Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Sunday March Madness Thread

The last games of the Second Round go today. Tonight, the field for the Sweet 16 will be set, and basketball fans will either be sweating through the week waiting to see how their bracket pans out, or wondering where they went wrong, and how they're out of it already.

If you're curious about who our "experts" picked, and how they're doing, you can see my picks here, Andy's picks here, and the picks from The Battle of Alberta boys, Matt and Sacamano, here.

A few notes from Saturday:

• How about those Gonzaga Bulldogs? They pulled out a win over Indiana last night, despite a subpar performance from Adam Morrison. This was big for the Zags, not just because they moved on, but they proved that they can be more than a one man show. As for Morrison, I've said it's before, and it bears repeating, he needs to spend less time on the perimeter and more time driving to the hoop.

• From what I saw, UCLA didn't look impressive at all. I wonder if this was just an off-game, or if perhaps many people (most of all the Selection Committee) overrated them. Regardless, they'll be a tough matchup for Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.

• Boy was I wrong yesterday about the prospects for each of the #12 seeds in Round 2. In hindsight, I overlooked A&M, who plays the classic style of a sleeper team. They shoot well, play strong defense, and grind out the clock to try and keep the score in the 40s and 50s. Wisconsin has made a couple of Elite Eight runs using that style of play.

On Tap for Today
• Cinderella Watch: Bradley against Pitt (a weak 5 seed in my mind), Northwestern State against West Virginia, and George Mason vs UNC. I listed those games in what I consider to be the likelihood of an upset occurring.

• Arizona looked very good in the first round beating Wisconsin. They have a lot of talent, and tournament experience to boot. They're going to be a handful for Villanova, in what I think will be the best matchup of the day.

• Second best matchup: The Ohio State University vs. Georgetown. If G-Town knocks out the Buckeyes, expect lots of angry posting from Sacamano.

• Biggest blowouts: Either Texas vs. NC State or WVU over Northwestern State.

• Another #1 vs #8 matchup worth watching, UConn vs. Kentucky. The Wildcats have underachieved this year, and still have the nucleus of a team that made it to double overtime of the Regional Final last year. UConn was losing to 16th seeded Albany until they put together a frantic run to pull away in the final 10 minutes. I don't know about you, but that game planted the seed in my mind that UConn isn't as good as we thought, or that at the very least they don't bring their A game every night.

• Who isn't rooting for Bucknell to upset Memphis today?

Enjoy the games, and comment away!


At 10:16 AM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Hmm. Do I cheer for Ohio State to lose, even though I have them making the Sweet 16, in order that I may taunt Sac? Such a tough call.

I can also see Bradly beating Pitt.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

I am delighted that Seth Davis keeps predicting Ohio State to lose today.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I'm not. I'm worried that he has the Joe Buck touch.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Damn if those Bradley Braves didn't look good today.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Alex said...

How have UConn and Kentucky never faced each other before today? This has to be the biggest surprise of the tournament so far.

With Kentucky only having one starter who's taller than 6'6, I wonder if they can match up with the big Husky front court. They're hanging in through 3 minutes, but it's obviously way too early to tell anything.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Billy Packer on Kentucky Guard Rajon Rondo:

"He's a tremendous penetrator".

This is getting uncomfortable. Between Packer's comments, and Jim Nantz being Jim Nantz, I don't know how much more I can take.

At 4:34 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

1) Nantz is superior to everyone, especially that hack Costas you clowns seem to love.

2) Ohio State better get their ass in gear. Everytime they have it down to 7 or 8, they crap the bed and throw up a lame shot.

I feel sick.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Wait. Did I just read that NC lost? What? To Bradley? what?

At 4:37 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

I guess the MVC is the real deal. Have I noted that before?

I should have known better than betting on Roy Williams. The guy always chokes. The only time his team ever won the big game was when it wasn't really his team -- he just inherited it.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Wait. George Mason? Even worse.

At 4:47 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

Kansas out. UNC out. Ohio St. out. Sacamano out.

There is not much worse than having a killer opening two days, only to see your whole bracket fall apart over the next two.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Alex said...

I knew that trash-talking Nantz would draw you into this thread, Sac.

I only caught a few minutes of the OSU game, since my CBS affiliate was locked into the Wildcats vs Wildcats matchup, and Sportsnet decided that showing NASCAR was more important than flipping between Basketball games.

In any case, from what I saw, and the announcers seemed to corroborate that this was a game-long problem, OSU's problem was that they kept throwing up bricks instead of feeding the ball to Terrence Dials. For example, the first stat they mentioned is that he had only 5 touches on the Buckeyes' first 16 possessions of the second half. I don't know about you, but that seems kind of low to me for the Big Ten player of the year.

And how about the dud performances by the Big Ten in this tournament? 6 teams qualify, and not a single one makes the Sweet 16? Ouch.

UNC looked lost on the court. Either that, or htey were lulled to sleep by Jim Nantz's play by play. There was that one guy who knocked down a few threes, but aside from him, it was a poor performance - especially down the stretch.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Alex said...

Did I hear wrong, or did Jim Nantz just say that Lute Olsen's wife is the Finance Chair of the Lynn Swan for Governor campaign?

And how about Mustafa Shakur almost pulling the Chris Webber?

At 5:44 PM, Blogger sacamano said...

No doubt. Dials is the whole reason I picked them to go deep. You can't stop big men in the tourny. What the hell were they doing. Maybe the NCAA will force them to erase this year from the books as well. I know I'd like to pretend it didn't happen.

I'm so depressed. 24-8 in the first round. 11-5 in the second round. And yet I have at most 6 more wins left in my bracket and only one final four team remaining.

The worst news? My mother's bracket still contains all of her final four teams.

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

My God. This is insane. I am believing Sac's conspiracy theory more and more.


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