Thursday, March 17, 2011

The irregularly updated basketball time blog

- Clemson vs West Virginia: 80 points in the first half is insane! But Clemson started hot, and West Virginia was good from behind the arc as well when they came back, but I think Clemson would be well served to keep going inside in the second half. I would like to see Clemson play UAB, West Virginia and Kentucky in three games. Academic powerhouses all.
And now the wheels are falling off for Clemson. Was it the quick turn around from game to game, or was it the fact that this is Clemson, and this is what they do?
West Virginia ends up winning the game, and someone legitimately named Dalton Pepper sealed the deal. I don't know A) how you can argue with that kind of a name? B) everyone in West Virginia doesn't have that name

- Butler vs Old Dominion: In a way, this has been like an NBA game. Each team goes on 5 minute runs, spread the floor WAY too much and Charles Barkley keeps showing up at half time.
This game is really just flying by, and in my flipping I don't see much of it. Every time I look, it seems like ODU is the clearly dominant team, but Butler is keeping it close.
Butler still never impressed me as the game went on, but they managed, somehow, to win the game. I don't know how, I don't know why, but they tipped in the game winner and should probably lose by 40 to Pitt on Saturday, but will probably win by 10.

- Morehead State vs Louisville - It took over 6 minutes for Louisville to score in this one. That's not good. Two Big East teams off to slow starts, but if West Virginia can get it together, then maybe Louisville can as well. Kenneth Faried is an animal. Everything as promised.
The first major stunner of the tournament! The Morehead Eagles tip the Louisville Cardinals. We get more of future superstar Faried on Saturday against either Vanderbilt or Richmond. There are always chic upset - picks, but frankly, it's games like this that throw everyone's brackets off. Also, the Big East is overrated as usual. More importantly, the Big East TOURNAMENT is overrated. Keep in mind, this is a team that reached the finals of that tournament.

- Penn State vs Temple: In watching this game so far, it is very clear who the best team in Pennsylvania is. Pitt. This is a tight battle that actually feels like a battle. The ODU-Butler game seemed like a game that ODU dominated but Butler won. No team here has the advantage, and either seems like they would be a tough matchup on Saturday.
And the Owls weasel their way to victory with a weird looking shot from an even weirder looking dude.

- Kentucky vs Princeton: It seemed at the beginning that Kentucky was going to completely destroy Princeton, but the Tigers stormed back to make it a 1 point game at the half. It's a standard veteran vs freshmen game, where Princeton is only in this because of their experience and chemistry.
this one comes down to the end. You can tell that Princeton played their game with a score like 57 all. Still, it's not a good sign for the SEC that their champ is struggling with an Ivy League school. And don't tell me that the Ivy League is strong this year. The co-champs, Harvard, got destroyed by Oklahoma State in the NIT

- UNC Asheville vs Pittsburgh - Absolutely no reason Asheville should be in this game. Pitt keeps turning the ball over, and Asheville is down only 5 late in the 1st. Of course, it is tough for Pitt to hang on to the ball when they play with both hands around their throat
This game should be embarrassing for Pitt. Yes, they are up 11 on Asheville midway through the second half, but really, you would think that a number one seed would make teams nervous, and Asheville isn't playing nervous at all. The Big East hasn't looked great today.
Well, Pitt pulled it out. Despite my rantings on Pitts mediocrity in this one, they were clearly the more talented team and managed to wear Asheville down, and doubled their advantage. I'm clearly still not imressed. Of course, it's hard to believe that they would have opened up their entire bag of tricks vs a 16 seed.

- Richmond vs Vanderbilt - This game has upset written all over it. I don't know many people that even have Vanderbilt winning. Every few minutes, they talk about Richmond's upset victories through their history. Well, so far Vanderbilt is the more physical team, and I really like the way they have looked today. Heck, they even destroyed a Richmond Spider's nose with an elbow underneath. If Vanderbilt gets through, you have to like their chances to even get to the Sweet 16.
If there was a theme to this game, it was "Richmond, hitting the running floater in the lane!" The Spiders are getting good penetration but avoiding contact now, and they keep hitting all these little floaters. I think now we are seeing why Vandy didn't do so well in the regular season, but they can certainly still turn things around and take back the lead.
Well, I was wrong. The trends held, and popular consensus was accurate. Richmond always gets upsets, Vanderbilt always loses and everyone picked this upset correctly. Congrats, nobody's brackets were busted.

