Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chalk Wins

“I have never seen a player that works harder than Tyler Hansbrough.” Jay Bilas really knows how to give a compliment. And in this case, I can’t help but agree. Hansbrough is always diving out of bounds to get the ball, and his offensive rebounding is other-worldly. If he can’t make a career in the NBA based solely on his rebounding, I’ll be shocked.

Hansbrough’s 28 points and 13 rebounds may not have been the most points scored in the tournament this year, but it was the clearly the most complete performance on the biggest stage. (Can you up that tomorrow Stephen Curry?) The crazy thing is, the way the brackets are breaking, Hansbrough may need to do that two more times for UNC to win the national title.

Before my gushing about UNC makes you want to throw up, I have to say that Hansbrough’s rebounding energy also really seems to rub off on his teammates. When you watch UNC bludgeon average teams on the boards, you tend to think those teams are just mediocre. But when you see UNC out-hustle a team like Louisville, a team that has just been blowing people out of the water, well you see why they are the number one offensive rebounding team in the country.

Random Thoughts

1) Thing you thought you’d never hear an announcer say:
“Tyler Hansbrough just gets it across to beat the 10 seconds.”
I love watching a team like UNC face full court pressure. (This actually happens more in ACC games than people realize.)

2) You have to love the random match-ups the tournament generates.
“David Padgett was recruited to Kansas by Roy Williams.”
Then Roy Williams left for UNC, and David Padgett didn’t like the fit at Kansas and transferred to Louisville. (And now UNC might play Kansas in the Final Four.)

3) I thought it was a great call by Roy Williams to switch defenses at the 11 minute mark of the second half. Of course Louisville immediately hit a big three, but I did feel like their momentum slowed at this point.

4) Now that Herb Sendek has left for Arizona St., does anyone in the ACC use a cutting offense anymore? Having watched Georgetown beat UNC last year, Belmont kill Duke on backdoor cuts, and Louisville hit a few cuts on UNC, I’m wondering if the ACC isn’t getting enough practice against that type of offense.

5) If Hansbrough can knock down 18 footers, it just isn’t fair.

6) Despite all this, Louisville could have won the game if they didn’t turn it over 19 times.

UCLA - Xavier

Since the game wasn’t close, I only have two comments.
1) Drew Lavender was one of my favorite players last year, but I watched all his tournament games this year (two in person) and he really seemed like he lost a step.

2) James Keefe still isn’t very good. Why he was dribbling the ball 23 feet from the basket in the first half is beyond me. The ball was stolen and his intentional foul gave Xavier one of its brief moments of hope in the game.


As we head into Sunday, there are 3 possible outcomes, each amusing in its own way. Either
1) Bill Self’s personal Final Four drought will continue
2) Memphis will have failed to make the Final Four, losing in the Elite Eight in three straight years
3) All the one seeds will make the Final Four. Since the modern tournament era began in 1985, this has never happened. And we haven’t had three number one seeds in the Final Four since 1999.

It will make for a great Pardon-The-Interruption discussion spot no matter what happens.