Blog Entry

Saturday Wrap-up

Posted on: March 12, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 11:58 pm
NEW YORK -- The Princeton Tigers and Memphis Tigers both won in the final seconds.

So they'll both be in the NCAA tournament.

Nolan Smith?

His hurt toe seems OK.

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

Best game: The Princeton-Harvard playoff received considerable hype relative to Ivy League standards, then lived up to that hype with a classic ending that featured Douglas Davis hitting a leaner at the buzzer to give Princeton a 63-62 win that'll send the Tigers to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2004. Harvard hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1946, still. But the school can claim Natalie Portman, and that's worth something.
Other best game: Memphis was down 12 with less than 10 to play to a team it had lost to by 27 points three Saturdays earlier. Game over, right? That's how it looked, and I found myself breaking from the action to look at the Tigers' resume in an attempt to make an educated guess about whether they could earn an at-large bid as second-place finishers to UTEP in the C-USA tournament. Then Tarik Black scored four straight points and suddenly the Tigers were on a run that would culminate with Joe Jackson at the free throw line, his team behind by a point. Jackson made the first, then made the second. And when UTEP's Christian Polk missed at the buzzer, Josh Pastner was able to celebrate his first trip to the NCAA tournament and calm his passionate fan base, all at the same time.

Yet another best game: Isaiah Thomas rushed the ball up the court, ignored his coach's desire to get a timeout and sank a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer to lift Washington to a 77-75 win over Arizona in the Pac-10 title game. Consequently, the Huskies are the automatic bid from the Pac-10 for the second straight season. Now let's see if they can make the Sweet 16 for the second straight season, too.

Yet another best game: Connecticut completed a historic run to the Big East tournament title with a 69-66 win over Louisvile in which Kemba Walker had 19 points. You want to read more about it, check my column from Madison Square Garden.

Team whose dream remained alive: Dayton finished ninth in the Atlantic 10 after being picked fourth in the preseason poll, which is a fact-based way of saying this hasn't been the best of seasons for Brian Gregory. But now he's just a win over Richmond away from erasing all that from his fans' memories and making the NCAA tournament thanks to a 64-61 victory over Saint Joseph's in the A-10 semifinals. The Flyers will be underdogs in the A-10 title game, for sure. But they'll have a chance, and that's not something that seemed likely a week ago.

Team whose dream was crushed: BYU's dream wasn't crushed, exactly. But the door to a possible No. 1 seed officially closed with a 72-54 loss to San Diego State in the Mountain West title game. That the Cougars could easily handle SDSU twice with Brandon Davies but could not handle SDSU without Brandon Davies is yet another sign that this isn't the same team that moved into the top five of the AP poll two weeks ago. And that's too bad. Because I'm no longer certain Jimmer's gonna be around for the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Performance I hope you witnessed: Harrison Barnes has elevated his game in recent weeks as much as Joe Jackson elevated his game in recent days. The North Carolina freshman now looks worthy of the Preseason National Player of the Year award bestowed upon him in October -- proof being the 40 points he dropped in UNC's 92-87 win over Clemson in the ACC semifinals. Barnes was 12-of-17 from the field, 6-of-8 from 3-point range and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. It took him longer than I expected to become a star, I admit. But can anybody deny he's reached that status heading into Sunday's ACC tournament final against Duke?

Performance I hope you missed: Texas dropped to 0-6 in Big 12 title games by falling 85-73 to Kansas in a contest the Longhorns never really threatened to win. They were down 48-33 at the half and let KU shoot 56.9 percent for the game. Their cooperation allowed the Jayhawks to secure a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Three things worth noting

1. Kentucky's 72-58 win over Alabama kept the Crimson Tide on the bubble and advanced the Wildcats to the SEC title game for the second straight season. Last year they played Mississippi State. This year they'll play Florida, the reigning SEC East champions.

2. Nolan Smith suffered a toe injury late Friday but returned early Saturday and scored 27 points in Duke's 77-63 win over Virginia Tech in the ACC semifinals. I think that means he's OK. Virginia Tech's at-large hopes? They're probably OK, too. But it's impossible to say for sure.

3. Not sure I had Ohio State needing to beat Northwestern, Michigan and Penn State to win the Big Ten tournament, but that's the way this event has unfolded. So unless you think the Nittany Lions are beating the Buckeyes on Sunday, go ahead and pencil in Thad Matta's team as the bracket's No. 1 overall seed. Better yet, just wait. Considering the way things are going, Talor Battle will be holding a Big Ten trophy Sunday afternoon.

Final thought: Paul Hewitt was tied to Georgia Tech a little longer than he probably should've been because of a $7 million buyout that the school previously didn't want to pay and Hewitt was never going to walk away from, wisely. But Georgia Tech officials finally secured the funds to move their program in another direction after Hewitt finished with a losing ACC record for the fourth straight season, and the school confirmed his termination early Saturday.

Both sides will be better for it.

Georgia Tech is a good school and Hewitt is a good man, but this relationship needed to end. The two sides had become like a numb married couple that's only together because it's more convenient than separating, and that's not fun for anybody. So good for Georgia Tech, and good for Paul Hewitt. Saturday was an expensive day for the former and a tough day for the latter, but it's a day both clearly needed to arrive.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Wrap-up

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: March 13, 2011 1:17 am

Saturday Wrap-up

Red801. There was only 1 game this season where Jimmer shot over 30 times in a game. That was the first game of the season. You might be more credible if you werent implying that he simply scores so much because he shoots so much. BUT he has a 45% FG%, which is actually really good. many players in the league wouldn't be able to keep that up the entire season, but he has. 
BYU will be a 3 or 4 seed. BYU still beat SDSU twice. If BYU goes up against a team that does not rebound all that well, they will win. if they play a bigger team they will likely lose. 

