Archive for March 19, 2011



After Butler’s amazing run last season I think everybody had pretty high expectations for the Bulldogs again this season. After a slow start and a couple of tough losses it seems that Butler learned from those mistakes and grew as a team.  After their amazing last second heroics all throughout last years tournament Butler is back at it again.

 

Shelvin Mack's 30 points from 7 three pointers boosted the Bulldogs over the 1 seeded Panthers

Butler looked really good against Pittsburgh Saturday night.  A lot of it is credited to their hot 3 point shooting.  As a team they hit 44.4% from behind the arc.  Shelvin Mack finished with 30 points, 21 of  those coming from behind the 3 point line.  Despite Mack’s amazing performance he almost cost his team a W.

 

After Butler converted a layup to take the lead with about 2 seconds left Pitt had to scramble and try to get off a good shot as time was expiring.  however, Shelvin fouled Gilbert Brown who received the inbound pass.  Brown hit the first free throw.  What happened next was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen in a basketball game, and I thought Mack’s foul to send Gilbert Brown to the free throw line with .9 seconds left would never be topped.  Brown missed the second free throw and Matt Howard got the defensive rebound and was fouled!

Howard's 16 point sealed the deal for the 8 seeded Bulldogs in their upset of 1 seeded Pittsburgh

Howard hit the first free throw to make the score 71-70 and then went on to intentionally miss the second free throw.  Howard finished the game with 16 points and 6 rebounds. Butler upsets the #1 seed Pittsburgh and makes Pitt the 6th Big East team to be eliminated from the tournament.  I didn’t agree with the 11 Big East teams in the tournament and I think all who agree have reason to argue that kind of blasphemy.  Everybody wanted to talk about how tough the Big East was this year but yet they are currently 6-6 in the tournament. And all those who wanted to talk about how weak the Big Ten was needs to reconsider how they evaluate conferences.  The Big Ten is currently 5-2 with only 7 teams making the tournament this year.  I’ll admit that I had Pitt in my Final Four but I’ve never been so happy to be wrong in this situation.

It’s been an interesting tournament so far and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s second wave of games when my two favorite teams take to the court (Kansas and Purdue).  And for all who are wondering teams from Indiana are 5-1.  Indiana is the heart and soul of basketball!

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Richmond took care of business Saturday afternoon against Morehead State.  The Spiders were successful for many reasons.  One of the things that really impressed me about Richmond was their unselfishness with the ball.  They moved the ball very well and for the most part made the extra pass to get the easy jumper or the lay in.  Richmond’s Kevin Smith led the way with 6 assists followed by bench player Kevin Anderson who had 4 assists.

Justin Harper's 19 points against Morehead State helped Richmond advance to the Sweet 16 over Morehead State

None of Richmond’s starters scored in double digits but were led by Justin Harper coming off the bench with 19 points, he also had 3 assists.  Kevin Anderson dropped in 14 points and Dan Geriot contributed by scoring 13.

I also thought that Richmond’s pace really threw Morehead State out of their rhythm.  Too often the Eagles looked to force the pace and ended up taking bad shots.  The Spiders especially worked the shot clock late in the game cutting Morehead State’s possessions.

Not only did Richmond share the ball well and control the pace they made shots.  They shot 48.1% as a team from the field and 69.2% from the free throw line.

The Spiders also played sound defensively.  They played very good team defense and communicated well calling out screens and boxing out.  Although they got out-rebounded 32 to 30 they came up with huge stops down the stretch and really made a point to get to the glass when Morehead St. put up shots.

I feel bad for the Spiders.  Though they’re making a run at being the Cinderella story of the year they’re about to run into the Jayhawks very soon (yes I know Kansas still has to play Illinois before that but that’s my prediction).  I enjoy watching Richmond play and have been rooting for them.  I mean I am an Indiana boy, I kind of have to.  The Spiders are hot right now but a lot can happen in a week.  I think Kansas will handle them pretty well but they will have to watch out for falling into the Spiders web!