Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
The clock the definitely struck 12, and struck 12 hard for the Cinderellas left in the tournament. The double digit seeds met their match last night. The Washington Huskies hung around for most of the first half with West Virginia, but even without their starting point guard, the 'neers were to much for them to handle and began to pull away in the second half. As for the other Cinderella, the people's (as chosen by ESPN) favorite, Cornell met their match last night. UK was too long, too fast, and too talented for The Big Red to even get a 3 point shot, much less make one. For the most part it looked like a good high school team trying to compete with a Division 1 college team.
As for the other side of the bracket, the games were much more evenly matched. As shown in the Kansas St. versus Xavier game that ended up in double overtime. Neither of these 2 teams wanted to lose and they both fought until the last horn sounded. It was, from an all around perspective, the best game thus far in the tournament. But the back court of the Wildcats proved to much to handle in the end. After seeing most of the teams play, I think of the teams left, K-State may be the only team that could compete with Kentucky. And I'm not for sure they even could.
As for the last game last night. I believe it was the most disappointing of all of the games. Especially for me, considering I had the Orange winning it all. Syracuse came out and just couldn't seem to hold on to the basketball. It looked like a greased pig. They were dropping rebounds, dribbling off their foot, and throwing the ball away. It was as ugly as they played all year. And Butler took advantage. They didn't even have to use their 3-point shooting as a weapon because of the turnovers. And I don't remember a team ever getting so many friendly rolls for a team in the last 2 minutes of a game than what Butler got at the end of that game.
But the Elite 8 is beginning to take form here, and after tonight we will learn the other 4 teams in. But judging from last night it may not matter who makes it because it sure seems like Kentucky is by far the team to beat right now, and everything (upsets) seems to be going their way. Is it lucky number 8 for the bluegrass?
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Wow. What a weekend of college basketball. No doubt the discussions around the workplace today will begin with, "How's your bracket?" I must admit, I'm a UK fan and I have them winning it all, however, I never thought we would see Kansas exit BEFORE the sweet sixteen. And honestly, how many people have Cornell, Washington, AND Saint Mary's ALL making through the first weekend? I gotta say, even though I've got UK winning it all, my bracket is totally screwed. But, I can't worry about that now. The Cats are hot and there is plenty of good basketball yet to be played. Here's a rundown of the sweet sixteen matchups and my early predictions(for what it's worth):
9 Northern Iowa v. 5 Michigan St. - Hard to go against Izzo and the Spartans here but with Kalen Lucas banged up, I like the Panthers to keep the magic alive
6 Tennessee v. 2 Ohio St. - I hate Tennessee and Bruce Pearl. 'Nuff said.
1 Syracuse v. 5 Butler - Wesley Johnson is a machine and Butler doesn't have a player named John Connor to stop him
6 Xavier v. 2 Kansas St. - Hard not to root for the Muskateers, one for all and all for one!
1 Kentucky v. 12 Cornell - It's a good thing this game will be played on a basketball court and not in the classroom. Kentucky rolls.
11 Washington v. 2 West Virginia - It's all relative in West Virginia, and relatively speaking WVU is the better team
1 Duke v. 4 Purdue - Chris Kramer punches Kyle Singler in the face, unfortunately he's tossed and Duke moves on
3 Baylor v. 10 Saint Mary's - Baylor's too much, even for three Australians
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
1) The Midwest will produce your National Champion. Kansas is definitely the team to beat in this bracket that is stacked with 4 teams that could easily make a run. Michigan St., OSU, and Georgetown could all make a run to the championship game. But none of these teams have the mixture of experience, shooting, rebounding, and talent that Kansas has and they should be the favorite to be the last team standing in this bracket. Quick question, how does the #1 overall seed draw this bracket?
2) Louisville has a better chance at beating Duke than they do at beating Cal. I've never seen a team that plays more to their competition than this team. So, if this team does end up beating Cal I would almost consider them a lock to take down Duke.
3) Syracuse fans should already be booking their flights and hotels to Indy. Other than the fact this is the west bracket and they will have to travel an awful long way in the Sweet 16/Elite 8 rounds there doesn't seem to be any one in the bracket that could legitimately contest the Orange.
4) Teams to Watch (Upsets):
SDSU over UT, Georgia Tech over Ok. State, Minnesota over Xavier, Cornell over Temple, Mizzu over Clemson, Utah St over Texas A&M, St. Mary's over Richmond
5) Potential Glass Slippers:
Minnesota - Tubby seems to have his team playing his brand of basketball at the right time.
St. Mary's - Experienced gaurd play always helps out in the tourney.
Murray St. - 1 of only 3 teams to have won 30 games this year. The other 2 are #1 seeds.
6) Names you'll be hearing:
Wes Johnson - The best all around player out of the best conference.
Scottie Reynolds - Villanova will only go as far as he will take them. Which I think is a long way.
Evan Turner - He will prove why he was the player of the year.
7) This will be the year that Huggy Bear will break through. Bob Huggins has always been considered a really good coach. But when it comes to the big dance he always seemed to leave before the clock struck 12. This is the year that he will make a deep run and finally have a chance to be considered with some of the best.
8) Teams you better have as the last one standing:
Kansas, Syracuse, or UK
Disclaimer: Widespread Sports is not responsible for any losses rendered from bracket pools.
Monday, March 15, 2010
As Sunday evening approached and the anticipation grew, you could feel the madness in the air. Who will be dubbed the #1 seeds? who's in and who's out? where will my team be placed? It's one of the few times during the year that feels like Christmas Eve, between the hours of the last conference championship game and the selection show, and Christmas morning when it's time to unveil the teams.
