Boom Goes the Dynamite: 03.13.09Posted by rtmsf on March 13th, 2009
Hello hoops fans, and welcome to our first weekday version of your favorite semi-live journal, Boom Goes the Dynamite. We’re still feeling the effects of that six-overtime Goliath of a game last night, but we’re caffeinated and ready to rock with you all day while we move through what is traditionally the best day of the conference tournament weekend. It’ll be hard to top what we saw yesterday, though. Here are a few of the games you should be tracking; as you can see, today is an absolute blockbuster:
- ACC – UNC vs. Virginia Tech – Noon, Maryland vs. Wake Forest – 7pm, Duke vs. BC, 9:30pm
- Patriot – American vs. Holy Cross – 4:45pm
- Big 10 – Michigan St. vs. Minnesota – Noon, Illinois vs. Michigan – 6:30pm, Purdue vs. Penn St. – 9pm
- Big East - Louisville vs. Villanova – 7pm, Syracuse vs. West Virginia – 9pm
- Big 12 – Baylor vs. Texas – 7pm, Oklahoma St. vs. Missouri – 9:30pm
- Mountain West – San Diego St. vs. BYU – 9pm
- Pac-10 – Arizona St. vs. Washington – 9pm, USC vs. UCLA – 11:30pm
- SEC – Florida vs. Auburn – 9:45pm
Another couple of PSAs before we get started. Be sure to check the site throughout the weekend, as we’ll be doing these BGTDs each day, in addition to a revised bracketology on both Saturday and Sunday, all leading to a liveblogging of the Selection Show on Sunday. We’ll also be putting up the information for RTC’s Second Annual Bracket Challenge later this afternoon.
12:20 pm. Let’s get started here. UNC looks flat so far against Virginia Tech, and they should, given that Ty Lawson is over on the bench sitting next to Roy Williams. He is dressed, though, so it wouldn’t surprise us if his Big Toe makes an appearance. That crafty Roy – always using the element of surprise. Or something like that.
12:27 pm. Over at the Big Ten, Minnesota is leading Michigan State 22-20 in a high-scoring game. Yes, we said high-scoring and Big Ten in the same sentence. Wow, ESPN is already re-showing the Syracuse-UConn game on ESPN Classic. Tivo time. If these two games get worthless, we’re definitely moving back over there.
12:33 pm. They’re really hyping that game from last night – looks like they’re going to show the whole thing on ESPNU at 3pm. Getting back to business here, Virginia Tech looks poised right now, playing like a team that wants to keep playing in March should be playing. Carolina looks a little flat, but the question will be whether they can still make a patented run with Lawson sitting.
12:42 pm. Most of the ACC people are annoyed with the conference tournament being in Atlanta this year, but we think it’s refreshing that it’s not in the same old tired venue of Greensboro or Charlotte again. The home-state advantage that Carolina gets in those two building is ridiculous. Speaking of advantage, it looked like UNC was about to make a run until Va Tech came down and hit two consecutive threes. Ed Davis is going to be a player someday. He has really nice touch around the rim, and his per-40 rebounding average is in the 15 rpg territory!
12:49 pm. Wayne Ellington is on fire with four threes already, the last of which gave Carolina its first lead 37-36. Over in the Big Ten, things have predictably slowed down a LOT. It’s now 27-all with three minutes left in the half.
12:53 pm. Correction – Ellington only has three threes so far, but he’s still on fire. Va Tech needs to get contact here going into the half – they’ve played really quite well and they’re still downone point against the nation’s #1 team. We mentioned Tubby’s Minnesota team last night, and we still think that the Gophers are in no matter what happens to them today. Kalin Lucas with a nice putback there to give the Spartans a three-point halftime lead. At 1pm, the SEC game between Kentucky and LSU will begin. Glad we have three tvs here.
1:15 pm. Quick shower and some food there. The UK-LSU game has started, and LSU is off to a quick start. We were going to say that we had a sneaking suspicion that Kentucky was going to win this one. Billy Gillispie has shown a knack for getting it when he needs it most the last two years. We’ll see what he can do here. All three games are on now. Va Tech and Minnesota still hanging around the #1 seeds.
1:20 pm. The SEC folks are telling us that Marcus Thornton of LSU was the SEC POY. Not sure about that one. Sure, LSU won the league, but Jodie Meeks had an unbelievable season. Fifth in the nation in scoring at nearly 25 ppg on 46%/40% shooting? Don’t get us wrong – Thornton (21/6) had a great season. But maybe someone can tell us how close the vote was?
