35 p.m.

What Texas A&M could really use is another comeback.

The No. 2-seeded Oklahoma Sooners are 20 minutes away from their first trip to the Elite Eight since 2009 after racing to a 45-26 halftime lead over the third-seeded and cold-shooting Aggies in the West Regional.

The Aggies jumped a 13-6 start before Oklahoma's defense started frustrating them and feeding chances on the offensive end.

OU guard Jordan Woodard has 14 points, including three 3-pointers. He also put in a sweet bank shot as the shot clock was close to expiring with about 20 seconds before halftime.

Buddy Hield has 11 points and six rebounds for the Sooners, who are shooting 50 percent to A&M's 34.5 percent.

The Aggies are here because of their remarkable comeback in the final 44 seconds of regulation against Northern Iowa, which resulted in a double-overtime victory.

They're going to need an even bigger miracle at the Honda Center if they're to advance.

-Bernie Wilson reporting from Anaheim.

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8:30 p.m.

The Miami Hurricanes are in trouble.

Villanova has jumped out to a 53-43 lead with 15:47 left, and the Hurricanes have two players with three fouls each.

Senior center Tonye Jekiri picked up his third with 18:40 to go and headed to the bench after expressing his frustration to the official. Redshirt senior Sheldon McClellan was called for his third personal with 17:14 remaining. McClellan is leading Miami with 12 points, all off 3-pointers.

-Teresa M. Walker reporting from Louisville.

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8:25 p.m.

In the women's tournament, Kentucky guard Makayla Epps says she'll be ready to play Friday in after hurting her shoulder in a second-round victory over Oklahoma.

Epps, who averages a team-high 16.6 points per game, briefly left the Oklahoma game Monday with a sprained right shoulder. The first-team all-SEC guard did come back later in the game and said Thursday that she's feeling ''a lot better'' than she did Monday.

''Of course I still have a little pain, a little soreness,'' Epps said. ''That's expected. (It's) nothing that's going to keep me from playing tomorrow.''

Kentucky, the No. 3 seed in the Lexington Regional, faces No. 7 seed Washington on Friday at Rupp Arena.

-Steve Megargee reporting from Lexington, Kentucky.

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8:05 p.m.

He shoots. He scores.

That pretty much sums up the first half between Villanova and Miami.

Villanova leads 43-37 at halftime - the most points Miami has allowed in the first half this season.

Combined, the teams hit 13 of 19 3-pointers.

The second-seeded Wildcats never trailed and actually led by as many as 15 before third-seeded Miami put together a 16-2 run to pull within 31-30 late in the first half.

-Teresa M. Walker reporting from Louisville.

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7:50 p.m.

Third-seeded Texas A&M has opened fast against No. 2 Oklahoma, taking a 13-6 lead thanks to two 3-point shots by Jalen Jones and one by Anthony Collins.

Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, one of the nation's most lethal shooters from behind the arc, missed two 3-pointers in one possession, including an air ball from the left side.

-Bernie Wilson reporting from Anaheim, Calilfornia.

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7:45 p.m.

More 3s, please.

So far, Villanova and Miami have combined to go 10 for 12 from 3-point range.

Leading the way: Miami's Sheldon McClellan at 3 for 3 and Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono who has is 2 of 3.

-Teresa M. Walker reporting from Louisville.

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7:35 p.m.

Most basketball fans either love Duke or hate Duke. As for Oregon, the Blue Devils' opponent in tonight's NCAA Tournament game, it's a little of both.

''I always hated Duke because my older brother, he always loved Duke,'' Ducks forward Jordan Bell said. ''I was the opposite, whatever he loved, I hated.''

Freshman Tyler Dorsey doesn't understand all the hate. He was a huge fan of Kyrie Irving growing up.

''I did watch Duke,'' Dorsey said. ''I like their game, and I like Coach K and the way he runs things. Growing up and watching them, they had some pretty huge teams. Kyrie Irving comes to mind, but that wasn't that long ago.''

-Abbey Mastracco reporting from Anaheim, California

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7:25 p.m.

Foul trouble landed Villanova's leading scorer, Josh Hart, on the bench within the first 3 minutes of the Wildcats' South Regional semifinal against Miami.

The junior guard leads Villanova with 15.4 points per game. He picked up his first foul with 17:46 left, then got his second five seconds later and sat down.

He left with Villanova up 8-0 after hitting three of its first five shots.

The winner of this game plays either top-seeded Kansas or No. 5 seed Maryland on Saturday.

-Teresa M. Walker reporting in Louisville, Kentucky.

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7:20 p.m.

The Virginia Cavaliers aren't the only ones looking marvelous this March Madness.

According to Vogue, Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett looks pretty good, too. The magazine called him the ''George Clooney of March Madness.''

One passage in that story read, ''If there were brackets for dangerously good looks and impeccable poise, Bennett would already be cutting down the nets.'' Another described him as ''a little bit George Clooney, a little bit Kyle Chandler.''

Asked about it Thursday, Bennett shot back, ''I heard you're the Anderson Cooper of journalism. I didn't read the article.''

The coach said he's received his fair share of ribbing. Example: Virginia men's tennis coach Brian Boland texted Bennett to tell him he was ''about to puke.''

''He's always twisting the knife,'' Bennett said. ''But I didn't read it. I didn't read it and am not interested in reading it, really.''

The Cavs play Iowa State in the Midwest Regional on Friday.

-Andrew Seligman reporting from Chicago.

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7:05 p.m.

The second-seeded Villanova Wildcats have a very rich tradition in the NCAA Tournament, as the 1985 champs making their 36th appearance in this event. Only eight teams have played in this tournament more than the Wildcats, who are trying to reach their first Elite Eight since reaching the 2009 Final Four.

Contrast that with their opponent, No. 3 seed Miami.

This is just the eighth NCAA Tournament appearance for the Hurricanes and only their third time in the Sweet 16. Miami is 0-2 in the round of 16, and the Hurricanes are hoping an experienced roster bolstered by three transfers in guard Sheldon McClellan, guard Angel Rodriguez and forward Kamari Murphy along with coach Jim Larranaga provide the winning difference this time around.

''Honestly, we've been hearing about it, that the program has never reached an Elite Eight, so we definitely want to be the first group of guys to do that,'' McClellan said. ''And it will be a big accomplishment for us and the program.''

-Teresa M. Walker reporting from Louisville, Kentucky

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6:40 p.m.

The first South Region semifinal pits two of the top seeds, with third-seeded Miami (27-7) playing No. 2 seed Villanova (31-5). Scanning their common opponents looking for which team might have the edge doesn't provide much help.

Villanova beat Nebraska, Butler (twice), Georgia Tech and La Salle while losing its only game against Virginia.

Miami beat Nebraska (in overtime), Butler, Georgia Tech and La Salle. The Hurricanes won one of three games against Virginia this season.

Looking to the history between these teams doesn't help much either.

This will be their first meeting in the NCAA Tournament and first since March 2004, when both were members of the Big East. Miami has won nine of the last 13 games in this series.

-Teresa M. Walker reporting from Louisville.

6:30 p.m.

When Matt Thomas was a prep star in Wisconsin, he was recruited by Iowa State and Virginia. The 6-foot-4 guard opted for the Cyclones, playing a key role in their run to their second Sweet 16 in three years.

Next up for Thomas and company are ... the Cavaliers, and coach Tony Bennett. The teams meet Friday in the Midwest Regional.

''It was the same thing as Iowa State,'' Thomas said of his recruitment. ''They got on me pretty early, coach Bennett, and I built a real good relationship with them and their coaching staff and I went out there on a visit. But obviously I'm a Cyclone now and that doesn't mean anything to me anymore.''

Thomas, a junior averaging 10.9 points, said proximity to his hometown of Onalaska made a difference in his choice.

''A big difference was just the travel,'' he said. ''It was a little too far. I wanted to be somewhere where my friends and family could come watch me play.''

-Jay Cohen reporting from Chicago.

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6 p.m.

Tip-off time for the Sweet 16 is getting close.

There are four games on the schedule Thursday night, starting with the South Regional semifinal between second-seeded Villanova and third-seeded Miami. They tip at 7:10 p.m. Eastern, and when they're done, top seed Kansas will take the floor against fifth-seeded Maryland. The winners meet Saturday for a trip to the Final Four.

In the West, it will be the nation's second-leading scorer, Buddy Hield, leading No. 2 Oklahoma against No. 3 Texas A&M at 7:37 p.m., followed by No. 1 Oregon against the defending national champions, fourth-seeded Duke.

The Midwest and East Regionals are Friday, with North Carolina, Virginia, Gonzaga and Syracuse among those in action.

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