Now that the brackets are out, everyone should just move forward. We need not talk and debate weather the Mississippi States, Illinois and Virginia Tech should be in. Do I think VT should have made it in over Clemson? Absolutely. But that has no relevance now, and none of these team will have a chance to play for the title so it really doesn't matter. I apologize, I've already spent too much time talking about that topic....moving on.
There are some very interesting match ups that are already set in place, and that we're hoping to see down the line if things play out in the way they are supposed to. The first one that jumps out at me is Cornell & Temple. Cornell is under-seeded if you ask me and I think that is going to be a great game. Also watching Siena take on a Robby Hummel-less Purdue team should be interesting also. Purdie has been struggling since he has been out. Can JaJuan Johnson carry the load or will they fall because 1/2 of their dynamic duo is out? Also looking toward the future, if things play out Kentucky & West Virginia should be a great game with explosive offensive scorers like John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks. Also when looking ahead I would love to see Evan Turner and the Buckeyes take on Austin Freeman and Georgetown in the sweet 16.
Cinderella teams as we all know make up great tournament play. Here are my top few Cinderella teams to watch out for (10-16 seeds) The Murray State Racers (13) who take on Vandy in the first round and who could possibly upset either Butler and or UTEP in a trip to the sweet 16. Cornell (12) starts out with a tough game against Temple but with a bunch of white guys who can shoot the lights out they could easily get out of the first round and then beat, Wisconsin and even give Kentucky a run for their money as Miami OH did early in the Wildcats season.
Some teams that could make some noise that are considered middle of the road teams (5-9) would be Texas A&M who finished their season strong in the top 25, winning 9 of their last 12 games, and out of the games they lost 2 of those losses were to #1 overall seed Kansas and Baylor. Marquette and Notre Dame are two other you should keep an eye on. Two teams from the Big East who has made some noise as on late and has good momentum going into the big dance.
Finally, some top seeds that may fall early....you have to look at Syracuse not having Arinze Onuaku in their starting line up. Also a very young Kentucky team in a tough, tough region also might bite it early. Kansas State who I think could make a Final Four run could have some trouble with BYU in the 2nd round.
I could be wrong about all these teams, but thats the great things about basketball in March. Nobody knows whats going to happen, and we all can't wait for Thursday to come and for tournament basketball to get rolling.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Here we go folks, were heading into one of the most exciting days of the year. Selection Sunday. It's full of conference championship games, then the anticipation leading up to the selection show. Here in the bluegrass state we already know Kentucky and Big Blue Nation will be receiving a #1 seed. However when Louisville lost in their first game in the Big East tournament, fans in the Ville were wondering where they may land in the big dance. Fans were hoping if Louisville made a deep run they may be able to squeeze themselves into a 6 or 7 seed. Now with the loss where will they wind up? The 8-9 game? The 7-10 game as the 10 seed? or even worse?
Let's just imagine for a moment that Louisville does grab a 8 or 9 seed. At one point Joe Lunardi had Louisville and Kentucky in the same region matched up with those seeds. That would mean if Louisville and Kentucky both advanced in their first round games they would meet again in the 2nd round. How great would that be for basketball in Kentucky? Now maybe some Louisville fans wouldn't enjoy playing Kentucky in the tournament after what happened early this year. But would it be safe to say that Kentucky fans wouldn't want to play Louisville either? The Cards would be looking for revenge after a wild game in Lexington this past January. I think you would see different opinions on both sides on the fence in this rivalry. Some wanting to avoid it at all costs, and some relishing the thought of the in state rivals playing each other in the tournament.
If you are a true basketball fan in the state of Kentucky you should want to see this game. The two teams haven't met in the tournament since 1983 in the first "Dream Game" this would truly be another dream game for basketball fans in Lexington and Louisville. Since the last game between these 2 programs was such a heated contest, I think players, fans and even Coach Cal and Coach Pitino wouldn't mind locking up again. Even though the teams would be pretty far apart between seeds. Anyone could imagine the game being much closer then the seeds would indicate. We'll just have to wait and see....
Check out the selection show Sunday Night on CBS @ 7pm....Also for your enjoyment, here is a clip of the build up between Louisville and Kentucky's first "Dream Game"
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
The University of Louisville's Basketball team made sure that Freedom Hall would close it's doors in the most positive manor possible. The Cards Surprised a lot of people when they beat Syracuse, the #1 team in the country on Saturday. Senior Jerry Smith started the game out with a hot hand scoring the first 8 points for the cardinals. He injured his hand and didn't play a single minute during the 2nd half, which opened up extra minutes for Louisville bench players. One being Mr. Kyle Kuric, who scored 22 points and hit four 3 pointers to help stretch the Cardinals lead. The Cards did what they had to do and won the most important game this season, if not Freedom Hall history.
Not only did this help clinch a NCAA tournament birth for the Cardinals this season. It helped close out a legendary tradition in the city of Louisville. It helped solidify the magic of The Hall, it added another great memory to those that already exist. Weather it was "The Comeback" against Tennessee when Rece Gains and Bryant Northern hit three 3's in the last 30 seconds to win the game after being down six or weather it was "The Dagger" when Edgar Sosa hit the last second game winner to beat Kentucky in 2009. This game can be put right up next to all of those. Where they all rank I have no idea, but they're all just a treasure box in my mind that I can sort through from time to time and thanks to You Tube....it's a bit easier....enjoy Cards Fans
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010