Monday, March 24, 2008

March Madness: Day 4

Duke and Georgetown are not in the Sweet 16, Western Kentucky and Davidson are in. The Memphis Tigers still can't shoot free throws and the Tar Heels scored 100+ in their second straight game. Rick Pitino and Louisville looked real good in their destroying of sixth seeded Oklahoma, 78-48. Other top seeds, UCLA and Tennessee survived while Kansas and Wisconsin coasted to second round victories. All in all, the field of sixteen is going to be more exciting than it has been in years.

As I wrote on Saturday morning, and I assume I'll write it again, Stephen Curry is a BALLER. First he came out drilling Gonzaga for 40 points on Friday afternoon, then he followed that performance with a 30 point thrashing of the second seeded Georgetown Hoyas. During the regular season Curry and his Davidson squad played at Pauley Pavilion against the Bruins of UCLA and only lost by 12 after holding an 18 point lead at one point. They welcomed Duke and UNC to their place and in both games held their own before posting 6 and 4 point losses respectively. Curry went for 20 against Duke, 24 against Carolina, and while cold still scored 15 against UCLA. How shocked are we that they upset Georgetown and Gonzaga? I picked Wisconsin to advance to the round of 8 in two different brackets and still I'll be cheering for Stephen Curry. Tournament MVP?

Despite what Coach Calipari wants his team to believe, free throw shooting is as important as defense in college basketball. One would think, after a three point victory in the second round of tournament play it is only going to get more difficult for Memphis to navigate through, and it does, enter TOM IZZO AND Michigan State. With three games being decided by five points or less on Sunday afternoon it has never been more evident that free throws do in fact MATTER. The Memphis Shaquille O'Neals were 15 of 32 from the charity stripe on Sunday and Coach Cal's response was "we hit 15 free throws and they hit 14, so we were better at the free throw line tonight than them." Errrr, Mississippi State was 14 for 20 and somehow he believes that 70% from the line is worse than 46%, is it any wonder they hate him in Amherst? If Memphis wants to make it to the Final Four the road is going through Texas, where they could eventually end up against the Longhorns in the Longhorn State. With thousands of screaming Hook 'em Horns fans on their back, the free throws don't get any easier.

If you had more than 1 two seed getting to the Final Four, your in trouble. Georgetown and Duke have already been sent home and Tennessee is next. Bruce Pearl and crew may have survived Butler but Pitino is in full blown Tournament mode. With Tennessee set to take on Louisville for the right to play in the Elite 8, they could be running directly into a buzz saw. After beating Boise State in the first round Louisville quickly took Oklahoma to the wood shed. With senior David Padgett scoring just 8 points and 4 boards in 21 minutes the Cardinals were still able to score 78 points and hold the Sooners to under 50 points. The Cardinals have lost just three games since January 23rd, each of the three was by less than 7 points, including an overtime thriller against Pittsburgh in the Big East Tournament. No team has scored more than 68 points in regulation against Pitino's defense in the last five games, the #13 ranked nationally Louisville Cardinals may be the last hope of the Big East due to their highly dissappointing showing in the Tournament.

While chalk help up in the East Region, expect things to get interesting next weekend. GOD I LOVE THIS SH*T.

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