In the time it takes you to read this sentence, Missouri's J.T. Tiller can go from being unable to shoot free throws to being ready to check back in to a basketball game. I know because I saw him do it Sunday . And boy, did it send Marquette's Buzz Williams into a fit.
Here's a rundown of Sunday's NCAA tournament action ...
Story of the day: Pittsburgh beat Oklahoma State and Louisville beat Siena , meaning all four No. 1 seeds have advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fifth consecutive season. The last time a No. 1 seed didn't advance to the Sweet 16 was 2004, when both Kentucky and Stanford lost in the second round (to UAB and Alabama).
Game of the day: Missouri was on defense with a slim lead, needing to prevent its opponent from going the length of the court to ensure a victory in Boise, and why does this sound familiar? Oh yeah. Because Missouri was in a similar position in 1995 against UCLA right before Tyus Edney went coast-to-coast in 4.8 seconds for a game-winning lay-up. For years, Missouri fans have questioned Norm Stewart's decision not to put a man on the inbounds passer, which is why they must've been nervous when Mike Anderson didn't put a man on Marquette's inbounds passer with 5.5 seconds remaining and the Tigers ahead by a basket. But then Lazar Hayward stepped across the inbounds line, the referee blew his whistle, called it a turnover, gave the ball back to Missouri, and the Tigers hit the subsequent free throws to ice an 83-79 victory that ensures 2009 will forever be better than 1995, at least in Columbia.
Upset of the day: Every higher-seeded team beat its lower-seeded opponent, which was a fitting ending to the second round of this NCAA tournament because that's pretty much how things have unfolded, with the teams that are supposed to advance advancing. As proof, consider that all of the No. 1 seeds, No. 2 seeds and No. 3 seeds made the Sweet 16, and two of the No. 4 seeds. The only exceptions were Wake Forest (No. 4 in the Midwest) and Washington (No. 4 in the West). The schools replacing those schools are Purdue (a No. 5 seed) and Arizona (a No. 12 seed).
Predictable star: Cole Aldrich has established himself as an elite college center and future NBA Draft pick, and he looked every bit the part against Dayton. The sophomore center got 13 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks in Kansas' 60-43 win over the Flyers, becoming the first player to record a triple-double in the NCAA tournament since Marquette's Dwyane Wade did it in 2003.
Unpredictable star: Jamelle Horne took 11 shots, made six and finished with 15 points and five rebounds in Arizona's 71-57 victory over Cleveland State . The effort helped the Wildcats place four players in double-figures, which is rare. But when they do it they're very difficult to defend, and if they do it in the Sweet 16 they could give Louisville a tough time in Indianapolis.
-- Three random notes --
1. James Harden told reporters after Arizona State's 78-67 loss to Syracuse that he hasn't thought about the NBA Draft and isn't sure whether he'll enter it. That's essentially the same answer every talented underclassmen provides after their final loss of the season. But the guys who say that tend to enter the draft within a few weeks, and the smart money has Harden doing it, too, especially when you consider that he's a projected lottery pick.
2. Xavier's 60-49 win over Wisconsin pushed the Musketeers into the Sweet 16, where they will face their coach's alma mater. Yep, Sean Miller once played for the Panthers, and he's long been considered Jamie Dixon's successor, if Dixon ever were to leave Pitt. Expect to read dozens of stories about that this week.
3. Michigan State's 74-69 win over Southern California means Tom Izzo will participate in his eighth Sweet 16 in the past 12 seasons, and that's a good place to start if you're trying to figure out why Arizona would like to hire Izzo if it had the money (or why Kentucky also might if it needed a new coach anytime soon). The guy has been remarkably consistent despite early entries to the NBA Draft and departures from his staff, and now he's just two wins away from his fifth Final Four in the past 11 seasons.
Final thought: More than a month ago I provided a list of six schools -- plus one school that was at the time ranked outside the Top 20 -- and promised that the national champion would come from that list. The six schools were North Carolina, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma and Wake Forest, and the school ranked outside the top 20 that I included was Syracuse.
Six of those seven schools are in the Sweet 16 (Wake Forest screwed me).
And if you don't mind, I'd rather focus on that instead of my bracket.
Because my bracket is garbage.
Just like always.