Friday, March 21, 2008

Coast to Tyus Edney against Mizzou

I love the first day of the tournament. You know nobody is paying attention to their job, everyone is checking their brackets, but most importantly, there are games on all day long. There is nothing better. We went to a bar to watch Kansas at noon. It was a nice, relaxing. pasting of Portland State, but had our eyes on the other games. Props to CBS for going all HD this year and doing an excellent job of switching around. What I don't understand is tonight's main game here at 7:00 is North Carolina/Mount St. Mary's. Brutal. Back to yesterday, the day session didn't have too much excitement, but the night session was great. Oh Belmont, couldn't you have just hit one more shot? Unless you were a Duke grad, there is no way you were rooting for the Blue Devils. That is what makes the tournament so great.

#2 Duke 71 Belmont 70 - This was the game of the day. The Belmont Bruins of the Atlantic Sun had the mighty Duke Blue Devils on the ropes, but Gerald Henderson, who seemed to be the only Devil who showed up, saved the day by driving the length of the floor and laying one in with 11.9 seconds left to give Duke a one point lead. Belmont had two chances to win it. A botched out of bounds play with four seconds left was a killer. In the end, they came up just short. "The last two or three minutes, I was sitting there thinking, 'We're really in this game.' We were so close to winning," Belmont's Henry Harris said. "There's a bit of amazement in your brain, just sitting there: 'Wow!' " A good read: ESPN's Dana O'Neil says Duke's intimidation factor is long gone.

#11 Kansas State 80 #6 USC 67 - Well, there goes my elite eight team! Didn't way say earlier in the year that K-State would be a legit team in March because they have two stars in Michael Beasley and Bill Walker? Well, they were out in full force last night. Beasley had 23 and 11 boards, despite sitting most of the first half in foul trouble. Walker picked up the slack with 17 first half points and finished with 22. As good as these two were, it was K-State's other two Freshman who were the difference. Unheralded Ron Anderson came off the bench to score 10 points and grab eight boards. PG Jacob Pullen had 11 off the bench as well. The Wildcats dominated the glass all night long 40-27, including 18 offensive rebounds. O.J. Mayo was great for USC with 20, but the Trojan big men spent the entire night in foul trouble. Taj Gibson and Davon Jefferson fouled out, and Keith Wilkinson played most of his second half minutes with four fouls.

#9 Texas A&M 67 #8 BYU 62 - Another big win for the Big 12. Josh Carter played the game of his life for the Aggies. He nailed six of 12 threes on his way to a career-high 26 points to lead his team to the W. Joseph Jones and Brian Davis were in double figures up front and played excelptional defense on BYU's star big man Trent Plaisted. He scored just 13 and was a non-factor all night.

#7 West Virginia 75 #10 Arizona 65 - A disappointing season comes to an end for Arizona at 19-15. They were as close as two with four minutes left, but they ran out of gas, while the Mountaineers continued to nail clutch shots down the stretch. Led by Alex Ruoff's five, WVU nailed 11 three-pointers. Ruoff's stroke was pure, going 8-11 from the field on his way to 21. Da'shawn Butler had 19 , Darris Nichols and Joe Alexander each chipped in 14 in this total team effort. Do not be shocked if West Virginia beats Duke Saturday. They play great perimeter defense and have scores. Chase Budinger led the Wildcats with 23. Their lack of bench really hurt. Jerryd Bayless, Budinger, Jawaan McClellan, and Nic Wise each played 38 minutes or more. Jordan Hill played 33, and would have played more if he didn't pick up his fourth foul so early in the second half.

#3 Xavier 73 #14 Georgia 61 - This one was closer than the score indicated. The Bulldogs continued to ride the success of their SEC Tournament title and had a nine-point lead at the half. But like Arizona, they just had nothing left in the tank. They won four games in three days less than a week ago, and their three best players essentially played the whole game. They were run out of the building in the second half 47-26. Josh Duncan had 20 and Derrick Brown 19 for the X-men. Yes, they struggled most of the game, but they enough to pull away in the end. Is it just me, or did Xavier kind of get screwed with this first round matchup? Who would you rather play as a 14 seed, an SEC team who won their conference tournament or Ivy League champ Cornell?

#5 Notre Dame 68 #12 George Mason 50 - Many people picked the Patriots to win this one. Mike Brey's Irish had other plans. Perhaps the most impressive non-big seed team of the day was Notre Dame. Mason had nothing in the post to stop Luke Harangody who had 18 and 14. They owned the glass 42-31 and the underrated Irish defense held the Patriots to 33% from the field and 3-17 from deep. Meanwhile, they hit 9-21 threes and blew away Jim Larranaga's club. Follaren Campbell, GMU's best perimeter player, shot 1-12 for the game. "If I would get past or have one [defender] on my hip, there was another big guy right beside him," Campbell said. "I mean, Notre Dame just played great defense. All my shots were contested. I tip my hat off to their defense."

#6 Marquette 74 #11 Kentucky 66 - The Golden Eagles superb backcourt was in charge all game long and Lazar Hayward gave the post play they have needed all year long. Jerel McNeal, Dominic James, and Wesley Matthews combined to score 48 points and turned the ball over just four times. Hayward scored 16 and grabbed seven boards as Marquette advances. UK's tumultous season comes to an end, as do the careers of guards Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley. Crawford went out with a bang, scoring 35. Bradley had 19.

#6 Purdue 90 #11 Baylor 79 - Who would have thought the Baby Boilers could score 90 points? Well that's what happens when you play against the run and gun, all O, no D Baylor Bears. Five Boilers scored in double figures, none of whom was star Robbie Hummel, who played just 17 minutes in foul trouble. Keaton Grant (17) and E'Twan Moore (16) went stride for stride with five different Baylor guards and that helped Purdue cruise to victory. Curtis Jerrells had 27 in losing cause.

#5 Michigan State 72 #12 Temple 61 - Who says the Big Ten can't score points? If we would have told you Drew Neitzel would go 2-11, would you have thought the Spartans would have controlled the game from start to finish? It was their defense that was the difference. Temple's star guard Dionte Christmas, who averaged 20 points a game coming in, was held to 1-12 shooting for just three points. Temple shot 6-23 from downtown and never was close enough to make a serious run. Raymar Morgan led the Spartans with 15. Freshman guard Chris Allen had 12 off the bench.

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