Friday, March 17, 2006

NCAA Tournament - Day One Post-Mortem

OK, so before I take a look back at Day 1, let me just say that you probably shouldn't pay attention to any of my other selections, as Iowa just made me look like a really big moron. Thanks, Iowa. Nice job, Brunner. Good to know that after four years at UFI, you can't hit a goddamn free throw, nor can the rest of your idiot teammates grab a rebound. Well done.


What went right:
  • Duke over Southern
  • GW over UNCW (barely)
  • LSU over Iona
  • Gonzaga over Xavier, even though Xavier totally blew a chance to win this one
  • UCLA over Belmont
  • Washington over Utah State
  • Illinois over Air Force
  • Wichita State over Seton Hall
  • Tennessee over Winthrop on the luckiest shot of the day
  • Boston College over Pacific - yet another wasted opportunity
  • Florida over South Alabama
What went wrong:
  • Syracuse over Texas A&M. Never trust a hot team that bulldozes it's way into the tournament.
  • San Diego State over Indiana. Another blown opportunity. I was close.
  • Marquette over Alabama. Didn't see it, but I don't really like Marquette, so I'm not too disappointed.
  • Nevada over Montana: 12 vs. 5. I should have known better.
  • Oklahoma vs. Wisconsin Milwaukee. Should've known better here, too. Almost all the guys back from their sweet sixteen run. Of course, not a lot of buzz about this one, and those invariably become upsets, so again, I'm stupid.
UCLA over Belmont:
This one started while I was on my way home from work, but I was going crazy on the train. Checking the score every few seconds. Calling my dad to get updates. I wasn't happy with the six point deficit. Then they caught fire, ended the half on a huge run, and showed the dominance that made them a #2 seed. Belmont just doesn't see teams that combine that sort of defensive intensit with so much athleticism. The fourteen turnovers is a little disconcerting, but the 11 steals is fantastic. Tournament jitters? Not for the freshmen. Collison had 10 points, while LRMAM added 17 and 8 rebounds. UCLA rolls and prepares for former UCLA assistant Mark Gottfried and Alabama.

Illinois over Air Force:
Thank the lord for Jamar Smith and Warren Carter. Lot of props for Brian Randle and his amazing flying second half, but it was Smith and Carter that kept the Illini out in front in the first half and early in the second when things started to tighten up. The Falcons stayed in their zone most of the game, and that gave the Illini problems at times until Jamar Smith singlehandedly busted the zone with his shooting. His six for nine from long range opened things up enough for him to add two points on a baseline drive in the second half, and created the lanes that Brian Randle exploited in scoring his 15 second half points. The skeptics will point out that Dee Brown only had eight points, and he did it on 1-7 shooting. But the point guard version of Dee dished out 10 assists, and amazingly grabbed 8 rebounds, more than anyone else on the floor for both teams.

Washington took care of business against Utah State, setting up a terrific second matchup between the Illini and the Huskies. I've already opined on this before, but I think this game is going to come down to officiating. Not only do the differences in style of play push me in that direction, but the differences in the ability to make free throws scare the hell of me. I think the Illini are a better team, but I just can't pick this one without knowing how tight it's going to be called.

More on how the Hawkeyes have destroyed my will to live when I do this same sort of thing tomorrow.

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