1:24 pm. Virginia Tech has come back to take the lead against Carolina. Folks, it’s become increasingly clear to us the last three weeks that this year’s tournament is going to be pure insanity. There may not be a single #1 seed make the F4 this year. In our view, there simply isn’t all that great of a difference between the top five and the top thirty teams on a neutral floor. Last year Memphis, Kansas, UCLA, and UNC looked dominant heading into the Dance. Who can we say that about this year?
1:27 pm. Tyler Hansbrough just got a Tyler Hansbrough call, and Seth Greenberg just about lost it. Two free points for the Heels. Kentucky is back to within one thanks to a couple of threes from an unlikely source, Michael Porter. And MSU is putting a little separation between itself and Minnesota in the Big Ten.
1:34 pm. Virginia Tech just had a six-pt lead on Carolina thanks to some good shooting from AD Vassallo. Under ten to go here – this one isn’t going away. Jimmy Dykes said at the tip that Lawson’s absence would mean 3-4 fewer fast break buckets for the Heels. He might be right, and that is the the difference in the game right now. LSU just ended a long drought, but they’re still up a few, and Michigan St. remains ahead of Minny.
1:39 pm. Should have been a goaltend on Va Tech there, but for the last two minutes UNC has been owning the boards. It’s like a volleyball up there for the Carolina bigs Davis, Hansbrough and Deon Thompson. Up in Indy, MSU just hit a three to open up a nine-pt lead. Remember when we said it was a high-scoring game? That was at 21-20 with 32 minutes left in the game. There are now 8 minutes left, and the score is 49-40. That’s a 29-20 “run” in the last 24 minutes of action. Gotta love Big Ten basketball.
1:46 pm. Another missed goaltending call in the UNC game, as this time it was Malcolm Delaney‘s layup attempt that was raked off the rim. Va Tech is taking some retarded shots, and UNC is busily giving Danny Green multiple opportunities to brick from three. One-point contest with 3:30 to go.
1:55 pm. Great finish in Atlanta, as Va Tech gets bailed out by a loose-ball foul there, down one. Actually not a bad foul because somehow Carolina only had THREE team fouls prior to that one? Va Tech just got tied up in the paint, and it’s really unclear whether that was a foul or not. Seems like a lot of contact on the arms there, but it’s UNC ball going the other way with five seconds to go.
2:03 pm. Yeah let’s get some more OTs around here. I can’t believe that Carolina had three fouls to give in a physical game like this. Actually, yeah, I can. Who will Va Tech go to here? Delaney or Vassallo? I doubt Roy fouls, but he could surprise me.
2:05 pm. Roy didn’t foul, but the gamble paid off there and UNC advances. For the second year in a row, VT loses a heartbreaker to UNC in the quarters. Michigan St. is finishing off Minnesota in Indy. Bubble impact? We think Minny is still in and Va Tech is probably now out. That Seth Greenberg interview will probably be a good one.
2:14 pm. Over in the SEC, LSU and Kentucky are trading baskets, with the Tigers still up four pts. LSU is extremely athletic, and they play with a lot more basketball IQ with Trent Johnson as their coach now. We’re still a little iffy on them in the NCAAs, though. This is one case where it’ll totally depend on the match-up.
2:25 pm. Sorta getting a feeling that we could turn this LSU-Kentucky game on at any point during the game and LSU would be up four points. Seriously, how did a team with Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson lose all those games this year?
2:31 pm. Let me answer my own question. Right, turnovers. Ranking 337th in the nation probably doesn’t help much, and we just saw an example of why – a quick 5-0 run fueled by two UK turnovers.
2:36 pm. For the record, here’s the list of teams who commit more turnovers per game than the Wildcats. Good company, there.
2:40 pm. There was a discussion after the Michigan St-Minnesota game of the possibility of MSU getting a #1 seed. I’m going to puke if that happens – at least Digger and Hubert Davis had the right idea when they pissed all over that idea. Seriously, there should only be five teams in the discussion at this point: UNC, UConn, Pitt, Louisville and Memphis. Nobody else has an equivalent resume. Note we said ‘resume,’ that doesn’t at all mean we think those are the five teams that will dominate these upcoming weeks.
2:45 pm. Fwiw, Lunardi currently has UNC and the three Big East schools as his #1s. I’d rather see that then reward a middling Michigan St. team for it. Back in Tampa, LSU just put another run on UK to pretty much end the Wildcats’ hopes to run the table in this tournament. Trent Johnson is known as a defensive-minded coach, but the biggest improvement we’ve seen in LSU this year from last is the knowledge of what a good shot is. Their FG% and offensive efficiencies are demonstrably better than they were last season.
2:51 pm. The ACC and Big Ten are back in action, with FSU leading Georgia Tech early and Wisconsin-Ohio St. tied at 5-all. Gotta say that I’m not really excited about these two games, but it’s tournament time, anything can happen.
