Saturday, March 17, 2007

NCAA Tournament: The Moderately Flavorful 32

Round 2 of the March Clinically Insane Tournament started in fine fashion today.

Ohio State was in a thriller with Xavier (all of those ne'er do wells complaining about Xavier's inclusion in the Dance should probably shut the fuck up. I'm looking at you, Jay Bilas!). The game went into overtime after Justin Cage missed a free throw that could have iced the game for Xavier. Justin Cage, in my imagination, is the son of Power Man Luke Cage. Ohio State really should have lost in regulation--sometimes great teams need a scare to get truly motivated. Sometimes facing a strong team from a different conference shows weaknesses in a team that the next team can exploit. We will find out which it is next game.

Maryland went down to Butler, causing some consternation in the IDYFT bracket challenge, as contributor Muumuuman had put Maryland in his Final Four. Only he can tell us why he would do such a thing. You aren't necessarily out of the running after losing a Final Four team on the 3rd day of the Tourney, but you are definitely in trouble. Suck it, Muumuuman.

There will be more consternation in College Park, as it seemed like a pretty bad charge call on DJ Strawberry may have been the difference in the game.

I've called Butler point guard A.J. Graves a Feral Steve Nash, and a Steve Nash if he were raised by wolves. I'm going to pretend people are wondering why. Here's why:

Texas A&M got all they could handle from Louisville. This game caused much worry in the Big Blue Monkey Household (which consists of me, and my pet stuffed red dog, Barfy). Louisville's press was clearly bothering A&M, and Louisville guard Edgar Sosa (who CBS commentator would like you to know is from New York City, and therefore tougher, stronger, and better than anyone else in the world) was carving up the Texas A&M defense. But he melted down at the end of the game, missing a couple of crucial free throws (after hitting 15 straight) and picking up his dribble in a critical possession. The press report is full of accolades for Acie Law the IV, and deservedly so. But Dominique Kirk should have probably have been mentioned at least once. He pumped in 21 points for the Aggies. He had 16 points in the first round game, and those two games are two of his 3 highest scoring games the entire year. Texas A&M escapes, and I get to tell a second IDYFT contributor to suck it. Suck it, Garwood B. Jones! You lost 2 Elite 8 teams today! You've also got Pittsburgh and Wisconsin in the Final Four, which is about as likely as Unitarianism being the one true religion!

Vandy needed double OT to upset Washington State. This was a pairing that I had nothing invested in, as I had both teams upset in the first round. Washington State was a very questionable #3 seed. They play the kind of soul-crushing, mind-numbing game that Dick Bennett brought to Wisconsin, that was occasionally very successful. Unsurprising, I suppose, given that WSU is coached by Bennett's son Tony. I didn't think all-around badass Derrick Byars would be enough to beat a team so devoted to defense. And perhaps he would not have been, but Shan Foster had a great game as well. It is scary to think how good UVA would have been if Byars hadn't left. Vandy's backcourt could be trouble for their next opponent, if their next opponent weren't Georgetown.

Georgetown, behind Roy "Dr." Hibbert, put away Boston College in the second half. Hibbert certainly gave those guys a case of the heebie-jeebies! For reasons that I can't really even explain to myself, I really disliked Boston College star Jared Dudley, and I'm glad I don't have to see him play anymore. He's talented, no doubt. He seems like a bit of tweener, who may have troubles in the NBA, but he's a fantastic college talent. I don't know why I dislike him so much. But I do. There it is. Hibbert was fantastic in the second half, showing an array of moves, ability at the free throw stripe, and great court vision, giving up a ball close to the basket for a key dunk by Patrick Ewing Jr. Georgetown won even with Jeff Green having an off night on offense. That should scare folks.

VCU felt just short of upsetting Pittsburgh. The Rams made a remarkable comeback in the second half, after being down 15. Their pressing and trapping got them back in it, as well as some pretty timely shooting. It looked for a minute or two that they were going to Dukify the Panthers, but Pitt went small (to some degree out of necessity) and Ronald Ramon hit some big shots to get Pitt the win in OT. It's too bad that VCU is so full of seniors, because I'd love to watch this team again. Of course, their young and handsome coach, Anthony Grant, may not be at VCU for very long. After the job he did this year, there are going to be some big-time programs calling him. Maybe like Minnesota, maybe.

UNC crushed Michigan State, though it took them about halfway into the second half to do it. Michigan even had the lead in the second half, but annoying goofus Tyler Hansborough was just too much for Michigan State. Tom Izzo is clearly not from the Cobra Kai dojo, as Kreese would have certainly sent some end-of-the-bench-thug in to hit Hansborough's unprotected broken nose. One "accidental" elbow to the face of Hansborough, and MSU probably wins this game.

Indiana came up short in a rally to lose to UCLA I didn't see a minute of this game, and judging by the score, I'm glad I didn't. I can appreciate good defensive struggles in a lot of sports, but I'm ashamed to say that college basketball is not one of them.

In Other News, my former Vendetta against CBS columnist Gary Parrish was called off, and now I feel as though we should, as two former enemies who find themselves working towards the same ends, like Spider-Man and Daredevil, occasionally partner up. He's right on the money about the very suspicious bracketing of the Mid-Majors. Since Sunday, everyone here at IDYFT has been wondering why Creighton and Nevada, or why Butler and ODU had to play each other in the round, and why it seems like so many quality small conference teams have been forced to play each other, while fairly questionable Major Conference Teams played each other. Gary Parrish calls shenanigans. Rightfully so.

As Parrish says, "Even if every non-BCS team paired against a BCS team wins Sunday, there will be only five non-BCS teams in the Sweet 16. More likely, there will be less, allowing the rich to get richer while the poor spend their time beating up on the poor. It's the American way! ...[A]n NCAA Tournament bracket designed to make the non-BCS powers eliminate each other early -- that's not something I'm willing to discount as a coincidence. Not with Memphis and Nevada -- a pair of Sweet 16-caliber teams -- set to play 40 minutes, with the outcome ensuring one of the two won't play a minute more."


extrapolater said...

That Hibbert-to-Ewing pass was sweetness. Way to make hay off of the double-team.

Lucy Rhode said...

As a newbie, I need a scale. This all seems very exciting but how does it compare to previous years? Please keep it simple. An overall letter grade would ground me. Thanks!

Muumuuman said...

I'd like to say when I filled out the bracket I thought Butler or Maryland would grace the final four. I'm glad it's butler. I selected maryland because they are angry turtles, which from my understanding is the only thing gators are afraid of.

Badcock said...

For Lucy Rhode, I think that it is too early to assign a grade to this year's tournament.

As the Dance progresses and the blowouts are whittled away, I think we can expect to see some very exciting basketball at its highest level.

It makes pro basketball look like pro wrestling.

A grade of A++++++ is not unlikely.

Lucy Rhode said...

For badcock, thanks for replying. Watching A++++++ action isn't a bad way to spend the weekend. Now I need a good excuse to postpone my upcoming Thursday through Saturday business trip.

Muumuuman said...

Good excuse? Ganglion Cyst. That's what I'd use.

Lucy Rhode said...

Thanks muumuuman. I think that a simple ovarian cyst would raise fewer questions. It doesn't matter anymore. I outed myself during my morning meeting. I work with 2 and 1/2 men who watch college hoops. I asked one question too many which caused Nigel to pause and say, "She's watching. Bet you wish you hadn't scheduled yourself to teach this weekend." I'm stuck -- and going to Oshkosh.

Muumuuman said...