DUKE ROLLS ON: In an unspectacular manner, the Blue Devils chugged along with a 13-pt victory over George Washington. What was worth noting was that Redick and Williams had some help this time. Josh McRoberts had 14 pts and 13 boards. Greg Paulus had 10 pts, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. If Duke can get production like this out of those freshmen....they are even more lethal.
FLORIDA IS LOOKING REALLY GOOD: One thing I've seen thus far is how good Florida can be. Sure, they have big letdowns at times [like against Tennessee], but Florida...albeit against teams they should beat....are executing greatly and are looking similar to that 2000 Final Four team. Wisconsin-Milwaukee just couldn't match the size and athleticsm on the floor for the Gators.
WICHITA STATE ROCKY TOPS TENNESSEE: How 'bout them Shockers?? How 'bout the MVC? Well, for the first time since 2002 [S. Illinois], a MVC team gets to the Sweet 16. A great game that was close the whole 40 minutes...and Wichita State IS a Sweet 16 team. This isn't some Cinderella Story. Every starter scored double figures. Every starter nabbed at least 3 rebounds. And their offensive efficency did the Vols in. Well, that plus the Vols falling in love with the three...as they hoisted 31 of them up. The Shockers also got to the line 29 times...hitting 23 of 'em. Tennessee [since they jacked up a ton of threes] went to the line only 13 times. Hopefully, my Heels can win tomorrow...and they'll have an easier road than expected....with Murray State, George Mason and Wichita State. No offense at ALL to those schools....but it's better than a Murray-Michigan State-Tennessee road.
WASHINGTON UPENDS ILLINOIS: This was one of the more exciting games of the tournament. First, Washington jumps out to a 28-14 lead....then Illinois goes on a 39-14 run to take a 11 pt lead. ThenWashington closes with a 25-11 run to win the game by three. Neither team shot well...but both played hard...and despite the final score, the two teams moved it up and down the floor. The story was fouls. Illinois, despite being up by 11, kept fouling Washington...putting them into the bonus very, very early in the 2nd half. So the Huskies ended up shooting 39 FTs to the Illini's 11...and that got Washington back into the game...and ultimately what pushed them over the top.
THE MIKE DAVIS ERA ENDS: Despite not having Adam Morrison going off, Gonzaga looked really good against the Indiana Hooisers. And Indiana looked really good too. Despite the lame duck coach, the Hoosiers [like against SDSU] didn't quit. Down late in the game....the Hoosiers kept firing and hitting threes...but their defense couldn't hold up. That may have something to do with the great effort the Zags role guys had....led by JP Batista in the middle. And like many of these games....FT shooting was the key. Gonzaga got to the line 41 times....making 32. Indiana got to the line just 6 times....making only 2. Ugh!
BOSTON COLLEGE KEEPS HOT: Montana were right there for a while, but that excellent frontline for BC just was too much. Smith and Dudley got 42 points, 23 boards and 7 assists....and they shut down Andrew Strait [who played so well against Nevada] to just 11 points and 1 rebound. This win makes the ACC 6-0 in the tournament.
BRUINS BEAT BAMA: Alabama played tough...and this game was neck-and-neck for most of the night [well, after UCLA opened an 8-0 lead]. UCLA looked bad at times....missing FTs late and getting beat on the boards all game. But they shot fantastically and, hey, survived and advanced. What a game against Gonzaga coming up in Oakland!! Should be a great one!
A&M COMES UP SHORT: Let me say, that I will miss watching Texas A&M in this tournament. No team completely was all over the place like the Aggies were. I mean, you couldn't take anything for granted. They tipped passes, came from nowhere to block shots and just were EVERYWHERE in Jacksonville. And how great to see a game won instead of lost. With the game tied, Texas A&M Joseph Jones hits a jumper to take a 2-pt lead. LSU's Big Baby Davis then comes down the floor, hits a little runner to tie the game back up. Then Acie Law comes down and hits a tough jumper just outside the lane to give A&M a 2-pt lead. Then with just a few seconds left, Darrel Mitchell hits a huge three to give LSU the 1-pt lead....and win. Great game.
THE "BIG" TEN: The Big Ten has only one team still going on in the tournament...and that is Ohio State who plays on Sunday. Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin were beaten in the first round....and Illinois and Indiana were taken out today. So, a year after having three teams in the Elite 8 and half of the Final Four....the league, as a whole, is 3-5...and pinning their hopes on the Buckeyes.
THE ACC: Again, the ACC is 6-0 entering Sunday. North Carolina will be favored to advance against George Mason.....while NC State will have a tough task against Texas. Only the Patriot League [1-0], Southland Conference [1-0] and the West Coast Conference [2-0] are also undefeated....and the Patriot [Bucknell] and Southland [NW State] reps are heavy underdogs on Sunday [WCC's rep is Gonzaga].
WHAT ABOUT THE PAC-10?? The Pac-10 got four teams as well....and only California is gone [beaten by an ACC team]. Washington and UCLA are already in the Sweet 16 and Arizona will have a big game with Villanova today to try to be #3. Combined, the Pac-10 is 5-1. Not bad at all for a league that statistically finished behind the Missouri Valley Conference [who, by the way, are 3-2 in this tournament].