Thursday, March 18, 2010

NCAA Tournament Running Commentary: Thursday Edition

Note: I will be in and out today with some observations from the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Feel free to comment and be aware that the MOST RECENT updates will be found at the top of the post, although nothing will be deleted from earlier action.

I give Gody a harder time than most (even Pay). Nevertheless...
HIS "defense" is among the worst in the post I've seen in years and Notre Dame is a BETTER team with him not on the court.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

6:00 pm
Scroll down to check out updates for the first 4 finals of the day. ODU/ND, Nova/RM, BYU/Fla, & Murray State's heroics over Vandy. Hope you enjoyed the early session, as primetime doesn't look as enticing.

Brief updates...
-UTEP leads Baylor 29-24 as both teams close in on halftime. This was a POPULAR upset pick for the 12th-seeded Miners. Conversely, plenty of people have Butler going deep in this tournament.

West Regional
#2 Kansas State throttled #15 North Texas 82-62
No real surprise here whatsoever. Impressive opener for the Wildcats, who next draw BYU.

East Regional
#3 Baylor "defeated" Sam Houston State 68-59
First tourney win since 1950 for the Bears. To get another couple, they can't have a performance equal to this one.

#10 St. Mary's BALANCED #7 Richmond 80-71
Despite a competitive opening 20 minutes, the Gaels dominated the second half from start-to-finish. Inside they got 29 and 11 from big-man Omar Samhan and from the outside, 23 from Mickey McConnell (5-9 3's). Balance.


5:05 pm

Brief updates...
-Baylor pulling away late over Sam Houston State. Very unimpressive debut for the Bears. State is 6-30 from the 3-point line. OUCH. Baylor looked quite stagnant and will need a lot more offensive flow to not fall into a game in the 50s against Old Dominion (see more below on the Monarchs).
-Richmond and St. Mary's are trading punches. The backcourt of Richmond is one of the top 10 in the country...seriously. Meanwhile, momentum for the Gaels behind 16 early points from Omar Samhan were quieted by 3 first-half fouls. This one should go down to the wire, especially if Samhan has "thriller arms" on defense. Spiders better double up in the paint until he does or things may start to turn against them. (Richmond has wins as a #12, #13, #14, and #15 seed. Even more surprising is this is the first time they've worn the white jerseys as the higher seed.)
-Kansas State is pummeling North Texas. Not much more needs to be said, right? BYU is likely taking copious notes.

West Region
#13 Murray State buzzerbeated #4 Vanderbilt 66-65
Danero Thomas' jumper, which left his hands with 0.6 ticks left, is the early highlight of the tournament. Murray State, a popular sleeper, should be given full credit for this win. Don't simply blame Vanderbilt (who had an insane backdoor cut to take the lead) or the SEC. A clutch shot and a great moment to remember, less than 5 hours into the tournament.

#7 BYU outlasted #10 Florida 99-92 (2 OT)
BYU led by as much as 11 with 8 minutes to go. Despite a stellar late comeback, Florida failed 't close out the Cougars, blowing multiple chances in regulation and in overtime. The Cougars controlled the second OT period, thanks in large part to the scoring duo of Jimmer Fredette (37 points) and Michael Loyd Jr. (26 points, 9-10 FTs). Kenny Boynton deserves a lot of credit for the Gators, catching fire late in the game. Fouling out may have been the final nail in the Gators' coffins. BYU lacks any interior rebounding presence. This will be a major issue WHEN they face Kansas State (North Texas is getting whipped).

South Region
#10 ODU CAAd #7 Notre Dame 51-50.
Pay said it best to me in a brief, yet poignant e-mail: Tyrone Nash barely played in the second half, and Gody has missed at least 3 bunnies. And (Gody) was poor on defense per usual. Good job by (ODU head coach Blaine) Taylor to switch the defense at halftime. Gody got his first basket with 12.6 remaining ... he sucks worse than ODU's ft shooting on 1-and-1s.
If you ask me, Notre Dame changed their style too late in the season. Once they were matched up with ODU, they played a team who employed that same ball-control strategy, with far more expertise at running it and far less reliance on the 3-ball. As for Gerald Lee (spotlighted by ME earlier today), he didn't erupt scoring-wise, but made some critical buckets down the stretch. Just as I expected. CAA strikes again!!!

#2 Villanova Chris Pauled #15 Robert Morris 73-70
A late 10-3 run, led by Scottie Reynolds, gave Villanova the last shot (or tip) in no avail. Opening OT on a 6-0 run, the Wildcats withstood the best efforts of the Colonials to walk away with a narrow victory. Far more narrow than last year's mini-escape against American University. If the South bracket wasn't such a joke, Nova would be in more trouble than they are. That being said, Richmond/St. Mary's may pose an interesting matchup in the 2nd round (much more so than UCLA did last year). As for the context of "Chris Pauled", ask any Wake or VCU fan about 2003 and CP3's free throw barrage.

2 comments: said...

The Florida-BYU matchup must have been an exciting game! I wouldn’t know because the CBS station where I live was showing the Robert Morris-Villanova game and didn’t do any live look-ins of the Florida-BYU game. I really wanted to see the other game, especially as it progressed into overtime and eventually a second overtime.

Clement said...

I had to listen to it via radio and Nova-Robert Morris did the same to me.