Monday, March 28, 2005

I love this game

Conference Tournament Records

Sorry NBA, you don't deserve this tag-line. If you don't love NCAA basketball after this weekend you never will.

The following was the 4th best game of the weekend. If this is the 4th best game out of 4 games you know you are ready for something special:
Syracuse Regional
(1) N. Carolina 88 - (6)Wisconsin 82
I thought for sure N. Carolina would blow the Badgers out of the building. I figured they would wear down Wisconsin like they did Iowa St. Near the end of the 1st half it looked like I would be right, with North Carolina up 11. Wisconsin went on a 11-0 run to finish the second half. Wisconsin looked good early in the second half going up by 5. The killer was a 40 second sequence in which Wisconsin went from up 5 to down 3. North Carolina just had too many easy buckets the entire game, especially early. McCants sealed the deal down the stretch with a big 3 and a few huge blocks. Who would have thought that N. Carolina would score 88 points against Wisconsin and be in a dog fight.

The following was only the 3rd best game of the weekend. An overtime thriller and a 20-point comeback and only the 3rd best game of the weekend. As Dick Enberg would say Oh My!
Albuquerque Regional
(4)Syracuse 93 - (7)West Virginia 85
Went to visit my family this Easter. It was great to sit and watch basketball with my Dad again. When the half came and West Virginia was ahead by 13, we looked at each other and said Syracuse is going to win even though they had a huge lead. West Virginia had amazing 3 point shooting, 18 for 27. They had 18 3's. That is 56 points from the 3 ball. They had only 8 2 pointers. The problem with West Virginia was that they were slow on the transition defense. There were two occasions when Louisville looked like they were 1 against 3 on the transition, but they were able to outrun the other two defenders for an easy 1 on 1 basket. When the 3's stopped falling it was all over for West Virginia. My guess was that West Virginia tired out from the grueling schedule of the last 3 weeks. I thought West Virginia might pull it out when Garcia fouled out late when West Virginia still had a lead, but Louisville fought through it for a hard earned victory.

The second best game of the weekend. What a weekend. A double overtime game is only the second best game. I can't imagine ever getting another weekend of basketball like this again. It just can't happen.
Austin Regional
(5)Michigan St. 94 - (2)Kentucky 88 2OT
80% second half shooting by Michigan St. is only worth a double over time win, Amazing. Michigan St.'s offensive rebounds were the difference. With Kentucky ahead by 4 in the first overtime and starting to take the game over for good, Michigan St. had an amazing offensive possession where they got 6 or 7 shots on one possession before making a 3 pointer. After that, Michigan St. turned the momentum around and eventually won in double overtime. It was just a small sequence, but was indicative of what made the difference in the game. Not sure how Kentucky forced double overtime with the Michigan St. shooting in the second half, but nothing made sense this weekend.

And now for the granddaddy of them all. I nominate this as the best NCAA tournament game ever.

Chicago Regional
(1) Illinois 90 - (3) Arizona 89
I can't remember ever seeing a comeback of this nature against an opponent as good as Arizona is. Have you ever seen a comeback like this when there was so much on the line. This was one of those games that you will remember where you were when you saw it, especially if you were an Illini fan. Even if you weren't an Illini fan you have to appreciate the effort. I love a team that never gives up.

The entire game Arizona absolutely dominated Illinois inside. Dominated isn't the word, controlled, pushed around, owned, destroyed, obliterated, killed the Illini inside maybe a better term. Illinois controlled Stoudamire, but that was about all the Illini could do on defense. Somehow the Illini held with Arizona for 32 minutes until Arizona went up by 15. You know the rest. Illinois did not panic. When you go back and watch the game you will see that this was the most controlled last minute comeback you will ever see. Being #1 overall was a huge advantage for Illinois. People in Los Angeles thought they were going through another minor earthquake, but it was just feeling the affects all the way from Chicago from the stadium shaking and almost crumbling to its foundation. You could barely hear Jay and Dick annoucing and you could tell that they were yelling right into their mike.

The comeback was due to Illinois making almost all their shots down the stretch and 3 Arizona turnovers. When watching the reply I still was expected Arizona to win the game even though I knew the result. Just amazing. With Stoudamire not getting the ball at the end, Arizona did not know how to run the offensive, which led to the Illini pulling out the victory and a Final 4 appearance. Illinois almost blew a 6 point lead with around a minute to go, which would have been too cruel an irony and would have driven Chicago insane. After Steve Bartman and the Cubs this would have done the city in.

This game had everything except a 3 second game ending highlight for the future promos.

To sum up the day.

  • We have a team that can't get above 60-70 points giving the #2 team in the country a fit even though they scored 88 points.
  • 18 3's and a 20 point lead is good for an overtime loss.
  • 80% shooting in the second half is only good for a double overtime win.
  • A 15 point lead with 4 minutes remaining, 14 point lead with 3:30 remaining, a 8 point lead with around a minute remaining and the ability to score at will on the inside in good for an overtime loss.

What an amazing weekend. This was the best weekend College Basketball has ever seen.


At 4:12 AM, Blogger sportmania said...

Thank you for posting this. Although, I think that the Kentucky-Michigan State game was the best. How 'bout Michigan State? They beat Duke and Kentucky. 'dont see a reason why they can't topple UNC.



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