Monday, March 20, 2017

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Second Round, Day 2

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. There was smack talk and a lively crowd.  The game was back and forth with the outcome in doubt going to the final shot.  No, it wasn't the most eye-popping game on a day filled with some good games but it was fun.  The Wildcats' freshmen came to play and were huge in the final moments.

UPSET OF THE DAY: South Carolina vs Duke.  While this game had upset written all over it, that doesn't make it any less shocking.  For some reason, Duke was looked at as some juggernaut of late, even though they ended up going just 6-4 in their last ten games ... and that includes that magical ACC tournament run.  It was easily a pro-Gamecocks crowd as the game was played in South Carolina and Tar Heel fans who stayed after their game cheered on against the Blue Devils.  South Carolina countered every typical Duke punch and a program that hasn't won a tournament game in over 40 years is now in the Sweet 16.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: SEC. I gave love to the Big Ten for bucking their critics so today I'll do so with the SEC.  I am usually one of those smacking on the SEC but, here they are with three teams in the Sweet 16.  Plus, Arkansas had North Carolina on the ropes before the Heels reeled off a 12-0 run to win.  We all know Kentucky's strength but South Carolina and Florida weren't taken as seriously and they proved their meddle by toppling ACC schools.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: ACC. One day after Florida State and Virginia get beat, the ACC sees both Louisville and Duke get upset and done before the Sweet 16.  That means the mighty ACC has just one team remaining in the tournament -- North Carolina.  Last year, the ACC dominated this tournament.  This year ... not so much.  

DUD OF THE DAY: Kansas vs Michigan State. Tom Izzo is the master of tournament upsets and the Spartans looked the part for about a half on Sunday.  But Josh Jackson looked like an NBA player among college guys and the Jayhawks blew out Michigan State in the second half.  With many of the games on Sunday in doubt in the final minutes, this one didn't live up to its brethren.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: Kansas. Or should I say Josh Jackson.  Man that guy is good.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Freshmen. Last season we saw upperclassmen take back college basketball and was the narrative of the season.  It's been a good mix this year but Sunday we saw how talented this crop of freshmen is.  Kentucky's freshmen Fox, Monk and Adebayo all were huge late in securing their win over Wichita State.  Josh Jackson ... okay, you know how I feel about his performance.  UCLA's Lonzo Ball was the coolest cucumber in the gym as the Bruins finally wore out Cincinnati.  Even unheralded freshmen like South Carolina's Rakym Felder were big-time.

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