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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 CBSSports.com 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
 
Comments

Since: Apr 16, 2007
Posted on: March 12, 2011 8:44 pm
 

Early Saturday Wrap-up

Ohio state has been taking it pretty easy in the tournament. NW was close, Michigan was not as close. even if OSU loses to PSU they will still be the 1 overall. 



Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: March 12, 2011 8:09 pm
 

Early Saturday Wrap-up

tough break for the Crimson; I have to hope that in this year of mediocrity, the selection committee can find them a bid.  Better Harvard than Clemson, for goodness' sake.



Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: March 12, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Early Saturday Wrap-up

Would've been a great story to see Harvard get in for the first time in 65 years.  What a tough way to be denied. 



Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: March 12, 2011 7:49 pm
 

Early Saturday Wrap-up


Perhaps the fOSU basketballers were mad that the football team has been getting free tattoos and now they want their free tats too.



Since: Jul 28, 2009
Posted on: March 12, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Early Saturday Wrap-up

tOSU will be ready for penn state. OSU played tight against scUM and NW. They looked nervous and very unsure, that being said I think they are going to give PSU a thumping. O-H--!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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