Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Smacchat tournament analysis and previous post

In the game of the Regional Finals took place Sunday as #10Davidson, the Cinderella story of the tournament, pushed #1Kansas to the limit, as a three-pointer that would have won the game, was ‘wide-left’ as time expired. The game was tight throughout as the Jayhawks ran multiple players, and defenses, at Stephen Curry. The question of the day is, what kind of play was that coming out of the timeout???!!! Rather than running Curry off of screens or going inside-out to get him a look Davidson had him bring the ball down, which he ended up giving up, and not getting back. Richards ended up getting the shot(0-3 for the night) and clanked it left. Memphis left no doubt that they are a different club than the one that lost to UCLA in 06’ Regional Final. They messed with Texas in a big way, sending them home easily by 18. The closest the game got was 5 points in the second half. The addition of freshman point guard Rose, could be the missing piece to put the one-loss Tigers over the top.The first half of the final four was in place Saturday as UCLA and North Carolina had comfortable wins. The Bruins never trailed in the game against Xavier, took a 9-point lead into halftime and doubled it in the second half, winning by 19. Kevin Love scored his usual 19, but the difference was that they finally got some support from other sources as M Bah-a-Moute had 13 and 13 after going scoreless the previous game. The Heels looked strong after handling Louisville in relatively easy fashion. Psycho-T dominated with 28 points as the Cardinals struggled to keep their heads above water. In a game that many thought would be one of the best of the tournament, didn’t materialize the Heels simply dominated with a home crowd behind them.

Who would have thought that Friday Night games would be as one-sided as they were, with the smallest margin of victory being 15 points. Although all were surprises, the biggest had to be the 2-3 match-up between Stanford and NC, which at one point was 52-51, then NC ran off 8 straight and never looked back. This does not bode well for the Pac-10’s argument for being the best conference in the NCAA as they have only one team left, their 2 & 3 BOTH got blown and their 1 looks a lot like the they will be the first top seed to fall. The Elite 8 games will not have much margin for error, and all should be much more contested. Although there is still a #12 left (Davidson) they can score with anyone and should keep this close. If you had “re-seed” the remaining teams right now, Louisville (12-2 since feb 1) would be in the top 3 and promise to give NC all they can handle. This first game in the Elite 8 pits #1UCLA and #3Xavier where the Bruins have not played well thus far in the tourney and are looking for a ‘break out’ game, but if it takes them too long to find it they may find themselves on a plane back to Westwood before they find it.

The first four components of the Elite Eight have been slated as Two Number 1’s (NC, UCLA) , and two #3’s(Xavier, Louisville) are set to do battle on Saturday. The Heels beat a very good Wazu club quite convincingly, UCLA got up big then held on, Louisville surprised many by taking out Tennessee, and Xavier won a thriller in OT vs. West Virginia. The second half will be decided Friday as all of the games look like great match-ups. #3Stanford takes on #2Texas, Michigan St. tries to upset #1 Memphis, Wisconsin takes on Davidson in a 3-10, and #1Kansas takes on #12Villanova. This is the night where the dogs could come out and bark, as there is a good chance one of the top-seeds will not live to play on Sunday. Additionally, when the brackets were made several were looking towards to the possible 2-3 match-up between TX and Stanford. If this game is played at a slower pace, look for the Trees (and the twins) to upset and move on.

Top seeds were not as lucky Friday as they were yesterday as both the #4 and #5 teams in the west bracket were knocked off in the Friday afternoon games. UCONN lost in overtime to San Diego 70-69, and Drake was upset at the buzzer by #12 Western Kentucky, also in overtime. The first half of the first round can to close without any major damage (except to Duke’s reputation), as all of the favorites held serve and the two #1’s look particularly good. The #2 Blue Devils, on he other hand, needed two defensive stops inside 11 seconds to avoid the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history. Otherwise in somewhat of an aberration, there were no upsets in the first wave of games as all top seeds won. Arizona and Kentucky turned out to be the frauds that many speculated and shouldn’t have been there, West Virginia looks like they can go deep into the tourney, and Pitt still looks like they are playing some of the best basketball in the nation “right now”.

