For this Monday’s wonderful edition of Smarch Madness, I’m taking a bit of a different approach. You don’t really know this for sure, but I promise you that this will in no way be edited based on outcomes. I am doing this in 4 parts. Each one will be written on a different day, Friday morning through Monday morning, breaking down the previous night's games with predictions with what’s to come. We’ll see how it pans out.
--Well, it certainly started out looking like the X/WV game would be a blowout and the NC/Wazzu game would be a nail-biter. Not so fast my friend. The Cougars had a game plan and they executed it fairly well by slowing it down to a crawl, making Hansbrough play that rat feces, and limiting fast breaks. But this is what makes Carolina so scary. It didn’t matter, it didn’t even come close to mattering. The game was really never in doubt and proved that you have to bring a perfect game to beat the Heels.
--Xavier, on the other hand, should have freaking rolled up on the ‘Eers. You’ve got give it to Huggins and Crew though, they fought their asses off and should have won that game. I’ve been skeptical of both Joe Alexander and Josh Duncan all year, thinking that they were nice players (channeling my inner-Trev Alberts!), but not great clutch players. I was fucking wrong. I can forgive Alexander’s missed free throw because without him, they lose by 20. You just knew when he fouled in OT, even when WV went up 4, that they were going to lose. They had no one to go to. And how about the clutch shooting of BJ Raymond??? Amazing. I laughed everytime that they showed the replay of Raymond sticking that 3 with ice in his veins and running back down the floor with the homicidal maniac look. Classic.
--UCLA is living on the edge. Kevin Love is playing his ass off but it looks like his teammates are taking extended periods of time off during games. They can’t afford that against X or they will go home.
--And then there is Tennessee…my pseudo-favorite team in the tournament. They are out of the tournament for three reasons and three reasons only. One, they play with no composure at all and can be rattled at any moment and start throwing the ball all over the place. Two, they commit more dumbass fouls than a team comprised entirely of Drew Gooden’s. And three, Bruce Pearl’s decision to bench Ramar Smith and play JP Prince at the point was the worst move any coach made all year. Prince fucking sucks and was such an asset off the bench. When Pearl made him their starting PG, he became a turnover machine and no longer attacked the rim anymore. Thank you, Bruce Pearl, for breaking my bracket.
As far as predictions for tonight’s games: I like Davidson to keep it rolling somehow, Memphis to squeak by on another one of Drew Neitzel’s famous off nights, Texas to beat Stanford in basically a home game, and Kansas to roll Nova. We’ll see how it goes.
--Well, I couldn’t have nailed my predictions any more with the exception of thinking that Sparty would actually compete. Let’s break down the action. I’m just going to throw the Texas and Kansas wins out the window as those two games were boring as fuck. Texas was just too quick for the Cardinal (maybe Trent Johnson should have gotten himself tossed again?) and Villanova isn’t good. I received a text at halftime of the Kansas/Nova game from Money Shot Detroit regional correspondent, Glick, that read “This is boring, I’m going to the bar.” I agree. At least you got to witness Cinderella moving on though.
--I think one thing that was painfully obvious last night was the Big Ten’s shortcomings. Yes, it is really easy to point out how lousy the conference is. But, really, it’s true. There aren’t a lot of athletes that can run, they insist on running plodding offensive sets and hope to play games in the 60’s. Which is exactly what happened to both Sparty and the Badgers (worst name for a band ever I think). Memphis silenced the critics, for now, but crushing State. Crushing might be putting it lightly. Neitzel was the a turd again and I’m glad he’s gone. And you knew that even though Wiscy was nailing three’s in the first half, it wasn’t going to last. That game was over at halftime. You can say whatever you want to try and defend yourself, Big Ten fan, but you embarrassed yourself on a national level again this year.
--And finally, I get to talk about America’s team coached by America’s grandpa…the Davidson Wildcats. This is great. For as bad as the games have been during the tourney this year, at least we still have a darling to pull for. And honestly, is there a better team to play against than Mr. Chicken Choker, Bill Self??? The comparisons will be made to this Davidson team about George Mason. While I can see some correlation due to the mid-major label, name me one player that played for the Patriots that year? See you, can’t do it. You will always remember Stephen Curry though. That was a complete domination effort last night.
Predictions for the Elite 8 games: One of the two one’s is going down tonight…I have a feeling (Can I borrow a feeling by Kirk Van Houten). We’ll go with UCLA over X in overtime and Louisville over Carolina. Tomorrow, since I might not get to this on Sunday before the games, give me Texas over Memphis due to free throw shooting and Kansas over Davidson (sigh) in a rout.
--Wow, I did not see that Bruin ass-whooping coming. They totally made X look like bitches. Kevin Love has officially turned into an unstoppable force inside and outside. If Ben Howland could ever figure out how to use his timeouts efficiently, I think everyone would be pleased. THAT was the Josh Duncan that I was used to seeing...the shitty one. Great season by the Muskies though now they just have to figure out how to keep their coach in Cincy.
--Carolina/'Ville was as good as advertised. And, ugh, I hate to say this due to my general hatred toward him, but Hansbrough was big time clutch. HAH-YUGE! I still don't understand why Pitino tried to press Ty Lawson. He isn't going to turn it over and it plays right into what the Heels want to do...get out on the break. And Damman, we discussed this last night but I want to embarrass you even further, there is no excuse and no amount of money potentially won to justify for openly rooting for Hansbrough. You screaming over the bar "PSYCHO T!!!" is just awful. Be ashamed. You should apologize to Dut for this.
--I watched the late game but at a weird angle seeing that I had to work the door at our favorite local establishment. Doorman is the best. Kicking stupid girls out that think I'm dumb enough not to read their ID, harrassing people about whether their ID's are fake, and my favorite, making people show 2 forms of ID even though I'm laughing my ass off inside. Good stuff. Oh, and I got paid and drank for free all night...that helped too.
Predictions - well, I already made mine for the games today so I'll say that I draw the 4th pick in my fantasy baseball draft today (I did pick 4th actually) and that the RedHawks hockey team beats BC today to advance to their first ever Frozen Four.
--Shame on us for not believing in Memphis. Holy shit do they look fantastic or what? Who needs free throws when you get out to gigantic leads and have the best athletes on the floor? You know you're good when you win a road game against a top 5 team and completely stifle them and their fans all game long. Calipari has his kids about as focused as humanly possible and you've got to think that they are a threat to cut the nets down next Monday night.
--Well, the ride is over. What a great two weeks that Stephen Curry and his Davidson teammates gave us. Unfortunately, you could tell down the stretch that the Wildcats were fatigued and the deep shots weren't falling. And that sucks because Bill Self was fully prepared to give us another one of his classic choke jobs that he is oh so famous for. What a lucky bastard by the way. Anyway, thank you Stephen Curry...that was a lot of fun.
--Damn RedHawks lost to Boston College in overtime about 10 minutes after Davidson's final shot was missed. It was a shitty ten minutes for me. But I'll tell you what, I really enjoyed watching some college hockey over the weekend. It's much more entertaining than the NHL.
So we get all four one seeds in the Final Four. Eh, I can live with that. It ensures us that this year's champ will definitely have earned it. Saturday night should be fantastic. And as far as who this blog is supporting, well, we're taking an ABTH approach...Anyone But Tyler Hansbrough.