Blog Entry

Thursday Wrap-up

Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:25 am
NEW YORK -- Kemba Walker was terrific.

UAB was not.

Here's Thursday's Wrap-up to recap a busy day of college basketball.

Best game: Kemba Walker began things by delivering the shot of the postseason -- and possibly the entire season -- to give Connecticut a 76-74 victory over Pittsburgh and propel himself into Madison Square Garden lore. The New York kid wowed the New York crowd with a stepback jumper at the buzzer that got Pitt's Gary McGhee so crossed he'll likely refuse to ever again switch on a ball screen. Yes, it was that bad. And that great. Suddenly, Kemba at MSG is the best show going. A date with Syracuse in Friday's Big East semifinals is on deck.
Other best game: Kansas missed 20 of 25 3-point attempts against Oklahoma State and needed the Cowboys to miss a heave at the buzzer to escape with a 63-62 win in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Tyrel Reed and Brady Morningstar combined to go 2 of 14 from 3-point range for the Jayhawks. So on second thought, this wasn't really one of the best games in terms of beautiful basketball. But it was close. And close is usually fun.

Team whose dream remained alive: Colorado proved "it's hard to beat a team three times in a season" is among the dumbest things dumb people say by beating Kansas State for the third time this season. The Buffaloes have now beaten the Wildcats by scores of 74-66, 58-56 and, most recently, 87-75. So the third time was actually the easiest of all three times … and probably enough to ensure Colorado receives an at-large bid regardless of what happens against Kansas in Friday's Big 12 semifinals.

Team whose dream was crushed: UAB had a questionable resume despite winning Conference USA and entered the league tournament with work to do. Unfortunately for Mike Davis, the Blazers did not do the required work. They instead lost 75-70 to East Carolina in the C-USA quarterfinals. Where I'm from, that's called locking down an NIT bid.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Ben Hansbrough's 23-point, seven-assist effort in Notre Dame's 89-51 blowout of Cincinnati wasn't as highlight-worthy as Walker's memorable outing, but it was still an impressive performance for the Big East Player of the Year. Hansbrough was 8-of-11 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He's the main reason why the Irish have gone from unranked in the preseason to the verge of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Performance I hope you missed: Jackson Emery took nine 3-pointers and missed eight of them. That's not a violation of BYU's Honor Code, but it ought to be. Yes, the Cougars overcame a halftime deficit and beat TCU 64-58 in the Mountain West quarters. But what they really did is provide another 40-minute sample that suggests they miss Brandon Davies just as much as most anticipated, and that's going to be an issue come Selection Sunday.

Three other things worth noting

1. Southern California's 70-56 victory over California means the Trojans have an opportunity to get a sixth top-50 win in Friday's Pac-10 semifinals against Arizona. But would that be enough? Honestly, I'm not sure. Because though the Trojans have better wins than most bubble teams, they also have worse losses -- specifically three outside of the top 200. My advice: Go for the automatic bid, Kevin O'Neill, just to be safe.

2. St. John's suffered more than a 79-73 loss to Syracuse in the Big East quarters. The Red Storm also lost D.J. Kennedy to a torn ACL that ended his season prematurely and will send Steve Lavin's team into the NCAA tournament short a key contributor. Kennedy was averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

3. Washington State's Klay Thompson returned from his one-game suspension and dropped 43 points in an 89-87 loss to Washington. So Thompson was high -- or at least in a car with a substance you use to get high -- last Thursday and the nation's highest scorer this Thursday. That's impressive.

Final thought: No team has ever lost its conference tournament opener and gone on to win the NCAA tournament.

You've heard that before, right?

You heard it when Pittsburgh lost to Connecticut, didn't you?

Of course you did. We all did. And though it's a statement that's 100 percent true, it's also misleading because it fails to recognize that we've never had a league as large and strong as the Big East that requires a true national title contender to open its league tournament with a game against a team the caliber of Connecticut. Bottom line, there are plenty of reasons to think Pitt won't win a national championship. But the fact that the Panthers lost to a nationally ranked UConn team on a ridiculous stepback jumper from an All-American on Thursday shouldn't be among them.

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:56 am

Thursday Wrap-up

Obviously MSU is playing better when they need to, and Purdue is not.  The problem is that the committee is supposed to look at the whole body of work, and not the last few games a team has played.  Michigan State has had a terrible season.  In my opinion, the Big 10 is overrated aside from OSU.  Look at what Penn State just did to Wisconsin!  36 points WINS the game?  Jimmer Fredette just scored 52 himself.  Although I don't think Michigan State deserves to be in, they always play well come March.  I don't want to see them face Kansas yet again, because Izzo gets those boys ready to play!

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:27 pm

Thursday Wrap-up

How does a W over #9 Purdue sound J-Hawkeye?  Sparty dances whether you like it or not!  My question is does Purdue derserve to be in? By your criteria MSU is NOT GOOD because Iowa almost beat them in the first round, so where does that leave the Boilermakers who lost to Iowa and then lost to MSU!!!

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:16 pm

Thursday Wrap-up

Hey J-Hawkeye...before you start attacking other people's posts...READ THEM.  We both stated that UAB was one of the last four OUT...the point is THEY ARE NOT EVEN ON THE BUBBLE AFTER THEIR LOSS TO ECU...THEREFORE THEY SHOULD NOT BE LISTED AT ALL AND ANOTHER BUBBLE TEAM SHOULD BE LISTED IN THEIR PLACE...get a clue dude.

Since: Apr 6, 2009
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:54 pm

Thursday Wrap-up

Here is the latest bubble watch heading into the final weekend... 

Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: March 11, 2011 2:03 pm

Thursday Wrap-up

Mya - This really impressive UNC team isn't looking too impresive right now. What do you think?

Since: Nov 6, 2007
Posted on: March 11, 2011 11:44 am

Thursday Wrap-up

I would be impressed with UNC if they beat more than one good team in the last two months. But going on a winning streak against the competition they played is hardly impressive. And who did Duke beat? c'mon if either of these teams gets a 1 seed, it will be the worse 1 seed in the history of the tournament.

Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:27 am

Thursday Wrap-up

The big east with the exception of Notre Dame is
a good conference (not GREAT) good, I hereby
predict (7 correct winners in last 8 years) that
no team from the bigeast will win it all. Even with
10 teams from same conference giving them a

Teams with a chance:
Ohio St.
Duke     &
;     &nbs
UNC     &n
bsp;     &
;   How about a final 4 matchup of  UNC/OHIO st   and  DUKE/KANSAS   wow
As you know Gary I predicted DUKE to repeat in
December(lost their Guard Kyle) will he be back?
but that was before the emergence of the NEW
UNC..they are really impressive...but it will be

Since: Mar 11, 2011
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:21 am

Thursday Wrap-up

Since: Mar 11, 2011
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:19 am

A word from Curtis Homer Simpson Kelly DUH!

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: March 11, 2011 9:16 am

Thursday Wrap-up

UAB as "First Four Out" means that if they start cutting, they are one of the first ones to NOT make it.  Lunardi has it right.  You two don't.  The last four in are the ones who actually make it in, but just barely.  Unless I am not understanding what the bracketology terminology is, Lunardi and Palm are both right.  I do hope they are all wrong on one thing though...  Michigan State does NOT deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament!  Iowa almost beat them AGAIN yesterday.  The Hawkeyes are NOT GOOD.  That makes Michigan State NOT GOOD enough to get an at-large bid in my book.  I don't care how tough their non-conference schedule was.  You have to actually beat some of those teams.  Last I knew, a top SOS did not win you a national title.

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