Saturday, March 12, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Conference Tournaments Week Edition, 4.0

I don’t think the unexpected losses by Purdue, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Xavier and Pitt are going to be devastating. They’ll all get more time to rest and recover from a long season. If they draw a Thursday/Saturday play date, it won’t be as ruinous. Anyway, once play begins, the seeding is not as important as the matchups.

Tuesday afternoon through Saturday night makes the Big East Tournament the Iditarod Sled Dog race of college basketball.

Charles Barkley is a lot of things---boring is not one of them. We’ll see how well he wears in the studio during the tournament.

Duke’s victory over Maryland was closer than the final score indicated. It was a five-point lead when Nolan Smith went down with a toe injury. The score was 65-60 from the 8:50 mark until 5:39 to go. From there Duke went on a 22-11 run. Maryland shot themselves in the foot by missing 13 foul shots, while Duke made 22 of 27. Possessions were pretty close---Duke had 73 (1.19 ppp) and the Terps had 71 (1.00 ppp). Except for Duke’s possessions, those numbers are pretty close to the season averages. Duke exceeded the season average possessions by three. Maryland’s Jordan Williams had another double/double at 16 and 16, with just one foul in 38 minutes…most impressive. Jordan Williams has led the team in scoring 19 times and in rebounding 32 times in 33 games this season. Kyle Singler got his 29 points (1/3 of Duke’s output) the old fashioned way (no treys) and grabbed nine boards. One of those shots was a contortionist’s delight. Duke beat the spread by seven points…17th time this season.

As good a night as Kyle Singler had, UConn’s Kemba Walker was even better in overtime win over Syracuse. Walker had 33 points on 18 shots, 13 of 14 from the line, 12 rebounds (he’s 6’1” remember), five assists, six steals, just one foul and played all 45 minutes in the fourth game in four days---an heroic performance---phenomenal!!! Syracuse threw up an incredible 76 shots in 76 possessions to earn their 71 points---not very efficient. Connecticut was far more resourceful with 66 shots in their 75 possessions in scoring 76 points. Syracuse had merely 11 foul shots…UConn took 28.

BYU’s Jimmer Fredette scored 33 of the team’s 47 points---in the first half…all from the field including five 3-pointers. I guess he relaxed in second half with just 19 points and totaled 52 points---just one from the foul line.

Down by five at the half, Florida poured it on for the remainder of the game (made 14 of 17 shots in second half) in their 85-74 triumph over Tennessee. It was a two point Florida lead when idiotic Bruce pearl was called for a technical----from there, Florida went on a 33-24 run to seal the deal. The Gators needed just 46 shots from the field in 73 possessions to do it---highly efficient. Kenny Boynton was especially deadly, scoring 22 points on 11 shots (ten of ten from the line). All Florida’s starters scored in double figures, including the Walker nobody knows about (Erving) who was remarkably efficient---17 points on nine shots from the field. This was Florida’s third victory over UT this season.

Miami went from a butterfly with their amazing ten points in 40 seconds comeback against UVA on Thursday to a caterpillar with their epic collapse to UNC, after leading by 19.

Seth Curry leads Duke in steals with 46…playing just 63.1% of available minutes.

The less said about Penn’s 36-33 victory over Wisconsin the better…just 42 possessions. It was the slowest NCAA Division I game since 1998. Leading scorer: Taylor Battle with nine. Jimmer had nine before the first media time out.

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