2:52 pm. Thanks, Ben. Definitely true, nearly a quarter of UK’s possessions result in turnovers.
2:57 pm. UK has this thing down to seven thanks to a scoring drought by LSU. A horrible foul call on Porter reversed what should have been UK taking the ball the other way. The place is sounding like a mini-Rupp right now. Does LSU have any fans in the building whatsoever?
3:13 pm. Ok, maybe we should re-visit that Meeks vs. Thornton discussion after Thornton threw up 21/5 and Meeks was held in single-digits for the first time all year (8/3). Back to the other games, which have Wisconsin up four and Florida State up six. Both games are approaching halftime.
3:18 pm. Brett, thanks for the comment – we considered doing a live-blog today but we’ve found for these 12-hour sessions, for our own sanity and well-being, this BGTD format works best. But if there’s enough clamor and pitchforks at the RTC gate for a more interactive format, we’ll certainly listen.
3:19 pm. Rob, we hear what you’re saying. MSU has an excellent resume. On paper, they look like a really good team. Problem is that we don’t believe that they are a really good team. Maybe it was the home losses to Penn St. and Northwestern; maybe it was the raping where it looked like they completely quit against Carolina; or maybe it was the bombing they took in W. Lafayette a few weeks ago. It’s just that they don’t appear to be an elite team to us. Maybe they will end up “deserving” the #1 seed because they win the Big Ten Tourney, but from our perspective, that would be one of the weakest #1 seeds since Washington in 2005. Just our opinion.
3:22 pm. Inculcate – to cuckold Erin Andrews’ future husband. Inculcate.
3:27 pm. Really having trouble watching this Wisconsin-OSU contest. Maybe it’s Steve Lavin’s sleep-inducing voice right now, but more likely it’s the sleep-inducing play we’re seeing out there. Both of these teams are bubble, but they’re high bubble, meaning they’re likely in. Big shot by OSU’s to close out the half by William Buford. He really is a nice freshman player for the Buckeyes. Four of OSU’s top five players this season are freshmen and sophomores – if they can keep BJ Mullens around, they’re looking at a likely top 10-15 preseason ranking next year.
3:35 pm. Something is seriously wrong here – we’ve just agreed with Digger and Hubert Davis for the second time today. They just said that they weren’t sure a single Big Ten team might make the Sweet Sixteen this year. And yeah, that’s one reason we have trouble buying MSU as a #1 seed. These teams just aren’t all that good. Between the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-10, we’d be surprised to see more than two teams from those leagues in the Sweets. That means fourteen spots for the Big East, ACC, Big 12 and the mids, which actually sounds reasonable this year. Just guessing, but we’d say 5-6 from the Big East, 3-4 from the ACC, 3-4 from the Big 12 and 1-2 mids. Thoughts?
3:44 pm. South Carolina – Mississippi State has begun and it’ll be good for us to get another look at this South Carolina team in prep for next week. Does anyone else feel that most of these SEC teams could be thrown into a pot, mixed up, and you’d end up with largely the same team just about every time you chose one (exceptions: LSU and Georgia). FSU is now up eight on Ga Tech at the start of the second half.
3:53 pm. Mississippi St. can’t hardly throw it into the Tampa Bay right now, with seven pts on the board in ten minutes. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech is keeping FSU in their sights. We’ve said all year long that this Ga Tech team shouldn’t be this terrible with their individual talent on the floor. Let’s see if they can keep it going here.
3:57 pm. Jgunnip – you bring up a valid point. There’s a lot of anti-Big Ten sentiment in large part because of style of play (and yes, we’re looking in the mirror here too). But the conference did have its best-ever showing against the ACC in the Challenge this year, and it’s likely that a 6-2 first round would be met with skepticism. One thing that really helps the league is that teams from most other conferences aren’t used to the defense and physicality of those B10 teams. Plus, there are some really outstanding coaches in that league with Izzo, Matta, Weber, Smith and Painter, just to name some of the best. But looking at this year’s teams, there are a lot of “good” teams but no “great” ones in our eyes. It wouldn’t surprise us at all if everyone but Penn St. and another team won their first round games, but only MSU and Purdue survived to the second weekend.
4:04 pm. Actually, we looked up how the Big Ten does against seed expectation, and we found that since the 64-team expansion, the conference ranks fifth among the six BCS conferences, winning slightly below the expected number of wins per seed.
4:14 pm. If we’re basing the #1 seeds purely on resume, I agree that MSU might just have the better overall resume than Louisville. But basing everything on the resumes and the computer numbers is the reason the BCS is such a clusterf#ck every year – we don’t do that in basketball. The difference is the smell test, and if Louisville and MSU both won their respective conf tourneys, we still believe Louisville is the better team. Good conversation, though, it’s what makes this time of year great.
