Saturday, March 08, 2008

College Basketball Saturday: Hourly Streaming Updates!

C-C-Check it today for plenty o' updates.
Wait, what did I just say?

Psycho T and the #1-Heels are in case you didn't know.
Who do YOU got?
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Here are a few quick hits at 3:45...

-UNC/Duke @ 9 for the ACC regular season championship? We like!
-Pay was at Georgetown/Lousville (Hoyas won) and hopefully has some fantastic insights.
-William & Mary started their quarterfinal matchup with Old Dominion by shooting 0-13. They also shot 17 three-balls in their opening 23 attempts. They lead 24-23 at the half.
-Dayton has a double-digit lead over St. Joe's with less than 4 minutes to play. Did the Hawks get in though after beating Xavier earlier in the week?
-Memphis stomped UAB. No surprise they finished their conference play undefeated.
-Stanford (USC) and Vanderbilt (Alabama) both trail with less than 5 minutes to go. A Commodore comeback seems much more likely. Interesting...

Returning at 6:30...
-UNC/Duke is still at 9 tonight. Don't worry. I love this rivalry. However, I'm still ranking it behind Yanks/Sox. Sorry Mike Wilbon.
-Winthrop locked up a predictable Big South championship over 7'7 Kenny George and UNC-Asheville. No surprise here as the Eagles have won 8 of the last 10 Big South championships; breaking through in the NCAA Tournament with an impressive upset over Notre Dame last year. [Editor's Note: Except that we predicted Asheville because they swept Winthrop during the regular season :( ]
-Syracuse (where are the road wins that matter?) won impressively by 15 over Marquette at home. This only illuminates how painful their chokejob against Pitt last Saturday was. A good week though for the Orange, with wins @Seton Hall and over #20 Marquette. One Big East win probably won't be enough for the Orange, who are at least still in the talk of the last four out (or at worst, next four noted below).
-FSU upsets Miami. I'll say it again: Miami WILL be the easiest first-round loser to select come bracket time.
-I believe VCU (who shot a putrid 36% from the field, 4-23 from the 3, and 17-30 on FTs in a shaky W against #9-seed Towson) dodged a bullet avoiding nemesis-ODU in the CAA semi-finals. Pay reminds me to beware of the perimeter shooting of the Tribe.
-I don't know how UCLA pulled that one out. Josh Shipp with the horse shot of the year. Ryan Anderson of Cal (do you want to be the 'next' Austin Croshere...or just have his monster contract?) locked up being a 1st-round pick in June. Who gets the calls late if Georgetown & UCLA meet up in the tourney?
-USC might be able to position itself firmly into a 5 or 6 seed after winning their third straight, this time over Brook Lopez and the Cardinal. USC will be the wild card squad in the Pac-10 tournament.
-Who owns the nation's longest winning streak? Defending Southern Conference champs Davidson, that's who. Several at-large squads NEED them to win their postseason tourney, big time. They are going to be a brutal out, maybe in the second-round come March Madness.
-Wisconsin clinches at least a share of another Big Ten-title. Was hiring Bo Ryan brilliant or what? No titles since '47 and suddenly they win them with and without Alando Tucker.
-Kansas State gets to ten Big 12 wins while Kansas awaits the Texas-finale tomorrow after shellacking 8-8 in-conference A&M to try and secure an outright Big 12 regular season title.
-Miss. St. (they LOVE to block shots) rallies in the 2nd half v. LSU in the SEC. Collective sigh of relief out of Starkville.
-UNLV earns a much-needed W. Will the same be said for Arizona State, New Mexico, Illinois State, Arkansas, and Utah State?
-Who else is considering Oregon an at-large underdog if they take out Arizona (#1 SOS) and make a deep run in the Pac-10 tourney? (Their RPI, in the high 50s, might disagree most.)

Whew. Plenty more to go too. Especially that pesky game in Durham. Not to mention, things have kicked off in the MAAC and we may earn a much-desired UNC-W vs. George Mason semi-final in the CAA Tourney tonight (unless Delaware and/or Northeastern can change that).

