No Sleep Till Football

Like Brooklyn Except It's Football

Making Sense of Day 2

Order was restored on Friday as most of the higher seeded teams won. Luckily for me that is what I needed. So far the West & Midwest regions have been very harsh with me while the South & East are floating my bracket to semi respectability. In Yahoo Pick’Em there are no now perfect brackets left! That’s amazing. Here is how it went down on Friday.

West Virginia 77, Morgan St. 50: The Mountaineers came out pretty flat in this one as Morgan St. opened on a 10-0 run to start the game! If you take those 10 points away then West Virginia routes Morgan St. by 37 for the rest of the way. This may have been the most impressive 1st round win by any of the top seeds. Morgan St. couldn’t keep WVU off the boards and it couldn’t keep WVU off the foul line where the Mountaineers converted 25 of 31 FT attempts. One time IU recruit Devin Ebanks went for 19/13. This tournament has been fantastic to people once affiliated with the Hoosiers. Imagine of all these people actually played for Indiana!

Xavier 65, Minnesota 54: Speaking of former Indiana players, former IU guard Jordan Crawford dumped in 28 for the Musketeers as Xavier cruised past Minnesota by 11. For Minnesota to have any kind of chance in this game, they were going to need to shoot the 3-ball well and create some turnovers on defense. Unfortunately Xavier is a great perimeter defensive team who takes care of the basketball. I didn’t think Minnesota could overcome this and that they’d lose which is what happened. I was surprised that Minnesota didn’t play Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson more. Those are two 6’11 guys. Iverson in 17 minutes had 5pts, 6rbs & 5blks. If he plays 34 minutes, Iverson flirts with an unusual triple double of 10pts/12rbs/10blk which would have been pretty cool. I don’t understand why teams don’t take more advantage of their bigs. We saw this Vanderbilt yesterday in not using Ogilvy & Ezeli as much as I thought they probably should against a far smaller team. Lawrence Westbrook has 19 for the Gophers but struggled as did Blake Hoffarber. With this performance, Minnesota didn’t make any Illinois fans happy. Jamel McClean for Xavier pulled down 14 rebounds!

Cornell 78, Temple 65: I thought Temple would win this game. Wow. This was a classic offense v. defense battle. I thought Temple’s defense was so good during the year and Cornell has not played any real competition in the Ivy League so the Owls would have the advantage. I also thought a bigger Temple team would outrebound Cornell. Not so fast. Both teams turned in outstanding offensive performances, but if you want to get into an offensive pissing contest with Cornell, then you might be barking up the wrong tree. Defensively Temple had an AWFUL game and they aren’t good enough to overcome that. The Owls needed Cornell to play their game. Instead Temple tried to play Cornell’s and wound up getting beat by 13. The Cornell/Wisconsin game opens up some new scenarios here as Wisky will be a great defensive team too and Cornell just thrashed one of those.

Purdue 72, Siena 64: This wasn’t a great game for Purdue. JaJuan Johnson was pretty much unstoppable with 23/15, but the Boilermakers have got big time problems on the glass while E’Twaun Moore, Lewis Jackson & Keaton Grant better get a lot better on offense really fast. Siena actually outrebounded Purdue. Ryan Rossiter (10/13) and Alex Franklin (10/12) had double doubles for Siena. Purdue played 10 players in this game. Eight of them were guards! Without Robbie Hummel the Boilermakers have been able to keep up the defensive intensity which is helping them out tremendously, but the other areas of their game are not coming in. Drawing Texas A&M next is a bad bad sign.

Missouri 86, Clemson 78: This game could have gotten A LOT uglier than an 8-point loss for Clemson. Clemson benefited from having great days from beyond the arc and at the FT line. If Clemson is not jacking up 3s and hitting or not being a better FT shooting team than they usually are and Mizzou might win this game by 20 points. This went like I thought. Missouri got it into a track meet and their defense created 20 turnovers to get massive points in transition. Missouri also got to the line more often because at times they just looked that much faster than Clemson. Keith Ramsey & Kim English both had 20pts for Missouri. Demontez Stitt has 21 for Clemson while Andre Young had 19 off the bench for Clemson. Trevor Booker went 11/11 for Clemson in the game’s only triple double. Missouri is going to be an exciting matchup for West Virginia. WVU, if they have a weakness, it’s that they don’t have a true PG. If Missouri gets this into a track meet and starts creating havoc in the backcourt, then WVU is in trouble.