4:17 pm. Lost a little track of the ACC game for a while, and now it’s back to three points, FSU leading. Speaking of teams that are likely to be one-and-done, we’ve got FSU all over that. The Noles are 5-5 against the RPI top 50, but a little closer analysis reveals that they were 0-5 against the really good teams and 5-0 against the bubble types. Miss. St. moved back within four of SC at the half, and the Wisconsin has moved ahead of OSU by six with under-five left.
4:23 pm. Georgia Tech just got two straight steals to get the game within one, but then Lewis Clinch got greedy and chucked up a bad shot to try to take the lead. The winner of this game gets Carolina, so it’s probably going to be a better game if FSU hangs on. Go Noles.
4:29 pm. Yep, Jon Diebler with a huge three to give OSU the one point lead with 1:46 left. Meanwhile FSU is doing their very best to blow this game, giving Ga Tech the ball down one with 1:12 remaining. All the Heel fans are cheering for Ga Tech, hoping for the easier game. Ghosts of Georgia? When does the tornado arrive?
4:33 pm. Huge shot from the peacock! Georgia Tech has fought all the way back to take a one-point lead on a turnaround jumper from the baseline.
4:36 pm. Ok, we’re pausing the Big Ten game to see what happens with the ACC – timeout when FSU got in trouble there. They have ten seconds to make a plan of action. Might want to get it to Toney Douglas…
4:37 pm. Wow, that was a nice play by FSU there to get the basket, and-one. GT will have time, though. 7.7 remaining. FSU up two. Shumpert dribbled around like an idiot and still managed to get himself a decent look from about ten feet and he went long with it. FSU survives to advance… now back to the Big Ten…
4:38 pm. OSU up three, and Wisconsin’s Bohannon had a three in the air to tie, but it was just a little long. Foul, 1-of-2 and OSU fouls Wisky to keep the game at a reasonable margin. OSU used a 12-3 “run” to get to this point. Thanks for the info on Frazier.
4:43 pm. Over in the SEC, MSU is now up on South Carolina with a lot of game left. Back at Indy, OSU made two FTs to keep it at two possessions here, and Wisconsin is going to be a little more nervous come about 48 hrs from now. Definitely bubbling, although they’ll probably get in.
4:45 pm. Ok, we’re going to take a little break here, but that doesn’t mean BGTD is ending. Hardly. Nope, our colleague and Slumdog Millionaire nvr1983 will take over for a stretch. The SEC is still a one-pt game and the Patriot League title game between American and Holy Cross is starting. Root for American just to spite Bill Simmons. That game is on ESPN. Enjoy!
5:00 pm. It’s still early in the Patriot League title game. To be honest, I don’t know that much about either of these teams except that Holy Cross is in Worcester (a dump) and American is fittingly located in Washington, D.C. If you guys know anything about either of these teams drop some knowledge in the comment section. Holy Cross is up 5-4 with 15:15 left in the 1st half. Every time American makes a big play I’m going to start that entry with a high-pitched “Oh no!” just like Simmons does on his podcast. In other action, Mississippi State is tied with South Carolina with 9:50 left in the 2nd half. Meanwhile, in Conference USA action, Memphis is up 34-22 on Houston at half (big surprise). If anybody has this game on TV, let me know what Aubrey Coleman‘s game is like outside of his ability to stomp on a guy’s face.
5:10 pm. Oh no! American is up 15-9 with 8:40 left and Holy Cross just got called for a charge. ESPN is really digging down its list for announcers this week. Are these the usual ESPNU announcers? Ok, I’m going to focus on this SEC game for the next 10 minutes. MSU is up 64-61 with 3:31 left in the game. And yes, this might mean only 2 SEC teams in the NCAA tournament. It just seems crazy typing that, but it’s true.
5:15 pm. MSU is up 70-61 with 1:56 left. Jarvis Varnado is having a nice all-around game (10 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 3 assists). I’m guessing some NBA team will take a chance on him and his freakish wingspan.
5:25 pm. South Carolina cuts it to 5 with 51.2 seconds left. This one definitely isn’t over yet, but MSU shoots a respectable 71.1% from the FT line so at least they have that going for them.
5:28 pm. I just noticed that Oregon football coach Mike Belotti resigned to become the athletic director. Is that a step up or down on the pay scale? It seems like the athletic director might make less than a big-name college coach even one who compared the BCS to cancer. Do you guys have any more information about the relative salaries of those two positions?
5:30 pm. The Bulldogs have this one wrapped up. They’re up 81-68 with 3.3 seconds left. Does this South Carolina loss hurt Florida‘s NCAA chances?
5:35 pm. Jgunnip, thanks for the analysis. We’ll probably do a thorough review sometime after the season because it is so time-consuming as you probably could tell by looking at our earlier work.
