Saturday, March 23, 2013

31 Games to Go

A few final points about from Round One:

Ken Pomeroy went 21-11 in the first round.

The Big East went 3-5; the Big 10 went 6-1; the Atlantic 10 went 5-0; the Missouri Valley went 2-0; the old SEC went 2-0; the old ACC went 2-1.

Here are today's games (all times Central):

Auburn Hills, Mich.
11:15 A.M.:  # 12 Michigan (27-7) v. # 14 Va. Commonwealth (27-8) (CBS)
1:45 P.M.:  # 8 Michigan St. (26-8) v. # 30 Memphis (31-4) (CBS)

Lexington, Ky.
4:15 P.M.:  # 2 Louisville (30-5) v. # 23 Colorado St. (26-8) (CBS)
6:45 P.M.:  #29 Marquette (24-8) v. # 43 Butler (27-8) (CBS)

Salt Lake City, Utah
5:10 P.M.:  # 18 Arizona (26-7) v. # 93 Harvard (20-9) (TNT)
7:40 P.M.:  #4 Gonzaga (32-2) v. # 25 Wichita St. (27-8) (TNT)

San Jose, Calif.
6:10 P.M.:  # 15 Saint Louis (28-6) v. # 39 Oregon (27-8) (TBS)
8:40 P.M.:  # 9 Syracuse (27-9) v. # 58 California (21-11) (TBS)

In the early game, Michigan leads VCU 38-23 at the half.  I will be in and out for most of the day, but if I have observations, they will go in the comments.

74 comments:

  1. VCU picked a bad day to go ice cold from the outside. The Rams are 1-9 from three-point range, and they are down 49-33 with 15 minutes to go.

    I'm turning this off, and I'll come back when Louisville gets started.

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  2. No March Madness so far today.

    Michigan drilled VCU 78-53 in Auburn Hills.
    Then Michigan State whomped Memphis 70-48 before the same crowd.
    Now Louisville is up 45-31 on Colorado State at the half.

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  3. Can we please be spared all of the encomiums on the Mountain West next year? Louisville is leading Colorado State 57-38 with 13:09 to go. The Rams just aren't that good, and Missouri fans should be embarrassed that their guys couldn't beat this team.

    I mean, all credit to the Cardinals -- they're playing great. But this CSU team is not close to being on the same level as the Iowa State team that UK played in the Round of 32 last year.

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  4. Meanwhile, Harvard -- who beat New Mexico, another alleged Mountain West powerhouse -- trails Arizona 39 to 18 with 1:58 left before the half.

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  5. There was so much talk this year about how balanced things have become, but then you had the biggest margins of victory for a non 1 or 2 in the history of the tournament set twice in one night. And so far in the second round it's not even close.

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    Replies
    1. There were also a lot of upsets -- they said this tournament featured the most wins by teams seeded 12th or lower in the history of the tournament.

      And I think we'll see a lot of great games once we get to the Sweet 16. I still don't think any one team will go through the tournament without being seriously challenged, as UK did last year or UNC did in 2009.

      But a lot of the "parity" was simply the result of officiating that makes it very difficult for teams like Florida and Michigan to win on the road in their conference. Yes, Michigan lost a number of road games in the Big 10. But that doesn't mean they will have trouble with VCU in a game played at Auburn Hills.

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  6. The BCS schools are just running roughshod over the smaller conferences today. Look at these scores:

    Michigan 78, VCU 53
    Michigan St. 70, Memphis 48
    Louisville 82, Colorado St 56
    Arizona 74, Harvard 51

    Meanwhile, Oregon is wrapping up an easy win over Saint Louis -- the Ducks lead 69-53 with 1:59 to go.

    So it's up to Butler to defend the honor of the smaller conferences. As usual, the Bulldogs are putting up a strong challenge. They lead the Marquette former Warriors 35-27 at the half.

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  7. Gonzaga's center is Tim Lincecum?

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  8. Now we have some drama. With 3:39 to go in the first half, Wichita State leads Gonzaga 29-22.

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  9. Few teams have embraced the modern physical, bang-everyone-around style of play with the fervor of Marquette and Butler. I figured this would be one of the more violent games in the tournament, and I wondered if either team would score 50 points. So far, Butler has made only 40 percent of its shots, while Marquette has made only 34 percent. But Butler has gone 9-16 from 3-point range, and that's the main reason the Bulldogs lead 44-40 with 16 minutes to go.