Wisconsin 53, Wofford 49: The Badgers have to feel pretty lucky to get out of this one alive. They didn’t show up. I thought Trevon Hughes & Jordan Taylor would be very difficult to guard, but both were off. Jon Leuer had a great game for Wisconsin with 20pts/8rbs but outside of that Wisconsin looked really flat. They didn’t really pass the ball well, played uninspired defense and simply didn’t take advantage of a decisive advantage in size & athleticism. I get slowing the game down by wow! Wisconsin took it to a whole different level. Wofford even outrebounding Wisconsin! The Badgers CANNOT come in this flat against Cornell. They’ll get hammered!

Pittsburgh 89, Oakland 66: Brutal game to watch. There were 51 fouls and 32 turnovers in this one that led to 68 free throws being attempted. Oakland was going to have problems defensive to begin with. This was essentially a dominating performance by the Panthers. If there weren’t so sloppy on defense with committing so many fouls, they might have beaten Oakland by 40.

Texas A&M 69, Utah St. 53: Some people are looking at this game as an example of people overlooking Texas A&M because of the power teams in the Big XII this season such as Kansas, Kansas St., Baylor, Missouri & Texas. It’s a fair question to an extent, but even though the Aggies beat pretty good Utah St. (they are the Aggies too!) team, the game was interesting. Texas A&M had an outstanding shooting day which is something you couldn’t guarantee. They also didn’t get to the line all that much. They aren’t a great perimeter defensive team, yet they held Utah St. in check the entire game. Utah St. only got to the FT line 4 times and missed all four free throws. A whole lot had to go right for Texas A&M and a whole lot had to go wrong for Utah St. to get to this result. That’s what happened.

Gonzaga 67, Florida St. 60: This is what is interesting about college basketball. Because of their success in football in today’s sports climate, Florida St. & Texas are becoming pretty big powers in college basketball. However, Leonard Hamilton & Rick Barnes might not be the sort of coaches that can get their teams to the promised land. On the other hand, they are the kind of guys who can get massive talent on campus. But Leonard Hamilton isn’t going to be confused with a guy like Mark Few and his coaching ability. FSU was entirely too good to lose this game, but their defense simply didn’t show up. If there is anything to know about the game of basketball, it’s that defense is about the power of the will and attitude. Why couldn’t they show up for this game? Not only that, but Gonzaga dominated Florida St. on the boards which is unacceptable too. In a year where Gonzaga hasn’t been as good as we’ve come to expect, and the Seminoles are the best defensive team in the nation, it seems silly for FSU to drop this game.

Georgia Tech 64, Oklahoma St. 59: I thought this would be a close matchup with the Cowboys winning a tight one. I thought OSU’s ability to take care of the ball would win the day. However, if you were to tell me that Tech would have a pretty nice advantage on the boards while hitting 24 of 25 free throws, I would have told you GT wins in a walk. It wasn’t quite a walk, but if you are going to give a team 25 attempts at the charity stripe and they are going to hit 24 of them, then you aren’t going to win too many games unless there is a massive talent chasm in your favor. There wasn’t for Oklahoma St., and GT took this one down. Georgia Tech faces Ohio St. next. Ohio St. is better and I wouldn’t count on making 96% of your free throws if I’m the Yellow Jackets!

Duke 73, Arkansas Pine Bluff 44: Nolan Smith was off and Duke still won by 30 points. They did everything they were going to do and this one was a laugher. Kyle Singler went for 22/10 and led all scorers while Duke had 4 guys in double figures. Miles Plumlee came off the bench and contributed 8 rebounds. Nobody for the Golden Lions scored in double figures. Duke playing California will be one of the best 2nd round games of the tournament.