Since: Oct 9, 2006
Posted on: March 13, 2011 1:11 am

Saturday Wrap-up

It was finally nice to be reminded that NCAA basketball is a "TEAM" sport. San Diego State has a great team. There is no "I" in team, that is why this jimmer crap is so obnxious. Many players could score 40+ points if they were allowed to shoot the ball 35 times a game. When is somebody going to start counting how many times he is the last player up the court for defense. He only plays half of the sport, he avoids contact if an opponent drives at him, have you ever seen him get more than 2 fouls? That is because he is a liability, he just stands there. BYU should be a 5-6 seed and will be one and done. They have won one overtime game in the tourney in the past 30 years, this year is not any different, they just have ONE player, that is why TEAMS win. How classless was Jimmer after the game going after SDSU's White and talking trash, he is so protected in the MWC. Can't wait for a real officiating crew to call the first round game, and he gets offensive fouls like he should get called for. So glad this jimmer circus is over in the next 5-7 days. Hallejuah!

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: March 13, 2011 12:57 am

Saturday Wrap-up

I will say SDSU deserves a 2 seed, but not a 1 seed. Will they go deep? i will say no, they will be the first 1 or 2 seed to lose. BUT this ALWAYS depends on the matchup. they could play an easy or tough 10/7 seed. 

Since: Dec 14, 2009
Posted on: March 13, 2011 12:20 am

Saturday Wrap-up

Anyone who says SDSU doesnt deserve at least a 2 seed doesnt know college basketball. You dont go 32-2 just because you play in a weak conference and play a weak schedule. They are a good team. They beat a UNLV team 3 times(2 times @ UNLV) and UNLV beat Wisky and K St. They beat a New Mexico team 2 times(who beat BYU 2 times), beat Gonzaga and St Marys, and BYU to win the MWC tourney. If it was so easy to win 32 games in a easy conference and easy schedule than why dont more teams do it?...Oh wait the MWC was a better conference then the ACC and SEC so they cant be to bad. They had 5 teams with 20 wins in their conference. SDSU deserves a 1 seed. U only have 2 loses, i dont care who you play than deserve a 1 seed. And both loses came against a 9th ranked and 7th ranked BYU team. Only 2 teams in college basketball havent lost to unranked teams. SDSU and Ohio St.(Wisky 14 and Purdue 9). SDSU and BYU will both go far in the tourney. SDSU will get at least to the Elite 8. They are an all around team who doesnt just rely on 1 player. And they have a great coach in Steve Fisher, who has been in the tourney many times and knows how to get it done. 3 straight years of 25 wins and 6 straight 20 wins seasons. SDSU is becoming a great program and will be good for many years with Fisher as head coach. GO SDSU

Since: Oct 22, 2010
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:55 pm

Saturday Wrap-up

Ditto... 32-2 baby! The numbers don't lie... Aztecs poised for a deep run...
A deep run??  A deep run?  Come on dude, who did they beat??  They played a weak schedule in a weak conference, I will be very suprised if they get to the sweet sixteen and if they do it is night night there.

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:54 pm

Saturday Wrap-up

dacey, Sully has no tattoos and does not want any. I do not appreciate how lowly you think about our players, clearly they are better people than you.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:42 pm

Saturday Wrap-up

 but you have to look for streaking teams and if U Conn wins tomorrow they will be some one you need to move closer to the top.
The Huskies have already won 5 games in 5 straight days.  You want them to play another one???  Congrats to UConn on pulling off the 5 win Big East Championship.

Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:35 pm

Saturday Wrap-up

Win or lose, Ohio State is getting the top overall seed. Since Penn State has probably played its way in, the committee won't have time to factor in a loss if Penn State does win.
I've heard they complie two brackets to cover late games like this, especially should, say, PSU need the win to get in.  But I agree that tOSU will be the number 1 overall seed regardles of the outcome.  Their only two losses were to quality teams in the opponent's house.

Since: Dec 25, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:34 pm

Saturday Wrap-up

While I do think the Rebels can win a game or two in the NCAA Tourney, I don't think they will last as long as the Aztecs.  SDSU has won a lot of road and neutral site games this year.  There is a lot of athleticism and maturity on the team.  Our depth, rebounding, and tough defense can keep us in the game with just about anyone in the country.

I wish your Rebels luck and hopefully we both represent the MWC well.

Since: Feb 29, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2011 11:33 pm

Saturday Wrap-up

BYU is falling rapidly. Fredette is a VERY good offensive player but he is a defensive liability. He could not stop the New Mexico point guard from penetrating their zone d much less defend anyone in m to m. He cannot carry the cougars on his back with just his offensive performance. I see BYU no better than a 3 seed at this point. The winner of the ACC championship game should be the 4th number 1 seed. At this pont this tournamnet is completely up for grabs. Ohio St. is still the odds on favorite but you have to look for streaking teams and if U Conn wins tomorrow they will be some one you need to move closer to the top.

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