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March Madness teams set for Elite Eight

Virginia Cavaliers forward Anthony Gill shoots over Iowa State Cyclones guard Deonte Burton during the first half in a semifinal game in the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament March 25, 2016 in Chicago.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Last Updated Mar 26, 2016 12:29 AM EDT

Gill, Tobey lead Virginia past Iowa State 84-71

CHICAGO -- Anthony Gill finished with a season-high 23 points, Mike Tobey came off the bench to score 18, and top-seeded Virginia beat Iowa State 84-71 in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Region semifinals on Friday night.

The Cavaliers (29-7) withstood a second-half push by the fourth-seeded Cyclones (23-12) after grabbing a big lead in the early going and advanced to their first regional final since 1995.

Virginia will face Syracuse on Sunday. A win would send the Cavaliers to their first Final Four since 1984, when coach Tony Bennett was a teenager.

Georges Niang had another big game for Iowa State, finishing with 30 points after scoring 28 against both Iona and Arkansas-Little Rock in the first two rounds. But an up-and-down first season under coach Steve Prohm ended on a disappointing note.

With a chance to go farther than they ever did under predecessor Fred Hoiberg, the Cyclones never could recover from a flat start in the arena where "The Mayor" now coaches the Chicago Bulls.

They got outscored 52-36 in the paint, with Gill finishing two points shy of a career high and Tobey missing his personal best by one. Gill had eight rebounds while Tobey grabbed seven.

ACC Player of the Year Malcolm Brogdon added 12 points and five assists for the Cavaliers.

Virginia was leading 49-35 early in the second half when Iowa State went on a 9-2 run that Monte Morris finished with a floater, drawing a roar from a large contingent of Cyclones fans.

But Virginia kept its cool and got the lead back up to 15 -- 63-48 -- on a put-back by Tobey with 9:10 remaining.

With many in the crowd wearing Iowa State's Cardinal and Gold, Virginia did all it could to silence them in the early going. The Cavaliers led by as much as 17 and took a 45-31 advantage to the locker room.

Devon Hall hit a 3 on the game's opening possession, London Perrantes added two more, and in a flash it was 17-3 just over five minutes into the game.

The Cavaliers exposed gaps whether Iowa State was playing man-to-man or zone. They showed some flash, too, like when Darius Thompson delivered a behind-the-back pass to Isaiah Wilkins for a fast-break dunk that made it 26-9.

Iowa State cut into the lead late in the half, with Niang nailing a 3 to make it 41-31 with just over a minute left. But Virginia regrouped.

Gill and Brogdon each hit a pair of free throws to make it a 14-point game and a soaring Gill blocked Niang's layup at the buzzer.

Notre Dame advances with 61-56 win over Wisconsin

PHILADELPHIA -- Demetrius Jackson stripped the ball and scored the go-ahead layup with 14.7 seconds left and Notre Dame advanced to the brink of its first Final Four in 38 years with a 61-56 win over Wisconsin on Friday night in the East Region semifinal of the NCAA Tournament.

Jackson sealed the win with a pair of free throws to send the Irish (24-11) into a regional final for the second straight season.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Demetrius Jackson, right, and Wisconsin Badgers guard Bronson Koenig react after a semifinal game in the East regional of the NCAA Tournament March 25, 2016 in Philadelphia.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame lost to Kentucky a year ago. This year, the Irish will get a shot at top-seeded North Carolina on Sunday.

Vitto Brown's 3-pointer with 26 seconds left put the Badgers (22-13) up 56-53 and kept Wisconsin's shot at a third straight Final Four alive.

But the Irish shook off a miserable shooting game down the stretch and have their first Final Four since 1978 in sight.

V.J. Beachem scored 19 points, Zach Auguste had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Jackson scored 16 points.

Ethan Happ led the Badgers with 14 points and 12 boards.

Both of these teams needed last-second game-winning shots in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16.

After a sluggish start, the dramatics Friday night came right on time.

Happ put the Badgers up 53-51 and the lead but Jackson brought the Irish right back with two straight layups that sent the Notre Dame crowd into a frenzy.

Wisconsin star Nigel Hayes was a non-factor, scoring 11 points on just 4 of 12 shooting.

With Hayes slumping, Wisconsin let the Irish hang around and make a run even with the kind of gory shooting numbers that would have had them blown out against a Villanova or Kansas.

