Monday, February 25, 2013

Welcome to Bracketville--Overtime Edition

I love ESPN3. It allowed me to see Kansas and Florida exact revenge on TCU and Arkansas…proving those games were anomalies.
Kansas was simply brutal in punishing TCU. The Gators just toyed with Arkansas…the game was never in doubt.
While not in the All-Galaxy-Awful-Basketball-Announcers Club (where Clark Kellogg is the only member), ESPN’s Dan Dakich is All-Planet-Awful. How does an ex-coach with a decidedly mediocre 159-144 lifetime record get to play an expert on TV? Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!
There is entirely too much ritualistic slapping of hands in college basketball. There is nothing quite so silly as seeing players all converge upon a free-throw shooter to low-five him after he bricks an uncontested shot…unless it is the droopy-drawers shorts.
When players are removed from the game, they often high-five the entire bench. That can include not just bench-warmers, but training staff, managers, perhaps even a stray priest if it’s a Catholic school.
With the victory over Syracuse, Georgetown has won ten in a row. The Hoyas have not lost since January 19th.Otto Porter scored 33 of Georgetown’s 57 points. Ai Carumba!
The last time High Point was in the Tournament was…well, never. Now: the Panthers lead the North Division of the Big South with a 10-3 record. The conference tournament will tell the tale.
The last time the NCAA Tournament did not include either Kentucky or UNC was 1974.
Memphis had five guys in double figures in their victory over Southern Mississippi. How efficient was Memphis? 25 assists on 29 baskets; quite efficient.
VCU forced 22 TOs in their 17-point second-half comeback to grab an important road win at Xavier. Frankly, I was extremely surprised it was close.
Belmont was most impressive in their blowout victory over a good Ohio team. Belmont is 7-3 against the top 100 with an RPI in the 20s.
Belmont executes their offense as well as any team I have watched…they always get back on defense in a big hurry. Those Bruins can really pass the ball. They are well coached, always prepared and will be a pain in the neck in the Tournament.
UNC Coach Roy Williams has shortened the bench and shrunk the starting lineup -- and it's working. Carolina point guard, Marcus Paige has just four turnovers in his last three games. Gee Wilikers!
Gonzaga’s {27-2} two primary ball-handlers, Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell, have a combined seven turnovers in their past five games. My word!
Gonzaga continues to roll. The Bulldogs beat San Diego by 31.
Florida hasn’t been 100% in a long time. That concerns me as March Madness approaches. A healthy Gators team can contend with any program in the country.
Will Yeguete’s absence will make a difference when playing good teams…and Michael Frazier left the Arkansas game with a concussion.
Florida at less than 100% could easily lose to a lower seed. Danger Will Robinson!
For the first time in program history, Loyola (Maryland) has won 20 games in back-to-back seasons.
Neither the Duke men nor women teams have lost at Cameron this season. That could change on Saturday when the grownups from the University of Miami take the court. We shall see how Duke handles a real varsity team.
The Duke women, 16-0 so far in the ACC, have clinched their fourth consecutive ACC regular season title.
The #5 Duke women overwhelmed #8 Maryland on the road. It was an amazing performance for Duke in their second game without All-American point-guard Chelsea Gray.
This is the 110th consecutive week for the Duke men in the AP Top Ten.
The Blue Devils pasted a very young, but talented BC team in Cameron. Duke had five guys in double figures…Mason Plumlee picked up his 16th double-double.
A road game at Virginia and Miami at home two days later is what Duke is up against this week.
Good win: Davidson’s hard-fought overtime victory {93-87} vs. Montana. Both teams could be really pesky in March. Don’t sleep on either one.
Bad loss: Alabama’s triple-overtime loss to LSU.
Big time win: Villanova knocked off co-Big East leader Marquette, 60-56, giving the Wildcats four top-30 wins on the season. Wow! Nova has won five of their last six games.
Important win: Saint Mary’s handled Creighton on short rest, and looked ready for March. Matthew Dellavadova is indefatigable, relentless and a strong point guard. By Jove! Creighton has many too many empty possessions.
