Blog Entry

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

Posted on: March 22, 2009 2:26 am
Edited on: March 22, 2009 3:17 am

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Can somebody get Ken McDonald a timeout?


I think he's still signaling over there.

Just call the timeout, already.

Here's a rundown of Saturday's NCAA tournament action ...

Story of the day: Ty Lawson's toe participated in a basketball game for the first time in nearly two weeks and pushed North Carolina to an 84-70 win over LSU that has the Tar Heels in the Sweet 16. The ACC Player of the Year got 21 points in the second half to finish with 23 points and six assists in 31 minutes, the last of which featured him bending over at the free throw line, motioning to Roy Williams and mouthing the words "Get me out." With the game in hand, Williams obliged. A standing ovation ensued.

Game of the day: "It was a fun game to watch," Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald said by phone late Saturday night, and that he didn't sound too excited should tell you he finished on the wrong end of the fun. Final score: Gonzaga 83, WKU 81 . But McDonald's quote was accurate, because it was a fun game -- one that started with Sun Belt Player of the Year Orlando Mendez-Valdez scoring 17 points in the first 10 minutes, then featured Gonzaga leading for much of the second half, then featured Western Kentucky tying the score on a stickback with 7.2 seconds remaining only to watch Dmetri Goodson go the length of the court to score the game-winner with 0.9 seconds remaining. At that point, McDonald tried to get a timeout to set up a play, and officials are trained to look at the bench to see if a timeout is desired. But McDonald's gestures somehow went unnoticed -- seriously, how did the referees not see him jumping and yelling? -- and Gonzaga escaped with a memorable victory that'll send them to Memphis for a Sweet 16 showdown with Ty Lawson's toe.

Upset of the day: Only one lower-seeded team beat a higher-seeded team, and that was Purdue (the No. 5 seed in the West) beating Washington (the No. 4 seed in the West). JaJuan Johnson got 22 points, six rebounds and four blocks for the Boilermakers, who held on for a 76-74 victory that advanced them to the Sweet 16, where they'll meet Connecticut.

Predictable star: Blake Griffin became the first player in six years to record a 30-15 game in the NCAA tournament by getting 33 points and 17 rebounds in Oklahoma's 73-63 win over Michigan. More important, he was neither concussed nor thrown to the ground, meaning the National Player of the Year should be ready Friday when the Sooners play in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.

Unpredictable star: Texas didn't beat Duke, but it almost did, and the main reason was Varez Ward, a guy who sometimes doesn't play, and rarely plays much at all. The freshman entered averaging just 3.8 points per game. But he got a career-high 16 against the Blue Devils, who endured Ward's unexpected effort and held on for a 74-69 victory .

-- Three random notes --

1. Villanova's 89-69 win over UCLA prevented the Bruins from making a fourth consecutive Final Four. A key stat was that Alfred Aboya had three fouls, meaning the Bruins finished the season with a 6-7 record when Aboya gets at least three fouls, a 20-2 record when he does not.

2. Jim Calhoun had a stress-free afternoon thanks to his Connecticut Huskies simple 92-66 win over Texas A&M. UConn's first two NCAA tournament wins have come by a combined 82 points, which tied a record set by Duke in 1999.

3. The SEC is the only BCS-affiliated league guaranteed to not have a representative in the Sweet 16. That's the result of LSU's second-round loss, and first-round losses by Tennessee and Mississippi State. The SEC went 1-3 in this tournament.

Final thought: Memphis might well finish with a losing record in the ACC.

But I doubt it.

And Greivis Vasquez was silly to say it.

Because there is no team in the country that thrives off a lack of respect -- real or otherwise -- more than John Calipari's Tigers, mostly because nobody is better than Calipari at taking slights and using them to his advantage. The guy is a master motivator, a unique button-pusher, the kind of coach who can take perfectly reasonable quotes and make them seem unreasonable. He doesn't need the other team's help. But he got it Friday thanks to Vasquez, and on Saturday Calipari watched his Tigers completely overwhelm Maryland, just dominate the Terps in a way that left Vasquez humbled, if not humiliated, following the 89-70 blowout .

"They proved me wrong," he said.

Finally, a Vasquez assessment that makes some sense.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2009 7:59 pm

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

"Memphis might well finish with a losing record in the ACC....But I doubt it.....And Greivis Vasquez was silly to say it. "

Well, just ask "Greivis" how many of the 7 ACC teams are still in the Big Dance, and how many of thm fell in the first round!  The big and mighty ACC could not hold their own when they started playing the big boys....and the two are still in there nearly lost too!

Go Tigers....


Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2009 3:05 pm

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

RC841, good comments.  I agree that memphis would be the number two and possibly the number one team i teh ACC THIS year.  I feel that this is a down year in college hoops in general, and even more so in the ACC.  If Memphis played in the ACC, they wouldn't have scheduled Syracuse or georgetown early - - no need to play big time programs to get your RPI up when you have to play Duke UNC Wake, Fla St, Clemson, Virginai, maryland, Miami, et al in the regular conference games.  I think they probably would have lost about the same amount of games - -  lets say maybe 5 instead of 3.  They probably would still be a 2 seed.  In the end, its what you can do on the court that matters.  As a Tiger insider, I can tell you that what Sallie and Mack have done int he last two games is not, as many people have stated, an abberation, but what we have been expecting them to do all season. 


