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Friday Favorites: Top NCAA Seeds Advance

After a wild day of buzzer beaters and shocking upsets, higher seeded teams restored some order to the NCAA tournament Friday.

Jermaine Dixon and Gilbert Brown scored 17 points apiece and Pittsburgh avoided becoming the latest Big East powerhouse to get knocked off in the first round of the NCAA tournament, overcoming a slow start to rout Oakland 89-66 on Friday in the West Regional.

In later action in the West, Matt Bouldin scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half to help eighth-seeded Gonzaga hang on for a 67-60 victory over No. 9 Florida State.

Capping the night for the West, Wes Johnson had 18 points to lead five Syracuse players in double figures, and the top-seeded Orange beat Vermont 79-56.

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Syracuse (29-4), playing without injured center Arinze Onuaku, avenged a stunning overtime loss to Vermont (25-10) in the 2005 tournament. The Orange will play Gonzaga in the second round on Sunday.

In the East Regional, Kyle Singler had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Jon Scheyer scored 13 and No. 1 seed Duke rolled past Arkansas-Pine Bluff 73-44.

Lance Thomas chipped in 12 points and Nolan Smith added 10 as the Blue Devils began their quest for a fourth national championship in dominating fashion.

In the South Regional, Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson scored 21 points apiece and eighth-seeded California squandered most of a seemingly comfortable lead before pulling away to 77-62 victory over ninth-seeded Louisville.

The Golden Bears (24-10), who played without suspended starting forward Omondi Amoke, advanced to the second round Sunday against Duke.

In the Midwest Regional, Kalin Lucas scored a career-high 25 points and Raymar Morgan emerged from a quiet night by hitting key shots down the stretch as fifth-seeded Michigan State edged No. 12 New Mexico State 70-67.

Also in the Midwest, slick shooter Jon Diebler scored 23 points and big forward Dallas Lauderdale blocked a career-high eight shots and grabbed 12 rebounds for the second-seeded Ohio State (28-7), who defeated No. 15 seed UC Santa Barbara 68-51.

The Buckeyes advanced to play Sunday against No. 10 seed Georgia Tech.

Closing out Midwest Regional's first round, Maryland (24-8) overcame an off night by ACC player of the year Greivis Vasquez, who had a quiet 16 points, as Maryland beat No. 13 seed Houston 89-77. The fourth-seeded Terrapins will play Sunday against Michigan State (25-8).

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In the South Regional, Keaton Grant ignited the decisive run that rallied fourth-seeded Purdue past No. 13 seed Siena 72-64.

Also in the South, Jon Leuer scored 20 points and Trevon Hughes added 19, and fourth-seeded Wisconsin held off No. 13 seed Wofford 53-49 in the opening round of the NCAA tournament Friday.

Meanwhile, Freshman Khris Middleton scored a career-high 19 points and fifth-seeded Texas A&M beat No. 12 Utah State 69-53.

No. 2 West Virginia (28-6) rolled to a 77-50 win over No. 15 seed Morgan State.

And Texas A&M freshman Khris Middleton scored a career-high 19 points to help the fifth-seeded Aggies beat No. 12 Utah State and advance to the second round for the fifth consecutive year. The Aggies will face Purdue on Sunday.

However, not all of the favorites advanced Friday.

Louis Dale scored 21 points, Ryan Wittman added 20 and No. 12 seed Cornell beat fifth-seeded Temple 78-65 in the East Regional.

In Midwest regional action, Gani Lawal scored 14 points, Derrick Favors added 12 points and nine rebounds, and 10th-seeded Georgia Tech made 24 of 25 free throws to hold off seventh-seeded Oklahoma State 64-59.

Elsewhere, No. 10 seed Missouri upended No. 7 seed Clemson 86-78 and Xavier continued its run of NCAA tournament success with a 65-54 victory over Minnesota in the West Regional.

Xavier (25-8) will be in the second round for the fourth straight year, this time under first-year coach Chris Mack.

Day One of the tournament featured individual performances, buzzer-beaters, overtime games and double-overtime games,'s Gary Parrish says. Bad teams won and good teams lost, and Kentucky and Kansas both took their first steps toward an anticipated showdown on the first Monday in April.

The NCAA tournament is famous for the little guys shocking the marquee powerhouses and turning into the darlings of March. West Region Analysis East Region Analysis South Region Analysis Midwest Region Analysis

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