5:40 pm. Oh no! American is up 28-18 at half. Memphis is running away from Houston. It’s 61-27 with 9:39 left in the game. We probably won’t be checking in on that game unless Memphis opens up an 80-point lead. In low-low-low-major news, Jackson State knocked off Prairie View A&M in the SWAC semifinals.
5:45 pm. With all these bubble teams choking, it seems like some teams that were out coming into this week might have a chance to get in. Do you guys have any picks for teams that might be in that situation on Sunday?
5:55 pm. Did they just say “a pretzel came flying out of the stands”? They need to show a replay of that because this game is excruciating. Lunardi has American as a #13 seed. They’re 73rd in the RPI with their best win coming against Manhattan, #163 in the RPI. How is that possible?
6:25 pm. Ok, so things are a little slow around here right now, but HC is making a bit of a comeback to get it within 11. Am.U. really disappointed us in last year’s first round. We had high hopes for that team, but they really didn’t challenge Tennessee the way we thought they would.
6:35 pm. Brett, we’ve considered making the BGTD features into fully-interactive liveblogs and it’s still on the table for the future, but we haven’t quite made the leap yet. We’ll definitely be live-blogging the Selection Show on Sunday, but thanks for the feedback. If more people keep requesting it, we’ll definitely further look into trying to do it.
6:39 pm. HC is still within a fighting chance, but American really isn’t showing any signs of choking this game away. The Big 10 is starting back up with the Michigan-Illinois game in Indy. UM could really use another win over a conference foe to distinguish itself. Up in the A10 (remember, RTC is partnering with CCT to provide simul-blogging coverage of the A10 Tourney), Xavier is up very early on Temple. Do you think the A10 is a two-bid league this year? Three?
6:49 pm. Wow, commercials sure are different in the midwest – we just saw an ad for something called SureStart, which apparently helps your corn to become “clean.” The Big Ten Channel, a window into America. Meanwhile, the Illini are up 11-7 on Michigan, and American is running out the clock against Simmons’ alma mater.
6:54 pm. And there’s our thirteenth automatic bid! American joins the field of 65. They didn’t really challenge any of the high-majors they played this year, but they have won thirteen in a row. That counts for something, right?
6:58 pm. Following up on that thought, there will be twelve conference champions crowned tomorrow. What an insane day that will be. Ok, let’s take a look at what’s upcoming. On ESPN, we’re going to have Louisville-Villanova. On ESPN2, Wake Forest-Maryland. Should be two excellent games. We’ll also be keeping an eye on Baylor-Texas on ESPN FC as well as the Michigan-Illinois game that has already started on the B10 Network. Should be a great evening session.
7:05 pm. Wanted to throw this pic up already commemorating Syracuse’s epic win over UConn last night…
Nice to see Syracuse not resorting to sweatshops in Laos for these shirts.
7:09 pm. This Louisville-Villanova game is really interesting. Villanova has really impressed this year, because they don’t appear to have the same calibre of talent as the top three Big East teams, yet they’ve done nothing but take care of business and win games all year. The Wake-Maryland game is a classic scenario of one team that really, really needs a big win, while the other team is prone to letdowns. Not gonna tell you which is which there.
7:13 pm. Question for the crowd – is Wake a darkhorse national title contender? Let me put this another way – will anyone pick the Deacs on any of their brackets? Of course it depends on the matchups, but the hype on this team died considerably after their swoon in mid-Jan to mid-Feb (lost four of six). Here’s the one stat that really catches our eye – 6-1 against the RPI top 26 this year. The one loss was at Cameron Indoor in a game where they shot over 60% from the field.
7:22 pm. Wake is in a drought right now, down 10-5, while Villanova and Louisville are tied 11-all. The Illini are up one on Michigan at the half, and Xavier-Temple are tied 29-29.
7:24 pm. Jay Bilas just implied he didn’t think Syracuse would be tired after last night’s 70-minute game, which is one of the more stupid assertions the usually-on-target Bilas has made. Who cares if they don’t have meetings today?!? They just played a six-OT game until amost 2 in the morning! That’s the ATYPICAL part, not the meetings or shootarounds or whatnot. Guarantee we see elements of a tired Syracuse team in the second half tonight.
7:31 pm. Somehow James Johnson has already picked up three fouls with ten minutes to go in the first half. Really confused as to why he was even on the court there. Nova has gone on a bit of a run to take a six-pt lead vs. Louisville. The Cards look a little listless so far here tonight.
7:34 pm. Watching Wake-Maryland right now is like watching one group of boneheads play another. Some of these decisions are ridiculous. Which is probably why nobody responded that Wake is a national title contender, right?
