Boom Goes the Dynamite: Regional Semifinals Day OnePosted by rtmsf on March 26th, 2009
Hello everyone, it’s been a long four days since the last games ended on Sunday evening, but we’re back in earnest and ready for what should be a tremendous set of regional semifinals over the next two nights. Out of the top sixteen teams entering this Tournament, only two have been dismissed. The “upstarts” are Big 10 Tournament champion Purdue and a little school from the desert you might have heard from before, Arizona. We’ll be providing you with all the coverage as the weekend progresses… here’s tonight’s schedule:
7:07 pm. #5 Purdue vs. #1 Connecticut
7:27 pm. #4 Xavier vs. #1 Pittsburgh
9:37 pm. #3 Missouri vs. #2 Memphis
9:57 pm. #3 Villanova vs. #2 Duke
9:07 pm. Apologies to everyone, but real world got in the way and we’re just now getting to where we can start the BGTD tonight. Hopefully you’ll join us for the rest of the evening.
9:08 pm. What have we missed. Two good games, apparently. UConn-Purdue is nearing the finish line, and it appears the Huskies are going to advance. We thought there was a possibility of an upset there, but Hasheem showed up tonight for 15/15 and when he puts up those kinds of numbers, there are only a handful of teams in America that can compete with UConn. Pitt has been fighting off Xavier all night long, only recently getting the lead back for the first time in a while. From what we’ve seen so far, Pitt continues to shoot threes (not their strong suit and miss FTs. Xavier is doing enough to pull this upset if they can continue to keep Blair in check (8 pts).
9:14 pm. Jamie Dixon was right to complain about that shot clock violation there – it was still in XU’s hand when the clock turned to zero. But what is going on with Pitt’s shot selection? A fadeaway 18-footer from the corner is NOT their strength…
9:17 pm. And then a timeout on the throw-in… this team appears out of sync to us. UConn is finishing off Purdue on the other channel.
9:19 pm. Blair got the putback tip to go in there, but can you believe he’d miss such a point-blank shot; and then Jermaine Dixon barely drew iron on a dunk attempt?!? My God, if Pitt survives this game, it’ll be miraculous.
9:21 pm. Wow, these two teams are hitting 20% and 25% this half (Pitt higher). SCORCHING.
9:27 pm. Pitt looks terrible. Xavier is showing the onions right now with seven unanswered.
9:29 pm. Did you guys see Blair lollygagging after the ball there? Who wants this game more right now?
9:31 pm. Taliek Brown anyone? Huge shot by Fields to give Pitt the lead. Then the TO and a Fields layup. But XU has time… still enough time for a good look at a three here.
9:35 pm. Pitt survives and advances. They’re going to need to play a lot better than this to beat Villanova or Duke on Saturday.
9:41 pm. Credit Pitt’s defense in the second half for this win. They weren’t exactly lighting it up themselves, but several key possessions down the stretch Pitt was able to get turnovers leading to layups, including the key bucket to put them up three after DeJuan Blair hedged and knocked the ball away.
9:44 pm. While we’ve got some time between games here – both of which should be fantastic – we wanted to address some of the things we’ve been tracking today in the Kentucky/Billy Gillispie saga. We’re 90% certain that Gillispie has already been let go, but the rumors are rampant that Billy Donovan is already in the fold as the next UK coach. Problem with that is that we heard the same thing two years ago, and Donovan was never all that close to taking the job. We’ve also heard tale that Pitino is coming back to Lexington, but again, these rumors aren’t founded. The other story going around is that not only Gillispie is finished at UK, but so is their AD Mitch Barnhart. That would make things even more interesting. We’ll surely know more tomorrow.
9:54 pm. Nice start by Mizzou here. This was the one legit upset we saw as a possibility tonight (not counting Villanova over Duke as an upset).
10:01 pm. This is going to be a fun game. Up and down. Of course, so will Nova-Duke be a good one. Who else is fired up out there over these games?
10:04 pm. Of the top 12 teams in this tournament, was there any team less known by the public than Missouri? Guess that’s what happens when you go from nowhere to 30 wins in one season, though.
10:07 pm. Tyreke Evans looks phenomenal right now (8 pts already). Oops, we just got switched back to the East for the tip of Villanova-Duke.
10:11 pm. Great start for Duke, with a three from Jon Scheyer and a two from Lance Thomas. Villanova can’t afford to get down too early against Duke here.
10:14 pm. No worries of that – Nova just went on a 7-0 run. They’re going to be able to get dribble penetration whenever they want it tonight. Duke is 1-3 from deep so far. That’s not a good sign for the Devils.
10:17 pm. High scoring game so far in Glendale, 25-21 Memphis. Tyreke Evans already has 12 pts, and Mizzou is employing a 2-3 zone to try to slow the other Tigers down some.
10:20 pm. 11-0 scoring run for Nova before the Scheyer foul. Does anyone think Duke can really win this game if they don’t hit a ton of threes?
10:24 pm. That last play by Duke exhibited exactly what they need to do to win this game. Penetrate and kick out to open shooters. They’re not going to get great looks inside, but they can find spot-up shooters if they continue to use the dribble to create those mismatches.
10:44 pm. Phone call. In the interim, Nova continues to lead by going to the rack against Duke, but the bigger story right now is what is happening in Glendale. The nation’s #1 defensive team is getting exposed by the high-scoring Missouri Tigers, 49-36. JT Tiller already has 16 pts and Mizzou is shooting a ridiculous 54% from the field. The best anyone has shot all year against Calipari’s squad? Their very first game of the year – Fairfield (50%).
10:57 pm. Duke should feel fortunate to only be down three here. Villanova appears to be the superior team, but they’re unable to pull away. If Duke gets a few of these threes to drop, they’ll be in good shape heading down the stretch.