- San Diego State vs Northern Colorado - Northern Colorado reminds me of North Dakota State a few years back. Spirited in their first year in the dance, giving their competition a scare. San Diego State, thankfully for them, doesn't look at all flustered. Yet
The Aztecs keep inching out further and further ahead. UNC is shooting very poorly, and while San Diego State hasn't done much better, they are getting more opportunities thanks to their size and athleticism. Not as close as the scoreboard indicates.
In the end, a high seed actually looked like a high seed. UNC is the first team today to actually look bad.

- Florida vs California Santa Barbara - Not only did Florida get criminally overseeded, but they also drew one of the weakest 15 seeds out there. Seriously, I think a team like Boston U impresses me more than UCSB. Florida is getting a ton of open looks, thanks in large part to the Gauchos' inability to communicate on defense. IT says something that Florida only has 12. They will win easily, however.
Florida has already opened a 20 point lead. Looks like the first real end to end domination of the tournament.
This one is at the half, but it might as well be over. Speaking of the half, how about that half time show? Charles Barkley seems a lot more informed than I would have ever thought. Also, I totally bet he is going to hang out with Gumbel after the show.
Let's just say, thank goodness this one ended. There was even a broken wrist for UCSB, so nothing went well there.

- BYU vs Wofford - Still way too early to have much of a valid opinion. I already feel like too much attention is going to be paid to Jimmer Fredette, especially from his own team, and may try to force it through him. Also, Wofford has 3 Minnesotans. So, Minnesota prep stars, go to small schools in South Carolina if you want to go to the Tournament, rather than the Big Ten school right next door.
Wofford is leading this game, and the lack of an inside presence for the Cougars has nothing to do with it. Wofford is hitting a lot of open shots, but from the perimeter and midrange, which can't be kept up. BYU just needs to score, score score.
Hey, BYU started to score. They only ended up with 69 so far, so the pace was clearly not dictated by the Cougars. Fredette ended up with 29, which is probably good, since everyone else on the team has 40. Wofford definitely looked like they belonged though, so good for them.

- Connecticut vs Bucknell - UConn looks confident, and are hitting from every where. 14 points before the first commercial. Bucknell looks awkward and gangly, but have actually scored a whopping 7 points.
UConn is also putting the beat down on their opponent. This doesn't remind me at all of their Big East run, however, simply because they were never up 15 in the first half during that run.
This game was ugly.I think Bucknell was probably seeded on previous season's reputation, but they simply were not very good.

- Belmont vs Wisconsin - Lots of talk about this being a potential upset game as well. I feel bad for Wisconsin, because it seems like they always draw an underseeded team. I thought Belmont could have been a 10 or 9 seed easily. The Badgers, though tied, already look deflated.
Hey! Wisconsin is playing like Wisconsin. They started to run away from the Belmont Bruins as they settled in. They're much bigger and locked down defensively to wear down Belmont. If Wisconsin is comfortable, I can't see them losing for a while.

- UCLA vs Michigan State- This one is still early, but a lot of people are looking forward to it. I hope everyone realizes that both of these teams are way down this year.
Hey, Michigan State played like the team they were all season, rather than tournament Michigan State. After the raging comeback from the Spartans, there probably have to be some questions about UCLA, but if they can play like the team that destroyed MSU in the first half, they should do well against Florida who only scrimmaged on Thursday.

- Gonzaga vs St. Johns - Finally, a slow starting Big East team pays for it! The Big East didn't look great all day, but they managed to get a second wind vs more or less inferior opponents to take games late. Not St. John's! They couldn't win all season away from Madison Square Garden and ended up paying for it in Denver. Charles Barkley was railing against the Big East all day, and I'm hoping he's right.

- Cincinnati vs Missouri - This was a battle between two teams that are always disappointing in the tournament. Only one team could suck! It happened to be Missouri today. I hated this game, because I picked Missouri and it was over early. It might be the Big 12 that rears it's ugly head as the weak power conference this year.

- Kansas State vs Utah State - Or not. The Aggies kept climbing back to within 7 or 8 and people kept saying that they were staying in it, but really, they weren't. People were just hoping that one of the late games would actually be good, and a lot of people picked Utah State. So Kansas State is playing Wisconsin. I wonder how many people actually picked that? It seemed as though everyone picked at least one of those teams to lose. Only one trendy upset came through though, and that was Richmond's win.
Also, kudos to Kansas State for being the first to wear something other than white as the higher seed.

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