Monday, March 11, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville---Conference Tourny Time


ESPN’s College Game Day is both fun and informative.
Last season, with Coach Knight on the panel it was far, far more educational.
I never fail to learn something new when The General is either on a panel or doing color commentary.
I have learned exactly zero from Jalen Rose.
In the ACC, just two players lead their teams in scoring and assists---Miami’s Shane Larkin and Virginia Tech’s Erick Green. Great accomplishment by any definition!
Many deserved accolades applaud Duke’s Ryan Kelly on his ability to stretch defenses---enabling scoring lanes to open up due to his ability to shoot the three. Don’t leave Miami’s Kenny Kadji out of that conversation. He’s also 6’11’’and has put up three double doubles in a row, and is averaging 13.3 ppg. And, he’s hit 40 threes so far this season.
I’d like to see Myck Kabongo return to Texas next year.
After the five overtimes last time Louisville and Notre Dame played, the Cardinals decided not to take any prisoners this time. An emphatic victory! Aside from the 5 OT loss, Louisville has not lost since late January.
Lest we forget, when Duke beat Louisville by five points in The Battle 4 Atlantis at the end of November, Gorgui Dieng was out with an injury and Luke Hancock was not 100% {playing just 19 minutes and scoring zero points}.
Even with that handicap Louisville held Duke to 43.6% shooting.
I am looking forward to the West Coast Conference final. Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s, Monday night, under the lights---9 PM on ESPN---be there or be square!
Liberty (15-20) went on a four-game run through the Big South tournament, beating the league’s three best teams to get the automatic bid. Now, that’s a Cinderella story! Just another reason why college basketball is vastly superior to the NBA.
Quite an unexpected final 52 seconds when Michigan snatched defeat from the hands of victory. Being outrebounded 53-30 did not help the Michigan cause. Ouch!
Immediately before Michigan missed the front ends of two one-and-ones, the moronic Clark Kellogg stated what a great foul shooting team Michigan was. Michigan is rated # 108 in that category. Indiana could now receive the #1 seed in the Midwest (Indianapolis) regional.
In as exciting a game as any on Saturday, Belmont rallied from a late seven-point deficit to force overtime---then knocked off Murray State on a basket with less than a second on the clock. They’ll represent the Ohio Valley Conference in the dance.
Even though Gonzaga beat them by 18-points, Loyola-Marymount deserves a great deal of credit. They won three games in the WCC Tournament after posting a 1-15 conference record. That’s a lot of heart.
Humiliating loss for Kansas at Baylor. The worst loss for the Jayhawks in seven years.  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot.
Great win for Air Force over New Mexico.
Even worse loss for UNLV at home to Fresno State, an eleven-win team.
Good win for Purdue over Minnesota…by 16 points.
Good win for Tennessee over Missouri.
Bad loss for Oregon at Utah…by ten.
The underachievers at NC State managed to lose to Florida State…not good.
How did Colorado lose to woeful Oregon State…at home no less? Inexcusable!
As horrid as the loss at Baylor was, it will all be forgotten if Kansas runs roughshod through the Big 12 Tournament.
Excellent win for Boise State over San Diego State. They’ll meet again Thursday in the Mountain West Tournament.
On Saturday night, in front of God and everybody, Duke marched into the Dean Dome and calmly — and cruelly — scored the game’s first 14 points---the Tar Heels never recovered.
It was the most resounding Duke victory I have seen this season…on the road…on senior night.
It was beautiful watching Duke space the floor so perfectly and create open look after open look.
Even though Ryan Kelly took just four shots for eight-points, he was a terrific decoy. UNC was never able to double Mason Plumlee in post, where he manufactured 23-points.
Duke and UNC could meet next Saturday in the ACC Tournament, as they are #2 and #3 seeds.
The last time UNC beat Duke in the ACC Tournament was in 1998.
Less than 24 hours later, the Duke women pounded the Carolina women for the third time this season…taking their eighth ACC Tournament Championship. The outcome was never in doubt.
It was their seventh straight over Carolina.
Freshman point guard, Alexis Jones had a career day…with her dad in the stands, seeing her play for Duke for the initial time. She had 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and four steals.
Jones was tournament MVP. In three games she scored 53 points (4 of 6 on threes), 18 assists and 15 rebounds. That’s impressive for anyone…lights out for a freshman.
She is going to be a huge star. When Duke was routed at UConn, Jones was the only Duke player who showed up. She is fearless.
Duke outshot Carolina 56.9% {the highest percentage in an ACC Final since 1984} to 30.0%.
Nothing could be finer---than beating Carolina. Except doing it twice in less than 24 hours.
Be on the lookout for big things from Louisville in the next couple of weeks.
After the victory over VCU, Temple has seven wins in a row.
Colorado State starts five seniors.
In the Memphis victory over UAB, the Tigers had assists on 22 of their 30 baskets. Now, that’s teamwork!
Syracuse continues to be the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.
Good for Florida Gulf Coast winning the Atlantic Sun Conference and making their first Tournament appearance. Not bad for a college founded in 1991. Bon chance Eagles!
Good job: Kentucky’s comeback from seven points down and in foul trouble vs. Florida was a major statement win for Big Blue Nation.
This UK team has enough capable players to beat quality teams in the Tournament.
Florida was a six-point favorite.
Another senior day win. I think Kentucky is the only college where senior day is celebrated literally---in the singular. And, UK’s one senior is a transfer.
Florida’s Kenny Boynton [nearly 2,000 career points] took only one shot in the second half…an ill-advised jumper with 17 seconds remaining. Oy vey!
The Gators have lost four of their final five conference road games.
Only five of Florida’s 30 games have been decided by single digits.
Not so fast: Marquette was picked to finish in the bottom half of the Big East…now they’re the #3 seed in the Big East Tournament.
One more thing: Florida cannot seem to win away from Gainesville…that may be a fatal flaw in the NCAA Tournament.
You made it to the end -- celebrate by watching some basketball.

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