Monday, March 23, 2015

Tournament Thoughts: Second Round Sunday

Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between good defense and horrible shooting. I actually think we've had equal helpings of both from Virginia and Michigan State.

Also the referees have done a poor job. The game has been very physical, at some points they allowed a lot of it, then at other times they whistled everything.

Someone needs to school these guys about the 18-foot jump shot. It is the worst shot in basketball. So inefficient. You don't make it with the consistency of dunks and layups, and you don't get as many points as you would if you moved back 2 feet.

Both teams going huge stretches without a field goal. Not only bad offense, but the fact that every time someone goes to shoot, they refs call a foul, some of which really were fouls.

Trice got carried away with himself. Made a huge 3, then took a long 2 with his feet on the line (worst shot) and 20 seconds left on the shot clock. There's no need for it.

And that is why I always pick Michigan State. They have a great tournament history. They're the anti-Villanova.

Also historically I have a tremendous record in selecting the correct #2 seed to lose in the second round. It happens almost every year and very often I'm right on it, but too often I have the wrong team beating them.

Dominant performance by Duke. I really think they're a different team this year. They have athletes and big men, and they were fast-breaking whenever possible.

Ron Baker is not making Mrs. Poop's All-Hair team but she concedes is current style is a big improvement over what he was rocking in high school.

If you're going to pull off a big upset you need to shoot the ball well. Wichita St. hit so many 3s I thought they were playing Syracuse.

Kansas was just driving recklessly and hoping for fouls/rebounds/lucky rolls, while the Shockers were passing the ball around and shooting the lights out.

As you know I hate storylines that have nothing to do with the game. So you can bet I am already sick of the narrative that says Wichita St. beat Kansas fueled by the disrespect of the Jayhawks refusing to play them.

The Kansas cheerleaders got into this Sunflower State showdown, rocking sunflowers in their hair.

I understand this was the biggest game in the history of the state of Kansas. But really, was there much competition for that title.

Speaking of storylines I'm sick of, Dayton, home court advantage, and even Archie Miller. I think his wife rubbed me the wrong way last year when they beat Syracuse. To repeat, I don't think the home state advantage had too much impact on the game (more so against Boise State than against Providence) but I think the NCAA should have avoided it just for the sake of appearances.

I really like Buddy Hield aka Buddy Love. Good player and fun guy.

I wonder if Archie will go watch Arizona. I know their dad will.

I wonder where Kevin Pangos ranks on Billy's list of favorite Gonaga players. Probably behind Richie Frahm and ahead of Blake Stepp. ANd way ahead of Adam Morrison, who is in last.

Doug Gottlieb said some unpleasant things about the city of Syracuse, but I can't really disagree with him.

Notice how Oregon's program has gotten so much better since Ernie Kent got fired.

Bo Ryan always looks so angry. He should cheer up. He was a good team. They could really be on collision course for 3 tough games in a row if they can win the first two, UNC, Arizona and then Kentucky. If they win those they might actually catch a softer opponent in the National Final.

If Louisville is shooting 50% against you, you aren't playing good enough defense.

Maryland vs. West Virginia an old fashioned ACC-Big East matchup. A new fangled Big Ten-Big XII matchup.

Maryland's Richaud Pack dyed his hair blonde last week. His aunt died, and she was a lifelong blonde, so to honor her Pack and other family members went blonde. A local sportscaster joined the Pack family.

A real shame that Melo Trimble got rocked two times in the second half. Hard to put a kid back in there after two possibly concussive incidents. But its hard to beat a team like West Virginia without your point guard.

So I picked 4 upsets in the first round, Buffalo over West Virginia, Wofford over Arkansas, Texas over Butler and UC-Irvine over Louisville. Not only did I get all 4 of those wrong, 3 of those teams won their second game and went to the Sweet 16 completely screwing me.

Louisville looked much better than I had seen them all season. Maybe Pitino is like Tom Izzo, knows how to get his teams to win in the tournament.

Disappointing ending to a fun first weekend.

Here's what I'm looking forward to next week: some real challenges for Kentucky. A Wisconsin-Arizona matchup, as well as Duke-Gonzaga, hope they both happen. I would also love to see NC State and Michigan State in the regional. No matter who gets there, it should be fun.


Damino said...

