Tag Archive: NCAA March Madness



The North Carolina/Washington game was an exciting game to watch from start to finish.  I didn’t get a chance to watch either team very much during the regular season or during conference tournaments.  However, I took a few notes that I think were key to success and failure. I’ll also get to the controversial call at the end of the game.

Harrison's 22 point performance helped the Tarheels escape a close game to advance to the Sweet 16

1st, I’m not very impressed with UNC.  I am impressed with Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, and Kendall Marshall.  Barnes can score and create his own shots like nobody else I’ve seen this year, maybe I shouldn’t forget about Kemba and Jimmer? Barnes literally took control of the game for about 3 minutes and led UNC on a couple runs that gave them the lead.  Personally I think the kid is living up to all the hype.  Tyler Zeller is a tough player that can finish at the rim.  I was very impressed with Zeller.  I was also amazed by Kendall Marshall.  14 assists in a tournament game is big time!

However, I’m not sure UNC has the team discipline needed to win a national championship.  Too many times I watched UNC break down defensively and give up easy shots.  There wasn’t a sense of urgency or hustle on the defensive end of the floor.  If I was a Tarheel fan I would be a little concerned.  Also, Roy Williams’ teams like to run and get a lot of transition and fast break points.  They’re usually pretty solid at getting back on defense in the transition game.  I know that Washington likes to push the tempo too but I saw Washington beat UNC down the floor and get some good looks.  Again this addresses UNC’s hustle issue.

I had Washington taking this game and advancing to the Sweet 16, I was wrong.  I don’t think Washington deserved to win any more than I think UNC deserved to win.  Both teams played outstanding.  However, Washington made a few too many mistakes during a crucial time period towards the end of the game.  The Huskies turned the ball over a couple of times at very inopportune times and also took some bad shots that ended with empty possessions.  I can’t stress enough how debilitating empty possessions are in the last 5 minutes of the game.

Isaiah Thomas's 12 points wasn't enough to propell the hopeful Huskies to the Sweet 16

Even though Washington loss I was fairly impressed with them.  As I mentioned above Roy Williams likes to have his guys out on that floor running it to death.  The Huskies ability to beat them at their own game was eye opening and a lot of fun to watch.  Isaiah Thomas’s performance was anything but electrifying like it has been in the past.  Much of the Huskies success came from his solid play and ability to score.  I think the Huskies were looking for and needed more out of him today scoring wise.  He finished the game with 12 points.  Something to note is Terrence Ross’s game high 19 points for Washington. He gave the Huskies a huge lift off the Washington bench.

I don’t think UNC will make it much further in the tournament.  I predict Syracuse being able to take care of business by playing disciplined basketball and controlling the tempo.

As for the ending of the game I have a problem with the referees not attempting to make sure they had the right amount of time left on the clock.  I know the rules state that the clock is supposed to be stopped on the referees whistle but, I know for a fact that I’ve seen referee crews go to the monitors and put time back on the clock when the ball hit out of bounds.  The rules are the rules but I really wish they would have taken another look at the monitors.

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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!

1st Round Predictions!


I have a few thoughts on this Thursday’s match ups.  I think the nation will be shocked by what they will see and even more shocked by my predictions and upsets I have picked. All these games I have on my bracket (I only have one bracket. I hate people who have a billion brackets filled out.  Your bound to be successful in one pool if you fill out 10 brackets, amateurs).

East Region: 1st Round

The Sycamores have the ability to shoot lights out from behind the arc. Don't be surprised if they pull off the 1st round upset

  • Obviously I have Ohio State advancing.
  • George Mason/Villanova is a tough pick but I’m going with George Mason
  • West Virginia over the play team (Clemson/UAB)
  • Kentucky over Princeton
  • I have Xavier over Marquette
  • Indiana St. over Syracuse ( I know I’m crazy but, I have a feeling ISU will shoot well against the zone. That’s  just me though)
  • Washington over Georgia big time
  • North Carolina over Long Island

West Region: 1st Round

Oakland has shown their ability to put up points in bunches. Look for the high scoring Golden Grizzlies to show up the low scoring Longhorns of Texas

  • Duke over Hampton, of course
  • Michigan over The Vols
  • Arizona over Memphis
  • Oakland > Texas.  Call me crazy but Texas has been struggling to score and the boys from Oakland have experience and can put points on the board. They put up 100+ twice this season including once in their conference tourney
  • Mizzou bests Cincy
  • Uconn pounds Bucknell
  • Penn St pulls out the shocker
  • San Diego State gets past Northern Colorado

Southwest Region: 1st Round

Kelsey Barlow has been suspended for the remainder of the season. His lockdown D could be missed in the backcourt when Lewis Jackson needs a breather

  • Kansas over Boston (Kansas has a crappy track record against teams that start with “B”. Does Bucknell or Bradley ring a bell?) However, I think the Jayhawks have this one
  • Illinois over UNLV
  • Vandy over Richmond, this was a tough one to pick too
  • Louisville > Morehead St. Gotta love the in state match up though!
  • Georgetown over play in (USC/VCU)
  • Purdue over St. Peter’s (Although losing Kelsey Barlow for the season hurts I think Purdue has enough guard depth, offensively, to still make a run)
  • Texas A&M over Florida St. I have no clue on this one. Simply went with the higher seed on this one
  • Notre Dame over Akron

Southeast Region: 1st Round

The Aggies won 30 games this season. Look for them to come out confident against the inconsistent kansas State Wildcats

  • Pitt over NC-Ashville
  • Butler ousts Old Dominion
  • Utah St pulls out a thriller against Kansas St ( I don’t care who you play you don’t win 30 games by accident.  I see Utah St. shocking the nation only in the new 2nd round, field of 64)
  • Wisconsin over Belmont. Bo Ryan will have his guys ready to go
  • St. John’s I feel will clobber Gonzaga
  • BYU escapes a close one against Wofford
  • Michigan State surprises everybody by actually showing up to play and beating UCLA
  • Florida wins it’s only game of the tournament against UC-Santa Barbara

I’ve mentioned in a reply to a comment that I’ve received that I’m unhappy and strongly disagree with some of the seedings.  Some of the match ups will be interesting and I see a lot of potential upsets.  The above mentioned upsets may sound ridiculous but how many people picked George Mason to make the run they made a few years back? They may be unlikely and I realize this.  However, anything can happen and if I call these games correctly I look like a genius and if not who really cares. I could care less either way.

I would like to hear all of your thoughts and points of views.  Especially if you think some different upsets may happen I’d be very interested in hearing your reasons of why.  Leave a comment and let everyone else know your opinion.

Thanks everybody for reading!