Crippling loss: Arizona State losing at home to Washington. Hello NIT!
Cal won their fifth in a row at Oregon State. In February, they've beaten Oregon twice, won at Arizona and also knocked off UCLA. Their final three games of the season are all at home.
Oregon State’s Olaf Schaftenaar was whistled for a technical foul for dunking in warm-ups, allowing Cal’s Allen Crabbe to get to the free throw line before the clock started. He made one…Cal’s margin of victory. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!
Virginia’s coach Tony Bennett has had more than his fair share of injuries to deal with…his adaptations to adversity have been nothing short of brilliant. He is truly an extraordinary coach. I do not expect Duke to leave UVA with a win Thursday night.
With the victory over Stanford, Oregon is now 6-4 without Dominic Artis.
Wichita State, winners of five in a row, is 3-0 against teams in the top 50 and 8-3 against the top 100.
Miami was ambushed at Wake Forest. Wake is young and has improved every game this season. They are comfortable at home…with victories over FSU (by 25), Virginia, NC State, BC and Xavier. Duke escaped with just a five-point margin. So, Wake was on high alert and was primed for Miami. Give Wake credit for their preparation and execution.
Miami has been playing with fire in recent games…narrowly defeating NC State, FSU, Virginia and Clemson. The Canes are tough minded, that’s why they’re winning the close games. That said, you’d think they could avoid being in them.
Miami is new to dealing with pressure of being highly rated in the ACC, whereas Duke and UNC are accustomed to it. All of a sudden people are flattering them, looking for tickets, slipping them phone numbers. And then there’s the media. It’s a complete circus and it’s very hard to maintain focus.
The Canes needs to get back to playing with a chip on their shoulder. That's what made Miami successful.
A loss now is far better than a loss in the round of 32. How Miami responds to it will tell the tale
There is no better cure for a loss than to play Virginia Tech at home. That’s what will happen Wednesday night at Bank United Center…7 PM on ESPN3.
Louisiana Tech landed in the rankings for the first time since a 13-week run in 1984-85, their only other appearance in the poll.
Kansas coach Bill Self has gone to the NCAA tournament in each of his last 14 seasons.
Mike Patrick and Len Elmore are one of ESPN’s better play-by-play/color man pairs. I like their laid back style…they sound like a couple of fans chatting intelligently about the game and the state of the game.
Iona's past six losses have come by an average of 1.8 points and include five overtime sessions.
Colorado State had three guys score 20 or more…usually that would give you a W. However, New Mexico's Kendall Williams knocked down ten 3-pointers en route to scoring 46 of UNM’s 91 points…that’s over half. Jumpin’ Jehosophat!
The Lobo’s come-from-behind victory snapped Colorado State’s 27-game home winning streak.
Vandy held Mississippi State to 31 points. Sufferin’ Succotash!
For a couple of hours on Saturday, I was a member of the Big Blue Nation---cheering for the Kentucky Wildcats.
UK is now 2-1 without Nerlens Noel after the overtime victory vs. Missouri…19-8 overall.
Perhaps lost in the thrill of overtime, Kentucky was down by 13 in the first half.
UK’s16 assists on 30 made baskets impressed me.
Michigan improved to 16-0 at home this season with its fifth-straight win over Illinois.
TV Timeout:
Syracuse at Marquette, Tonight, 7 PM, ESPN
Kansas at Iowa State, Tonight, 9 PM, ESPN {Coach Self going for win #500}.
Wisconsin at Michigan State, Thursday 9 PM, ESPN
Butler at VCU, Saturday noon, espn2
Wichita State at Creighton, Saturday 2 PM, espn2
Miami at Duke, Saturday 6 PM, ESPN
Arizona at UCLA, Saturday 9 PM, ESPN
Undefeated in conference play: Gonzaga, Memphis, Akron, Norfolk State and Louisiana Tech.
Still winless in conference play: Grambling and Penn State.
Not so fast: With the road win over Butler, St. Louis has a 4-1 record against ranked opponents.
One more thing: Akron and Memphis---18 in a row.