Upsets? Forget it!
Things went as expected Thursday as the top seeds had their way in the Midwest Regionals at the Rosemont Horizon outside Chicago.Kansas whipped Ball State 94-72, Brigham Young downed Southern Methodist 80-71, Duke crushed Southern Illinois 105-70 and California edged Louisiana State 66-64.
Kansas will meet BYU in Saturday's second round, while Duke and Cal clash in the second game.
There was talk of Kansas being prime for an upset, having gone 9-5 after starting out 16-1, while Ball State had finished 10-1.
"It was a challenge because everybody, the last couple of weeks, has been putting us in the grave and talking about how poorly we've been playing," Kansas coach Roy Williams said.
The Jayhawks (26-6) were led by Rex Walters, who made all six of his 3-point attempts and scored 23 points. The second-seeded Jayhawks shot 56.3 percent and wore down 15th-seeded Ball State.
Jeermal Sylvester and Jamie Mathews scored 18 points each for Ball State (26-8), which was seeking to match its tourney success of 1990, when it upset Oregon State and Louisville before a 2-point loss to eventual champion UNLV.
"I hope Cal can use this, but they don't have a prayer against Duke. The coach can use this as bulletin board material - Duke is so much better," said outspoken LSU coach Dale Brown, whose team lost to the Blue Devils 96-67 in Hawaii early this season.
Two-time defending champion Duke extended its run of first-round tournament routs to six. The Blue Devils (24-7) set a school record for most points in an NCAA game and had its most lopsided postseason victory since 1990.
The Blue Devils, who hit a Midwest Regional-record 14 of 19 from 3-point range and shot 63.2 percent overall, have won their last six tournament openers by an average of 27 points.
Duke's Bobby Hurley had 25 points, including 6 for 7 from 3-point distance, and seven assists.
The 14th-seeded Salukis (23-10) were making only their second NCAA appearance and first since 1977.
In the nightcap, freshman Jason Kidd drove through a crowd of LSU defenders and scored an underhand layup for the winning basket with one second left.
Cal's Bears, seeded sixth, used a 14-5 run to take a 36-27 lead at halftime over 12th-seeded LSU.