Monday, March 22, 2021

Monday Hoops

Here are today's games in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (all times Central):

11:10 AM:  (8) Iowa v. Oregon
1:40 PM:  (1) Gonzaga v. Oklahoma
4:15 PM:  UCLA v. Abilene Christian
5:10 PM:  (19) Creighton v. Ohio
6:10 PM:  (4) Michigan v. Louisiana St.
6:45 PM:  (14) Florida St. v. Colorado
7:45 PM:  (5) Alabama v. Maryland
8:40 PM:  (12) Kansas v. USC


  1. So far it's been a very disappointing tournament for the Big 10, which has already lost Ohio State, Illinois, Purdue, and Wisconsin. It's been a great tournament for the Pac-12, which has yet to lose a game. With 12:05 left in the game, Oregon is cruising over an Iowa team that never learned to play defense. The Ducks lead 75-57, and it looks like the number-2 seed in the West is going down.

  2. Here's the Big 10 so far in this tournament:

    Michigan State (seeded 11): Lost play-in game to UCLA in overtime
    Maryland (seeded 10): Beat UConn; playing Alabama tonight
    Rutgers (seeded 10): Beat Clemson; blew a late lead and lost to Houston
    Wisconsin (seeded 9): Crushed UNC; beaten by Baylor
    Purdue (seeded 4): lost to North Texas in overtime
    Ohio State (seeded 2): lost to Oral Roberts in overtime
    Iowa (seeded 2): beat Grand Canyon; crushed by Oregon
    Illinois (seeded 1): crushed Drexel; beaten by Loyola of Chicago
    Michigan (seeded 1): beat Texas Southern; plays LSU today

    It's really hard not to conclude that the Big 10 has been a huge disappointment.

  3. Meanwhile, the Pac 12 has yet to lose a game.

  4. Here's another way to think about it. When the tournament began, the Big 10 had five teams in the top 20, and four of those teams were in the top eight. Now Michigan is the only one left, and Michigan has yet to play its second round game.

  5. Oregon rolls over Iowa 95-80. The Ducks could easily have scored over 100, but took their foot off the gas with about three minutes left.

  6. After watching so many high seeds fail, it's striking to watch Gonzaga roll over Oklahoma so easily. The Zags win 87-71, just like you're supposed to when you are the number-1 undefeated team in the country.

  7. In general, the games on this side of the bracket have been much less interesting than the games on the other side. UCLA rolls past Abilene Christian 67-47, and Creighton has no problems with Ohio: 72-58.

    1. I decided during the first round to root for Gonzaga, UCLA, Oral Roberts and Loyola of Chicago, and all four of those teams made it through to the second round. I feel like all of the teams I decide to root for always lose, so I was in a genuinely good mood about the results Sunday and Monday.

  8. But now we have some drama: LSU leads Michigan 63-58 with 10:26 left.

  9. Michigan scores 9 points in a row and leads 67-63 with 8:36 left. LSU calls time.

  10. It's stunning to me that this game is close -- LSU is terrible.

  11. Ken Pom had Michigan winning this game 80-74, so his prediction is looking good right now.

  12. Michigan now leads 69-64 with 7:03 left and I think the Wolverines have this game in hand. Meanwhile, Maryland leads Alabama 11-5 with 15:12 left in the first half. If LSU and Alabama both lose, Arkansas will be the only SEC team in the Sweet 16.

  13. Michigan is now up 72-64, so they are on a 14-1 run. That 14-1 run is the only part of the game I saw, and it looked pretty much exactly like I expected. LSU is terrible and I have no idea how that game was ever close.

  14. Alabama starting to roll now -- they lead Maryland 27-22 with about 8 minutes left in the first half.

  15. Michigan beats LSU 86-78. I think that eliminates the last team that lost to UK during the regular season.

  16. Michigan, which was the best team in the Big Ten all year, becomes the first Big Ten team to reach the Sweet 16.

  17. Remember this, Kentucky fans? Alabama has made 8 three-pointers in the first half, and the Tide lead Maryland 44-33 with about 2 minutes before the half.

  18. Alabama leads 46-38 at the half, and that's all for me tonight.

  19. This is about when I quit watching, too, but then I flipped it back on just briefly before going to sleep. I did something along the lines of a triple or quadruple take on the Southern Cal/Kansas score.

  20. Southern Cal crushed Kansas 85-51. KU finishes the year with a record of 21-9, and a "luck" rating of 44. UK finishes the year with a record of 9-15, and a "luck" rating of 354.

    1. And if you think UK has been unlucky this year compared to Kansas, remember that last year, according to Ken Pom, Kansas would have been heavy favorites to win the National Championship. Imagine how we would feel if they had cancelled the tournament in 2012. We wouldn't have handled it nearly as well as Kansas fans did.

  21. So the all-time wins list now looks like this:

    1. Kentucky: 2,327
    2. Kansas: 2,323
    3. N. Carolina: 2,294

    We get to enjoy the lead for at least a few more months.

  22. Here are the Sweet 16 with their Ken Pom rankings:

    1. Gonzaga 28-0
    2. Baylor 24-2
    3. Michigan 22-4
    4. Houston 26-3
    6. USC 24-7
    8. Alabama 26-6
    9. Loyola of Chicago 26-4
    11. Villanova 18-6
    13. Florida St. 18-6
    15. Arkansas 24-6
    17. Oregon 21-6
    19. Creighton 22-8
    24. UCLA 20-9
    36. Syracuse 18-9
    50. Oregon St. 19-12

  23. With no dogs in the hunt, I have watched more of this tournament than I have any in several years. College basketball is really great.

    1. Someday you may get to see it with fans. That's really something to see.

  24. You'll see various breakdowns by conference, but us real fans understand that the actual breakdown by conference goes like this:

    Pac-10 (4): Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, USC
    Southwest (3): Arkansas, Baylor, Houston
    Big East (2): Syracuse, Villanova
    Big 10 (1): Michigan
    SEC (1): Alabama
    Metro (1): Florida State
    Missouri Valley (1): Creighton
    West Coast Conference (1): Gonzaga
    Other (2): Loyola of Chicago, Oral Roberts