Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Elite 8

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.  This one will take the entire Elite 8 as one day.

GAME OF THE DAY: Kentucky vs Notre Dame. This was sooooo close.  Notre Dame had Kentucky beaten, but the Wildcats made key defensive plays late and smartly went to Karl Anthony-Towns and attacked the rim to squeeze this one out.  While this team may be unbeaten, that doesn't mean they are unbeatable.  With Wisconsin up next and Duke possibly on the horizon, Kentucky will have to earn this one.  Sure, Michigan State-Louisville went to overtime, but everyone will be talking about this game Monday morning.

UPSET OF THE DAY: Michigan State vs Louisville. The only non-No. 1 seed left in the tournament.  Tom Izzo has done a great job with this team over the last two months.  They will be a huge underdog to win this thing, but the fact that the Spartans have ended Virginia, Oklahoma and Louisville's seasons (plus their last loss was a great game to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game) means they are battle tested.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: Big Ten. Despite all my love for the ACC in this spot and the Big 12 all year, it is the much maligned Big Ten with two teams in the Final Four.  Amazing.  Wisconsin seemed pre-ordained to be here, but Michigan State seems like a legacy at this point.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: ACC. Notre Dame and Louisville were ousted.  Louisville was the favored seed against Michigan State and were beaten; the Irish had Kentucky on the ropes and just couldn't pull it out.  To have the biggest win of the entire season on your fingertips and letting it slip really hurts. 

DUD OF THE DAY: Duke vs Gonzaga. None of the games sucked, but Duke pulled away late and made this one a bit of a dud.  Many people wanted to see if the Zags were Final Four caliber ... and they were ... they just can't break that wall yet.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Duke. The Blue Devils went all Duke on Gonzaga late and used all that talent to break off another trip to the Final Four.  Amazing.  While Kentucky may be the team to beat in the Final Four, Duke could be the most talented.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Coaching. While this hasn't been a chalk tournament, it was a pretty well constructed one.  Three of the No. 1 seeds are left and a wildcard No. 7 seed.  But look at the coaches.  Krzyzewski.  Izzo.  Calipari.  Ryan.  All are well versed in Final Four runs.  Only Ryan doesn't have a title.  Six National Championships won by the coaches.  This should be some great chess matches.

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