Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Slipper Doesn’t Fit

Following an opening round devoid of major upsets, the second round brought much of the same, with all 4 top seeds remaining and no double-digit seeds advancing to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1995. Maybe it was the lack of upsets, or the styles of play, but the 2007 tournament is one of the least entertaining in recent memory thus far, with Saturday as its lone shining star.

Some observations from Round Two:

  • Edgar Sosa is going to be a star, and Louisville is going to be a force next year. Unfortunately, the 2007 version of the Cardinal showed their inexperience in letting this one get away. They had a few chances down the stretch to takeover the game and one last gasp to close it out, but could not capitalize. Sosa was gutsy, hitting clutch shots, carrying the offense, getting to the line, but I think he eventually ran out of gas. The last minute of the game you could see he was gasped, missing his first foul shots of the day, then settling for a terrible shot on the final play of the game. I felt Louisville had the chance to really put A&M on the ropes after connecting on the alley-oop with about 4 minutes left. They had the momentum, they had the lead, they had the crowd, but they lacked the killer instinct. And can they put a big guy on the floor without getting into foul trouble. Give some credit to the Aggies though, they played tough, withstood Pitino’s best shot, and are still standing. Just like I thought, great game. On a side note, someone let Gus Johnson know that he is actually doing Edgar Sosa a disservice by comparing him to Stephon Marbury. College kids should have good attitudes.
  • After getting disrespected by the committee, according to many analysts, the Big East needed strong outings from its top two teams to carry the torch for the conference. Georgetown was just too much for BC inside. Roy Hibbert was pretty much able to get position and score at will during a key stretch in the second half when Georgetown took over the game. Then when BC collapsed on him, the big guy was able to dish to cutters for easy hoops. Green and Hibbert are going to be tough to beat, plus the Hoyas have that nostalgia going for them with the Ewing /Thompson combo.
  • As strong as Georgetown looked, they were dangerously close to being the Big East’s only representative in the Round of 16. Pitt blew a big lead to VCU, then missed two foul shots at the end of regulation for the win, and had to survive an OT battle. Pitt has struggled the last month or so after being a Top 5 team during the middle of the season. They look out of it offensively at times and really wilted under the VCU pressure. Foul shots and inability to close out games usually catches up in the tourney, though their next opponent is not exactly an offensive juggernaut…
  • My apologies if you had to sit through the Indiana-UCLA game. Clearly unable to live up to the legacy of these schools, this was a battle of attrition. I think these two schools could have fielded intramural teams that can put the ball in the basket. 21-13 at the half?!?!? Is this the NBA circa 2003? And throw in the fact you were subjected to the James Brown play-by-play training ground, and this game was totally unwatchable. JB must either bribed someone or CBS execs lost their mind when they put him behind the mic and decided to bump Gus Johnson out of the booth for the regionals. Terrible job.
  • Michigan State was gutsy, especially Neitzel, and I thought they would give UNC a run for their money and have a shot, but UNC is just too deep and athletic. The Heels just had too many weapons and eventually wore MSU out. Their biggest mistake was trying to run with Carolina at times during the first half. UNC definitely has some flaws, but their talent makes up for it. The only team that can go man for man talent-wise with them is Kansas. And I love Tyler Hansbrough. He plays his rear end off all game. Watch him on the bench, he can barely breath. Definitely not the most talented on the court or the team, but has lots of talent and works much harder than everyone else. That’s why he’s the best.
  • And Xavier (or the media) can yell all they want about calling an intentional foul on Oden, but how about making some foul shots. Or maybe the coach coming out of his coma and fouling the Buckeyes before they can shoot to put them at the line for two shots down by three. Or even trying to put OSU away when they are up double-digits in the second half. In my mind they handed the game over and were asking for one bad break to kill them.
  • 8 games, 3 OT, all but one decided by single digits. Saturday was a great tournament day.


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