Friday, March 26, 2010
After last night's excitement, I think we can put to rest the idea of expanding the NCAA Tournament. This is the best postseason system in all of sports. It's called March Madness for a reason! And every year, it never disappoints.
Going into this year's madness, their was huge discussion of expanding the Tournament up to 96 teams. I mean really? First off, that eliminates the energy and excitement of Conference Tournaments. The Conference Tournaments give every school the opportunity of making the NCAA Tourney.
And second, who wants two rounds of "play in" games. Really, does anyone even remember who played in this year's play in game? Does anyone remember who even won that game? Did anyone even watch the game? The last sentence is the most important because, hey, it's all about money. If we're not watching, we don't care and hence the value plummets.
Every year the Tournament brings us upsets, buzzer beaters and Cinderella's. We thought last week was tremendous, but last night may have beaten the whole first two rounds!
Butler/Syracuse-A classic David vs. Goliath. Mid Major vs. Big East. Butler stormed out of the gate and led by 10! at halftime. The Orange came roaring back and had the lead late in the game. It seemed Butler had lost all momentum. But then it was Goliath who tanked. Butler hit 3 pointer that hit the rim and bounced straight up in the air what seemed like ten feet only to fall through the net. Moments later, they had a layup that bounced around the rim and fell in. Simply amazing! The best part of Butler's victory? Their head coach is 33 years old!!!!!!!!!! The guy looks like he just graduated! Now, he has Butler 40 minutes away from playing in the Final Four, in their hometown!
Hey, Jim Boeheim can still make the Elite 8, all he has to do is cross the street the Carrier Dome tomorrow.
The Washington/West Virgina was a dud last night. U-Dub had a 2 point lead at half, but self imploded in the second half to lose by double digits.
Cornell/Kentucky-You have to think if Kentucky was to lose a game in this Tournament, it would have been last night. Cornell had the Wildcats right where they wanted them, playing the half court game. Cornell jumped out to a 10-2 lead only to get outscored 30-6! Kentucky was very fortunate to win last night as they only scored 62 points. Cornell seemed to intimidated on every shot. The Red couldn't hit wide open 3's or layups. Cornell shot 33% from the field!
I've said all year, Kentucky's poor free throw shooting is gonna cost them somewhere down that Championship road. What is it with John Calipari's teams? Just like his Memphis team two years ago. Kentucky shot 61.5% from the line and 2-16 from downtown. Like I said, Cornell had Kentucky right where they wanted them.
Of course the highlight of the night, the highlight of the Tournament, heck, maybe even the game of the year, was Xavier/Kansas St.
Wow! Everyone is putting this game up there with Duke/Kentucky in 1992 and Kansas/Memphis from 2008. And deservedly so. The only thing this game didn't have was a buzzer beater to win it.
Kansas St. jumped up to a double digit lead early in the game, only to see Xavier scratch back and actually take a 1 point lead into the half. K-State again seemingly took control of the game in the second half, but this game was far from over.
Kansas St. was up by 3 with Xavier having one final shot in regulation. In a crazy turn of events, K-State played by the book and attempted to foul Xavier, which would have given the Musketeers 2 foul shots and the Wildcats the ball back. However, the initial foul was not called and Xavier was awarded a foul on a 3 point shot. Of course Fred Martin was furious, like always. But give Martin credit, he had done his homework and we saw this sort of thing happen in the Kansas/Memphis National Title game 2 years ago.
There was no way Terrell Holloway was making all 3 shots. But he did! And history was made.
In the 2 OT's, it seemed like neither team could miss. Both teams were launching 3's from anywhere on the court, and making them! This was your classic Buffalo Wild Wings "send it to overtime" game! You didn't want it to end, and neither did Gus Johnson.