Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Round of 32, Day Two

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

GAME OF THE DAY: Kentucky vs Wichita State. The  Iowa State-North Carolina game was a close second due to a last second shot and a controversial ending, but this game had two teams playing at a high level trading punches.  It had big shots, big defensive plays and big moments.  It had the promise of a young team that may finally have figured out how to get it done.  It also had quite a crowd.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Stanford over Kansas. Stanford is a pretty good team that has won some big games before ... namely beating Arizona.  And Kansas was missing one of the best players in the nation.  Still, on a day that didn't see a tremendous amount of true upsets, this one was quite the shocker.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: Pac 12. The SEC and Big 12 were close, but the Pac-12 can point to three of their teams winning today and getting to the Sweet 16.  Arizona and UCLA looked pretty dominant and Stanford, as mentioned, pulled off the day's biggest upset.  The SEC is still, surprisingly, undefeated in this tournament and also has three teams left.  The Big 12 saw Baylor and Iowa State win, but Kansas beaten.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Missouri Valley. Look, of the eight teams that lost today, each came from a different conference.  ACC, American, West Coast, Big 12, Atlantic Sun, Southland, Big East and MVC.  I put the MVC on here because their loss was the first No. 1 seed to go down.  It also proved to many as an indictment on their league that no one challenged Wichita State this year and the couldn't take the first big dog they met on the way to the Final Four.  While Creighton is now a member of the Big East, they were a MVC member last season and they were pounded by 30.

DUD OF THE DAY: Baylor vs Creighton. There were quite a few duds today, but this one was the dudliest.  I thought this would be a good contest between a big, athletic team like Baylor against a veteran club in Creighton ... and we'd get a classic game where Doug McDermott shined.  Nope.  Baylor won by 30 and McDermott was MIA.  

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Baylor.It wasn't just that they beat Creighton by 30 points, it was the fact that the shut down Doug McDermott.  In the meaty part of the game that actually mattered, McBuckets scored in the single digits.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Clock operators. I am a huge Tar Heels fan and please believe me that I wanted to write on this before the controversial ending between UNC and Iowa State.  Watching the Kansas-Stanford game actually triggered my thinking about this clock situation and then it happened to come to a head in that UNC-ISU game.

I have actually watched at least part of all 52 games up to this point and I have watched the ending of every close game of this Dance.  Nearly every game we get to see the last two minutes take 15 minutes.  The officials are constantly checking the replay monitors for clock situations.  Add another second?  Or two?  Or just 0.3 seconds?  More than once have they had to do the whole math equation like they did at the end of the UNC-ISU game.  Seriously?  In the times we live in we cannot get a better way of time keeping?  Heck, San Antonio, Orlando and Milwaukee are NBA arenas and I don't see this kind of issues in Spurs, Magic and Bucks games (well, Bucks fans want their games to end as soon as possible).

I'm not arguing with getting it right.  I'm not.  I just don't understand the constant need to have mistakes to fix.  


*Ohio, Texas and North Carolina started with four schools in the tournament.  Ohio (Dayton) and Texas(Baylor) only have one left each.  North Carolina is done.

*Conference Count:
3-Big Ten (Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin)
3-SEC (Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee)
3-Pac 12 (Arizona, UCLA, Stanford)
2-American (Louisville, UConn)
2-Big 12 (Iowa State, Baylor)
1-ACC (Virginia
1-Atlantic 10 (Dayton)
1-Mountain West (San Diego St)

*Overtime count is still at SIX.  The record is seven in 1995 and 1997.

*People usually complain about teams getting to play tournament games close to home and, per usual, it has been a mixed bag this year.  Duke was upset in Raleigh, Syracuse was upset in Buffalo, Kansas and Wichita State were upset in St. Louis.  Florida moved on in Orlando (though they would have done so anywhere), UCLA and Arizona are still alive in San Diego, Baylor won in San Antonio.  The one team that really seemed to benefit from the close venue was Wisconsin.  The Badgers were down by 12 at halftime to Oregon before they went on a run to make it a game.  The crowd in nearby Milwaukee was pretty much all Badger fans and it sounded like a true home game for Wisconsin.  That seemed to help pull them through to end against the Ducks.

*Three double-digit seeds made the Sweet 16 (Dayton, Stanford, Tennessee).  Since Dayton and Stanford face off next week in Memphis, at least one double-digit seed will make the Elite Eight.

*The Sweet 16 gives us some interesting geographical battles.  First off is obviously Louisville-Kentucky in nearby Indianapolis.  Michigan is also in Indy and fans won't have to go too far to play against Tennessee.  We also will get Arizona-San Diego State in Anaheim.  
And you know Madison Square Garden is gonna be live to see UConn try to upend Iowa State and Virginia or Michigan State.

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