Boom Goes the Dynamite: Regional Semifinals Day TwoPosted by nvr1983 on March 27th, 2009
We’ll be doing a full BGtD today so you won’t have any interruptions in coverage tonight. Honestly, last night’s games were kind of disappointing. Pittsburgh–Xavier was entertaining, but that was the only game that I would say was memorable from a pure basketball standpoint. Now the other games did have their own interesting subplots. UConn rolled over Purdue in a game that was close at points in the 2nd half, but I never really got the sense that the Huskies were in any danger of losing. I was particularly impressed with how the Huskies played despite the media circus that is going on around them. Missouri‘s victory over Memphis was entertaining although for me it was marred a little by the atrocious free throw shooting. As we mentioned last night, I really wonder what John Calipari does, if he does anything, for his team’s free throw shooting. At this point, I’m convinced J.J. Redick would have shot 70% from the free throw line if he had gone to Memphis. Also, what happened to vaunted Memphis defense. Missouri has a good offense, but they shouldn’t be able to hit triple digits in regulation against a team that went into the game with the #1 defense according to the Pomeroy numbers. I’m sure some of you took great pleasure in watching Villanova pick apart Duke leading to another early March exit for Coach K, but the game wasn’t exactly exciting if you didn’t have a rooting interest for (or in most people’s case against) a team.
The line-up for tonight should give us a couple of interesting games:
- 7:07 PM: #12 Arizona vs. #1 Louisville
- 7:27 PM: #3 Syracuse vs. #2 Oklahoma
- 9:37 PM: #3 Kansas vs. #2 Michigan State
- 9:57 PM: #4 Gonzaga vs. #1 UNC
We’ll be back around 7 for the start of tonight’s action. Leave your comments/questions and we’ll respond to them as soon as we start.
6:55 PM: A couple quick pieces of news to pass along in the midst of this Billy Gillispie madness and these somewhat important games tonight. Clemson‘s star forward Trevor Booker will return for his senior year. The news out of Iowa isn’t as good after Jake Kelly, Jeff Peterson, and David Palmer announced that they are transfering, which means that Todd Lickliter will need to replace 2 starting guards and a reserve forward.
7:10 PM: Chase Budinger makes a great play to temper Louisville’s great start. He’s going to need to have a great game tonight. If both teams use the press tonight, we’re going to get a blowout (and I think it will end up going in Louisville’s favor).
7:12 PM: I should warn you that I’m a big Chase Budinger fan so you’ve been warned. I haven’t seen a lot of him this year (stupid west coast starts), but I think he has the makings of a very solid NBA player.
7:14 PM: That’s not a good stat for Arizona. Only 6 Wildcats have scored in the NCAA tournament.
7:19 PM: Great play by Edgar Sosa feeding it to Preston Knowles. This pressure is going to kill Arizona if they only go 6 deep.
7:28 PM: I don’t think it will matter tonight, but I hope you paid attention to that FT statistic. Louisville shoots 63.8% as a team (307th out of 334 teams). That will come back to bite them. Just ask John Calipari. Actually he probably wouldn’t admit it because his team was just as bad last night. . .
7:30 PM: I think that any Blue Devil who mentions that they made the 1994 title game should put an asterisk by it on their resume saying that they rode Grant Hill‘s coattails there. If you don’t agree with me, see what happened the next year even if Coach K missed the last 2/3 of the season.
7:31 PM: It looks dead in Memphis. What do you guys think? I’m guessing it’s only 20% full. UNC fans must have bought up most of the stadium.
7:35 PM: Willie Warren is the most popular player in America for the next 40 minutes (unless we go to OT).
7:36 PM: Good calls by Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg. Poor job by Jonny Flynn on shielding for Eric Devendorf and Arinze Onuaku definitely got away with a push in the back against Blake Griffin.
7:45 PM: Horrible start by Syracuse. They’re lucky to just be down by 8 with 12:17 left. The only reason it is this close is because of a handful of careless Oklahoma turnovers. Jim Boeheim‘s squad looks awful right now.
7:50 PM: Louisville is running over Arizona right now. They are almost doubling up the Wildcats right now (40-21) with 3:29 left. . .If Syracuse can start hitting some shots, they should win this game because the Sooners are doing a horrible job passing out of traps.
8:00 PM: Did any of these CBS people actually think Arizona had a chance? Louisville up huge at the half. Where’s Billy Packer when we need him? That one is over. I don’t need some crazy Bill James formula telling me that.
