Villanova, Memphis and UConn won by a combined 65 points, with not a one winning by less than 18 points. They were all blowouts, and I wish I could say it took late runs to dispatch (respectively) UCLA, Maryland, or Texas A&M, but it just wasn't so. Dominations are supposed to diminish in frequency after the first round--and look, these weren't Mid-Major teams who got lucky--those are PAC-10, ACC, and Big 12 teams getting destroyed. (Quick UConn question: Can we all agree that Jim Calhoun's "dehydration" is code for "Getting drunk in the Jacuzzi"? I assume we can.)
There were a couple of day games that took some time to sort out, Oklahoma took until the second half to sort out Michigan. At halftime, Garwood B. Jones mentioned to me that he had noticed that I had taken quite a shine to power forward Blake Griffin, and kind of hinted that he hadn't seen what made him so special just yet. By the end of game, Blake had gone 14-20 from the field (that's 70%) scored 33 points, pulled down 17 boards, and had 3 assists, just for the hell of it. A lot of people were dismissing Oklahoma prior to the tournament (IDYFT blogger-in-theory Barnyard being one of those people), but I think they have effectively served notice that they are a legit 2 seed.
UNC also took some time before dismantling LSU. I didn't see much of that game, but apparently (shocker) the combo of Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington was too much to defend. The most interesting news (aside from an AP article that took 15 paragraphs to mention Tyler Hansborough) was that Super Ultra Vanilla Lite Coach Roy Williams is super in touch with The Kids These Days. His nickname for Ty Lawson? Dennis the Menace. Yeah, sure, you are wondering a couple of things about that. Let me articulate them for you:
1. Dennis? His name is Ty. Maybe that's short for something, like Tyrone. Probably not Dennis though. (Good point, reader.)
2. Dennis the Menace? Is that comic strip still even in print? (Good question, reader. But clearly, if you read The Comics Curmudgeon, you'd know that Dennis The Menace does still exist, but Dennis is getting less and less menancing as time goes on.)
Purdue made a game interesting, as they almost folded under the pressure of Washington. Watch out for 6' 10" JaJuan Johnson. He's badass. Probably not badass enough yet to upset UConn, but he's going to be a star in the Big 10 next year.
So once again (for the third night in a row) it was up to the night games to give us real drama. And they delivered. Duke found themselves in a battle with Texas for the entire 40 minutes. The AP article talks a lot about AJ Abrams, but to me, the guy who was most active for Texas was Dexter Pittman. Fouls limited him to just above 20 minutes of play, but when he was in, he was wrecking Duke's defense. If the seeds play out according to form, Duke is going to meet Pitt in the Elite 8, and they are going to get destroyed by DeJuan Blair.
The absolute closest game of the night (and somewhat controversial) was Gonzaga and the Hilltoppers of West Kentucky. The teams were super close down the stretch, and were trading baskets. When the Hilltoppers went up 1 with 9 seconds left, the arena went crazy--apparently so crazy that the Hilltopper's coach's request for a timeout went unseen. Bad luck for him, as Demetri Goodson's runner with .9 on the clock sealed it for Gonzaga. If you don't think this Gonzaga team has a chance against UNC, you better think again. Heyvelt can play with Hanborough down low, and while Ty Lawson is faster than anyone in the Gonzaga backcourt, I don't know if anyone on UNC's roster can truly defend Jeremy Pargo. It will be a great match-up. Of course, that's a week away, and we still have one more day of all day hoops. See you tomorrow!
Sunday's match-ups are almost totally awesome. In the Midwest alone, I see two possible upsets: Dayton vs. Kansas; Cleveland State vs. Arizona. Both should be fantastic games. Also watch out for Xavier vs. Wisconsin, and OK State vs. Pittsburgh.
Goodness. The testosterone in that room must have been off the charts.
Happy accident to have Kevin Harlan calling the Gonzaga/Western Kentucky game. It was an exciting enough finish, but with Harlan calling it, it's like excitement on crack.
It would have been great to see Cleveland State win again.
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