Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome to Bracketville, Population 9, Version 1.5

Quote: “If they think they can play with you, then they can play with you.” —Red Aurebach.

The individual match-up in the Kentucky/Wake Forest game today will be worth the price of admission. Ish Smith and John Wall are both road-runners---lotsa beep-beeps in this one. Wake’s Chas McFarland is the type to get under DeMarcus Cousins’ skin.

NCAA Tournament truism: It is not how high you jump, but knowing when to jump and to know when to jump as high as you can.

The entire 2009 Tournament featured just two overtime games.

Thursday’s 16 games had seven where the underdog seed won.

The double-double by Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh was his 15th of the season.

If Thursday’s games showed anything---it showed that dramatic expansion of the field is not only unnecessary, but also reckless. Consider this: the 13-4 matchup will become a 13 vs. 20---somehow, that does not roll off the tongue with any magic.

Luke Harangody missed seven of his final nine shots…that’s a shame.

Kansas State’s Jacob Pullen took a hard fall Thursday night. He did have a brief return…and is expected to play Saturday vs. BYU.

No current Duke Blue Devil has played on a team that made it past the Sweet 16.

Quote: From Jim Valvano on his 1983 Championship NCSU team, “We may not have been a great team, but we sure did some great things.”

Hmmm: Remember watching the Tournament on a little black and white TV that had nowhere near the resolution or clarity of an iPhone?

Down 10-0, after missing their first six shots, West Virginia got serious and poured it on vs. Morgan State. I have to hold my nose while hoping WVU keeps my bracket alive. Same with Tennessee…Bruce Pearl and Bobby (T)Huggins disgust me.

Hats off to Cornell. That was quite an exhibition. They took the lead at 17:17 in the first half. There were no lead-changes after that. So, Sunday we should being seeing red as Cornell and Wisconsin tip off.

Xavier (6 seed, West) will be in the second round for the fourth straight year…not that Minnesota made it easy as they had eleven blocks. Xavier did have 15 offensive rebounds in the first half.

The Ivan Brothers ads for Capital One are entertaining and thematically on target. However, I feel certain, that like most sponsors’ ads, I’ll have had my fill before Sunday’s final buzzer.

Wisconsin sure is long…they have massive wingspans. It still took everything they had to get by Wofford. They shot a miserable 37%...but had only four turnovers. Hughes and Leuer had 73% of their points.

Pitt has six guys in double figures and shot a nifty 53.6%. Between Pitt and Oakland there were 49 points on foul shots.

Missouri is serious about the “fastest forty minutes in basketball.” Come on---86 points and only 9 turnovers---WOW. They shot 51.7%, forced 20 turnovers and had 15 steals.

Texas A&M needed a freshman to lead the way…Khris Middleton responded by hitting five six threes. Utah State was 0-4 from the foul line---think about that.

Purdue trailed at the half…and then became relentless with a 13-0 run. Chris Kramer is a helluva defender (4 steals). Siena was game, and actually out-rebounded Purdue.

Once again, defense created offense for Duke. They never trailed and were hitting 3’s at a 46.2% clip. I was happy to see the starters get some rest. The bench got 62 minutes…only contributed 9 points, but had 16 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Cal never trailed Louisville in a coast-to-coast victory. The hit 8 of 15 threes and put things away with a 15-4 run at the end.

UC Santa Barbara was persistent after getting in a 17 point hole. But, even a sort of off night from Evan Turner failed to hinder Ohio State…Jon Diebler had seven threes and Dallas Lauderdale had 12 blocks---12 blocks, my-oh-my!

Georgia Tech, a team that hit 65% of their foul shots during the season goes 24 for 25 from the line…amazing. When you’re scoreless from the field in the final 8:19 and still win, the free-throws give you the W.

Syracuse was on “Cuse Control”---no problem without Arinze Onuaku. They have pretty much perfected that 2-3 zone. The game Sunday vs. Gonzaga should be a doozy.

Gonzaga tried to let FSU win after taking a 24-9 lead. Matt Bouldin does not want to go home early. Foul shots made a difference here as well.

Another freshman stepped up as Maryland’s Jordan Williams scored 21 points and took down 17 rebounds. Maryland was +20 in rebounds, +8 in offensive rebounds over Houston.

Without a career night from Kalin Lucas New Mexico State would be playing Maryland on Sunday. A struggling Michigan State earned no style points in a game decided by a lane violation
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