Yet the Irish tied it at 34 on Jackson's runner and Auguste had a monster block from behind on Hayes that sparked some life into a stagnant game. Hayes snapped the tie with a 3 the next time down and a snoozer suddenly felt like March Madness. Hayes had missed 20 straight 3-pointers.

Zak Showalter flew out of nowhere -- the lane? the sky? -- and slammed home a miss that put the Badgers up 39-38.

The Badgers needed more of the same - but were doomed by off-kilter 3-point shooting (6 of 20) and 17 turnovers.

Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie sat on press row and watched Notre Dame warm up, then must have felt right at home with another miserable half of basketball inside the NBA arena.

Notre Dame and Wisconsin combined for so many misses in the first half, it was easy to think the 76ers were still in town. The Irish and Badgers combined to miss 13 straight shots over 4 minutes and nearly lulled the crowd to sleep.

The Badgers missed 8 of 10 3-point attempts. Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes is still mired in a shooting slump. Adding in another slow start against Notre Dame and the All-Big Ten selection is now 6 for 32 from the field in two and half NCAA Tournament games.

Still, Wisconsin held a 23-19 lead at halftime and it was the lowest scoring first half of the season for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame didn't advance in the tourney with those kind of woeful shooting numbers. The Irish shot 58 percent against Michigan and 57 percent vs. Stephen F. Austin. Adding to the ugliness, the teams combined for 14 turnovers.

Last-minute shot gives Syracuse edge over Gonzaga 63-60

CHICAGO -- Michael Gbinije made a go-ahead layup with 22 seconds left, sending Syracuse to a 63-60 victory over Gonzaga on Friday night and a spot in the Elite Eight.

Tyler Lydon sealed the win with a block on Josh Perkins' runner in the final seconds. Lydon then grabbed the ball and made two foul shots before Domantas Sabonis' desperate fling was well off at the buzzer.

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Syracuse Orange forward Michael Gbinije scores the go-ahead basket against Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Kyle Wiltjer during the second half in a semifinal game in the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament March25, 2016 in Chicago.
USA Today Sports

Gbinije scored 20 points and Trevor Cooney had 15 as Syracuse (22-13) advanced to the regional final for the first time since 2013. The 10th-seeded Orange will face No. 1 Virginia on Sunday for a spot in the Final Four.

Kyle Wiltjer had 23 points for No. 11 Gonzaga (28-8), and Sabonis finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds. The rest of the Bulldogs accounted for just 18 points.

Gonzaga looked as if it was heading to the final eight for the second straight season before Syracuse switched to full-court pressure late in the second half. The Bulldogs held the Orange to 36.1 percent shooting, but committed 17 turnovers and Syracuse took advantage down the stretch.

Sabonis' rebound basket gave the Bulldogs a 57-48 lead with 6:24 to play, but it was their last field goal of the night. Tyler Roberson's foul shot got Syracuse within one before Gonzaga gave it right back with a 10-second violation. Lydon also had a key block on Sabonis to help keep it a one-point game.

Gbinije drove inside in the final 30 seconds and missed his first attempt before grabbing the rebound and putting it in for a 61-60 lead. Cooney then had a hustle steal on the other end, but stepped out of bounds in a close call that had fans looking for TV monitors all over the arena to see if they agreed.

With the crowd standing on its feet, Perkins drove into the lane and Lydon stepped up for the block before grabbing the ball and getting fouled with 1.6 second left. The freshman forward finished with six blocks.

North Carolina routs Indiana 101-86

PHILADELPHIA -- North Carolina was never in doubt against Indiana.

The Tar Heels beat the Hoosiers 101-86 to complete the Elite Eight, half of which will be Atlantic Coast Conference teams.

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North Carolina's Brice Johnson dunks during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana in the regional semifinals of the men's NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 25, 2016, in Philadelphia.
Chris Szagola, AP

North Carolina will face sixth-seed Notre Dame on Easter Sunday.

The Tar Heels split two games with the Irish this season, but beat Notre Dame in the ACC tournament semifinals earlier this month by 31 points.

UNC's win also put all four No. 1 seeds a step away from the Final Four. In a year that seemed wide open, there have been few surprises after the first round of this NCAA Tournament.