Before I talk at all about tonight's game, I wanted to mention in passing a game from last night--Saint Joseph's vs. Syracuse. Syracuse won in a tight game 72-69, with a Syracuse freshman hitting the winning 3-pointer with just a few seconds left in regulation. I mention this game a full 24 hours after the fact for a reason, or two reasons, even. (cue Snagglepuss imitation)
One is that Syracuse is one of those borderline Top 25 teams--#25 in one poll, unranked in the poll that CBS uses. And so the fact that they were pushed as hard as they were by St. Joe's might cause Syracuse detractors (of which, I am certainly ususally one). But this will be one of the themes in the NCAA for now on--a less talented, but very experienced crew like St. Joes pushing younger, more talented teams to the edge. This theme will return again in this very post. Get used to that becoming more and more common. The second theme is that is seems every team has some bad-ass Freshman. And Syracuse is no different--they have two. There are freshmen with bigger names and bigger games out there--Love, Rose, Beasley, Gordon, Mayo, but the two kids the Orange have are a scary tandem given Jimmy Boeheim's way of squeezing every bit of talent of his kids. Remember when Sherman Douglas and Rony Seikely seemed cool? I do. How about Gerry McManara? These two--Jonny Flynn & Donte Green are more talented than any of those guys, and they are playing together. Two All-Americans with a veteran supporting cast. Syracuse is fucking dangerous come March, ya'll. Book it.
Another theme--Experience vs. More Experience was on display. Some people may be suprised that Davidson hung tight with #1 UNC. They shouldn't be. UNC, aside from totally overrated Tyler Hansborough, is a school of fairly young men. Don't get me wrong--these aren't inexperienced players for UNC. They were talented freshman & sophomores last year, and this is a fucking good team (duh, #1). But Davidson returned everybody from last year's 29 win team, and they will beat some ranked teams this year. There is obviously no shame in Davidson losing to UNC, but there is also no shame for UNC getting pushed by this team. People may talk like this was almost a huge upset, but it would not have been, not anymore.
Finally, mad props to my boy, AJ Graves, the Feral Steve Nash, for leading his Bulldogs to a win against the fucking Sycamores. Don't sleep on Butler, ya'll. I said that last year, and Graves rewarded me by having some of his worst shooting performances in the end-of-season tournaments. Don't sleep on him. He was raised by wolves!