Calipari has done a ,masterful job of preparing the Tigers for the Big Dance.  These guys have been harrased by him all season long to toughen them up - -the Bear Bryant philosophy.  His practices are absolutely brutal.  He then builds them up in March and viola! - - some great performances.  The proof is in the pudding.  Although I believe we won't have any more 20+ point victories I do think the Tigers will make the Elite Eight and have a good shot at CT for the Final Four.  By the way, hats off to UConn for their first two dominating performances.  AFter the weay they ended the season, I thought they were done.  Nice job Coach Calhoun.


Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2009 1:35 pm

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

RC841, you said it better than I did.


Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2009 12:29 pm

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

Give me a break - if it takes anger over a perceived slight to get you truly motivated to play a game in the Dance than you are not emotionally mature or a true competitor - not that the Maryland player should not have kept his mouth shut.  Too much bushleague crap these days - like that Devandork punk from Syracuse who has to posture after every shot - just let your game do the talking. That being said, anyone who doesn't respect Memphis as a Top 10 or even Top 5 program over the past 3-4 years is an idiot - their Dance track record as of late speaks for itself.  In the ACC, I think they would have been 2nd place (definitely better than Duke - more athletic & stronger inside & defensive presence) and had a shot to challenge North Carolina.  In the Big East, they'd have been in the mix with the three one seeds.   

Since: Apr 2, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2009 12:21 pm

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

 It's so nice to see the ACC SUCK!  Especially since Parrish (who I think is good at what he does) predicted the ACC to tear it up in the tourney.  D'oh, how's that working out for you.  Oviously NC and Duke are good, but after that it's a bit shady.

Time for the idiots bad mouthing the Big 10 to man up and admit their idiocy.  Seedings were crappy and Big 10 STILL handled their biz. OSU was a letdown loss but Purdue beat the Pac 10's best in virtually a home game for them.  MSU should play on after today...we'll see.

The Badgers are the biggest surprise and have a chance vs. Xavier. The top was not strong but there were 9 teams that would have been fine in ANY conference this year from the big 10.  Way less weak teams like the big east and Acc.  Of course, the top of the big east is unreal so they make up for the bottom.  Go Badgers


Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2009 12:10 pm

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

I contend that the bigger motivational factor for the Tiger players was their subpar performance on Thursday. I don't think they needed Coach Cal to tell them that it was unacceptible (especially this time of the season where you slip just once and you go home). These guys have mature leadership in the likes of Anderson and Dozier and take pride in what they put out on the court. Coach Cal calls it "owning your performance" and you hear these guys talk that same way in interviews.

Playing in C-USA, they are used to comments like Vasquez's. I think his bluntness may have been as much a cultural thing as anything. The losing record in the ACC comment was pretty stupid however.

Not that it really matters (a loss is a loss wherever), but the loss to G-town was on their homecourt in OT.


Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2009 11:44 am

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

No what you need to remember is that the Memphis that lost at home to Georgetown and Syracuse was a very different team! 



Since: Dec 4, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2009 11:04 am

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

Nice analysis, Websider...I'll add one more tidbit to it...Baylor just cooked Va Tech in the Hokies home kitchen. More evidence of Big 12 superiority over the ACC.

Since: Apr 7, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2009 9:34 am

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

The reality is that 3 other teams in Conference USA--Tulsa, UTEP, and Houston--could go 7-9 in the ACC as Maryland did.  The fact that Maryland even made the tournament is outrageous, and they are my second favorite team behind Memphis.   

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: March 22, 2009 5:55 am

NCAA tournament recap (Saturday)

ACC Overrated, Big 12 now No. 2 Conference

The national media tend to put the Big East and ACC up on some sort of basketball pedestal.

While the Big East is deserving of such accolades, the ACC is being exposed as imposters.

Seven of the Big East’s twelve teams got NCAA tourney invites – North Carolina (1 seed), Duke (2), Wake Forest (4), Florida St (5), Clemson (7), Boston College (7), and Maryland (10).

A further two teams got invites to the NIT – Miami and Virginia Tech.

Well, after the first two rounds of the NCAA and NIT tournaments, all but two of these teams from the mighty ACC have been eliminated.

Four ACC teams were upset in the first round of the NCAA tourney, falling to lower seeded opponents.

And one of these, Duke, came within seconds of being upset by Texas.

The ACC now has a record of 5-5 in this year’s NCAA tourney, and 2-2 in the NIT.

The ACC has been passed by the Big 12 as the No. 2 basketball conference in the country.

The Big 12 was undefeated, 6-0, in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and now sports a 7-2 NCAA record, and is 3-2 in the NIT. 

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