Thursday, March 8, 2007

Early Thursday Afternoon Fun

Five major conference tournaments in action simultaneously!

Kentucky defeats Alabama: Alabama becomes the second member of the preseason top 25 to officially punch their ticket for the NIT joining Connecticut. Connecticut was playing a lot of freshman and was obviously hard to evaluate before the season, but many thought Alabama and guard Ronald Steele would be Sweet Sixteen material this year. Instead Steele was injured at the end of the season, and the team fell short, losing to Kentucky in CATlanta. Seriously, Pomeroy’s log5 conference tournament projections should consider adding a home court advantage for Kentucky as they clearly view Atlanta as their home away from home. (For the sake of completeness, I should also note that with losses later tonight, preseason top 25 teams Washington and LSU will join Alabama and UConn in failing to make the big dance.)

Clemson defeats Florida St: The last two years, the final undefeated team (Illinois, Florida) has played in the national championship game. This year, the final undefeated team will be playing in the NIT. I always feel sorry for Clemson fans who get their hopes up year after year, only to see them crushed in ACC play, but this year was extra painful. For the record, I think the play at the end was a travel and not a foul, but Florida St. hit the free throw for the win.

Georgetown defeats Villanova: How do you beat a full court press? Play good defense. Georgetown held Villanova to 2 points in the first 10 minutes of the game which did not allow Villanova to set up a full court defense. In the half-court, Georgetown picked Villanova apart and built a 25 point lead, before taking the air out of the ball.

Michigan defeats Minnesota: The brutal pace of Big Ten basketball continues as Minnesota only scored 40 points. (Well, either pace or bad shooting.) Michigan keeps its NCAA hopes alive for one more day.

Oklahoma defeats Iowa St.: Good news, Oklahoma ended a six game losing streak. Bad new, Kansas waits in the next round.