Friday, March 29, 2013

Sportz NCAA Tournament Recap - Sweet 16, Day 1

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room -- filled with TVs that I can watch both games going on at the same time.

GAME OF THE DAY: Ohio State vs Arizona. Another game, another huge shot to win the game for Ohio State.  This one was huge since they'll be seeing the #9 seed Wichita State on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four.  The Buckeyes came back from down big to take this game over and fought back a scrappy Zona squad.  Now onto the bruising Shockers.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Syracuse over Indiana. Looking at the matchup, you may not think it was an upset -- I saw it to be a Syracuse win -- but when you look at the season as a whole, it kinda is.  Indiana was the preseason fixture atop the polls and the odds on favorite to win the title.  Or, at the very least, get to the Final Four.  That didn't happen.  The Hoosiers won two games in this tournament and are now gone.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: Big East. The final run just keeps on going.  Not only did Syracuse upset Indiana in one side of the East Region, but Marquette upset the Miami Hurricanes in the bottom half.  That means that we get an all-Big East regional final and guaranteeing the conference will send a team to Atlanta for the Final Four.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: ACC. Four different conferences lost today (ACC, A-10, Big Ten and Pac 12), but the ACC's regular season and tournament champion was just demolished on Thursday.  Miami looked bad ... really bad.  They couldn't hit anything, showed nothing that resembled an offense and just looked shook.  Not a great national showing for one of the pleasant surprises in the nation this year.

DUD OF THE DAY: Marquette vs Miami. To piggyback off what I just said, Miami looked horrible.  Marquette, to their credit, jumped all over it and should be given props for helping the Canes look this bad.  Still, this game wasn't close at all and most people were switched over to TBS to watch that great OSU-Zona game pretty quickly.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Wichita State. Yes, Marquette could go here, but Wichita State just owned LaSalle.  I mean OWNED.  This looks like a team that could Cinderella its way to Atlanta.  They get an Ohio State team that has needed near buzzer beaters to win its last two tournament games.  The Shockers continue to out-physical their opponents and crashing the boards.  This will be a very good game on Saturday.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Promise unfulfilled. As I mentioned before, Indiana's coronation ended on Thursday.  They were the overwhelming preseason No. 1 squad (for what its worth, Kentucky started the season at #3) and were kept at or near the top of the rankings despite them repeatedly showing weaknesses.  Miami wasn't expected to do much, but they dominated the ACC's regular season and tournament to become a sorta sleeper pick to win it all.  Neither got past the Sweet 16, meaning their seasons are come to a thud.  Neither team will be what they were this season.  Miami loses its senior leadership while Indiana will likely be plucked through by the NBA draft.  Both will start from scratch a bit and getting this far next year won't be as much a given.


*Again, Wichita State can beat Ohio State and that shouldn't be looked at as a big upset.  This has been a darn good team this year.

*Of course, most people on the East coast didn't really watch Wichita beat LaSalle since the game started around 10pm.  I know it was played in Los Angeles, but the Philly area (where LaSalle is located) had to wait until after bedtime.
*Really, were any of the results on Thursday that big of a surprise?  Syracuse's zone was going to keep the runnin' Hoosiers from getting out of the box, Marquette was going to out-Miami Miami, Wichita State was just to big and strong for LaSalle and Ohio State is just a better team than Arizona. 

*Indiana has lost 7 straight NCAA tournament games against the Big East.

*The Marquette-Syracuse East region final will be the first time conference mates will meet with a Final Four berth on the line for the first time since 2009.  Big East foes Pitt and Villanova met in a classic affair that the Wildcats won.

*Midwest represent!  Three of the four winners on Thursday are midwestern teams (Marquette, Ohio State, Wichita State).  With the Kansas-Michigan winner joining that group and Louisville the tournament's top seed, at least 5 of the Elite 8 will be midwestern schools.  That's not even adding if Michigan State upends Duke.

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