11:05 pm. About ready to come out of half in the Memphis-Missouri game and we’re pretty sure Memphis isn’t going to win this one unless they start defending a little better and finding ways to get some offensive production out of more than Tyreke Evans. The rest of his fellow starters have only contributed one more point than he has (15).
11:10 pm. In the mid-90s, Arkansas and Kentucky lived this style of play – full-court pressure and playing ten guys in relentless waves. Somehow, someway, coaches fell out of love with this style of play and nobody (except Mizzou) does it anymore. The question is why not? It worked then, and it can work now.
11:15 pm. Scott, I’m hearing Billy G. is absolutely and definitely out. Probably tomorrow. I’m also hearing that Donovan is the top choice again, but I can’t confirm whether he’ll actually take the job.
11:17 pm. As for Mizzou, they’re absolutely pissing on Memphis right now. 24-pt lead and the Tigers are shellshocked. Calipari needs to get his troops playing again – they sorta look like they’ve already checked out of this one. Is it too early to say that Memphis just got exposed by its weak schedule? This was probably a team in the top 15 in America; no way they’re in the top five.
11:24 pm. Memphis must have heard us. They just went on a 12-0 run to bring it back to thirteen. With fourteen minutes remaining, there’s a chance here. A longshot, sure, but still a chance…
11:27 pm. Nova on a 8-3 run to start the half here. Nvr1983 just reported that people were asking several hundred dollars per ticket for these games in Boston tonight.
11:30 pm. Duke needs to be careful here. They’re about to get Clemsoned. Just saw where Mizzou has 15 FGs this half already, with thirteen minutes to go!!! That’s insane!
11:36 pm. Do you think the other Duke players are swearing under their breath as soon as Paulus makes a three? Because it seems as soon as he gets his confidence he immediately does something stupid, like throw a pass into the stands. Nova is absolutely tearing up the Duke defense with weakside cuts.
11:39 pm. Layup drill in Boston. Seriously we can’t remember the last shot outside of 3 feet that Nova has even TAKEN, much less missed. Kentucky would do itself well to take a look at Jay Wright.
11:41 pm. Mizzou is now at 59% shooting, just destroying the nation’s #1 defense. Memphis isn’t doing all that badly at 51% themselves, but fewer threes and an abundance of turnovers is the difference in the game.
11:42 pm. Wow, Villanova is already in the bonus. Seriously, is there any possible way for Duke to come back and win this game?
11:44 pm. Duke can’t even convert 2-on-1s at this point. Their only chance is going to be nailing a bunch of threes, but will the Nova defense allow the Devils to get open looks? Duke is at 29% for the game and 20% from three. It’ll have to be significantly better the rest of the way.
11:49 pm. Mizzou continues to stay up around 10 on Memphis, but time is dwindling (around 5:30 left). Oops, now down to 7 but Memphis is going to the line. Looks like Calipari’s boys have some fight in them after all. Tyreke Evans is blowing up (27 pts).
11:55 pm. The Duke haters are going to have their way tonight. Villanova is the better team. If this holds, this will be the longest F4 drought in Coach K’s career at Duke (5 seasons).
11:59 pm. Can’t understand how Mizzou is able to just waltz their way down the lane to layups. Of course last year, Robert Dorsey would have thrown that stuff outta there. All that said, Memphis is scoring every time downcourt as well (they’re up to 53%). They have three minutes and if they manage to knock down a couple of threes…
12:01 am. Huge missed layup for Mizzou which turned into a Memphis dunk to take it down to six pts. With two minutes left, Mizzou better start hitting these FTs.
12:03 am. TWENTY-FIVE missed FTs so far between these two teams. Do either of them ever practice these things?
12:05 am. Looks like that might be it for Memphis. The winningest class of seniors in NCAA history will have made a single F4 in their run. Doesn’t exactly match up to the Christian Laettner class or the Wayne Turner class, does it?
12:07 am. Gerald Henderson just hit a three to raise his FGs to 1-12 for the game. Put simply, he’s the only player on the Duke squad who can hang with the Villanova players athletically, and he needed to drop about 25-30 tonight for Duke to have a good chance to win. 7 pts won’t cut it.
12:09 am. Does anybody in ACC country want to talk any further about Big East vs. ACC this year? Villanova was very much an afterthought through much of the Big East season, and they have just decimated one of the top two ACC teams in embarrassing fashion. Cannot believe this was even an argument this year. Shows the power of media to set the debate, we guess.
12:11 am. Memphis has gotten this down to two possessions with under a minute to go, but really? Can Mizzou really blow this 24-pt lead completely? There’s no way, right?
12:14 am. Highest point total given up by Memphis this year – 79 pts. Missouri is in position to obliterate that by 20+ pts in a few moments. Hey, Bilas – “may very well” = “did.”
12:17 am. Conversely, Duke is sitting at 52 total pts, their worst output since the Clemson debacle (47 pts). Their second worst – 66 pts in a win against BC.
12:19 am. Henderson and Scheyer are shooting 12.5% for the game. Wow. If we were Pitt, we’d be extremely nervous about seeing this Villanova team on Saturday afternoon.
12:21 am. Who the hell just stole the ball while Villanova was dribbling the ball out to try to score again? Was that Elliot Williams? What a completely classless move. Did anyone else see that? [correction: Nolan Smith was the assclown]
12:23 am. Ok, whew. Not a great second half of the night, but it showed that Missouri and Villanova are elite teams while Duke and Memphis are not. Still can’t believe what that Duke player just pulled there. That’s it for now, but we’ll be back for the full slate of games tomorrow night at 7pm EDT. Join us.