Friday, March 21, 2008

NCAA Tournament - First Round

UNC vs. Mount St. Mary's:

This is the first time I've watched a whole UNC game, and they are extremely impressive, even against a 16 seed. All five guys can do more than the average player at their position. They're fast and strong, and can all shoot. The defense doesn't look that impressive, but considering they're playing a fast-paced game and are on pace for over 100 points (a little ways into the second half), it can be excused. The Mount is clearly over matched, but they look like they at least belong in the tournament. I would have picked UNC to go to the finals, if I hadn't had Kansas winning it all. [I found it kind of amusing that the UNC B-team is 5 white guys, who were put in with 4:30 left and the score 101-58. Have some fun out there guys. From that time, UNC was still only outscored by 4]

Gonzaga vs. Davidson:

I picked Gonzaga to win this game, but Stephen Curry made me a Davidson fan. The guy was unbelievable; scoring 40 points and going 8 for 10 on three-pointers. He would catch the ball a few feet behind the arc, turn, and shoot off of his back foot - all in one motion. Every Davidson player, coach, and fan should get in line to thank him for the performance, as there is no way they would have beaten the Bulldogs without him. It was an exciting game, pretty much from start to finish.

Drake vs. Western Kentucky:

I picked Drake (to win two games, actually) and things looked bad in the first half as the (other) Bulldogs were down by 9. WK even had a 16 point lead at one point. Drake managed to make a comeback though, leading to an exciting finish. After going to overtime, Drake had a one point lead with 5.7 seconds left after a couple of free-throws. WK's Ty Rogers then hit a last second 3-pointer with three Drake defenders right in his face. I didn't get to see the shot when it happened, but the replays made clear why everyone was yelling - it was an amazing last-second play. now WK will actually be the favorite, as 13 seed San Diego upset UConn.

Connecticut vs. San Diego:

I didn't get to see all of this game, but the ending was fantastic. Even though UConn's #1 scorer AJ Price left the game with an injury, San Diego lost players late in the game to foul trouble and Brandon Johnson played hard (though I wouldn't say heroically, as the commentators did) through a injury. This game went to OT too, and also ended on a last second do-or-die shot - even if it wasn't quite as impressive looking. So instead of a #4 vs. a #5, it'll be a #12 vs. a #13. Who would have thunk it?

Georgetown VS. UMBC:

The first ten minutes really got my hopes up. The UMBC team was giving up a good amount of size, and some athleticism, but the got some turnovers and dominated on the rebounds (especially the offensive boards) and managed to even hold a couple of leads before Georgetown pulled away by the half. Jay Greene really had no business being on the court. He probably caused more harm than good because he was constantly in a bad position and couldn't do much to set up his teammates. He also only scored 6 points on two late threes. UMBC couldn't score inside, but since Georgetown knew that, they could compensate by doing extra to cause poor shots from the perimeter. That left UMBC in a no-win situation and, overall, they looked unorganized on offense. To win the game, UMBC had to play at the top of their abilities for all 40 minutes, which is too much to reasonably expect from any team. When they did that, they kept up with one of the very best basketball teams in the nation. This NCAA appearance should help UMBC's recruiting, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them back next year. Georgetown didn't look terribly impressive, though. If UMBC was a bit bigger at each position then they could have kept the score close for longer. At least I can always say "Hey, you remember that time UMBC was beating Georgetown?" That was awesome. I was a bit upset at myself, as all seven times I said "No" as a Georgetown player shot the ball it ended up not going in. If I had been doing that all game, who knows what could have happened. (Probably the exact same thing, but I would have been wrong a bunch of times so there would be no sense of regret.)

General note: There are a lot of teams that are the "Bulldogs" - Drake, Georgia, Mississippi State, Gonzaga, and Butler. There's also a bunch of "Wildcats" - Arizona, Kentucky, Kansas State, Davidson, and Villanova. That's 10 out of 64 teams with those two names. Kind of odd.

No comments: