Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday Morning Thoughts

Carolyn, wife of this blogger, wants me to send out a thank-you to Big Ten Wonk for the kind words in Saturday's column. If I haven't already made it clear by citing him once a post, Big Ten Wonk is the icon of basketball blogging.

Besides he's the only one of the blogging superheroes who isn't getting paid by ESPN or FoxSports or something. Those other guys have gone to the NBA, but Big Ten Wonk is like a 6th year senior with two medical redshirts who keeps playing for the love of the game! (I mean that as the highest possible compliment.) I would also like to think of myself as the lanky freshman center who shows flashes of brilliance but is wildly inconsistent and still needs some polishing.

Despite trying live blogging of a game yesterday, I didn't feel like I really had any great insights into OSU-Memphis. (Unless you wanted someone to look up alacrity for you.) But Big Ten Wonk had a few fun insights. Apparently CBS cameras caught Thad Matta writing "GIVE GREG THE BALL" on his whiteboard. I must have missed that while I was typing my comments, but that's hilarious.

Wonk also points out that some people are going to question Ohio St.'s perimeter defense, but that this is more indicative of luck than poor play. I think that luck is part of it, but I disagree slightly. I'm more concerned that when certain players get hot, Ohio St. doesn't seem to stay in the grill of those players. On the other hand, things often go wrong if you over-compensate for one player, so maybe Ohio St. was right to let Hunt get those deep threes and just play good defense on everyone else.

Women's Sweet Sixteen

While the early rounds of the women's tournament are often difficult to watch because of the talent disparity, the later rounds are highly under-rated in my opinion. I happened to catch a little of yesterday's action on ESPN Classic this morning, and it re-kindled my interest.

In case you missed it, the upset of the day yesterday was Duke's women's team falling to Rutgers. Duke had only lost one game all year and trailed by one with 5.6 seconds to play. Duke had only committed 4 fouls, so they essentially could not foul Rutgers enough to get the ball back, and they needed a steal. Amazingly Lindsey Harding of Duke got that steal and drove into the lane. With one tenth of a second on the clock, Harding drew a foul and went to the line with a chance to win. Instead, she missed both free throws and Rutgers held on to advance to the Elite Eight.

Congrats to Rutgers! Rutgers has been one of the few teams that has been able to beat Connecticut in Big East play in recent years, but they have not been able to break through and go to the Final Four. Monday Night could be the big chance against Arizona St. It also marks a re-match of a game cancelled earlier this year due to the tragic death of the brother of one of the Arizona St. players at practice just before the game.

The other regional final will feature Connecticut (which always seems to go to the final four) and LSU (which has been a final four team recently). That should be a tremendous game, provided they don't spend the whole time talking about recently resigned coach Pokey Chatman.