Friday, March 9, 2012

Rock Fights Galore

This year's Big East Tournament has devolved into a bunch of low-scoring defensive performances that are offensive to most basketball fans (but likely thrillers for Big Ten fans). While these games are exciting toward the end, they are also sloppy. This year's tourney has me wondering if any Big East teams will make it past the first weekend of the Big Dance.

UConn and Syracuse was the best of these games as each team took turns going on runs and countering them. Turns out that UConn couldn't find someone to put the ball in the basket late, while James Southerland continuously made shots late to give the Orange the W. Cincinnati and Georgetown was a little uglier as the Hoyas made one shot in the last 10 minutes of the second half, until Otto Porter hit the tying jumper to force OT. It then became a battle between Yancy Gates and Henry Sims, trading buckets in both overtimes, until Cashemere Wright hit the winning shot late in double OT and Sims missed a 3. The worst of these games was South Florida-Notre Dame who's display of basketball harkened back to the George Mikan days. But someone had to win and the Irish prevailed. South Florida is back on the bubble, but if anyone watches the Bulls play, I wouldn't let them in.

Pitino's Garden Magic

The one game which saw some scoring was Louisville-Marquette, as the Cardinals won handily 84-71. The Golden Eagles were in trouble once Jae Crowder was in foul trouble and it didn't help that Kyle Kuric and Peyton Siva played very well. Rick Pitino once again outcoached his opponent (tough to do against Buzz Williams) and has Louisville a game from their third Big East final in the last 4 years. And to think, if Louisville had any consistent perimeter shooting, they'd be a real contender to win the whole thing this year. They may have to settle for winning at MSG.

The Incredible Expanding Bubble

Great day for West Virginia and Seton Hall as bubble teams had their chances either popped or put on life support. This year's Pac-12 was horrible and Washington couldn't just rest on its laurels as regular season conference champ if they wanted to make the Dance. So what do they do; blow a six point lead with 3:22 left against Oregon St, giving the committee a test case. Do they pick the Huskies because their Pac-12 champs or treat them like they would the MAC in this situation. Other bubbles losing; Mississippi State finishes their collapse as they fall to lowly Georgia; Oregon torpedoes their chances by dropping their first round game with Colorado and Northwestern doesn't appear to be breaking their 0-fer in NCAA Tourney play, losing to Minnesota in OT. Congrats to Southern Miss, Colorado State and Texas for winning yesterday and likely playing their way in. Today, we watch if Tennessee, Miami, NC State and Arizona can keep at large chances alive, while a proverbial play-in game for Xavier and Dayton takes place tonight.

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