7:37 pm. Quick check-in on the Big 12 reveals that Texas is up ten on Baylor right now. Louisville is getting very frustrated by Villanova right now, who has gotten all 26 of its points from three players (Cunningham, Anderson, Fisher), but their collective defense is the story so far… UofL is shooting 35%. Not to mention rebounding (+10). Bottom line is Louisville is just getting outplayed.
7:43 pm. My God, that LD Williams three looked like a lead balloon flying through the air. Dropped through like one too. Wake-Maryland is a mixture of phenomenal atheticism with completely retarded decisionmaking right now. Louisville is starting to wake up a little bit, only down six, but they’re going to need a big second half to beat Villanova tonight.
7:56 pm. Villanova is getting points off Louisville’s turnovers, and Pitino is not happy with the way his “veterans” are playing the Nova defense. Quick aside, doesn’t Chris Collins just have an aura about him as the biggest cock you’ll ever meet? Maryland will take a 5-pt lead into the half, but Gary Clark just threw in a 50-footer after the buzzer there. Wow, just switched over to the BTN to find that Illinois has seemingly outscored Michigan by twenty pts this half. It’s actually 27-10 this half, and Michigan looks like they’re goingt to fall into that indistinguishable pile of teams including Minnesota, Penn St. and a bunch of other teams.
8:09 pm. This is making the rounds. So UNC gets the calls even outside the state of North Carolina in the ACC Tourney? Shocking.
8:12 pm. Hmmm… Michigan just dropped eleven in a row to put the pressure back on Illinois with just over 4 remaining. Stay tuned in Indy…
8:18 pm. Illinois finally stopped the bleeding, and it seems as if Michigan is running out of time. We just can’t see how the Wolverines would be left out of next week with six wins over top 50 RPI competition, including Duke and UCLA.
8:21 pm. Wow, Jeff Teague is playing even worse than I thought, 0-7 from the field. Wake looks terrible right now, and Maryland hasn’t shot themselves in the foot yet. Back in Manhattan, Louisville has closed the gap on Villanova with some energized play. Oops, now they’ve taken the lead already.
8:24 pm. Louisville came out with a 14-2 run to start the half – Pitino must have lit up every one of his player’s. You can always tell with that guy. When he’s jocular and laughing about his team like he did in the halftime interview, then you know he’s absolutely livid. So far it’s working.
8:28 pm. Wake is absolutely terrible right now. They act like they’ve never seen a zone before. The mental side of this team is simply lacking. The talent is there, but they just play dumb. Maryland isn’t exactly a group of hoop scholars out there, but they’re playing more like it tonight. A lot going on right now. Temple is up two on Xavier in the A10, and Baylor has come back to tie Texas.
8:31 pm. The Louisville pressure is destroying the Nova guards. They can’t even get the ball past halfcourt at this point. Wish we could see that Xavier game, it’s no on our package anywhere. Wake is hitting a scalding 25% from the field, and 2-15 from three tonight.
8:36 pm. Jeff Teague just got his first basket with twelve minutes to go in the game. Looks like Temple is about to knock off Xavier and every bubble team groans collectively, b/c it means the A10 might become a three-team league this year.
8:49 pm. Baylor and Texas are battling it out in Ok City, with Baylor up one late in the second half. Meanwhile, Louisville is up 8 on Nova and Tennessee is crushing Alabama in the SEC. Wake just missed a lob dunk that could have cut it back to ten; we really don’t see Wake coming back in this one the way they’re shooting threes unless Maryland completely gags.
8:55 pm. According to the ESPN reporter, all of Wake’s stars are contemplating returning to school next year. Believe it when I see it. It’s one thing to tell the coaches you’re staying during the season; it’s quite another when the season is over and you’re a projected lottery pick (ask Chris Paul). Louisville is up seven on Nova with under-four to go, and Baylor-Texas remain tied.
8:58 pm. Suddenly it’s the Greivis Vasquez three-point shooting exhibition. I guess if you’re hitting 1-3 each time that could be a productive offense. Louisville has opened it up to nine in MSG and will probably hold on. Texas is up two on Baylor now.
9:09 pm. Baylor is now up four and Maryland will advance to play either Duke or Florida St. tomorrow. The Terps probably punched their ticket tonight, and they deserve it. With wins over Michigan St., UNC, Wake and Michigan, they have enough quality Ws to get invited. And they’ll get another chance at one tomorrow.
9:13 pm. Baylor is trying to become this year’s Georgia, but as everyone knows, this team has top 25 talent, unlike the Dawgs last year. But after going 5-11 in the Big 12, Homer Drew’s team is on the verge of winning an automatic bid out of the Big 12 and knocking another bubble team out of the picture. Both Missouri and Oklahoma St. are teams that Baylor could beat. We couldn’t figure out why Baylor had gotten so bad in the middle of this season, but they look like an NCAA Tournament team right now. They just need one more win to get there.
