Monday, February 11, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--Rivalry Week Edition

For the second time this season, there was a winner in the State Farm Half Court Shot promotion on ESPN’s Game Day. How about that sports fans!
Seems college hoops has a different story line daily, a different flavor of the week. Whenever you think you have an inkling as to what to expect, the opposite occurs. Not being able to figure it out and being constantly surprised is what’s making this season special.
Good luck filling in your bracket this year.
Never leave a college game early!
Notre Dame and Louisville was hand-to-hand combat, trench warfare, a battle where no one quit. It was a great game to watch. Wow!
Louisville should have won – they had a seven-point lead with just over a minute to go.
Notre Dame entered the final minute of regulation with 48 points. It ended regulation with 60. It ended the game with 104. Your guess is as good as mine.
The box score tells some fascinating tales.
There were 97 free throws on 66 fouls, but only 29 turnovers.
Each team grabbed 54 rebounds and had four blocks.
Eight players fouled out, but six players played 50-plus minutes.
Five players recorded double-doubles.
The Irish led for just a bit more than three minutes in the first four OTs.
After all was said and done both teams have identical records (19-5, 7-4). I’d say they were evenly matched.
By the way, do you think Mike Brey will give Garrick Sherman more playing time?
Louisville is 3-4 in their past seven games.
If I had a vote in the polls, my Top Five would be: Miami, Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Gonzaga. What’s yours???
Were I filling out a bracket today, my Final Four: Miami, Florida, Gonzaga, Indiana.
Good luck to Las Vegas figuring the odds in who gets to the Final Four.
South Dakota State’s Nate Wolters scored 89 points last week.
I have only limited exposure to Indiana. What do I like most about the team and coaching? I thought you’d never ask. I have yet to see them play “not-to-lose” at the end of the game…no matter the score. They never lose their rhythm…they play on.
Clemson handed Sunday’s game to NC State by playing “not-to-lose.” It was pitiful.
In beating Florida State by 25, Wake Forest outrebounded FSU 45-25. Yikes!
In Georgia Tech’s victory over Virginia Tech, the nation’s leading scorer, Erick Green had 28 points. The rest of the Virginia Tech team poured in 26. Ouch!
Kentucky looks like a team from a major conference that will excel much more in the NCAA tournament than it did during the regular season. UK’s trip to Gainesville on Tuesday will clarify many things.
Duke freshman Rasheed Sulaimon has averaged 13 points in the seven games without Ryan Kelly…and hit on 41.4% of his 3-point attempts.
Duke’s one-point squeaker at Boston College didn’t happen easily. The blizzard delayed Duke’s departure by 24 hours…so it was fly up day of game, arrive six hours before tipoff, play, and fly home. No real practice…and no routine. Not easy, but they pulled it off.
Overall, BC had a better game than Duke.
Teams using a variation of the Princeton offense are giving Duke fits this season.
Down five points with two minutes to play, Duke scored the game’s final six points and stopped Boston College’s final possession.
Mason Plumlee wound up with another double-double…his 13th.
Tonight at 7 PM (espn2) the #5 Duke women (21-1, 11-0) host #7 Maryland (19-3, 10-1).
Maryland’s rebounding margin is plus 17.1…let that stat sink in. Duke’s margin is 8.3.
Starting Thursday, Montana plays five on the road in a row.
The late, late show. Not to be neglected in the upset derby…#7 Arizona fell at home to Cal. Losing at home to a mediocre team is never a good thing. Ooops!
Kansas State sits atop the Big 12.
Hard to believe Purdue has the same record (5-5) as Minnesota in conference play.
Wisconsin (9.2) and Michigan (9.4), who are first and second, respectively, in fewest turnovers per game, sure gave us a helluva game. It was the second OT game for both teams this week.
Michigan scored just two-points in its five OT possessions. Holy smokes!
There were only 12 free-throw attempts, many not coming till near the end of the game.
Bo Ryan teams do not beat themselves…they committed a mere eight fouls in the 45 minutes.
In defeating Michigan, Wisconsin won its fourth conference game against a ranked opponent. With Michigan and Wisconsin both now 8-3 in the league, each is a half-game out of the first-place tie between Indiana and Michigan State, both 9-2.
It’s too bad that Stephen F. Austin play their games at an undisclosed location. They are 20-2, 11-1 in the Southland Conference.
Davidson is the nation’s best free throw shooting team.
Cincinnati scored just 102 points in losses last week to Pitt and Providence.
Do you think that UNC wishes Larry Drew hadn’t transferred? 35 assists and 10 TOs in his past five games for UCLA.