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  10. Now both teams are getting hot. Marquette had an old-fashioned 3-point play to make it 44-41. Then Butler hit a shot to go up 46-41. Then Marquette hit a three to make it 46-44. Then Rotnei Clarke (who used to torment UK when he was at Arkansas) hit another three (Clarke already has 24 points in this game) to make it 49-44 with 14:59 left. Great stuff on both sides.

    One problem for a lot of Big East schools in the NCAA's is that Big East teams, in general, are not good at shooting three-pointers. The average three-point shooting percentage in the Big East this year was only 32.3 percent, which ranked 31st among all conferences. So Big East defenses are somewhat vulnerable to good three-point shooters.

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  11. At the half, Wichita leads Gonzaga 36-31.

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  12. Marquette's answer to everything is to play harder, so they are really going after Butler on defense now. The Bulldogs' lead has been trimmed to 51-48 with 13:35 left.

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  13. With 13 minutes to go, Butler leads 51-50, but Marquette seems to have the momentum.

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  14. Butler hits ANOTHER three (the Bulldogs are 11-18 from behind the arc), but Marquette responds with a basket of its own. With 11:49 to go, it's Bulldogs 54, Former Warriors 52.

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  15. Now Butler has gone somewhat cold, and Marquette is just swarming them on defense. The Former Warriors have just scored back-to-back transition baskets after turnovers, and they lead 60-58 with 7:05 to go.

    Butler calls time.

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  16. Butler has won so many close NCAA games in recent years. Are they due for a loss?

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  17. Butler fought back to lead 62-60, but then the Former Warriors scored four points to take a 64-62 lead. And that's where we are with 3:41 to go.

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  18. Butler takes a 65-64 lead, but Marquette retakes the lead 66-65 with 2:38 to go.

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  19. Butler hits a short baseline jumper to take a 67-66 lead.

    And at the other end, Marquette is called for a charge. Butler has the ball, and the lead, with 2:08 left.

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  20. Butler runs a great play that draws a foul. They make two FT's, and lead 69-66 with 1:32 to go.

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  21. But Vander Blue responds with a three-pointer for Marquette. He has 29 points, and the game is tied at 69 with 1:03 to go.

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  22. Butler works the ball inside, but Marquette blocks the shot. The ball rolls out to a Butler player who misses the three-point shot. And then Butler is called for a foul on the rebound.

    Marquette at the line for two shots with 47.7 seconds left.

    Marquette makes the first FT.
    Marquette makes the second FT.

    The Former Warriors lead 71-69 with 47.7 seconds to go.

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  23. With 31 seconds to go, Butler tries a difficult pass to the inside -- and the ball is stolen. Ten seconds later, Butler fouls.

    With 22.9 seconds left, DaVante Gardner makes one of two FT's for Marquette, and they lead 72-69.

    Marquette has scored six points in a row.

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  24. With 14.7 seconds to go, Marquette fouls Butler. Roosevelt Jones, a 55 percent free throw shooter, goes to the line.

    Suddenly, the whole game is stopped so that they can mop up the floor.

    Finally, Jones goes to the line for two shots.

    He makes the first.
    He misses the second -- but the ball goes out on Marquette! Butler ball.

    Marquette leads 72-70 with 13 seconds to go.

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  25. Rotnei Clarke, who has been so hot today, fires a three-pointer for the lead -- but misses. The ball goes out of bounds. Marquette ball with 5.5 seconds left.

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  26. Butler fouls with 4.7 seconds to go, trailing 72-70.

    DaVante Gardner makes both FT's, and Butler's luck has finally run out.

    Marquette leads 74-70 with 4.7 seconds to go.

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  27. Butler throws the ball the length of the floor and scores when Marquette commits goaltending. 74-72 with 3.2 seconds to go.

    BUT WAIT! MARQUETTE THROWS THE IN-BOUNDS PASS, AND IT GOES OUT OF BOUNDS!!!

    BUTLER GETS THE BALL!!! The Bulldogs will have one more chance with 2.9 seconds to go.

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  28. No, Butler's luck has in fact run out. Butler is utterly unable to get off a good shot. Their desperate heave fails, and Marquette wins 74-72. The Former Warriors are headed to Georgetown's home court for the East Regional.

