Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Elite 8

Just a quick recap of what I saw in my Sportz Room.

GAME OF THE ROUND: Wisconsin vs Arizona. Nothing better than extra basketball!  Two teams going toe-to-toe at the end of both regulation and overtime.  I know it doesn't seem pretty when a game is such a defensive battle, but true basketball fans loved it.  Wisconsin looks like a champion and I think can beat anyone left.  Frank Kaminsky is having one of those amazing NCAA tournament runs.

UPSET OF THE ROUND: UConn over Michigan State. Michigan State was the trendy pick to win the title.  All the guys at ESPN picked them.  So did yours truly.  UConn was a 7th seed that had a head coach making his first NCAA run.  Sure, the game was in New York and loads of Husky fans made the short trip, but this was quite an upset.

CONFERENCE OF THE ROUND: SEC. The SEC was much maligned all season long.  So much that they nearly only had two of their 14 schools make the tournament.  Well, those two are among the four teams remaining.  And heading into Saturday, I can see Florida and Kentucky as sort of favorites to play for the title.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD ROUND: Big Ten. The Big Ten had the opportunity to send three teams to the Final Four.  Instead, only one is going and needed an overtime to do so.  The Big Ten's regular season champ (Michigan) and tournament winner (Michigan State) will watch Wisconsin carry the conference flag.

DUD OF THE ROUND: Florida vs Dayton. If we reseeded the Elite 8, these two teams would have been set up as the 1-8 matchup.  And it was that for the most part.  Dayton didn't play well, but Florida made a lot of that happen.  The Flyers should be proud of their effort and how far they got.  And Archie Miller's name will get thrown around when several higher profile jobs open.  

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Florida.The Gators didn't play as well as ... well ... really any of the other winners, but they did the best defensive job and made their game the least nail-biting.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Your Final Four. This is a very interesting Final Four to say the least.  You have Florida, the No. 1 overall seed and the lone top seed left, back in the Final Four for the first time since their repeat championships in 2006 and 2007.  Billy Donovan's team has the look of a team that is taking what is there..

You have UConn.  Kevin Ollie is making his first tournament appearance ... let alone Final Four.  Think about this : if UConn wins, they will have as many titles as Duke does.  Shabazz Napier has that look of a tournament great like fellow Husky Kemba Walker, or guys like Danny Manning, Carmelo Anthony, Mateen Cleaves or Pervis Ellison.

There is Kentucky.  When the season began, this was a team destined for greatness.  When the season ended, they were an unranked team that was seeded at the No. 8 spot.  Going for their 9th title and their 2nd in three seasons.  The young team actually fulfilling their Fab Five-esque prophecy.

And Wisconsin, who last won this tournament back in 1941 ... the third year of the tournament.  A team that is the least sexy of the four but may be the best.  


*Conference Count:
1-Big Ten (Wisconsin)
2-SEC (Florida, Kentucky)
1-American (UConn)

*Overtime count is now at SEVEN.  That ties the record set in 1995 and 1997.

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