This is the best four days of the year, without a doubt. For the fifth consecutive year I have purchased the DirecTV tournament package, not worked and sat down to watch basketball for four straight days. On the right is a pic from last year's set up, this year is similar but I sent my wife and child to the in-laws to keep them from distracting me! (just kidding honey)
Through 17 games here are some of my expert thoughts...
1. Thursday sucked. 16 games, 15 of them having the higher seed win. The most exciting moment of the day was Duke beating Belmont in the last few seconds. Whoo freaking hoo, I get to watch Duke win. Duke can suck it.
2. Kansas State over USC was a great game to watch. Beasley will look awfully good in a Timberwolves uniform. His hands must be massive cause those mitts just command the ball, it looks like a bear claw grabbing the ball. As I type they are losing to Wisconsin but Beasley is incredible.
3. Question - if Kentucky would have upset Marquette as an 11 seed, would Tubby have been given any credit for the talent he put on the floor? Fortunately for Kentucky fans they can continue to blame Tubby for the lack of talent on the floor for UK. Nevermind that seniors Ramel Bradley(19) and Joe Crawford (35) were recruited as part of a top 5 class by Tubby and they combined for 81.8% of UK's points on Thursday.
4. Big Ten dominates going 3-0 on day 1. Indiana went out of character on Friday and lost a 1st round game but 3-1 for a league that has been ripped all year was nice to see. Wis/KSt and MSU/Pitt will be big games and should be fun to watch.
5. UNLV is the only other team in the tourney that Minnesota faced this season and they won their 8/9 battle with Kent State. They held the Golden Flashes to 10 first half points, which was boring and a shot clock era record. (pic on right stolen from College Cheeleader)
6. Washington State vs. Winthrop was looking like it was going to be VERY interesting through the first half. But something awoke the Cougars and they throttled Wintrhop 42-11 in the second half. Winthrop has officially changed their mascot from the Eagles to the Monkey Stomped.
7. Finally, what the hell is wrong with UCLA. How did they allow 16 points to Miss Valley State in the first half? The second half was better as they kept them to 13. Fortunately for them they did allow 30 for the game or there would have been hell to pay in practice on Friday.
FRIDAY GAMES and thoughts...
1. Friday was crazy with 6 upsets in 16 games. This was more like it and the reason I pay to have access to all of the games.
2. Indiana ended what could have been a perfect opening round for the Big Ten. Obviously this team hasn't been the same since the Sampson incident, but the talent level is there to beat a team like Arkansas.
3. On a related note, I want to go on record to say that Eric Gordon will not be a great pro. I think he is an incredible college athlete who would dominate the Big Ten next year and could have a monster NCAA tournament to put 2008 behind him. But at the NBA level I don't see him being quick enough to defend or to penetrate like he is able to do at this level. He is quick but not explosive. In the NCAAs he is a step to a step and a half quicker than most guys on the floor. In the NBA I think he'll be a 1/2 step slower than guys at his position. Great shooter but won't be able to score or defend imo. I could be wrong and I have no reason to not want him to do well, I just would personally be upset to see him drafted on my favorite NBA team.
4. A couple of clutch baskets by some unknowns has once again made this tournament everything we hope it will be every year. San Diego's De'Jon Jackson (pictured left) hit a step back two which put away #4 seed UCONN. And everybody's favorite Hilltoppers used a Ty Rogers (pictured left) three at the buzzer to ruin everyone's bracket who had Drake in the Final Four.
5. North Carolina bumped Purdue to the second highest scoring game after they dropped in 113 on some irrelevant team. UNC can score with anybody, but I still see them falling before they get to he Final Four. Defense is just OK and they go through stretches where they lose interest. I see them falling sooner rather than later. On the other hand I respect Roy Williams more than any other coach in the country and that alone is enough to get them to San Antonio.
6. Davidson's Stephen Curry (pictured right) was incredible. 30 second half points to take down the house (of cards) that Dan Monson built. And his mom is kinda hot.
7. Friday was a safe day for all of the 1, 2 and 3 seeds as they all breezed to the Sunday games. But the 4s and 5s were obviously tenuous positions to be in. But that is what makes this tourney so much fun.
ROUND 2 - Saturday
It is early but Duke whithered down the stretch to West Virginia. I care nothing for the Mountaineers but suck it Duke.
I know this isn't exactly going out on a limb but I have felt all along and still feel that Kansas and UCLA will meet in the Championship game.
Teams who may make that surprise Final Four run? - A couple Big Ten teams are capable of making a run.
- MSU is balanced and has the Neitzel factor.
- Wisconsin plays great D and is the definition of team on offense.
- Villanova could make a run cause they don't know they aren't supposed to.
- Washington State is a top 10 talent and just needs to put it together for a few games.
- West Virginia scores a ton and play great D. They have already dispatched their #2 seed obstacle.