Saturday, March 19, 2011

Welcome to Bracketville---Tournament Day Two Edition

Tony went 12-4 and remains in the lead by a deuce. Four of us went 12-4. Georgetown, UNLV and Texas A&M were the most frequent bracket busters. Dale and I had Xavier going to the Elite Eight--ouch.

Some wonderful match-ups today. I'm looking forward to Pitt/Butler, Florida/UCLA, BYU/Gonzaga and the Morehead State/Richmond games. Remember, Florida, en route to back-to-back national titles in 2006 and 2007, knocked off UCLA both years in the national semifinals.

Out of 5.9 million entries in ESPN’s NCAA bracket pool, only 317 people went 16-0 on the first day of games Thursday. Five entrants went 0-16.

Five of the eleven Big East team invited are on the way home. The Big 10 is 5-2.

When Cinci and UConn meet today it will be the first time in NCAA tournament history an intraconference game has been played before the round of 16.

My first thought while watching Michigan/Tennessee was that boys from Michigan looked like Lilliputians compared to lengthy players clad in orange. Looked like a total mismatch. However, fate was kind and Tennessee disregarded Bruce Pearl’s, “win one for the Gipper” speech.

A bunch of smart sports pundits on Friday morning predicted that with the future of the ethics-challenged Bruce Pearl hanging by a thread, Tennessee players would adopt an us-against-the-world attitude and beat Michigan. Guess not! World 75, Tennessee 45. A 30-point skunking…hooray.

During the regular season, Duke went 10-3 vs. teams that made the tournament. Seven of those 10 wins were over teams that have won at least one tournament game.

The final three minutes of the George Mason victory over Villanova was so exciting, I couldn’t leave it when the second half started for Duke.

Four of the last six teams to defeat Villanova in the NCAA tournament have gone on to win the championship. UNC in 2005 and 2009, Kansas in 2008, Florida in 2006.

The battle between Tristan Thompson of Texas (17/10 and seven blocks) and Oakland’s Keith Benson (15/11 and three blocks) was a treat to see. Oakland made a magnificent comeback attempt.

Syracuse held Indiana State to 40.7 percent shooting from the field. None of the Sycamores' five starters scored in double figures,

Akron was three of six at the foul line…Notre Dame a little better---20 of 26.

Arizona has won five of its past six and 13th of its last 16 games overall…Derrick Williams recorded his 12th double-double of the season (22/10).

Leave it to Roy Williams to run up the score on the little guys…96 of UNC’s 102 points came from the starting five.

Washington’s bench outscored Georgia’s bench 28-0 as they squeaked by with a three-point victory. It was tremendous comeback attempt by Georgia. The jet lag and UNC (in a virtual home game) will run the Huskies ragged on Sunday. It will be a high scoring affair.

"Every college team [watches] TV and says, 'I want to play Duke, I want to see what it's like to play Duke. We sure found out."—Hampton Coach Edward Joyner.

Coach K gave his bench 42% of the playing time and they scored 43% of the points. It was Duke’s 21st neutral court victory in a row.

Coach K’s NCAA Tournament record is now 78-22. An advanced degree in math is not required to figure out that winning percentage, but it still almost defies comprehension. Most conferences haven’t won 78 NCAA-Tournament games.

Well, Chris Singleton’s foot may have healed…in 16 minutes he put up four personals and five points, an assist, a steal and a block, plus a pair of rebounds.

Jared Sullinger had 11 points, nine rebounds and three steals in just 28 minutes for Ohio State. Very efficient.

Boston University showed a lot of grit against Kansas…they were as close as six with 10:00 left in the game.

Georgetown lost to a double-digit seed for its third straight NCAA tournament. Sort of another “where’s Waldo” moment for the Hoyas. VCU needed merely 44 shots to get their 74 points. The Rams shot just 66.7% from the line or it could have worse. 42 fouls were called and there were 23 turnovers in a sloppy game.

Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and 16 rebounds…not a bad night.

Marquette held Xavier's Tu Holloway, who had averaged 20.2 points, to five points on 1-of-9 shooting and five turnovers. Marquette sure didn’t act like a team that was just happy to be there. That was a strong effort. Xavier needed 51 shots to get their 55 points.

UNLV picked a poor time to lose back-to-back games for just the second time this season. Illinois hit over half of their threes…pretty stout.

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