Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Elite Eight Thread: Day 2

If yesterday's games proved anything, it's that defense wins championships. And that the tournament does not necessarily get better or more exciting as it moves on. I can't imagine a lot of people are anxiously awaiting the LSU/UCLA matchup in the Final Four.

From what I saw from the games, it was the ability to frustrate the opponent, and get (and convert) second chances that was the difference. However, I didn't see a lot of the games, so I could be way off base. With that being said, on to today's games:

How Long Can UConn Play With Fire?
In the first round, they trailed the Great Danes of Albany with ten to go, until they ripped off a 23-5 run to win the game. In Round 2, they led the feisty Kentucky Wildcats most of the way, but could never pull away and put the game out of reach. Friday night against the game Washington Huskies, they trailed most of the way before rallying and pulling out the overtime win. Suffice to say, the #2 team in the country has been anything but dominant.

We're at the halfway point of the tournament, you have to think that there's no way they can win 6 in a row and take the title unless they step up the effort for the entire 40 minutes of the game. One of these games they will be caught napping, and won't be able to catch up and win. Will it be today against the 2006 Cinderella, George Mason? I don't think so, but never say never.

Felines or Amphibians?
The Villanova Wildcats and Florida Gators match up in what should be a great contest. Both of them survived scares in the Sweet 16 round, with 'Nova rallying to beat BC in overtime, and Florida holding off a game Georgetown Hoya squad who led much of the way.

This was the one Elite Eight matchup that I correctly called. Here's what I said about it:

In the Regional Final, I have to go with Villanova. I worry about their ability to guard a talented inside scorer, which Joakim Noah could be for Florida. I think the guard play and shooting ability will balance that out, and allow Villanova to win the Minneapolis region.

I'll stick with that prediction. Enjoy the games everyone!


At 2:52 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I give up.

UConn is a team of destiny, I don't even need to watch overtime to write this.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Hm...guess I spoke too soon.

My god that was exciting.

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Robert Cleave said...

Well, it was good to see Villanova return to yesterday's apparent theme of "no one can make a shot".

That LSU-UCLA matchup you were decrying? Feature game next Saturday.

This a rare year in that I have none of my normal hate objects left (any Big 10 team, Kansas, Kentucky, NC or Duke). Not only will it be nice to not hear the usual Packer/Nantz hagiography crap about Coach Kommercial or Roy Williams, but those two will have to do a George Mason game. After all the major- conference logrolling they did on Selection Sunday, I hope the crow tastes a bit sour.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Alex said...

All good points, Robert. The best thing about this final four? I honestly have no idea what will happen. Nothing can surprise me any more.

At 9:23 PM, Anonymous Robert Cleave said...

People are talking about how this could be the best tournament ever. I don't buy that in terms of quality of play, but the finishes and upsets have been A1. To give the teams left their due, they all put the sword in the top seeds themselves, so there was no "easy" road to Indy. In fact, Florida was the only team that didn't have to beat 2 of the top 3 regional seeds enroute.

As for a winner? No clue. These teams have been so inconsistent offensively, and yet so resilient late in games, there isn't any real pattern. I think Florida might be the best overall team left, but George Mason has killed every bracket so far, and they've had fewer shooting droughts than the other teams, so who knows. In the other game, LSU hasn't had to make a lot of big outside shots so far. That might be a weakness, but Thomas and Davis are tough. UCLA? They just seem to make enough plays, style points be damned. The only prediction I'd make now is that any of these teams can score 70 points, they're winning.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger sacamano said...

Again, I return to the conspiracy theory. These games aren't upsets, they are the result of semi-intentional seeding errors.


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