    Butler is a great team, but no team in the country tries harder than Marquette. Just ask Davidson.

    This is the best game in the tournament so far.

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  29. That was a great game.

    Butler's coach sure is baby-faced.

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  30. Meanwhile, Gonzaga has come back to take a 54-48 lead on Wichita State with 9:16 to go.

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  31. Tough break for Mom, of course. I hope you're happy, Matthew.

    Did you know that Butler's coach has a degree in economics?

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    Replies
    1. Eric, did you see the part where they showed Butler's statistician?

      That alone made me pull for Butler.

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    2. I did not, but that would've been fantastic.

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    3. Ken Pomeroy was on with the Sports Junkies on Friday. It was a pretty good segment. The Junkies know almost nothing about Pomeroy -- but he is a huge fan of theirs, because he grew up in the DC Area. He went to West Potomac High School and Virginia Tech before going out to Utah, where he worked as a meteorologist. He's out of the meteorology game, but he's still in Utah.

      Anyway, he knew all about the Junkies (in fact, he said that he was a caller many years ago), while they knew very little about him. They kept asking questions like, "So, have you invented any new statistics?" But they were very, very kind and generous, and he was plainly thrilled to be a guest on their show. The whole effect was quite charming.

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    4. I'll have to say that I am shocked that the Sports Junkies are still on the air. Do they still talk like they did 15 years ago?

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  32. At the half, Syracuse leads Cal 32-24.

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  33. Oregon beat Saint Louis 74-57, so the A-10 is rapidly running out of teams. They only have Temple and LaSalle remaining.

    Oregon will be going to Indianapolis to take on a team known as the Louisville Cardinals.

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  34. Wichita won't go away. The Shockers trail 55-51 with 6:32 remaining.

    But then Gonzaga hits a 3-pointer to go up 58-51.

    But the Shockers respond with their own 3-pointer. It's 58-54 with 5:50 left.

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  35. Gonzaga hits another three to make it 61-54.

    And Wichita answers to make it 61-57.

    One nice thing about the round of 32 is that the teams are used to the arena, and the usually shoot much better than they did in the first round.

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  36. And Wichita hits ANOTHER three-pointer to cut Gonzaga's lead to 61-60 with 4:14 to go.

    The Zags call time.

    The Shockers are 12-25 from three-point range in this game.

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  37. Gonzaga cannot score out of the timeout. The Shockers hit a (2-point) jump shot to take a 62-61 lead.

    But Gonzaga comes back and draws a foul. The Zags will be heading to the line with 3:17 to go.

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  38. I actually like these Mayhem commercials. Quite a lot.

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  39. This Bud Light computer date commercial, however, is beyond annoying. We've all seen this commercial a zillion times by now, and that guy's jokes are still not funny.

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    Replies
    1. I like this commercial. Several times, I've meant to post something about Jim Garner and Mariette Hartley and this commercial.

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    2. He's not funny. She's not funny. And they don't have good chemistry with each other. Every time, I think: let's go see what the folks at the bar are saying -- maybe they're funny.

      And if you were going to go with this campaign, shouldn't there be, like, more than one commercial? Maybe it would be better if they had a second date, or maybe you could introduce some running gags.

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    3. On the other hand, I love the Sonic commercials with the two guys sitting in their cars. And I like the commercial where Charles Barkley is calling the little kids' game.

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    4. Yeah, those are great.

      But I do think the beer couple is funny, and that's a great idea about more commercials in a series.

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    5. "So that's why I can no longer go to Cleveland"?

      "To you actually looking like your profile picture"?

      She ought to throw that beer in his face.

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    6. And, yes, I am PUMPED after that Marquette/Butler game. That game was fantastic.

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  40. The Zags make two FT's to take a 63-62 lead.

    But then Wichita draws a foul. The Shockers make two FT's to go ahead 64-63 with 3:10 to go.

    And Gonzaga accidentally steps out of bounds, giving the ball right back to Wichita.

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    Replies
    1. I hate stuff like that. If I was a basketball player, I'd forever be making that mistake.

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  41. And then Wichita hits ANOTHER three to go up 67-63.

    Gonzaga responds with a basket to make the score 67-65 with 1:55 to go.

    Wichita ball.

