Saturday, March 27, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, Population 9, Version 2.2

Doubt any team in this tournament at your own peril. You cannot earn a victory simply by showing up at this stage of the tournament, no matter what name is on the front of your jersey.

After tonight, there will be only eight teams left. It seems to have gone by too fast.

Double over-time for the Kansas State win over Xavier. Simply a brilliant game by both teams. Seldom is there a double OT in the NCAA Tournament. 83 possessions by each team.

How about these numbers: KSU’s Jacob Pullen and Denis Clemente combined for 53 points---Xavier’s Jordan Crawford and Terrell Holloway totaled 58. Holloway’s three made foul shots with seconds left were a cold-blooded sequence.

Once upon a time Cornell led Kentucky 10-2 and the roar in the Carrier Dome was beyond deafening. Then UK went on a 30-6 run. Credit Cornell big time for coming back and cutting the lead to six in the second half. Cornell sure has my respect for all they accomplished this season.

Since 1926, Kentucky has won or tied for the SEC regular season title 49 times. Since the conference started holding a tournament in 1979, they have won the title 13 times.

It was one of the most complete defensive performances you’ll ever see…UK came well prepared and executed their game plan to perfection. Kentucky’s 16 for 26 from the free throw stripe won’t cut it against WVU.

Butler vs Kansas State will be a huge contrast in styles on Saturday.

Butler is the first Horizon League team to advance to a region final.

Syracuse led the country in field goal percentage this year.

Butler absolutely strangled Syracuse. Actually, Butler didn’t play all that well after the first ten minutes. When Syracuse pulled ahead by four (54-50) with about five and a half minutes to go, Butler rode out what could have been a definitive Syracuse run. Then for the last two minutes, Butler played like they did for the first ten. Butler made three monumental shots sandwiched around two Syracuse turnovers…and presto-chango, 58-54, Butler. You had to see it to believe it.

Holding Syracuse under 60 points is very impressive as are their seven turnovers. That sorta made up for their 6 of 24 3-point shooting. Gordon Hayward (a sophomore) is a baby-faced assassin. Coach Brad Stevens looks about 18 years old.

West Virginia won in spite of having 23 turnovers…of course, Washington had 22. WVU had a massive number of offensive rebounds (18)

Purdue got only three offensive rebounds in their over-time win vs Texas A&M. The silver lining here is that they won on defense and effort.

Purdue’s Chris Kramer has more steals (297) than any player in the school’s history. He’ll be guarding Duke’s Kyle Singler tonight. That will be an intense matchup.

Duke’s Jon Scheyer has committed only 61 turnovers in 36 games…amazing for a kid who brings the ball up the court on almost every possession.

Purdue has been ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll for all but one week this season.

Duke’s Plumlee brothers’, mother (Leslie) played basketball for Purdue.

Duke’s 61 wins in the past two seasons lead the nation.

73 of Coach Krzyzewski’s 864 wins are NCAA Tournament victories.

Just nine of Sports Illustrated’s predicted top twenty teams made it to the Sweet Sixteen.

However, at the bottom of the ladder, SI correctly predicted Arkansas Pine Bluff as the 65th team in the tournament in that November 23rd issue.

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