Michigan St. 70, New Mexico St. 67: NMSU outscored MSU 38-28 in the 2nd half! Luckily for Michigan St., they dominated the 1st half and held on for a close 3-point win. Kalin Lucas had a great day for the Spartans dropping in 25 points and hitting everything in sight. This is a very talented Michigan St. team led by arguable the best coach in college basketball with Tom Izzo. However, Sparty is going to need major contributions from Raymar Morgan and Delvon Roe. Chris Allen needs to play better. Durrell Summers needs to play better. New Mexico St. is a nice team, but Michigan St. is no 5-seed and they shouldn’t be winning games like this by only 3-points. There is enough talent here for Michigan St. to get back to the Final-4, but right now their potential draw is Maryland, Kansas and then Ohio St. in order to get back to where they were last season. They need everyone contributing or Maryland is going to beat them.

Syracuse 79, Vermont 56: A lot bigger win that it looks. Vermont has a solid defensive basketball team and did a lot of things well against the Orange. They didn’t turn the ball over and did a good job on the offensive glass. The problem was that Vermont simply didn’t shoot well which was to be expected against a defense like Syracuse. A 23-point win here is pretty big as Vermont was more likely a 14 or 13 seed. If that was the case, we might be talking about Vermont busting up some brackets. Instead they were a sacrificial 16-seed lamb.

California 77, Louisville 62: Advanced metrics show California to be a massively underrated squad. The Pac 10 has taken hits all season long, but Cal & Washington won their 1st round games while Arizona St. won their opening round game in the NIT and is a #1 seed in that tournament. The Huskies have a very real shot at beating New Mexico and getting to the Sweet 16. California has a tougher draw against Duke, but the Bears will make it interesting in my opinion. I’ve seen a lot of brackets that had Louisville upsetting Duke in the 2nd round. If you believe that then you can certainly believe a team that beat Louisville by 15 can upset Duke too. It’s an end to a disastrous year for Rick Pitino and Louisville. Any team that can beat Syracuse twice should be better than a 9-seed who gets bounced by an 8-seed by double digits. Cal’s offense shot well while Louisville simply couldn’t keep the Bears off the line. The Pac 10 was top heavy this season, but that top was pretty good.

Ohio St. 68, UC-Santa Barbara 51: Evan Turner & David Lighty were awful combining for only 18 points on 5 for 24 from the field! Fortunately the Buckeyes played solid defense and Turner did pull down 10 rebounds. Jon Diebler went off for 24 points including 7 3-point shots. Will Buford added 16/7 while Dallas Lauderdale was a beast inside pulling down 12 boards and blocking 8 shots! Dallas almost got a double-double without the points! Orlando Johnson went for 20 for UCSB, but nobody else played well for the Gauchos. For the most part, Ohio St. wasn’t playing their A-game and won by 20. Georgia Tech better get ready.

Maryland 89, Houston 77: Maryland dominated the glass and was exceptional from the line en route to a relatively easy win over Houston. The Cougars love to push tempo, but Maryland’s guard play is simply too good for that. Maryland went uptempo and left Houston behind. Greivis Vazquez dropped 16 while Jordan Williams went for 21/17. Kelvin Lewis and Aubrey Coleman did combine for 50 points for Houston, but this was a horrible matchup for the Cougars and Maryland made them pay for it. Maryland/Michigan St. is going to be a very interesting matchup in the 2nd round.

Here is how the brackets turned out after Round 1:

My Bracket: 21 of 32
My Wife’s Bracket: 24 of 32
Chalk: 22 of 32
Offensive Efficiency: 23 of 32
Defensive Efficiency: 23 of 32
DE & Tempo: 21 of 32

My wife has yet to watch a basketball game this season outside of the Butler/UTEP game we watched in the first round. Gotta love it baby!


March 20, 2010 - Posted by | Basketball, March Madness

1 Comment »

  1. That Wisky game reminded me of the unwritten rule in the Big 10:

    First team to 50 wins!


    Comment by Anonymous | March 20, 2010 | Reply

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