9:25 pm. We missed it, but Purdue is already up fifteen on Penn St in Indy, and Washington has an early lead on Arizona St. in LA. One key bubble-related game is the Mtn West game between SDSU and BYU (on CBS College Sports), where SDSU is now leading by four.
9:53 pm. Sorry got sidetracked there. Arizona St. is destroying Pac-1o champion Washington, and BC hasn’t really showed up in the game against Duke. WVU-Syracuse is sloppy thus far, and the SDSU-BYU second half is about to start (with SDSU up three).
10:00 pm. Tyrese Rice just hit a deep corner three to get BC to 9 total pts with eight minutes to go in the half. They’re still hanging in, but they’re going to have to get it going or Duke will blow them away soon. Florida is up early on Auburn 5-0, and Purdue remains up big on Penn St.
10:07 pm. Syracuse just went on a 9-0 run, and Bilas is still harping on Syracuse not being tired. Wait until the second half when their legs are completely finished. BC is back to even with Duke.
10:14 pm. We’re going to keep a close eye on this BYU-SDSU game for the immediate future because we haven’t gotten as good a look a these teams as some others. BC is on a nice run here to open up a 5-pt lead against Duke. Syracuse is playing with adrenaline, but we still think they’re going to get tired in the second half – now up seven against WVU.
10:19 pm. Is there any shot in this building Devendorf can’t hit? A 55-footer at the end of the half. Tomorrow night he’ll be throwing them in Kevin Love-style from 90 feet. Rice for BC just threw in a deep three at the buzzer himself. What a turnaround in Atlanta. BC looked terrible for the first 12 minutes of this half. Now they’re up 29-22. Gerald Henderson is so far nonexistent, but we expect to see him in the second half.
10:24 pm. Watching BYU play SDSU in Vegas, the Mormons really travel well to follow their team. Would anyone want to play them in Boise in the first round this year? Purdue is probably finishing Penn St.’s bubble off, still up 20+ on the Lions. Over in the A10, Duquesne is now up 10 on Dayton, which if holds could create a situation where Temple-Duquesne is an automatic bubble killer game tomorrow.
10:32 pm. Tie game in Vegas, and it appears that Washington might be making a comeback on ASU. We’ll keep tracking that.
10:36 pm. Lunardi has SDSU as one of his last four in, and looking at their data, they do really need to beat BYU tonight. They have a strong RPI (37), but they’re 1-5 against the top 50 and that sole win was vs. in-conference foe Utah. They have two losses to BYU already. Duke’s G-Henderson just had a sick throwdown. Let’s see if BC can continue to do what was working in the late stages of the first half.
10:41 pm. WVU has come out very strong here in the second half to cut the lead almost immediately to two points. Let’s test that tired legs theory now, shall we? Washington is back within nine of ASU in the Pac-10 with plenty of time left there. Over at BC-Duke, for some unbelievable reason, Sanders for BC raked the ball off the rim which gave Duke three freebies.
10:45 pm. Four excellent games going right now, and the margin is BC +2, WVU +1, ASU +4 and SDSU +3. Just for good measure, Missouri is also up two on Oklahoma St.
10:47 pm. Duke’s last four buckets have been threes, which isn’t really their game. BC should keep letting them chuck it from out there and keep them off the foul line and out of the paint. SDSU is now up two with 3:19 left.
10:52 pm. SDSU holds a one-pt lead going into the final minute… JEEZ, is every game a great game tonight. Now there’s news that the WAC incumbent Utah St. is down one with 0:30 left to New Mexico St!
10:55 pm. Great play by SDSU to get a clean spinning-left jump hook by Wade. Now BYU will have 22.7 seconds to go for the tie. In the WAC, Utah St. just went ahead with 0:04 left 71-70…
10:57 pm. Wow, Jimmer Fredette got fouled on a long two by SDSU; he’s one of the best FT shooters in the Mtn West. Crazy. Utah St. held on to win by one point in the WAC. Meanwhile, David McClure mauled a BC player underneath the basket, who laid out under the basket, as Duke ran the other way with the ball (resulting in a foul call).
11:00 pm. Just saw SDSU coach Steve Fisher standing over there. Do you think he ever wonders about how close he was to a national title in 1993 with the Fab Five, knowing he’ll never get another chance? I’d say the answer is affirmative. Here we go, will SDSU hang on???
11:03 pm. Loose ball after the missed FT goes SDSU’s way. Looks like they’ll hang on, which means bubble trouble for some teams out there, watching and waiting…
11:06 pm. BYU hoping for a miracle. Got the layup to cut it to two, now they need the steal. Checking back in on the other games, we have Duke up four, Syracuse up one, Florida up two and ASU up seven.