Today, "Fake" Lunardi had St. Joe's, Florida, Syracuse, and Western Kentucky as his four last teams out. His last two-in were ACC teams Virginia Tech (schedule?) and Maryland (is a W @ UNC all they need?). Nearly the entire Gameday crew for the four-letter network disagreed.

Pay checking in at 7:45pm ...
- I had an opportunity to attend the Louisville/Georgetown. What stood out to me was the gamble that JT3 took by having Roy Hibbert stay at the 3-point line on defense against the high-ball screens set by David Padgett. Though it disrupted Louisville's flow from behind the arc, the Cardinals had opportunities to exploit mismatches but did not for the most part. This was largely due to Jeremiah Rivers, Patrick Ewing Jr. and Jonathan Wallace successfully fronting Louisville players who had a few inches on the Hoyas not named Roy Hibbert. As an aside, I enjoyed the battle that took place between Padgett and Hibbert.
- UNC-Wilmington is well on its way to booking a ticket to the CAA Semis on Sunday. They'll face the George Mason/Northeastern winner. Thankfully, they'll not be playing this one in a freezing cold gym. Two questions will determine Mason's fate. First, will they contest all shots? Second, will they avoid settling for open jumpers (to the credit of some defenses, they force double teams on Will Thomas)?
- Illinois State faces Drake tomorrow in the Arch Madness Final. The former is IN the tournament. The wild card is Creighton. My hunch is they are out.
- Congratulations to Austin Peay. They won the Ohio Valley. I'm certain that Murray State fans are rioting somewhere.
- Arizona State (RPI: 71) defeated PAC-10 sewage Oregon State to finish 9-9 in conference. With an out of conference victory against Xavier, they are to be considered among the top 30 at-large bids (i.e. not in the infamous "Last Four In").
- I already know right now that the A-14 minus Xavier will give Clement and myself a migraine when conducting the bracket projections.

Pay returning at the first media timeout of UNC/Duke ...
- Unlike most fans, I can admit that the ball was in the cylinder when Deon Thompson tipped it in. The difference between the first matchup and this one (so far) is that Carolina is winning the hustle battle.
- At the under 12:00 timeout, Ellington/Green have already surpassed their output from the last game. Meanwhile, Hansbrough has not operated very well out of the double and triple teams. Early foul trouble for Duke's bigs may actually be a blessing in disguise. Only time will tell. In other action, UMass and Washington State in tight games late. The alma mater (George Mason) is up 13 at halftime. If you're familiar with the Patriots, you'll know that we love giving up double-digit leads, but I don't see it happening tonight because they are flexing their defensive muscles.

At 930pm
- The Tar Heels are doing exactly everything they didn't do in the first matchup. I smell a Duke run before the half.
- Kudos to Belmont in taking home the Atlantic Sun Championship. UMass avoids defeat and Washington State has forced OT but is down 3 at home against in-state rival Washington.

At the half
- Duke is shooting 31% from the field, DaMarcus Nelson is scoreless and Duke is only down 11. It really could be much worse. Is Brian Zoubek Matt Christiansen reincarnated? Danny Green is on a parallel universe right now.
- George Mason's 17-point lead is down to seven against Northeastern with nearly 12 minutes remaining. So much for coasting to victory.

Checking in at 10:40
- Admittedly, my attention diverted to a tense few minutes in Richmond, but Mason pulled away. In Durham, the Blue Devils had an early run to bring the game to within a basket. They've done so by exploiting mismatches and taking the Tar Heels off of the dribble. Tied at 66 with 6 minutes to go.

- With a minute to go, Duke has the ball down 72-68. GREAT STEAL by Lawson. Danny Green tips in the missed layup at one end and swats Scheyer at the other. Carolina is going to spoil Duke's senior night for the second time in three years. With shaky play from Tennessee and UCLA, the Tar Heels are in pole position to stake claim to the #1 overall seed now that they have a signature wins.

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