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#WhatIf tournament: First No. 1 seed is sent home

The true secret to the success of the Dayton Flyers this season was their supporting cast, even though star Obi Toppin was the national player of the year.

But Toppin didn’t have much help in Dayton’s round of 32 game. The result was the top-seeded Flyers’ magical season coming to an end with a 76-65 loss to No. 8 Florida in an East Region matchup.

Toppin went 6 of 10 from the field and finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The rest of the Flyers combined to go 14-for-44 from the field, including 1 of 11 on 3-pointers.

It was the first regulation loss of the season for Dayton.

Noah Locke made five 3-pointers and scored 20 points for Florida as the Gators became the first team in this tournament to knock out a No. 1 seed.

It was one of several upsets in Saturday’s action in our simulated tournament:

East Region

(5) Ohio State 103, (13) Belmont 67 — The Bruins had no answer for 6-foot-9 junior forward Kaleb Wesson.

The Buckeyes star went for 35 points and 14 rebounds on 13 of 16 from the field. Wesson stretched the defense by making all four 3-point attempts, three in the first half as Ohio State raced to a 61-38 edge at the break.

Andre Wesson and Duane Washington each added 17 points as part of an offensive onslaught for a Buckeyes team that made 58 percent of its shots and went 15-for-33 from deep.

(11) Xavier 69, (3) Louisville 68 — Freshman forward Zach Freemantle caught a pass at the rim from Naji Marshall in the high post and laid it in with 2.3 seconds remaining to give the Musketeers another thrilling victory.

Ryan McMahon’s 3-pointer had put the Cardinals ahead with 24.1 seconds remaining, but Jordan Nwora’s half-court shot ricocheted off the backboard and the side of the rim as time expired.

Nwora finished with a game-high 22 points. Tyrique Jones had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Xavier as it defeated former coach Chris Mack, who led the Musketeers to eight NCAA Tournament appearances in nine seasons before taking the Louisville job two years ago.

(2) Michigan State 71 (7) Arizona 69 — Arizona went on a 6-0 run to get within one before Michigan State’s Cassius Winston found Julius Marble for an open 12-foot jumper with 12 seconds remaining.

The Spartans fouled Nico Mannion with 2.6 seconds.He made the first before missing the second on purpose. The rebound was batted around several times and wasn’t corralled before the clock ran out.

Zeke Nnaji had 11 points and 16 rebounds for Arizona. Xavier Tillman had 17 points and seven rebounds in the win.

Midwest Region

(1) Kansas 87, (9) USC 80 — Devon Dotson had 24 points to help the tournament favorites overcome a 3-for-14 effort from the free-throw line by Udoka Azubuike. Marcus Garrett had five of the 13 steals for Kansas.

Jonah Matthews made all seven free-throw attempts and finished with 23 points for the Trojans, who led 43-41 at the break.

(5) Virginia 60, (13) Vermont 45 — The defending champion Cavaliers won their 13th straight game, including an ACC Tournament championship in our simulation, with another sensational effort on the defensive end.

Virginia limited Catamounts’ superstar Anthony Lamb to eight points on 2 of 11 shooting and held Vermont to just 30 percent overall. Kihei Clark had 20 points and Mamadi Diakite added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers.

(11) Utah State 76, (3) Kentucky 73 — The Aggies went 20 of 21 from the free-throw line to hold on to a game they led the entire second half, but never by more than six points. Sam Merrill had 22 points for Utah State, which forced 18 turnovers.

(2) Creighton 77, (7) Michigan 66 — The Wolverines led 49-45 early in the second half before an 18-2 run that included four 3-pointers by Mitch Ballock changed the game.

Ty-Shon Alexander led the Bluejays with 23 points. Marcus Zegarowski had 18 points and 10 rebounds while holding Michigan’s Zavier Simpson to a 3-for-13 effort from the field.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

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