11:07 pm. Wow, BYU very nearly got that steal and corner shot off that banked weirdly toward the rim. Not sure it would have counted, but still… So SDSU, Baylor and Oklahoma St. are the enemies of the bubblers.
11:11 pm. We lost track of the Pac-10 game for a bit, but ASU has forged ahead by nine now and appear to be poised to knock off the #1 seed Washington. Bilas is still going off about Syracuse not being tired tonight, and we just don’t see it, but whatever. In the SEC, UF and Auburn are playing scrappy, like the bubble teams that they are. Duke us now up four on BC with five minutes left.
11:18 pm. Talk about a hump. Auburn has had eleven possessions to take the lead and only just now took the lead (on the twelfth). BC is back only down one to Duke. SO MANY GAMES… but hey, you gotta love it!!!
11:21 pm. Duke up three, Syracuse up five. Both under four minutes. Mizzou is up four but there are ten minutes left in that one, so we can catch up on it a little later.
11:25 pm. Huge steal and timeout by WVU there to get the ball back only down three. BC has it down to one again. Terrible shot by BC to essentially give Duke two free points, followed by a sick three to tie it.
11:29 pm. Excellent drive by Flynn to get the foul and put Syracuse up three. BC also got a foul to take two shots for the lead in the ACC. Flynn misses the second and WVU will have 13 seconds… BC makes both…
11:31 pm. WOW – very nearly an and-one for Devin Ebanks there. Now the freshman will get two shots to tie the game. No way he makes both, right?
11:32 pm. He got the first, and Gerald Henderson had a sweet post move to get the lead back. BC will have 34.6 to try to win the game. Quick look at the SEC – Auburn is up two on Florida with just under-four to go.
11:34 pm. Huge shots by Ebanks to tie the game. Gutty. And… Duke steals the ball under the basket – what happened there? Oh, trying to get the ball underneath to a guy that wasn’t open. Scheyer missed the first end of the 1-and-1, and here we go again… BC has 10.6 seconds to win the game.
11:38 pm. Not sure why BC decided to go for a 28-footer there instead of, you know, doing what worked all night – driving to the rim. Back in the SEC, Auburn is up four and Syracuse is already up four in the OT against WVU.
11:40 pm. Mizzou is up six with 2:38 to go in the Big 12 semis. Amazing stat the Jonny Flynn has played 144 minutes in three games. Cuse looks like they’re in control of this overtime, though. Florida has the ball down three against Auburn. This very well could be a knockout game, remember. And Auburn just got the rebound and has a three-pt lead still. HUGE dunk by Auburn to go up five with 0:25 remaining. Could the Gators be looking at two straight NITs? Maybe Billy should have stayed in Orlando after all?
11:43 pm. Walter Hodge knocks in a get-the-roll three to cut the Auburn lead back to two. WVU will be going to the line down five with 28.2 seconds remaining. Neither of these are over just yet.
11:48 pm. Terrible foul for Syracuse there after missing the second end. Now WVU can get it down to two and hope for another miss to extend this game. Down to two points. One note from a bubble team is that St. Mary’s is destroying E. Washington tonight to get to their 26th win. Not sure yet how Mills played, but we don’t believe this will influence the committee that much. Either SMC is on their previous merits, or they’re not.
11:45 pm. Mizzou is pulling away in the Big 12. Nice run for Oklahoma St. there to get to the semis. They’re in as far as we’re concerned. Auburn missed the second and Florida got rejected on a three at the buzzer, and Auburn wins. Amazing that this team has come out of nowhere in the last month to put themselves into the conversation. Syracuse is trying to put WVU away, but they’ll need to hit some more FTs.
11:52 pm. According to Lunardi, Maryland is now in the last four. Syracuse missed another FT but it didn’t matter, because apparently you can run over three-pt shooters and not have a foul called. ??? It was a gutsy performance by the Orange, but we’re afraid they’re going to really feel the effects against the withering athletes of Louisville. Definite foul that should have been called there. Good job, refs.
11:55 pm. Ok, that’s almost twelve hours of semi-liveblogging for today, so even though there’s a couple of other games taht are important going on right now – Utah vs. Wyoming in the Mtn West, and UCLA-USC in the Pac-10, we need to get outside and breathe some air for a bit. Our fingers feel like Devendorf’s shooting arm right about now. What a tremendous day of games, though. So many close calls. We’ll hopefully be back a little later with a wrap. Either way, we’ll see you tomorrow morning for another full day of BGTD. Btw, there are TWELVE conference championship games tomorrow. Awesome. Drink it up, folks.