Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were tough but I managed to survive. The three days leading up to the fifth day of the tournament are some of the worst days of the sporting year, luckily the MLB kicked off its season opener (pause) in TOKYO. However tough it was, it was well worth the wait. Pitino rolls, Carolina embarrases the boys from the apple state, UCLA survives . . . AGAIN, and of course Xavier battles West Virginia and I'm left with this:
I TOLD YOU, I TOLD YOU, I TOLD YOU and did I say I TOLD YOU? The Xavier Musketeers are in the elite 8 and your go-to for the tourney called it. On March 4th, I told all of you that Xavier was the sleeper to watch out for and for the 1st time I was proven to be pretty accurate. I didn't talk about Drake, I didn't talk about So. Cal, and I certaintly didn't talk about PITTSBURGH (sorry Coach Knight), I told all of you that Drew Lavender and Stanley Burrell were leading a strong senior class back to the promise land, where they should have been LAST YEAR. So what they almost choked it away by walking the ball up the court with 14 ticks left on the clock, game over, Xavier advances. Will any of you be surprised if they knock of UCLA tommorow? If you have been watching the tournament, you won't be. The Musketeers have beaten Georgia, Purdue, and West Virginia on their road to the Elite 8. I would hardly consider UCLA's victories against Western Kentucky, Mississippi Valley State, and Texas A&M the same competition. BRING ON THE BRUINS, VALIDATE LYNCHYRIGHTNOW.COM a little bit more, please and thank you.
(I'll even throw in that their win at Amherst against UMass in the regular season is a notch on their belt. Considering what Massachusetts has done at the Carrier Dome and in the NIT this season, your welcome Roche.)
Now to the second game of the night, Carolina at home against Washington State. CBS played all of about 5 minutes after the tip, that's all you need to know. Roy Williams still thinks playing in Carolina isn't an advantage, in the words of Pitino . . . . "head to Freedom Hall, if that's the way you feel."
Orange jacket was left in the closet, and so was Bruce Pearl's shot at a Final Four. Louisville ran Tennessee out of the gym, and with authority. Carolina hasn't faced a Coach like Rick Pitino and hasn't faced a team who plays defense like Louisville. FIVE guys in double digits and holding senior future first round pick Chris Lofton to 3 of 15 from the field in last night's sweet 16 contest. Outrebounding Tennessee 42 to 24 and hitting 77% of their free throws is a good way to prove the Big East is still alive and present in the tournament. Watch out Roy, Ricky's got something to show the country.
Finally, once again UCLA finishes off another lamb, barely. To all the pundents out there who thought that Memphis was the most likely to get dispatched of first, you may be right but has any other #1 seed looked shakier than UCLA? Unable to put away Western Kentucky and Texas A&M until the final moments of their last two games, Kevin Love may be the only thing that has looked good. Time to wake up Bruins, Darren Collison is going to have to do better than 4 points and 1 assist if UCLA is going to reach the Final Four. The same UCLA team that was down 18 against Davidson at Pauley could see itself in the same position, but with no way out this time if Xavier plays like they did against West Virginia.
Next Up: Stephen Curry makes is bid at Wisconsin, Memphis and Kansas look to survive another day . . .