Out of Jeff Withey’s 92 blocks 82 have been kept inbounds (89.1 percent). Kansas has recovered 70 of those blocks and converted them into 66 points. KU needed a lot more blocks and points Saturday, as Oklahoma grabbed the W.
New Mexico is hard to figure…very inconsistent and unpredictable. At this point I don’t trust them in the dance.
Towson is a great story. One win (total) last season…14 so far this season…second in conference play at 9-4.
The turning point in the UNC at Miami game was at tipoff.
Miami soared to a quick 9-0 lead and never experienced a single moment of stress, knocking off UNC 81-67. The Hurricanes put Carolina in a clown suit during the second half, clearly not taking their opponent seriously…tossing lobs off the backboard and attempting various other playground feats. The Canes treated Duke in similar fashion recently, and to this point they've clearly been the class of the ACC.
Miami improved to 11-0 at home, where each of the past four wins have been by at least 22 points.
The Canes are the last unbeaten team in league play among the major conferences.
Miami has beaten both Duke and UNC by more than 25 points in same year… the last time that happened in ACC play was 1974-75 by Maryland. I'm presuming it's unprecedented outside of the conference.
Now, this is a priceless post-game quote from UNC Coach Roy Williams, "I know they lost to Florida Gulf Coast. I'd hate to play Florida Gulf Coast.”
Butler held on for a 59-56 win at George Washington, despite going the final 7 1/2 minutes without a field goal and blowing a 17-point lead. The game was the first sellout at GW since 2006.
Florida wasted no time in exorcising the demons of their beat down at Arkansas; as they punished Mississippi State by 25 points.
Erik Murphy left the game with a sprained ankle. If the Gators lose him, that’s a big problem…especially with Will Yuguete already out.
Missouri has yet to win a true road game. Hmmm!
I think I saw as many cold-blooded threes on Saturday as I have on any non-Tournament day. A lot of guys with ice water in their veins.
FSU didn't just lose at Wake Forest, the Seminoles lost 71-46. The Noles are gonna be such a trendy pick in the NIT this year.
Guess who is in first place in the Big 10? Michigan State is in familiar territory…tied with Indiana.
MSU’s Keith Appling dropped in 17-points against Minnesota…just three days after he dislocated his shoulder. Just another Tom Izzo tough guy. Bravo!
Florida and Gonzaga cruised to easy victories.
Good Win: Memphis on the road at Southern Miss by 13 points…the top two teams in Conference USA. Memphis has not lost since December 15th…14 in a row.
Another good win: Oklahoma’s upset of Kansas.
Better win: Pitt on the road at Cincinnati. Pitt held the Bearcats without a field goal for the final 9:21.
Good Win: UVA stomping Maryland at UM. Virginia’s offense has scored 158 points in their past two game. Average is 63.9 ppg.
Bad loss: Creighton (at home) losing its second in a row to Illinois State. Doug McDermott did recover from his last game with 24 points and 13 boards. Creighton is now in a three-way tie for first in the MVC…with Wichita State and Indiana State. Creighton looked tired to me as I peeked in during timeouts of the ND/Louisville game.
UCF’s Isaiah Sykes recorded his second triple-double of season against East Carolina.
Montana has now won 27 in a row vs. Big Sky competition.
In five of their seven losses, North Carolina has trailed by 19 or more…by 28 or more in four.
Too many intriguing games to list…I’m especially looking forward to:
Kansas State at Kansas, tonight, 9 PM, ESPN.
Tonight’s Marquette at Georgetown, 7 PM, ESPN.
Michigan at Michigan State, Tuesday, ESPN, 9 PM. MSU has won nine of past ten.
Kentucky at Florida, Tuesday, ESPN 7 PM.
Miami at Florida State, 7 PM, espn2.
UNC at Duke, Wednesday, 9 PM, ESPN.
Wisconsin at Minnesota, Thursday, 7 PM, ESPN.
Gonzaga at St. Mary’s, Thursday, 11 PM, espn2.
A Friday Bonus—Georgetown at Cincinnati, 9 PM, ESPN.
Lace ‘em up!
Longest winning streak: 15 by Akron (10-0, MAC).
Conference unbeatens: North Carolina Central (9-0 MEAC), Norfolk State (10-0 MEAC), Gonzaga (10-0 West Coast), Akron (10-0 MAC), Miami  (10-0 ACC), Montana (14-0 Big Sky), Louisiana Tech (12-0 WAC) and Memphis (9-0 Conference USA).
Not so fast: Georgetown has won seven of their last eight.
One more thing: It seems like only a week ago that Kansas was 19-1…oh, right, it was just a week ago.

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