Friday, March 27, 2009

Villanova plays one for the ages, again

It took 23 years but Villanova may have just played a more entertaining game than they did in the “upset of the century” in the 85’ final vs. Georgetown. The East Regional Final between (1) Pittsburgh and (3) Villanova is already being spoken in same breath as UK/Duke, NC/Georgetown, and NC State/Houston, some of the greatest college tournament games ever. This game not only had lead changes, momentum swings, and high stakes, but it was well played with few mistakes and great fundamentals. Nova answered that amazing shooting night over two decades ago with a similar performance from the line (22/23) that made all the difference in a 78-76 win. The third meeting between the two this year was for all the marbles. It was physical. It was defensive. It was just the way they like it in the Big East. After the game was tied at 30, no team would lead by more than six points the rest of the way. It was duress for the basketball fan and probably heart failure for supporters of the teams. An amazing game but now the rest of the final four is going to have a lot to live up to.

Battle of the Tigers provide plenty of gouging of the nets

After 40 minutes of shredding the nets as well as each other the Tigers from Memphis and Mizzou put up a regulation total of 193 total points as Missouri upset the National Runners Up from last year. Memphis who were winners of 27 straight games was on a mission to meet UCONN and defend their notion that they were snubbed of a number one seed, were derailed on the way to OK corral by a Mizzou team that battled from the opening tip, dominating the first half en route to opening up a 24-point lead (which they almost let slip away). The story of this game, as it was in last year’s finals, was the charity stripe. If Memphis ever learned how to shoot the ball straight, from 15 feet away, with NO ONE in their face, they would have one National Title to their credit and would be on their way to the Elite Eight this year. Let us know your thoughts here and in the NCAA Team Rooms and Chat Rooms

Nova, Big East continue to roll, and roll over anyone that gets in their way

Villanova has looked like a worthy component of the final four after rolling through the ghost of final four’s past (UCLA, DUKE) with 20-point wins in both, they actually got their toughest game from American University in round one where they found themselves down by 14. Nova’ has been one of the many representatives attempting to turn the Elite Eight into the Big East block party, and for good reason. As much as you don’t want to see NCAA hoops circum to the bias we see in the BCS with the SEC, but there is no refuting the conference dominance in the tournament thus far. There is much more to go, but you gotta’ count on The Ville’ taking care of biz-nis’ against Arizona who could not even advance in the Pac-10 tournament, finished 6th in the conference, and are the ONLY representative of the conference left in dance. Cuse’ has their hands full with Griffin and the Sooners in what will be a great game to watch but a tough ticket for the Orange to punch. Either way Nova’ and the East have sent their message and it well received.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Top Seeds adhere to warning and take care of business in round two

The big dogs flexed their muscle on Saturday after many were pushed to the limit over the preceding two days. Memphis (down 6 with 6 to Cal State Nortridge the ‘red headed’ stepchild to UCLA and USC) came back and looked like the school one ‘hail mary 3’ away from a National Championship and poised get back, as they disposed of Maryland in a game that was not as close as the score. Oklahoma battled with Clemson, never really enforced their will or superiority down low before pulling out a 3-point win. However, despite Michigan playing their best game of the year, looked like a team that spent most of the season in the top five with a double digit win. Lastly, Villanova should have been watching round two from a hotel room after being down 14 points to mighty American University but outscored the Eagles by 27 in the second half and then made UCLA, the three-time Final Four participants, look soft inside and slow on the perimeter, never trailing the entire game and rolling to a 20-point win. The jury is still out to see how Pittsburgh responds after being tested by ETSU. The flip side has been the dominance of top seeds North Carolina and UCONN with impressive wins in both preliminary contest looking worthy to take their respective regions. Will Memphis get their day in hoops court to vindicate their #2 seeding by taking out UCONN, with Lawson back can anyone knock off NC? Who has looked the best after two games? Let us know here and in NCAA chat rooms.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Strike up the band, it’s time to start dancin’

Now that the last student has left the court after a post game celebration, and the tears have been shed after a bubble was burst, the brackets have been selected, now let the rhetoric begin. Which bubble team got snubbed San Diego St., St. Mary's? Who should not have gotten in, Arizona? How did the Big-10 get 7 teams in? Memphis is the returning National Finalist and only lost THREE games, how are they not a number one? How do you think the bracket should have looked? Talk about it here and in the NCAA Tournament Chat rooms.

Midwest Region

1 Louisville - 16 Alabama St/Morehead St
8 Ohio State - 9 Siena
5 Utah - 12 Arizona
4 Wake Forest - 13 Cleveland St
6 West Virginia - 11 Dayton
3 Kansas - 14 North Dakota St.
7 Boston College - 10 USC
2 Michigan St. - 15 Robert Morris
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West Region

1 UCONN - 16 Chattanooga
8 BYU - Texas A & M
5 Purdue - 12 Northern Iowa
4 Washington - 13 Mississippi St.
6 Marquette - 13 Utah State
3 Missouri - 14 Cornell
7 California - 10 Maryland
2 Memphis - 15 Cal State Northridge
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East Region

1 Pittsburgh - 16 Eastern Tenn State U
8 Oklahoma St - 9 Tennessee
5 Florida St. - 12 Wisconsin
4 Xavier - 13 Portland St.
6 UCLA - 11 VCU
3 Villanova - 14 American University
7 Texas - 10 Minnesota
2 Duke - 15 Binghamton
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South Region

1 North Carolina - 16 Radford
8 LSU - 9 Butler
5 Illinois - 12 Western Kentucky
4 Gonzaga - 13 Akron
6 Arizona St - 11 Temple
3 Syracuse - 14 Stephen F. Austen
7 Clemson - 10 Michigan
2 Oklahoma - 15 Morgan State

Sunday, March 8, 2009

First tickets issued for spring dance, VIP ticks next week

Selections for the greatest event in sports have begun with early invitations being sent out to conference winners that don’t have a tourney and the mid-majors that have completed theirs. Early attendees include:

Cornell………….Morehead St………E. Tenn St. …………..Radford
With more to come each day until the commencement of ‘Selection Sunday’ on March 12, where the VIP passes to the top seeds will be announced. Last year’s “all for one” final four where all top seeds made it to the finals for the first time in history was the quintessential example of how important it is to stay close to home. In a year where we have seen the top spot changed hands almost more than any other it is even more important as parity in the NCAA becomes the norm rather than the exception. Looking ahead the schools that seemed poised to take down the 4 VIP tickets are;

Pittsburgh – Two wins over the top seed in one year and 28-3 in the toughest conference should only need to show up in the Big East tourney to claim their prize.
North Carolina – After easily disposing of Duke to claim the ACC title, they too should just need to drive to the first round game, check in, without a car accident and notch a top seed in the South.
Oklahoma – Squeaked out a win over Ok St. to close the season but a 26-3 record (one loss coming without the services of Blake Griffin) will fit nicely into the third number one spot but will need to win at least one game in the Big-12 Tournament.
Uconn/Memphis – Uconn could have easily punched their ticket with a win over the afore mentioned Pitt Panthers but now must win a couple of games in the Big East Tournament to secure the last top gun position. On their heels are the Memphis Tigers who were supposed to be “rebounding” after their heartbreak finals loss last year but have impressively made a strong run. Unfortunately playing in a weaker conference hurts them this year and only a tourney win coupled with a Uconn stumble gets them the top seed. Just the same, how impressive have the Tigers been just to get back to where they were? Who are your top seeds? Let us know here and in the NCAA Tournament Chat rooms.