Friday, March 19, 2010

NCAA Tournament Running Commentary: Friday Night Edition

Note: I will be in and out tonight 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.

8:40 PM

Author's Note: Of course Gus Johnson (who is so over the top it's CORNY) is in Buffalo, calling Syracuse vs. Vermont. How early into the game does he scream after a Catamount 3 about 2005? I say before tip-off, during warm-ups.

Matt Bouldin and the Zags have total control over the Seminoles inside and outside of the paint early on.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Midwest Region
-Oklahoma State is shooting lights out inside the 3-point line, not so much from the outside. They lead Georgia Tech by a narrow 2-point margin early in the 2nd half. James Anderson may have to carry the Cowboys to victory late this evening.
-New Mexico State is struggling to keep its composure, hit perimeter shots, and rebound anything against Sparty. Michigan State seems in total control and exuding the one principle coach Tom Izzo preaches most: poise.

South Region
-Duke is pounding Arkansas Pine-Bluff 39-20 at the half. Need I elaborate more?

West Region
sprinted out early 24-9 and leads Florida State by double-digits early in the second half. Florida State isn't working the soft rims and the Zags have forced several early turnovers from the Seminole backcourt. Can FSU string together enough stops to wake up the transition game? 46-35 with 13+ to go...

A quick rundown of the day's earlier action...

East Region
-West Virginia fell down early 10-0. No worries. The Mountaineers cruised from then on, ending up with a 77-50 victory over 15th seeded Morgan State. I still wonder about the point guard position for this team, who should advance deep into the tournament.
-Cornell, via a balanced attack, was simply too much for the A10's finest, Temple 78-65. A popular 12/5 upset selection, the Big Red broke a drought of NCAA Tournament victories for the Ivy League dating back to 1998. Limiting fouls and controlling the boards, Cornell looks like a team with clear-cut second weekend potential.
-Missouri took control of a back-and-forth game against Clemson in the second half, walking away 86-78 victors. Never doubt the ability of Mizzou head coach Mike Anderson in the tournament. Anderson has 7 wins in 3 trips (and counting).
-Wofford, in their first ever tournament appearance, nearly snakebit 4th-seeded Wisconsin. However, a clutch shot with 17 seconds left by Badger Lon Leuer anchored the (predictably) gritty victory 53-49. Even more critical might have been his steal on the next possession, sealing the victory for Bo Ryan and company.

South Region
-More than a few experts told you take Siena over Purdue. WRONG! The Boilermakers overcame a 3-point halftime deficit to win 72-64. JaJaun Johnson's 23 and 15 led a balance Boilermakers' attack. Shooting 33% from the field didn't help the Metro Atlantic Champion Saints either.
-Texas A&M made it at least one victory in 5 straight tournaments (only Pitt can also say that) after defeating Utah State - another set of Aggies - 69-53. One game away from a regional semi-final in Houston, A&M was one of the most impressive teams on a somewhat lackluster Friday docket.

West Region
took control over Minnesota mid-way through the second half, hitting enough shots down the stretch to walk away victorious, 65-54. Minnesota is the first, and only thus far, Big 10 team to drop a game in this tournament. The A10 is 1-2, with Richmond and Temple bowing out early to underdogs (St. Mary's & Cornell, respectively).
-Pittsburgh overcame a sluggish start to trounce the Summit champion Oakland Grizzlies 89-66. A tough elbow from Gary McGhee took away any momentum from the Grizzlies after starter Derick Nelson, who was forced to leave the game for the remainder of the 1st half with a huge gash over his right eye. Pitt and Xavier could easily be a game in the 50s or the 80s.

I have to admit that Friday's action has been quite tame.
Might sneak out for a dice game before the Cuse tip-off around 9:45 pm.

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