Posts Tagged 'NCAA Tournament'

CAN YOU HANDLE THE MADNESS??

Greetings. It is the eve before the real part of the NCAA Tournament begins. I know the TV networks want you to believe these “first four” games are part of the tournament but c’mon, who are they trying to kid? These are play-in games. The good stuff starts tomorrow.

The Thursday and Friday of the what used to be the 1st round (it is now called the 2nd round because of the play in games which makes things more confusing) are up there with Super Bowl Sunday as my favorite sports days of the year.

I have wonderful memories of coming home from middle school and high school on these two days and there waiting for me was the madness! Already in progress! Yes! No waiting ’til primetime to see how my bracket is faring. I get to see it NOW!

See ya later soap operas. For a few days in March, NCAA hoops rules the daytime airwaves and cause a dip in production in workplaces around the country. I love it.

One aspect of the big dance the lures me and so many others to watch countless hours of it, is the sheer unpredictability of the whole thing. Granted, there are only about 8-10 teams each ear who have a real shot at being the national champion. However, the chaos that ensues in the early rounds is exciting and people want to see it. Cinderella’s knocking off the big dogs. The favorites hanging on. It is as sure a thing as the sun rising tomorrow that there is gonna be some tight games that involve overtime and buzzer beaters.

And amazingly, is almost always a sure thing that CBS’s Gus Johnson will be calling those games! And that is a great thing as well.

Johnson’s memorable calls over the past 5 years have made him as much a part of March Madness as the players and the teams. The excitement in his voice is so much fun to listen to. He can make any game feel that much more important.

But back to why these next few weeks are so great and why they lure so many to watch. It is simple really. The tourney as a whole lives up to the hype. We expect great finishes, and we get ’em. We expect teams winning games they shouldn’t. Check. We expect those who know nothing about college basketball to win their respective office pools. Check. Lastly, we expect uncontrollable emotions from the players. Shock, grief, and the agony of defeat show themselves in full force during this tournament. On the flip side, the excitement, pure joy, and relief of surviving to play another day can be seen on the faces of the victors every year.

So follow me this month (not always a smart plan) and forget your worries or troubles. Sit back, relax, and let the wonderful thing that is the NCAA Tournament overwhelm you with more basketball than you can handle. They say too much of a good thing is bad and that moderation is key. But I liken this to Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone eats too much on that night, and it is certainly not a bad thing at all.

So stuff yourself with some hoops baby!

Happy holidays!!

Halftime: Duke 33 – Butler 32

Wow what a first half from Indianapolis!

Here are some quick observations as we await the seconf half of tonight’s championship game:

-I’m very impressed with Butler’s ability to hang in there with Duke despite the fact that they started out REALLY cold. They have a 10 to 3 advantage on the offensive glass thus far.

-Avery Jukes, who averages 2.4 ppg, leads all scorers at the half with 10. I’m looking for Butler to try to get Gordon Hayward more involved. He has been efficient in grabbing 7 first half rebounds. But he averages 15.6 a game and he’s got to score some more points for Butler to have a shot. 

-Duke’s big three of Smith, Singler, and Scheyer looks comfortable and balanced. They have combined for 26 points. If Smith and Scheyer get hot from beyond the arc it could be the difference in the second half

Michigan State 85 – Maryland 83

Michigan State's Korie Lucious celebrates his game winning shot against Maryland on Sunday

Well that was certainly an abrupt end to a stellar season by the Maryland Terrapins.

The first thing that ran through my mind as Korie Lucious drained his buzzer beater was “So this is what Georgia Tech felt like back on Feb. 20 when Cliff Tucker hit his crazy game winner.

If you are a supporter of the Terps I do not see how you can’t be proud of this year’s team. They far exceeded the expectations most had for them going into this season and did so in the most exhilarating fashion possible.

I read some comments online regarding the game and the naysayers and nitpickers are all saying the team played like garbage for most of the game and deserved to lose. And that is their opinion and they are entitled to it.

However the way I see it, looking back at how yesterday’s game concluded…you really could not have asked more in terms of effort.

Lucious made a layup with 2:09 left in the game to extend the Spartan lead to 9. The Terps then proceeded to go on a 10-0 run over the next 1:47. They did so by forcing turnovers with the pesky press and capitalizing on them by hitting big shots.

It looked as if the game was in hand when Greivis Vasquez hit a short jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining. But it wasn’t meant to be as Lucious hit the shot of the day to advance Michigan State to the Sweet 16.

Check out the gameflow chart (right) from ESPN.com. If you show me that chart without me ever seeing the game I would say the red team refused to accept defeat and had a never say die attitude. Going back to what I said earlier, that is the kind of team I want. They didn’t pack it in or start sulking when the chances of winning looked slim. They gave it their all and I will always remember that about this year’s team.

Check back this week for a look back at the careers of  seniors Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milbourne, and Eric Hayes.

Let The Madness Begin

Today marks the beginning of what is, in my opinion, the best sports weekend of the year.

The opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. March Madness is officially here.

I always look forward to this time of year because the games, the excitement and the drama always seem to live up to the hype.

There are so many things to love about this great event. The upsets, the lost productivity amongst the American workforce due to time spent filling out/tracking brackets, and the passion of college basketball all make this weekend special

And how can you not love Gus Johnson of CBS calling these games with a type of enthusiasm that cannot be rivaled.

Let’s face it, nothing beats having the good part of a Thursday and Friday afternoon DOMINATED by college hoops. Don’t worry, the primetime coverage is still there for those who are not able to witness these matinée games, but you got to love having meaningful sports on during the time slots that 96% of the year are occupied by soap operas and Dr. Phil.

So sit back, grab a drink and your bracket, and enjoy the pure madness that is about to ensue.

Could there be a preview of the Terrapins first round matchup right here on this blog!?!?! Check back tomorrow for an update

Memphis 89 – Maryland 70

Mar. 21, 2009, 6:44 PM

Maryland’s season has officially come to an end. The high flying Tigers from Memphis outplayed the Terps in every possible way on Saturday afternoon, and they move on to face the winner of Sunday’s Missouri-Marquette game.

-The way Memphis shot the three-ball in the first half, that was the worst imaginable start MD. By halftime, the Tigers were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc. From the 4:52 mark in the first half to 1:24, they were 5 of 5 from downtown.

-Memphis did cool down eventually, but the Terps didn’t play their game at all. They panicked and played like a team who didn’t know what to do down by 20. They were careless with the ball and played lousy defense.

-It would have been interesting to see how Maryland would have fared if they had jumped out to an early lead. But Memphis took control of the game very early and never looked back. They played like a team wanting to make a statement.

-I think it speaks volumes, the way that the kids played for Gary throughout the season. Whether it was a win or a loss, the players always had Gary’s back and played their hearts out for him him. Forget the media and the fans who moan and complain. For the players to give everything they have, that’s all you can ask for from a team.

-I’m not sure if we have seen Greivis Vasquez play his last game as a Terrapin. I wouldn’t be suprised if he tries to go pro. There is a chance he will return, but my gut says that his days as a Terp are over.


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