Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sportz' NCAA Tournament Recap - Sweet 16, Day 2


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

GAME OF THE DAY: Florida vs Wisconsin. This wasn't supposed to be the best game.  I'm not saying that before the game but during the game.  Florida had a nice lead late and seemed to have this thing wrapped up.  But some late threes and a wild shot to tie the game got Wisconsin in the game and into overtime.  From there, it looked like Wisconsin had the game in the bag.  As Florida was grasping for anything, two huge plays the Gators made will be remembered for a long time:  Canyon Barry's block of a Wisconsin breakaway layup and Chris Chiozza's buzzer beating floater for three.  What a finish and the first overtime and buzzer beater of this tournament.

UPSET OF THE DAY: South Carolina vs Baylor.  How are the Gamecocks doing this?  Well, with one of the toughest defenses in the nation and the offensive strength of Sindarius Thonwell.  This team limped into the tournament and the program hadn't won an NCAA Tournament game in over 40 years.  Now they've won three in a row and are a win away from their first Final Four.

CONFERENCE OF THE DAY: SEC. The much maligned Southeastern Conference has three teams in the Elite 8.  Two of those teams won on Friday.  The SEC is the only conference with multiple teams still alive.

CONFERENCE WITH A BAD DAY: Big Ten. The SEC, ACC, Pac 12, Big 12 and Big East still have teams in the tournament.  The Big Ten is the lone power conference that doesn't.  

DUD OF THE DAY: Kentucky vs UCLA. This is solely based on the hype.  This game was targeted all week long as special ... but UCLA and Lonzo Ball really didn't wow anyone.  Most of that was what Kentucky did to them but it wasn't a great sequel to the Bruins' regular season victory.

DOMINANT PERFORMANCE OF THE DAY: South Carolina. Baylor was seemingly never in that game.  South Carolina smothered them.

UNDERLYING STORYLINE OF THE DAY: Left vs Right. This isn't a political deal.  But the left part of the bracket and the right couldn't be any different.  On the right side of the bracket (the Midwest and South regions), you have Kansas, North Carolina and Kentucky.  Those are the three winningest programs in college basketball history.  They have 16 titles between them.  Oregon, who also resides on the right side, won the very first NCAA tournament.  On the left, Gonzaga and Xavier will play for their first Final Four appearance.  South Carolina will do the same against Florida.

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