Eight teams punched their tickets to the Sweet 16. Here are my thoughts on Saturday’s action
- The Bruins erased a 10 points second half deficit and used their suffocating defense to do so. Defense wins championships and while UCLA didn’t win any championships tonight, but they certainly showed they have the defense to do so. It all started with Kevin Love who had seven blocks. He also did it on the offensive end with a couple clutch baskets late. I mean, how does a 7′0 big man hit fade away 15 foot jump shots with the game on the line?! It’s a part of Love’s unbelievable overall package that includes it all. He’s exactly the type of player UCLA was missing that last couple years in their pursuit of a championship. A low post big man who can do it all. And let me know overlook the performance of point guard Darren Collison. On a night, when his fellow backcourt mates, Josh Shipp and Russell Westbrook, were not producing, Collison kept his team afloat and had two crucial layups to finish the comeback. Sweet Relief for Bruinville.
- Another great game in Anaheim was Marquette and Stanford. Poor Marquette. They played extremely well, but those Lopez Twins were too much to handle inside. Brook Lopez hit the dagger with about a second left on the clock in overtime. He made that a lot easier than it really was.
- Duke is nothing but a glorified mid-major. They recruit shooters. Even their big men are strictly shooters, not low post players. What happened to the Dukie’s dominant big man like Elton Brand, Shelden Williams and Carlos Boozer. Now they have big men like Kyle Singler who has no low post game and can only shoot. It makes the Blue Devils very one dimensional and extremely beatable.
- Michigan State cooled down a red hot Panther team. Never count against a Tom Izzo coached team.
- Kansas State was a bad pick. Wisconsin deserves a lot of credit. They are a very underrated teams that knows what it takes to win, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
- Xavier showed a lot of resiliency. The Musketeers are so experienced and tournament tested and it showed against Purdue.
- Poor job by Notre Dame today. I give credit to Washington State for its tremendous defense, but the fighting Irish only put up41 points. That’s awful.
Here are my previews for the Sunday’s NCAA Tournament games:
Scottie Too Hottie
12:10 Midwest Region
#13 vs. #12
JJ made a great point to me. Who ever thought that Villanova would be wearing their white, home jersey’s as a 12 seed? Well, they will be against Siena on Sunday as both teams pulled off the upset in Tampa. The Wildcats showed a lot of fight against Clemson coming back from 18 points down. Villanova goes as Scottie Reynolds goes. He had 21 points in the Wildcats victory over Clemson.
My Winner – Unfortunately, Villanova
2:15 South Region
#7 vs. #2
Jack McClinton of Miami got overshadowed by Stephen Curry on Friday, but he had one of the finer performances of this tournament. He poured in 32 points in the second half helping the Hurricanes rout Saint Mary’s. However, he’s gonna need to repeat that performance if Miami wants to take out Texas. Highly unlikely against Augustin and Abrams.
My Winner – Texas
GAME OF THE DAY
2:30 East Region
#7 vs. #2
This is the game of the day to me. People feel that Tennessee was unfairly given a two seed in the same region as the number one overall seed. But the Volunteers looked like they didn’t even belong as a two seed on Friday against American. Tennessee and Bruce Pearl extremely vulnerable and Butler is a team that can full advantage of that. I absolutely love this team. They got great, experience guards in A.J. Graves and Mike Green and have a legitimate inside threat in Matt Howard. Don’t forget about Pete Campbell, who is a three-point assassin (44.2% from 3)
My Winner – Butler
Another Product of the Tampa Upsets
2:40 West Region
#13 vs. #12
This is another matchup between two teams that were underdogs in the first round. Since both teams love the underdog role, who’s the underdog in this game? I don’t know because this game is a toss up to me. Western Kentucky loves to get up and down and score. Courtney Lee was the Sun Belt Player of the Year and Tyrone Brazelton had a great first game with 33 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. However, I love the Toreros combination of Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomare. The grit of San Diego makes the difference.
My Winner – San Diego
I love Curry
2:50 Midwest Region
#10 vs. #2
We’re all still talking about Curry’s performance against Gonzaga. He might need about 50 if Davidson is going to win this one. The biggest concern for Davidson in this one is stopping Roy Hibbert. Hibbert or his teammates usually find a way to take the big man out of games in key games, but I think the Hoyas have too much length and athleticism for the Wildcats too contend with. Speaking of Wildcats… how many damn teams in this tournament had a Wildcat as their mascot?!?!??!
My Winner – Georgetown
WORST GAME OF THE DAY
4:45 South Region
#8 vs. #1
I really don’t want to watch a minute of this game. It’s so unappealing. But I said this before the tournament and I’ll say it again. Nobody in the nation can really match with Memphis’ athletic ability and Mississippi State is no exception.
My Winner – Memphis
Meet Mr. Padgett
5:00 East Region
#6 vs. #3
Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin is a fabulous freshman that leads the way for this team. But little boy, meet David Padgett. To me, Padgett is one very underrated big man who is fundamentally sound. He frustrated many big men in the Big East and Padgett and this long, athletic zone will give the Sooners all sorts of trouble. If Padgett can stay out of foul trouble, Louisville should have no problem. Well, unless they forget how to shoot because they tend to do that sometimes.
My Winner – Louisville
5:20 East Region
#9 vs. #1
So this game is in Raleigh, NC. You look in the crowd and you see all Tar Heel fans in baby blue shirts. It doesn’t matter who’s playing. They’re all over that venue, all the time. That will play a huge role in this one. Arkansas is led by Senior Sonny Weems, but he’ll be weeping after playing his last collegiate game on Sunday. Too much baby blue in that venue, on and off the court.
My Winner – North Carolina
Enjoy the Games. It’ll be weird on Monday with no college basketball on.