Blog Entry

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

Posted on: March 22, 2009 8:54 pm
Edited on: March 23, 2009 2:05 am

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.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Mar 23, 2009
Posted on: March 23, 2009 9:56 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

You're right - Louisville didn't play Uconn or Pitt. Because those teams LOST. (What was that? Did I say LOST? Yeah, i think I said LOST.) Oh wait, and who did Uconn lose to? The little orange energizer bunny! And when did Pitt lose? BEFORE getting to play the little orange energizer bunny. And who finally beat the little orange energizer bunny? Oh yeah...

Hand Louisville the trophy? Even if NC or Duke advances to the final? Well, if you say so, okay, we'll take it.

But (unlikely as it sounds) I'd rather see a reunion match up with the bunny.

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: March 23, 2009 9:48 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

It has been a fun year for the Big East, but it doesn't protect them from anything.  Breaking the sweet 16 conference record was cool, but the 16 teams left are good and ready to ball.  It makes it fun for the fans.  I wouldn't have it anyother way.

To the ACC guy - saying no one can beat Duke or UNC, and BE teams can't hang?  That is like the Maryland Guard saying Memphis would have a losing record in the ACC - and then subsequently losing by 20 to them.  The ACC is a solid conference, and might produce the NC - but easy on the ACC pride this year.  You officially have a two team conference again.

I understand Siena is not the name you were hoping for (perhaps Cleveland State is?) - but they're #18 in the RPI for a reason.  Who is lower than 18?  OK State, Purdue, WVU, Illinois, Gonzaga (are you already playing up that tough game for UNC?), Clemson, Arizona State, Ohio State, UCLA, Marquette, LSU (another tough UNC matchup?), USC, Texas, get the idea.  Give Siena some respect they worked hard to get it.  Last year they won first round over ranked 4 seed Vanderbuilt (ala Wake Forrest tanking to #52 Cleveland State). Louisville played pretty good yesterday (shot 50%, outrebounded them by 14), but Siena's big plays kept them in it.

Just watch the games and enjoy - and don't get caught up in seed snobery (or conference snobbery).  

All these teams can play, and we fans can't....

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: March 23, 2009 9:23 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

Yeah, but judging by where you're posting this comment, one of your "so called experts" is ACC fanboy Gary Parrish.  A lot of these "experts" are in love with the ACC, year in and year out.



Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: March 23, 2009 9:19 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)


I agree with most of what you said but remember that a lot of the so called experts were saying that the ACC's top 4-5 teams were stronger than the Big Easts.  Those experts included Bilas and Dickie V among others but I guess they were wrong. 

Either way, I don't care who has the better conference in the end.  What matters is winning the title and NC and Duke have just as good of a chance to win as any BE team. 

Should be a fun sweet 16 to watch.    

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: March 23, 2009 9:17 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

Come on back after Pitt beats Duke.  Then come back again after Pitt beats UNC, provided UNC is able to get past Syracuse. 


Why are those two teams so unbeatable?  Is it because UNC was able to go 1 for 2 against Florida St?  Or because their only other losses were against other ACC powerhouse teams like Wake, Maryland, and BC? 


You ACC fanboys are a joke.  It doesn't matter how clearly better the Big East is than the ACC any given year... you geeks always think UNC and Duke are the two elite teams in the country.



Since: Jul 8, 2007
Posted on: March 23, 2009 9:07 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

who in the hell would ever have picked wake forest to go to the final 4?? have you even seen them play? i saw them beat my heels, and i knew immediately, that that team was going nowhere. no team with ishmael smith can ever be successful.



Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: March 23, 2009 8:47 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

Notre Dame and Georgetown didn't deserve to get into the tournament. The Big East got the number of teams they deserved. The Big East may have a lot of good teams in their conference but you can't give them 10 bids when only 7 are deserving. And i'm curious how Georgetown especially but also Notre Dame deserved in?



Since: Mar 11, 2009
Posted on: March 23, 2009 8:41 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

 the big east is playing as advertised. the 2 teams that lost played in close games losing at the wire. if you look at the acc, it is clearly not as good as coach k thinks it is. unc is playing well and i do respect them. duke survives texas. florida state gets upset, clemson was dull and bc, maryland, and wake got their doors blown off. i think the conference that was underrated all year was the big 12. 3 in the sweet 16. okey state and texas played well in defeat to higher seeds.

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: March 23, 2009 8:33 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)


 Name me one other league with 16 teams in it.

And people should stop talking about better league this better league that. The only thing that matters is who is the BEST in the country. If my boys get knocked off in the Final Four i don't care how many teams we got into the sweet sixteen. I'm pissed because my boys lost.

Since: Sep 4, 2008
Posted on: March 23, 2009 8:05 am

NCAA tournament recap (Sunday)

A monkey could have picked the seven schools who had a chance at the national championship and would have been 7 for 7 not 6 for 7. 

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