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UPDATED: Tucson Subregional game blog: Lute Olson visits with Aztecs

San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 21 points vs. Northern Colorado.
Photo by Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

No. 4 seed Kansas State shuts the door on Utah State to end the day at McKale. The Wildcats hold on, 73-68. They will play fifth-seeded Wisconsin on Saturday. In the other game, No. 2 San Diego State gets seventh-seeded Temple.

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Still playing basketball at McKale, with Utah State cutting Kansas State’s lead to 56-50 with 3:45 to go. The Aggies have the ball … looking for a great nightcap to a fine day of Madness.

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Utah State starts the second half on a 6-0 run. This somewhat makes me happy considering my pick of the Aggies is public record.

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The times for Saturday’s games in Tucson are 3:10 and 5:40. Both will be televised by TNT.

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Not totally unexpected: Kansas State’s length and athleticism is making it tough for Utah State to get open looks, and the Wildcats lead 33-22 at halftime. This is pretty much what has happened to the Aggies in previous NCAA Tournament appearances; they’re just not able to run their offense as efficiently as they would.

Plus, their best player, senior forward Tai Wesley, has three fouls at halftime.

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That’s three games in the books. No. 4 Wisconsin beats No. 13 Belmont 72-58 in a game that lacked drama in the second half. Most of us courtside are busy trying to get more information of Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel, agreeing to a five-game suspension.

Now comes the game I was most eager to see here today — Utah State vs. Kansas State.

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San Diego State sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard is a force of nature — “Kawhi’s the best offensive rebounder I’ve ever coached,” said coach Steve Fisher — and he finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds against Northern Colorado.

“He’s a lottery pick,” said Bears forward Chris Kaba. “You can’t say too much more about that. He was a cool dude.”

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Former Arizona Wildcats coach Lute Olson, who met with San Diego State coach Steve Fisher at team’s practice, spoke with the Aztecs’ after their victory over Northern Colorado.

“Lute and I have been friends for a long, long time,” Fisher said at his postgame news conference.

“He came in his locker room, which is the locker room we have, and he went around and talked to some of our players individually. And he just talked about our team and the length that we’ve got and how we can what we’ve talked about all year. …

‘It was very, very complimentary. Then he went around and shook several hands and told them the same thing.”

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Elsewhere, there is your No. 12 seed upset. Richmond knocks off No. 5 Vanderbilt 69-66. If there is only one of this a year, you feel better about No. 5 Arizona vs. 12th-seeded Memphis on Friday.

Yes, I picked Richmond in my bracket. Thanks for asking.

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No. 2 seed San Diego State, with probably three to four thousand fans at McKale Center, win its first-ever NCAA Tournament game, defeating No. 15 Northern Colorado 68-50.

Not a thing of beauty — as it was SDSU brought Michigan’s Fab Five to McKale for the 1993 tournament, beating UCLA on a buzzer-beater in overtime — but the Aztecs advanced comfortably. They will play Temple on Saturday.

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Temple's Ramone Moore jumps on Juan Fernandez, who hit the game-winning shot in the final second.
Chris Morrison-US PRESSWIRE

Penn State’s Talor Battle on the game-winning buzzer-beater from Temple’s Juan Fernandez: “I bet you one thing. For the rest of our lives, we’ll be able to watch the 2011 One Shining Moment and always have to see that shot.”

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Elsewhere, Kentucky scores with two seconds left to beat Princeton 59-57. Louisville already was upset by Morehead State. Could have been a tough day for the state of Kentucky and Italian head coaches.

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One game down, one buzzer-beater in the books.

Temple’s Juan Fernandez, in trouble on the final possession, having picked up his dribble, ducks under Penn State’s Tim Frazier and leans in to hit a 15-footer from the left angle in the final second.

That gives the seventh-seeded Owls the 66-64 victory over 10th-seeded Penn State.

The Nittany Lions had tied the game at 64 on Talor Battle’s 3-pointer with 14.2 seconds left.

Next up: No. 2 San Diego State vs. No. 15 Northern Colorado.

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The day is off to a great start. The first game is going down the wire, with Temple leading Penn State 58-57 at the final media timeout — 3:25 to play.

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I’m courtside here at McKale. The Temple Owl mascot is standing right in front of me. The name of the back of his jersey is “Hooter.”

In other mascot news:

Tweets Jack Magruder of FoxSportsArizona.com: Penn State Nittany Lion mascot just tried the mens room at halftime of NCAA regional in Tucson. Line too long. Left. Just find a tree

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Not many seats filled in the top level of McKale Center, but the lower levels are probably at 90 percent occupancy, and it’s a decent atmosphere for the first half of the Temple-Penn State game. Nittany Lions guard Talor Battle, who averages 20.1 points and is the program’s all-time leading scorer, has been as advertised, with 11 first-half points as the game nears halftime.

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The Penn State band practices before the Temple game. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

NCAA Tournament game day at McKale Center, starting with Penn State-Temple at 11:10 a.m. That will kick off four games in Tucson, capped by Utah State and Kansas State.

I’m looking for an upset by the 12th-seeded Aggies in that game.

We’ll have updates here throughout the day, while keeping an eye on what coaches and players are saying in Tulsa, as Arizona and Memphis meet the media.

Other stories of interest:

From USA Today, USC coach Pat Haden told the Los Angeles Daily News he supports Kevin O’Neill “150%,” but added that he’ll take up the alcohol question in the wake of the coach’s run-in with an Arizona booster at a Los Angeles hotel.

From the Arizona Republic: San Diego State’s Steve Fisher hoping for extended NCAA Tournament run. Hard to believe, but the Aztecs have never won an NCAA Tournament game.

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