8:02 PM: Syracuse is doubling down on Blake Griffin each time Oklahoma even hints at throwing it into the post. Jeff Capel needs to take advantage of this by using Willie Warren or whoever is feeling it from the outside to be in the position to throw the entry pass. When Syracuse cheats off the perimeter player, take the 3.
8:05 PM: Great play by Taylor Griffin to strip Onuaku. Why is Austin Johnson (a 35% 3-point shooter) taking J.J. Redick-style 25-footers?
8:10 PM: It’s too bad that Longar Longar isn’t playing for the Sooners this year. Just imagine how many witty and witless puns the CBS guys would come up for him.
8:13 PM: Jonny, that’s why you don’t try to pick up a cheap charge by standing under the basket with a freight train coming at you.
8:15 PM: Not a fan of that timeout by Capel. Flynn was clearly in pain. Hold the ball, clear out an isolation on Flynn, and go right at him. Boeheim is too smart to let Flynn stay in. I guess he does get to use Blake Griffin for this last play, but I still don’t like it.
8:16 PM: And Tony Crocker bails Capel out by hitting a 3. See that’s what happens when you think, you look like an idiot. Let that be a lesson to all you kids out there.
8:25 PM: You know how Shaq always says he will make the free throws when they matter. Well I think Louisville is doing the opposite of that. They are 11/12 and are up by 27 early in the 2nd half. You know Rick Pitino is wishing he could save these free throws for a game later in the tournament.
8:40 PM: I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that you rarely win when you go 0/10 from 3. You can forget the 5 Big East teams in the Elite 8 and the all-Big East Final 4. This is an embarrassing performance by Syracuse. They need to start cutting into the lead right away if they want to have a chance and prevent me from watching the Celtics-Hawks game.
8:55 PM: Josh, I was actually across the street at a bar after deciding that $200 to sit in the back of the arena was a little too much. Are you sticking around for the Elite 8 or did you sell your tickets and head back to Durham? I actually scored a pair of tickets for face value for tomorrow night.
9:00 PM: Good stuff Josh. I think I’m actually going to be at the front of the balcony. I couldn’t find anything better for a reasonable price. People were still asking $200 for Loge. I even tried to see if any of the fans of losing teams were looking to sell, but I didn’t find any takers.
9:02 PM: I LIVE MY LIFE A QUARTER MILE AT A TIME! Sorry. I just had to. I can’t wait until Vin Diesel and Paul Walker make some bad investments in their 60’s and come back to make a sequel based in Central Florida leaving their turn signal on the entire movie.
9:10 PM: 103-64. I don’t need to say anything else. You know we could very realistically have 4 Big East teams and 3 Big 12 teams in the Elite 8. If the Big 12 somehow manages to get more teams to Detroit than the Big East, will all the talking heads start saying that the Big 12 was the best conference this year?
9:14 PM: Who is that sitting behind the Griffins? Too much make-up, but . . .
9:18 PM: BS, I haven’t watched “The Wire” (on my Netflix list), but he does look very familiar.
9:19 PM: Syracuse has totally given up. Taylor Griffin got that board easily. It will be interesting to hear Boeheim’s post-game press conference. This team just gave up. The only who continued to compete was Jonny Flynn.
9:21 PM: Agreed on Griffin. Fortunately I don’t have that problem thanks to my single-digit vertical.
9:23 PM: I’m assuming that Jason Capel won’t be wearing an Oklahoma shirt even if he is rooting for them on Sunday (if UNC beats Gonzaga).
9:25 PM: It looks like Boeheim is going to pick up his 800th win against some Divsion 2 school next year. Does Clark Kellogg realize the coaches don’t get Olympic medals?
9:30 PM: Mercifully, the first set of games today are over. Hopefully the next set are better.
9:40 PM: Not the prettiest start to the game, but at least it’s close. That’s something, right?
9:45 PM: BS, I’m trying to be nice here, but yes you could call it ugly. UNC-Gonzaga is bound to be good, right?
9:49 PM: What was that Brady Morningstar? That 17-footer was about 4 feet short.
9:50 PM: Josh, I don’t mean to pick on you, but I think you said that you are a senior on Duke. What are you thoughts on basketball during your time at Duke? I am assuming you came in expecting more success. What are your fellow Duke fans saying today?