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  42. Wichita then comes back and hits its SEVENTH consecutive three-pointer. 70-65.

    Gonzaga tries to score quickly but turns the ball over.

    Wichita uses up almost all the shot clock, misses, and the rebound battle ends with a jump ball.

    Now the game has stopped because the officials apparently cannot figure out what is going on.

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  43. Finally, after about five minutes, the officials give the ball to Wichita State, put 44.2 seconds on the game clock, and 35 seconds on the shot clock.

    Linemen lead, 70-65. If they make their free throws, all of those columnists who argued that yes, America, Gonzaga really does deserve a one-seed will be in a pretty embarrassing position.

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  44. Wichita makes two FT's to lead 72-65.

    But Gonzaga quickly scores. 72-67.

    Wichita then misses two FT's.

    Gonzaga is fouled with 15.2 seconds to go. But the Zags MISS BOTH FREE THROWS.

    Wichita goes back to the line. They make both, and the Shockers lead 74-67 with 12.8 seconds left.

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  45. Is that Doug Gottleib and Mike Tirico doing the broadcast?

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    Replies
    1. It's Gottlieb. I don't know who the other guy is.

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  46. Wichita State wins 76-70.

    Please, please, members of the national media: quit acting like Gonzaga is a national power, or that Mark Few is one of the nation's best coaches. Mark Few has been the coach at Gonzaga since the 1999-2000 season. He has NEVER taken the Zags to the Elite Eight. Since 2001, he has been to the Sweet 16 exactly twice. You know who else has been to the Sweet 16 twice since 2001? Vanderbilt.

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  47. Scott Brown ‏@scottbrown107 9m
    And just like that, the losses of Butler and Gonzaga mean that thousands of women in America saw their brackets crash tonight.
    10:13 PM - 23 Mar 13

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  48. Here is a partial list of teams to reach the Elite Eight since Mark Few started coaching Gonzaga:

    Tennessee
    Alabama
    Kent State
    George Mason (Final Four)
    Virginia Commonwealth (Final Four)
    Butler (National Title Game - twice)
    Davidson
    Xavier (twice)
    Georgia Tech (National Title Game)
    St. Joseph's

    All of those teams -- and many more -- have gone deeper into the tournament than Mark Few's Gonzaga teams.

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  49. Poor Brad Stevens and Mark Few. Some day, those two guys are going to be Googling for a Van Cliburn tribute or instructions on how to attach three monitors to an ATI FirePro V4800. And then they're going to start innocently nosing around, and then ... BAM! Bad day.

    You know who drives me crazy? Sen. McConnell.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't say anything negative about Brad Stevens. In fact, I think it's unfair that he gets lumped in with Mark Few. Butler played a great game today, and was simply beaten by a better team.

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  50. The NCAA really did a terrible job with that West Region. The 1, 3, 4, and 5 seeds have all been eliminated. Wichita State will be playing either Ole Miss or LaSalle for a trip to the Elite Eight.

    Meanwhile, Louisville, Michigan State, and Duke are all crammed into the Midwest Region.

    On the other hand, it would be cool to see Ole Miss in the Elite Eight.

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    Replies
    1. Why are the committee meetings closed?

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    2. I don't know. It's outrageous. Their record this year was atrocious. They let in too many teams from the Mountain West and the Big East. They mis-seeded a very large number of teams. And the four regions are incredibly unbalanced. Just a terrible job all around.

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  51. After the very entertaining basketball played in the Marquette and Wichita State games, it is a shame the evening has to end with the Cal/Syracuse slugfest.

    The Orange (who, for some reason, are being forced to play this game in San Jose, Calif.) lead 52-43 with only 4:29 to play.

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  52. I also dislike the Astronaut/Valpo commercial. They just showed that one and the computer blind date commercial back-to-back.

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  53. Jerry Seinfeld just made a live appearance on Saturday Night Live.

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    Replies
    1. I would say that it was fun seeing him. He looked great. His wife is big into the healthy food, and it shows.

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  54. Well, the Big East did lose five of its eight teams in the first round, but they put three teams in the Sweet 16 today. Syracuse has had a pretty easy time of it with Cal, and they will be joining Marquette at the Verizon Center for the East Regionals. The Cuse will probably draw Indiana, which would set up a rematch of the 1987 Final.

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  55. Syracuse wins 66-60. And that's all for tonight.

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