I'm really enjoying these write ups as usual. Amazing that the ACC has 5 teams in the sweet 16, and I won't be surprised to see several in the elite 8.

You're right that this Duke team is way different - and better - than last year. I like everything about Justise Winslow except for the spelling (or pronunciation) of his first name. Utah is an underrated and excellent team, so the Gonzaga/Duke matchup that we both want is no sure bet.

Paul said...

Thanks for the kind words Damino. These posts are a lot of work and I'm sure very few of you read them in their entirety but I like doing.
I throw in pictures and random references to Billy just to generate some conversation.

Pac-12 has 3 of 4 remaining, Big XII has 2 of 7.

I liked Utah and picked them to get this far, but I would be shocked if they beat Duke. Even more shocked if UCLA beats Gonzaga. But it wouldn't be the first time, UCLA beat Gonzaga in the infamous Adam Morrison crying game.

Bill said...

Frahm, Morrison, Dickau, Stepp, Pagnos. Morrison was the truth until he went bitch.
I thought for sure you were going here with Bo Ryan:
I hate patino. Love izzo.
Missed what gottlieb said
Duke is playing well at the right time. Thought lack of bench would hurt them.

Damino said...

No problem Paul and keep up the good work. I think UCLA is far less equipped to beat Gonzaga than Utah is relative to Duke. Duke is absolutely a better team, but I won't be shocked at all if Utah wins.

Agree with Billy that Duke is peaking at the right time (for once since 2010). Barring injury or serious Okafor foul trouble, I think the 3 person bench is fine against pretty much anyone but Kentucky, whom I don't think they will beat anyway if they get that far.

Paul said...

I forgot about Dan Dickau. Our old fat stupid roommate liked to say Dick-ow. I really thought you hated Morrison.

I'm sick of that Bo Ryan clip and his negative attitude.

Gottlieb was commenting on what would be a better location to go to for the next round, Los Angeles or Syracuse. And he tried to force poor Ian Eagle into a corner.

I agree about Duke's depth not being a huge factor, Coach K should be able to substitute well enough to lessen the impact.

Even if everyone is fighting for runner-up, you still want to get there and take your chances.

Damino said...

Yes absolutely I want to get there and take a shot at Kentucky. I don't think KY is a stone cold lock to beat Duke or Arizona or Wisconsin, but I think they're still a heavy favorite against all of them. Big Kev went to Wisconsin and is a huge Badgers fan, so I'd love to see them take out the Wildcats if possible. I just think KY is a better team, so I'm not counting on it happening.

And although of course national championships are the ultimate prize, in college basketball I consider Final 4's to be championships in their own right. You cut down nets, hang a banner, and the number of final 4's reached is often cited as a key reflection of a school's and a coach's accomplishments and pedigree.

Syracuse 2013 is forever a Final 4 team, and I want Duke 2015 to be one, too, even if they end up losing in the semis or title game. With the very rare exception of teams that looked unbeatable and lost in the final 4 (Duke '99, UNLV '91, Illinois '05), I don't think anyone looks back in disappointment on a Final 4 team. Not saying the eliminating loss itself doesn't sting, but I consider a Final 4 to be a huge accomplishment for pretty much any team.

Paul said...

This is the problem with young millennials like Damino my much younger friend. You only remember things that happened in your lifetime. The 83 Houston and 85 Georgetown teams are great examples of schools that look back on final four seasons as incredibly disappointing. And I think 05 Illinois was good but unc was considered the favorite.

Also I totally agree that 96 and 13 will be remembered as successful for syracuse but 87 is just a heartbreaker.

But any team that loses to Kentucky this year they just have to tip the proverbial cap and say they got beaten by a better team.

Damino said...

Ha you're totally right - I'm like 4 hours younger than you, so my memory of the 80's is understandably a lot hazier than yours!

I totally agree about certain ultra elite teams being disappointed by not winning it all, and you cite 2 additional great examples. If I were a KY fan and they don't win the title this year, I'd be hugely disappointed, even if I still do consider a Final 4 a type of championship or at least an enormous accomplishment.

But for pretty much any other team, even great ones like Syracuse '13 or certainly this year's Duke team, a Final 4 is a terrific accomplishment and the season overall has to be viewed as a huge success. You still want to win like hell once you're there, but to me you've already locked in a type of championship in its own right.