9:56 PM: For those of you who have been watching the game, Anthony Grant took the Alabama job for a reported $2 M/yr. We’ll have a post on the dominos that will fall as the result of this later tonight. What do you guys think this this decision will lead to?
10:00 PM: Are these new uniforms for Gonzaga? They look different.
10:05 PM: BS, that’s a possibility or it means that the Kentucky job is already taken. Grant committed to Alabama just a few hours after Gillispie was let go. It seems pretty clear that he was hoping for the Kentucky job, which is much higher profile (and money). You have to figure that Kentucky has somebody lined up. Don’t forget that Billy Donovan has changed his mind before.
10:10 PM: BS, I finished my undergrad days a few years ago. I just happen to live in Boston so I’ll be going to Pitt-Villanova tomorrow night. He was here for Duke.
10:12 PM: Kansas has opened up a 10-point lead following an 11-0 run. It looks like we might have 3 Big 12 teams in the Elite 8. . .
10:13 PM: “Blossoming kind of like a dog would”? Norman Chad is going to have fun with that one.
10:15 PM: If Gonzaga is going to play zone defense, why doesn’t Roy Williams just put Tyler Hansbrough on Austin Daye‘s side and watch Hansbrough eat the sophomore alive?
10:20 PM: UNC is starting to open up a lead after Wayne Ellington hits a 3 and gets an “and 1”. Seven different Tar Heels have already scored in the first ten minutes. Arizona had six players score in their first 2 games. The Wildcats had 9 score tonight thanks to some garbage time points.
10:25 PM: If Lawson is even 70%, UNC wins the title. It’s that simple. It’s amazing how quickly this became his team this year. He took the conch shell from Hansbrough pretty quickly.
10:30 PM: BS, I think Travis Ford would be a great hire. . .in 5 years. I don’t think he is ready for the job in Lexington yet. He would have a lot of goodwill coming from the fans, but that would die pretty quickly if he didn’t take a Jodie Meeks/Patrick Patterson to at least the Sweet 16 next year. Kentucky fans are pretty crazy and that’s a rough situation for an inexperienced coach (at the big-time level).
10:32 PM: Danger time for Gonzaga. Jeremy Pargo with 3 fouls and 7 minutes left in the 1st half. UNC is up by 13. They could stretch this to 20 in a blink of the eye.
10:35 PM: Josh, great post/comment. Yeah. Duke has had some bad luck with recruits although I’m not sure if those guys don’t become overrated in the high school rankings because Duke is pursuing them. The one thing about Duke this year is that they essentially had Greg Monroe locked up before he committed to Georgetown and he obviously would have been a huge addition to this Duke team. I’m not sure if they would have beaten Villanova, but they probably would have been a #1 seed with Monroe. A lot of the radio/podcast people are talking about how Coach K changed his recruiting strategy after the Elton Brand/Will Avery/Corey Maggette era and stopped going after those type of supremely talented athletes (with the exception of Gerald Henderson who was awful last night) for feat that he might only have them for 1 or 2 years. Instead, he went after a slightly lower caliber player who would stay for 4 years. Of course, Coach K’s whole committment to Team USA probably also had a detrimental effect on his recruiting too. There are a lot of potential explanations.
10:45 PM: Ugh, CBS is so far behind. Clark Kellogg just said that Grant interviewed at Alabama. He took the job! Way to be 3 hours behind Jeff Goodman.
10:47 PM: Nice job by Gonzaga cutting into this UNC lead. Mark Few has to be happy going into half trailing by just 11 with the way UNC started and Pargo sitting out the last 7 minutes. If they can keep the momentum and keep it around 8 with 12 minutes left we might have a solid finish.
10:50 PM: Agree on the Williams/Boozer/Dunleavy class. I was repeating what the radio/podcast people said (reading over my post it wasn’t clear). I was mainly talking about the 1 and dones like you were. I’m not sure how much Coach K gets out of saying he coached Team USA. I mean he is Coach K (with the AmEx commercials, etc.) that should be enough to woo recruits.
10:55 PM: It looks like we have a potentially great game brewing in Indianapolis. The Spartans have cut it to 1 just 3 minutes into the 2nd half.
10:57 PM: Josh, if I’m a 17-year old and I see a team with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Dwayne Wade (coming off the bench) I expect them to win. If anything it would be egg on the coach’s face if they didn’t win. I know it’s wrong, but I doubt a high school kid gives the coach of a team like that for winning. I could be wrong, but that’s just my interpretation (if I was 10 years younger and about 100x as talented on the court).
