Friday, March 13, 2009

Six Overtimes, Are You Kidding Me?!

1) Syracuse vs UConn featured everything. A miracle full court pass and 3 point shot waved off, a miracle 3 to tie in OT, a 3 pointer that bounced about 10 feet in the air before not going in to end another overtime period, rarely used Syracuse walk-on Justin Thomas playing the last 7 minutes of the game for Syracuse because so many people fouled out. Six overtimes. Let me say that again. Six overtimes. Plus, and this might have been my favorite part, the game featured some of the most ridiculous flopping of all time. Somehow the game involved a ton of un-necessary shoves and a ton of over-the-top flops at the same time. At times I wondered if some of these guys had trouble walking down the street on a windy day. But all kidding aside, if you didn’t enjoy Syracuse vs UConn, you just don’t enjoy college basketball.

2) Stat of the night in the 6th overtime. Syracuse is shooting 38% (38 of 100).

3) Bill Simmons refers to the Madden Moment as the time when the game randomly decides you are going to lose. No matter what you do, the worst possible outcome happens. Well, that was pretty much what happened to Syracuse Forward Paul Harris at the end of the 4th overtime. Despite numerous point blank looks he absolutely could not put the ball in the basket or draw a foul. But in the 6th overtime, Andy Rautins started a run with a big three and all is forgotten.

4) My archives are full of stories about Byron Eaton and James Anderson not living up the hype at Oklahoma St. And I couldn’t be happier to see them pick up the huge victory in the Big 12 quarterfinals. Eaton was absolutely un-guardable down the stretch despite being completely winded at the 4-minute mark. He’s always been an ankle-breaker, but never a finisher. With Eaton hitting big baskets in the lane, and James Anderson hitting two big free throws with 2.3 seconds left, the Cowboys secured a spot in the Big 12 semifinals. The game also featured a very bizarre ending when Oklahoma tried a miracle full-court pass and shot, but got a second opportunity because the game clock never started. The second tip was no good, and Oklahoma went down, but if the tip had been good, it could have been very controversial.

5) So does anyone want a 1 seed? Oklahoma and Kansas seemingly gave up the opportunity. And Pitt and UConn lost too. The door is definitely open for Michigan St. if they can win the Big Ten tournament.

6) If Missouri wins the Big 12 tournament, is it possible for them to steal a first round slot in Kansas City? Are they even eligible to play in Kansas City? Well, I suppose even if they jump Oklahoma on the S-curve (big if), Memphis and Kansas will still block them out of the K.C. pod, but you never know.

7) Cracked Sidewalks is right on the money. This season has just been a big kick to the gut for Marquette. First they lose Dominic James, then they suffer a miserable losing streak to end the year, then they come all the way back from a 17 point deficit against Villanova only to lose on a last second shot. Ouch. But hey, if you turned away from the Marquette game because they were down by 17, shame on you. I picked them out yesterday as a likely comeback-game team. And on the flip side, an absolutely amazing pass and lay-up won the game for Villanova.

8) I’ve already said that Cal PG Jerome Randle is one of my favorite Pac-10 players. And his floater in the lane that tied the game against USC with 10 seconds left was a thing of beauty. But after USC regained the lead with 3 seconds left, the ball was in-bounded to Randle and he proceeded to dribble it off his knee instead of getting a shot. And if that wasn’t bad enough, his reaction, shoving Tim Floyd and taunting a USC player was definitely uncalled for.

Is anything really a surprise anymore?

If you watch enough basketball, it doesn’t seem like anything really stand out as a shocker. Let’s look at today’s upsets:

West Virginia upsets Pitt: Well, according to the Pomeroy Ratings, West Virginia is a top 10 team. They just happened to be one of the unluckiest teams in the country.

Georgia Tech upsets Clemson: Yes, this was a real upset, but Georgia Tech is also one of the unluckiest teams in the nation.

Baylor upsets Kansas: Well, Baylor was an NCAA tournament team last year, and they’ve under-performed this season.

Oklahoma St. upsets Oklahoma: Well, Oklahoma probably had the least impressive Pomeroy rating of any team competing for an elite seed in the NCAA tournament.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

On Monday night I projected my NCAA field. Other than having Creighton in the field (and San Diego St. out), I pretty much matched Joe Lunardi’s Tuesday morning bracket.

Since then, little has changed. Cleveland St. upset Butler in the Horizon final, shrinking the bubble by one team. But elsewhere, potential bubble teams and long-shots have been sinking like flies.

Cincinnati – Done
Georgetown – Buh Bye
Notre Dame – Bye
Providence – Nice Knowing Ya
And the Big East is locked in at 7 bids.

Kansas St. – Sorry folks
Miami (FL) – Um, thanks for not showing up
Northwestern – Someday
Rhode Island – Keep dreaming

Texas A&M, UNLV, and Arizona also fell, but I’m not completely counting them out yet. And a few teams are still alive, at least for one more day:

Baylor in the Big 12 semifinals
USC in the Pac 10 semifinals
San Diego St. in the MWC semifinals
Maryland and Virginia Tech in the ACC quarterfinals
Minnesota, Michigan, and Penn St. in the Big 10 quarterfinals
All the bubble teams in the SEC

So let’s go play a few more games. Welcome to Friday.