The Basketball world has become more predictable

We still have time for some upsets tonight, but yesterday not much happened that was super surprising.

Yes, Michigan upset Kansas in overtime.  It was a great last shot to send them into extra minutes and I was rooting for Big Blue to knock off #1 Kansas.  But it was not a huge surprise that they won. Both are good teams, from power conferences….

As for the rest, Louisville beat Oregon…man, I was going for those Ducks…to be the last #1 standing.

Dook out defended the Spartans.  Defense is what won the devils that game (I know Curry shot 29 points, blah, blah, blah), but without their defensive game  Michigan State’s played good enough on the offensive end to win.

Saddest of all was that Florida beat FGCU ending their Cinderella run.  The beginning of the first half, the Eagles went on a 8-0 run and maintained a double digit lead.  However, with some substitutions and a little practice Billy Donovan figured out what his Gators needed to do to dominate the court.  The first half ended with a 16-2 run for Florida, then Florida started the second with a 5-0 run.  That was a blow that FGCU couldn’t overcome.  This team played great ball, works fantastically as a team, and has more than done their job for the season.  It will be interesting to see: 1) how much easier it will be to recuit to FGCU and 2) How much general interest and enrollment spikes for this young school!

At this point, I am ABD (Anybody but Duke…and Louisville can lose too!)

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Heels Fall, Eagles Soar

The ups and downs of basketball in March is what makes it madness.

The only real surprise of the day was the stunning win of Florida Gulf Coast over San Diego State.  It marks the first time a #15 has made it to the Sweet Sixten.  This is a building commentary on the increasing parity of college basketball, but for now let’s celebrate with the Eagles.  They play great, fast, athletic ball with little fear and lots of flair.  They have only been D1 for six years, but that might be working to their advantage.  Even with the win over Miami and taking Duke into overtime, the bar was set low for this newcomer team.  They have put their heads down and went to work….which I must say would be very hard to do without passion for your sport if this is your campus in Ft Myers, Florida:

 

FGCU

 

I went to UNCW and it was hard enough to concentrate with the beach 10 minutes away, but right outside the door would be a beast.  My advice to the Eagles is celebrate tonight, but by tomorrow be on the court for practice like you still have everything to prove.

The Heels ended their postseason run will a loss to the the KU Jayhawks (I am still baffled by Rock Chalk).  Since Roy came home to UNC, he is 0-3 against his old team.  There were flashed of brilliance in the light blue tonight, but the experience of Kansas was too much to hold back.  They are young and this is a rebuilding year.  I sincerely hope that McAdoo and Bullock stay put and out of the draft.  With the maturing of Page (some time with Ty Lawson would not go amiss), Johnson, James, and Tokoto, the Heels will be a force to be reckoned with next year.

Without much surprise, Florida beat Minnesota; Indiana won against Temple; OSU bested Iowa State; and I am happy to report that #13 LaSalle just pulled out a win against #12 Ole Miss.

Basketball that starts at 10pmish on a Sunday evening is hard to watch- currently Illinois and Miami are just separated by a point half way through the second half.  Go Miami!  I would be excited to see the Hurricanes as National Champs!

It is almost half time of the Creighton dook game.  I am cheering for the Jaybirds.  It is time for the devils to be back in durham where they belong.


March Madness, Day Two

Ohhhh, a day ful of basketball is always a good day!  I am trying to get my dissertation material in order, but I keep getting distracted by basketball.

Three out of four NC schools made it through today.  Duke beat Albany…blah, blah…I was rooting for Albany.  Miami gave a master class to Pacific.  It was a hard pounding, but Pacific actually did pretty well.

UNC, per usual, blew a 19 point lead by playing down to the level of their opponents managing to win by 7.  I love the Heels.  I love to watch them play, but when another teams wants to set the basketball level low UNC obliges by playing at that level.  During the middle part of the game, they let Nova set the pace and it was not in their favor.  In the second half, Roy did pull all five of his starters for a heart to heart.  This is a tactic that has been used to portray that he means business (like in 2008 vs BC….that even made it into the 2009 video for Late Night with Roy).  When he put his starting five back in this evening they perked up and pulled this game back on track.  Heels, get a good night’s sleep…it may not be that easy on Sunday.

NCSU fell to Temple.  The play was up and down and there were times that it felt like the Pack were not in it to win it.  They seemed distracted.  The Owls were able to shut Wood down and the rest of the team could not pick up his scoring slack.  This ends the Wolfpack’s run on the 30th anniversary of their National Championship.  They are loosing some great players, but will come back strong next season.

Other upsets of the day came when LaSalle beat K-State and Ole Miss sent Wisconsin packing.  That is what this round is all about!  Many times the seeds predict who will win, until they don’t.  Then you have good basketball and players wanting the season not to end.  I was surprised by the Badger loss, I was expecting a Wisconsin/OSU showdown (I had OSU on top).

The most fun game of the day to watch was #2 Georgetown’s stunning loss to #15 FGCU. It is hard to predict when a #15 will upend a #2 , but today marks the 7th time it has happened.  FGCU was the first team into the Big Dance this year, their conference was won on March 9th, and I said from the beginning I was rooting for this team.  After only 6 years as a D1 school, they beat Miami at the beginning of the season and took Duke into overtime.  This team is fast and athletic.  People may not have taken them as seriously as their statistics might have suggested, but they are ready to play and have no fear on the court.  They are dunking machines!  Both #20 and #23 put on amazing shows tonight.  Both dunks deserve to be in the nightly top ten as they were playing in FGCU Dunk City today Ba-aby (I imagine you will say that last line in Dickie V’s voice)!

Tomorrow will bring more good ball.  I am particularly ready for the VCU-Michigan match up.