11:00 PM: BS, yeah I heard that on SportsCenter. I think I commented it at sometime in the past 2 days (not sure where it is or if it is even on thes ite since I’ve been sending so many e-mails and talking to so many people), but I can’t see Bobby Knight taking over a huge program. I think he’s too old to handle the pressure and the media surrounding a program like that. I think Tom Izzo would be a great hire for Kentucky, but they’re going to have to offer him a lot of money to go there. One bonus for Izzo (even more than a guy like Rick Barnes who is also rumored as a candidate) is that Izzo has enough rep that even if he failed there is would be another big-name program that would take him in a heartbeat.
11:05 PM: That was awful defense by Kalin Lucas on that Sherron Collins drive that the CBS guys are fawning over. Just stand in there and take a charge. BS, basketball players aren’t always the brightest people on the planet. That’s my only explanation.
11:15 PM: UNC has opened up a 17-point lead just 1:48 into the 2nd half. Looks like we’ll be focusing on Indianapolis, but we’ll keep an eye on Memphis.
11:17 PM: And we’re tied with 9:36 to play. This should be a great finish.
11:20 PM: Maybe Len Elmore is operating on a higher intellectual plane than me (He’s a Harvard JD), but that last statement made no sense. Here’s what I heard (may not be word-for-word) “Call or no call. You gotta hold your position and play on. You gotta make the official call it.” Um, yeah.
11:21 PM: A bad pair of days for the nation’s top 2 defensive teams based on opponent’s field goal percentage. A day after Memphis got run out of the gym by Missouri, Gonzaga, which came into today allowing 36.9% FG (2nd in the nation to Memphis) is allowing the Tar Heels to shoot 61%.
11:27 PM: Huge shot by Tyrel Reed. The Jayhawks are up by 3 with 4:40 left. Cole Aldrich has been huge today (17 points and 13 rebounds). Bill Self is going to rely on Collins and Aldrigch down the stretch. What’s going on with the Kansas guys limping? Do they have voodoo dolls up in East Lansing?
11:30 PM: CBS probably won’t mention it, but Gonzaga has cut the lead to 11 with 12:27 left.
11:32 PM: Huge swing in Memphis. Bobby Frasor just hit two 3s in 26 seconds and Ellington got an “and 1” with the FT coming after the timeout. UNC up by 19 again. Wow. That was quick.
11:37 PM: UNC has 12 points on their last 4 possessions. Now, Ken Pomeroy hasn’t run the numbers, but that seems like it is fairly efficient.
11:38 PM: Tied at 60 with 91 seconds left. Our first classic game of the weekend?
11:39 PM: Awful play by Collins there. He went up in the air without a real option. He would have been better off chucking it up at the rim and hoping that it would fall or Aldrich would be able to grab a rebound.
11:40 PM: Lucas just killed Collins there. Gus Johnson is loving this. Are we going to get another one of his YouTube classic calls? Mrs. Izzo doesn’t look too confident.
11:44 PM: Tyshawn Taylor tripped over his own feet. Tough call for the officials though. I think Raymar Morgan may have nicked Taylor’s leg just before he tripped over himself though.
11:46 PM: Bad foul by Travis Walton, Sherron Collins fails to hit the front end of the one-and-one. He is choking right now. Lucas is totally outplaying him in the last 2 minutes.
11:48 PM: That should do it. Michigan State is next on Louisville’s slaughter list. Just an awful finish by Sherron Collins after a solid game (20 points on 9/13 FG).
11:50 PM: One spot is yet to be decided? When one team is up by 25 with 5 minutes left, it is already decided. And sorry to the Hansbrough fanboys, but Griffin is going to kill Hansbrough. Just enjoy the fact that UNC will be headed to Detroit next weekend. Blake’s next stop will be New York City for the NBA Draft Green Room.
12:02 PM: Two blowouts in Memphis. I’m afraid that we’re going to see something similar in the Elite 8 game too. As much as I hate to say it, this has been a very lackluster tournament so far. Hopefully they college basketball gods will repay with a great last 3 rounds.
12:10 PM: Ok. Well that wraps it up for tonight. It’s been fun interacting with you guys, but rtmsf will be running things for tomorrow’s today’s Elite 8 games. I’ll be at the East Regional (and probably some bar nearby before). If you’re in Boston and need advice on places to go, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re in Glendale, Indianapolis, or Memphis, good luck with that.