Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of NCAA Tourney

No major upsets but still a great day. Here is my rundown on the games I watched today.

LSU/Butler: a good first game to start the tournament with. The Tigers march on after a 75-71 victory. I was actually rooting against Butler. My only reason is my dislike of Lance McCallister. Brad Stevens has a young team that is only going to get better. I think the bright lights made some of their freshmen hesitant early on. Gordon Hayward is one of my favorite freshmen in all the land. In this 'window' we also had CS-Northridge/Memphis and the Matadors kept it interesting for awhile.

Purdue/Northern Iowa: The Boilermakers seem to have the goods to make a nice run. Northern Iowa struggled most of the second half to get it under a six to eight point margin and couldn't make it happen succumbing to a 56-61 final. Eglseder from Northern Iowa was impressive as a big man.

Washington/Mississippi State: Flipped over to CBS College Sports (who needs local news). On second thought the local news might have been more interesting. Mississippi State was gassed. I have noticed over the last few years a team that has to win four conference games in four days like the Bulldogs generally come out flat. The second round game between the Huskies and Boilermakers should be a very good game.

Michigan/Clemson: Oliver Purnell can't win in the NCAA tournament. 0-5 is now his lifetime record in the big show. Hard to believe Michigan is making their first NCAA tournament in over a decade. My high school years they were a dominant team. John Beilein could take your team and beat his team. He is one hell of a coach and Manny Harris is a star. During this 'window' we also got plenty of looks at American University and their upset bid over Villanova. I think if this game was played anywhere other than Philly they may have took their attempt a little later in the game. Is it really fair to let a team play an NCAA tournament game on a floor they have played home games at this season? According to the play by play analyst 'Nova played three games at the Wachovia Center. They use that venue when the Big East heavy hitters come to town. Anyway nice attempt by Garrison Carr, Derrick Mercer, and Brian Gilmore from AU. We also got several looks at Minnesota and Texas and I believe Rick Barnes never gets enough credit for what he has done there. I like his opinions on the tournament belonging to CBS and not the NCAA. So true, so true.

Western Kentucky/Illinois: This was the 12 seed over the five seed upset that really wasn't. With no Chester Frazier, no chance for the Illini. I like the Hilltoppers against the Zags in the second round even though they let Illinois have a chance after being up 68-51 late. Also I had a chance to watch segments of the VCU/UCLA game and Maynor had a chance with a last second shot, but no dice.

Today is obviously a big day for folks in the tri state. UD/WVU at 3, UL/Morehead St. at 7:10, XU/Portland State 7:25, and a night cap with OSU/Siena at around 9:40. I am hoping for no 13 over 4 upsets today. ;)

Speaking of our game I feel confident the Muskies will get it done. That was before I read the press conference notes in the Enquirer's blog. The offense the Vikings like to run is very similar to Butler's and Duquesne's. Two teams that spread us out and beat us from the perimeter. PSU shoots 25 three pointers a game and make close to 10. I hope our length (even on the perimeter we enjoy an advantage), defense, and rebounding acumen are too much for Ken Bone's team. Another great day ahead I am sure.

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