- Associated Press - Monday, March 21, 2011

CHICAGO | The question is no longer whether Virginia Commonwealth belongs. Instead, it’s: Who can stop the Rams?

Bradford Burgess scored 23 points and 11th-seeded VCU made it three victories in five days Sunday night, routing third-seeded Purdue 94-76 to earn a trip to the Southwest regional semifinals.

VCU’s remarkable run sends the Rams to the round of 16 for the first time in school history.

With their fans chanting “VCU, VCU” as the final seconds ticked off the clock, they’ve now ousted Southern Cal, Georgetown and Purdue since Wednesday night.

Deep, fast and talented, VCU (26-11) will now play the winner of Notre Dame-Florida State on Friday in San Antonio.

Jamie Skeen added 13 points in a balanced scoring attack as the Rams led by as many 20, shutting down the Boilermakers (26-8) and, for most of the night, quieting a large contingent of Purdue fans at the United Center.

Speedy floor leader Joey Rodriguez scored 12 points and had 11 assists, controlling the tempo. VCU shot 57 percent and had 26 assists to just four turnovers.

Duke tops Michigan for Coach K’s 900th

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | Duke is no stranger to this situation: Facing an underdog with uncanny touch from 3-point range, one that’s racing downcourt in the closing seconds, scrambling for one last shot at some NCAA tournament magic.

This time, it was Michigan’s turn to miss.

Nolan Smith scored 24 points and the top-seeded Blue Devils held their breath as the Wolverines’ last shot clanged off the iron, sealing a 73-71 win Sunday that marked the 900th victory of coach Mike Krzyzewski’s Hall of Fame career.

“The 900, it means that we’re advancing,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s the main thing.”

Kyle Singler added 13 points for the Blue Devils (32-4), who shot 51 percent, never trailed in the second half and advanced to the round of 16 for the 12th time in 14 years. Next stop: Anaheim, Calif., for the West regional semifinals Thursday night.

North Carolina edges Washington

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | North Carolina’s Roy Williams woke up Sunday morning feeling ill.

The Hall of Fame coach then had to endure one stomach-turning play after another in a dramatic and confusing finish that left the Tar Heels in a familiar spot: the NCAA tournament’s round of 16.

Tyler Zeller scored 23 points, Harrison Barnes added 22 and North Carolina survived a closing minute that included numerous questionable calls to beat Washington 86-83 in the East region. The Tar Heels are into the second weekend for a record 24th time.

Rallying from deficits of 11 points in the first half and five in the second, the second-seeded Tar Heels (28-7) went ahead for good on Barnes’ 3-pointer with 4:06 left.

Arizona tops Texas to return to Sweet 16

TULSA, Okla. | Arizona didn’t forget how to advance in its one-year absence from the NCAA tournament.

Derrick Williams’ three-point play with 9.6 seconds remaining lifted the Wildcats to a 70-69 win over Texas in the third round of the NCAA tournament Sunday night.

The Wildcats (29-7) led by as many as 13 points in the first half and were up for most of the game before J’Covan Brown’s jumper put the Longhorns ahead 69-67. Williams misfired on a game-tying attempt with 14.5 seconds remaining, but Texas (28-8) was called for a five-second violation on the inbound pass to give Arizona one more chance.

Replays appeared to show the call came before the count reached five.

Williams took advantage, slipping to the baseline on a pick-and-roll and taking the pass from Kyle Fogg. His shot fell through to tie the game, and his free throw put the Wildcats into the regional semifinals for the first time since last year’s absence snapped a 25-year tournament streak.

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