Firstly, we understand that every year there will be teams that have their bubbles’ burst, that are overrated, and get in based on reputation, so here is our take on this year’s field and not in any particular order.

- how the hell is Kentucky in the field this year?? This falls under the ‘living on a name’ category. The won 10 games in a conference that is down this year and that is their resume???
- I guess in the eyes of Va. Tech the committee is “certifiably insane”
- Indiana does deserve a #8 seed another beneficiary of a weak conference
- Memphis does not shoot free throws well enough to advance to the final four
- Mich St. got the worst draw in the tourney for a previous top 10 – a 5/12 matchup with Temple, and the second round presumably would bring rugged Pittsburgh. After that, it's 33-1 Memphis. If Tom Izzo gets to his fifth Final Four, he'll have earned it, but it can’t be done with the horses he has.
- One of the best NBA previews will happen in the first round as OJ Mayo and Michael Beasley match up.
- Dayton got ‘hosed’ an RPI of 32, beat Pitt, Louisville, Arkansas, and Temple they should have been in.
- Arizona St. also should be instead of UK and Arizona

Friday, March 14, 2008

Previous Post

The greatest event in sports begins Thursday as the NCAA tournament field of 65 was announced today. As usual there were several bubbles that burst, several seeds that were lower than expected, and of course even more surprises. Here’s how it stacks up:

East - NC, Tenn., Louisville, Wash St.
West - UCLA, Duke, Xavier, UConn.
MidWest – Kansas, GTown, Wisconsin, Vandy
South – Memphis, Texas, Stanford, Pitt
Do you agree? Who got left out and who is over seeded? Let us know here and in the NCAA chat rooms.

Syracuse may have just sealed their fate and sentenced to the NIT as they were blown out by Villanova in the Big East Tournament. Meanwhile, Providence let a 1 point lead get away as they gave up 6 straight points in last two minutes, and will find themselves competing with the scrubs in two weeks. Out west the Pac-10 tourney gets on the way with 4 bubble teams (AZ St., Arizona, Orgon, Cal) needing wins to avoid the same fate. To the winner of the Big-12 Tourney goes a #1 seed in the big dance as Texas and Kansas try to solidify their case.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Previous Post

New ESPN-USA Today Top 25
1. North Carolina
3. Memphis
4. Tennessee
5. Duke
6. Kansas
7. Stanford
8. Wisconsin
9. Texas
In a very busy weekend in College Basketball the madness that is March is become clearer at the bottom and clustered at the top as some the bubble teams begin to burst and the top seeds continue to shuffle. Both NC, Duke, Georgetown, and UCLA all survived scares in close games, while Tennessee and Texas were not as lucky, both falling to unranked teams, in a weekend with a "tournament feel". The top-10 Ap poll as well as the front runners for the top 4 seeds in the big dance continue to be re-shuffled. No doubt there will be plenty to come as the last conference games finish this week and those that have tournaments begin. This week's games include Kansas going to Texas Tech in a game that Tech really needs to solidify it's dance resume, and in a 10 match-up as #4 UCLA and #8 Stanford clash for the Pac-10 title.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Last week

Tennessee new #1- The UT Men’s Basketball (yes, not women's) is the new number one team in the nation after upsetting the previous #1 Memphis 66-62 in a game with even more statewide pride up for grabs than nationwide. Only once before in its history had Tennessee beaten a No. 1 team, a 55-54 win at No. 1 South Carolina on Dec. 6, 1969. The game drew a standing room, star-studded crowd of 18,389 at FedExForum in Memphis, where the ceiling on individual tickets touched $4,500. Although a good team, Memphis was a fraud at number one, products of an easy conference, an easier non-conference schedule, and horrible free throw shooting were a harbinger that this was coming. Lastly, FYI, if they don’t improve their free-throw shooting they look like a team that will NOT make it out of the regionals come tournament time.