A look at day two in the second round

A look at the final games of the second round as team advance to the Sweet 16.

>(AP) Stephen Curry doesn’t need a whole game to prove he is one of the best players in the NCAA tournament. The sophomore guard from Davidson is right there if you only count the second half of his games.

Curry became just the third player since 2000 to score 40 points in an NCAA tournament game when he had that many in the first round against Gonzaga. He had 30 points in the second half of the Wildcats’ 82-76 victory.

On Sunday, against one of the best defensive teams in the country, the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry had all but five of his 30 points in the second half of the 78-74 upset of second-seeded Georgetown.

Curry’s second-half total of 55 points would have him in second place on the aggregate scoring list, one behind Jack McClinton who had 38 points in the Hurricanes’ opening win over Saint Mary’s and 18 in Sunday’s loss to Texas.

“I have confidence to shoot the ball every time I shoot it. In the open court, that’s my game – get my feet set and knock down shots,” Curry said. “When I start getting my shot going, it does feel good.”

Jason Richards, Curry’s backcourtmate who had 20 points against Georgetown, did a little psychological coaching during the game.

“Steph’s a great shooter, and I know his shots weren’t falling early. But I said, ‘Stick with it, because shooters never pass up shots.’ He was going to catch fire, and he sure did,” Richards said. “We smiled. You’ve got to have fun out there. If you’re not going to have fun in the NCAA tournament, there’s something wrong with you. We just kind of stayed relaxed, got him to smile finally, and I think that really got him going.”

The other two players to crack the 40-point mark since 2000 didn’t have anywhere near the follow-up success Curry did.

Gerry McNamara of Syracuse had 43 points in the Orange’s first-round win over Brigham Young in 2004, then had 13 on 2-for-11 shooting in a second-round win against Maryland, although he bounced back with 24 in a regional semifinal loss to Alabama.

Tayshaun Prince of Kentucky had 41 points in the Wildcats’ second-round win over Tulsa in 2002, then had 17 on 6-for-16 shooting in a second-round loss to Maryland.

Curry missed 10 of his first 12 shots against Georgetown but finished 8-for-21 from the field, including 5-for-15 from 3-point range.

In the opener, Curry, who averages 25.5 points per game, was 14-for-22 from the field, including 8-for-10 on 3s.

• BUSTED BRACKET: The Midwest Regional will be the first with two double-digit seeds since the East Regional in 2003 had the exact same makeup.

Top-seeded Kansas, No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 10 Davidson and No. 12 Villanova are heading for Detroit for the round of 16 this week.

At Albany five years ago, it was top-seeded Oklahoma, No. 3 Syracuse, No. 10 Auburn and No. 12 Butler in the regional semifinals.

Wisconsin has to be hoping history keeps repeating itself as Syracuse beat Oklahoma in the regional final that year on the way to its first national championship.

• CONFERENCE CALL: The Pac-10 (UCLA, Washington State, Stanford) and the Big East (West Virginia, Villanova, Louisville) both have three teams in the round of 16 while the Big 12 (Kansas, Texas) and Big Ten (Michigan State, Wisconsin) have two each.

Last year the Southeastern Conference and the Pac-10 both had three teams reach the third round and each had one advance to the Final Four – Florida of the SEC and UCLA of the Pac-10.

UCLA is the only team with a chance to return to the Final Four as the Bruins look for their third in a row. Florida, which repeated as national champion last season, and runner-up Ohio State didn’t make the field of 65 this year and Georgetown was beaten by Davidson in the second round on Sunday.

• DIRTY DOZEN: There’s a group the 12 seeds treat worse than the 5s.

Since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985, a No. 12 seed has beaten a No. 5 in the first round 31 times, winning almost one-third of the games.

Villanova and Western Kentucky, the 12s who did in 5s this year, both beat a No. 13 seed Sunday to bring that group’s record to 6-1 in second-round matchups of teams that managed what are usually big upsets in the first round.

The only 13 seed to beat a 12 in the second round was Valparaiso, which defeated Florida State in the second round in 1998.

Villanova, which beat Clemson in the first round and Siena on Sunday, and Western Kentucky, which beat Drake in the first round and San Diego on Sunday, will try to become the first of those 12-13 winners to reach the regional finals.

• WEIRD SHOOTING: The free throw line is 15 feet from the basket and players stand still without any defenders in their face as they shoot.

The 3-point line is 19 feet, 9 inches from the rim and when a player lets fly from behind the arc it’s usually with at least one player coming at him amid the general mayhem of a game.

How do you explain Texas on Sunday?

The Longhorns went 13-of-26 from 3-point range in their 75-72 victory over Miami, Fla., a percentage most coaches can only dream of and that would lead the country. They went 12-of-21 on free throws, a percentage that has coaches reaching for antacids and would be the worst in the country.

“I have been doing good on free throws before. I missed the last two,” said Longhorns sophomore swingman Damion James, who came in shooting 57 percent from the line and went 1-for-4 against Miami. “It happens and we won. I ain’t sweating it anymore. Just go back and shoot free throws at practice and get better.”