Thursday, March 13, 2008

March Adrenal Imbalance: The Big East

I'm not going to mention the horrible things that happened in the ACC tournament today. Stupid Fruity Plumed Dudes on Horses and Stupid Turtles. Boo.

We'll focus on the Big East, which was lots of fun.

Georgetown destroyed, fucking destroyed the Villanova Scotty Reynolds today. They did it with a rather uncharacteristic 17 3-pointers. Is this some new G.Hoya 2.0 experiment, in which they don't try to feed it to "Doctor" Hibbert, but rather shoot like crazy, and assume the big man will pick up the pieces? I rather like it. Anything that makes Jessie Sapp hit 75% of his shots, I'm for. Syracuse was already looking like NIT fodder after losing by almost 20 to Villanova. Having Villanova lose by almost 20 (82-63) means that both Syracuse and Villanova are both done.

Pitt beat Louisville tonight, which is regarded as an upset, as Louisville is ranked nationally, and Pitt ain't. But anyone who has had watched both of these teams play probably realized they were closer than their rankings or records would suggest. Actually, their records are nearly identical, suggesting that Louisville's ranking might be part of that Pitino magic, that manufactures big winning streaks by careful scheduling. Call it an upset if you want. I bet that Louisville doesn't get any further in the Tournament than Pitt. I'll be rather surprised if either makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, but that's beside the point. And yeah, Pitt is definitely in--watch out for Ron Ramon, who can get hot, and hit almost 50% from the 3 Point line. He's been relatively quiet this year, but he's a senior, and he'll be pushing.

Barnyard's (Big East) team of choice, the Marquette Golden Eagles looked damn good against Notre Dame tonight. But of these teams are going to the Dance, but one of them was ranked higher than the other, and the other team won. Marquette looked faster, smarter, and most importantly, looked like Dominic James was healthy. That changes things a great deal for Marquette. The article I'm linking to can't stop talking about Marquette's Jerel McNeal, who no doubt, had a great game. 9-16, 28 points, a half dozen boards--that's a good game. But James had 10 points, a half dozen boards, and as many assists. And he made big steals late. This is a team of upperclassmen who know how to win, and who are getting healthy. They play Pitt next.

West Virginia beat UConn tonight, mainly because of Joe Alexander. You'll be hearing about him a-plenty. This guy is getting hot right at the right time, and WVU is definitely in now, thanks to beating a nationally ranked team in the Huskies. How good is Alexander? Here's the salient grafs from the article:

Alexander is averaging 29.8 points over his last five games, a streak that started with a then-career high 32 points in a 79-71 loss to Connecticut on March 1. He had 22 points in the Mountaineers’ opening-round win over Providence.

“I wanted him to do it the whole year. I couldn’t get him to cooperate,” Huggins said of the late run that has lifted Alexander’s season average to almost 17 points a game. “He’s slowed down. He’s doing a much better job of reading the defense. He’s such a hard matchup.”

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun found it hard to believe Alexander torched his team for the second time in less than two weeks.

“Alexander is a terrific player. Our kids feel after he gets it they were going to stop him,” Calhoun said. “When he got around 27 or 28 I thought it would be a good idea if they realized that, by the way, he had 32 the first time, before the realized he was a good basketball player.”

It is Bobby Huggins, so it is possible that the old Joe Alexander has been replaced by a well-paid pro in disguise. Am I suggesting that Bobby Huggins would cheat? Yep. Having watched Alexander, I would compare him to Tyler Hansborough, in that he's white. But he can actually shoot, and jump. So not that much like Tyler.

I said yesterday that 6 teams from the Big East were going to the Big Dance of Insanity. I think we are at 7, and I don't see that number changing now--Georgetown, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pitt, West Virginia, UConn, and Louisville. I don't trust any of them to make to the Sweet 16, though.

No comments: