Boom Goes the Dynamite: Final 4 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 4th, 2009

dynamiteWe’re back for the second to last BGtD of the season and while we’re a bit saddened by that we are looking forward to a pair of great games today. If you’ve been checking our site the past week, you’ve probably seen some of the stuff we have been doing. We have had the best bloggers for the various teams (UConn, UNC, Michigan State, and Villanova) write previews explaining how/why their team will win, our statistical analysis for both the UConn-Michigan State game and the UNC-Villanova game, and our ongoing 64-team era modern NCAA tournament, which is in the Final 4 too with results coming over the next 2 days.

I’m assuming that most of you know the schedule of games today, but here it is for the rest of you.

  • #1 UConn vs. #2 Michigan State at 6:07 PM
  • #1 UNC vs. #3 Villanova at 8:47 PM

We’ll be back around 6 PM for the start of the first game. As always, leave your questions/comments and we’ll be responding to them throughout the day.

5:14 PM: Yikes. That shirt that Blake Griffin is wearing. At least we know that if an agent is giving him any money, it isn’t going towards buying tasteful clothing.

6:00 PM: It’s finally here. In a little under 10 minutes, we should have the starting lineups. I’m going with the chalk here like I said on the Dan Levy show. Hopefully we get a pair of entertaining games.

6:10 PM: Big question for today: Will Clark Kellogg make us miss Billy Packer?

6:15 PM: Phenomenal start for the Spartans. I think UConn is too tough to let this bother them.

6:25 PM: Decent level of play so far. Neither team looks that tentative so hopefully that means we will have a good game. One thing to note is that typically we have a story about how playing in a dome affects some great shooter. I haven’t read anything like that this year partly because Wayne Ellington is probably the only star who is an exceptional shooter, but he doesn’t fall into J.J. Redick or Trajan Langdon territory.

6:30 PM: To echo Josh’s point, CBS just showed a stat where UConn was going to the free throw line somewhere around 3 times as often as their opponents this tournament. I’m not saying that they’re getting calls, but if they had shown that stat and replaced UConn with Duke I’m pretty sure the blogosphere would be going nuts.

6:35 PM: Ridiculous finish by Jeff Adrien and Kellogg is right. Delvon Roe = Boy. Adrien = Man.

6:36 PM: Wow. Team Fouls: Michigan State 7, UConn 1. That’s with 8:55 left. Could be an issue for Tom Izzo. He has to get on the refs about that.

6:45 PM: I know Kellogg was trying to say that Michigan State wants to play up-tempo, but I’m not sure the tennis shoes versus rollerblades/roller skates was the best way to go about it.

6:50 PM: Note to UConn guards: Gavin Edwards is not Grant Hill.

6:55 PM: Matt, how much were the tickets through UNC. By the way, I’m enjoying the fact that we have a UNC student and a Duke student talking in the comment section today. It’s like our own Sheraton commercial without one guy wiping Ranch dressing off the other guy’s mustache.

6:57 PM: Wow. Things got out of hand quickly. It looks like Adrien got out of control there. It almost looks like he took a swing at Travis Walton. I don’t see how they can call anything on Adrien after the fact. It’s too hard to say it was definitively a swing (even if I am saying it was). You can’t call that as an official in this situation.

7:00 PM: Question for Jim Calhoun: Does the contract that John Calipari (0 titles compared to your 2 title) got make you think that you’re underpaid?

7:03 PM: That looked like a phantom foul on Raymar Morgan. It seems more like Hasheem Thabeet just was off balance when he landed instead of getting pushed.

7:04 PM: Josh, how about putting off law school for a few years to take over officiating for the NCAA?

7:07 PM: Nice job by Roe with the 25 pump fakes in about 5 seconds there. Michigan State up 38-36 at half. I have to say that was some of the best basketball I have seen this year.

7:08 PM: Josh, I was only joking. I know the NCAA doesn’t pay well, which is why they tend to have so many idiots working for them.

7:20 PM: Matt, is your friend one of the UNC kids jumping up behind Seth Davis?

7:25 PM: I just noticed that ESPN GameCast was sponsored by Trojan condoms. How do they get that when we end up with Cialis? It was one of our rotating ads a couple of days ago.

7:30 PM: Matt, not much happened. Walton fouled Adrien and when Walton was on his way down he got an extra little help from Adrien. Adrien actually tried to push ever harder, but missed, which is fortunate for UConn because it might have been a technical on Adrien.

7:32 PM: Rough start for the Spartans. I’m surprised that Suton has been so silent, but I guess he isn’t that great of a match-up against Adrien who can guard him on the perimeter.

7:40 PM: Josh, I’m pretty sure Brad Pitt would resemble Richard Hamilton with that mask on.

7:44 PM: Great sequence there by Stanley Robinson. I guess that’s what Jim Calhoun has been talking about.

7:45 PM: UConn is missing a lot of open looks here.

7:53 PM: I’m not trying to say that UConn deserves a death sentence, but to say that they have been a clean program is ridiculous. Any one who follows college basketball knows about some of the problems they have had over the years.

7:55 PM: Has UConn forgotten they have a 7’3″ guy on the inside? Thabeet had 10 points in the 1st half and they’re not even looking at him.

7:56 PM: Ok. A jumper from the elbow wasn’t the type of shot I was expecting from Thabeet.

7:58 PM: The UConn guys are starting to show some frustration. Both Adrien and Edwards threw elbows there. . . Cheap foul on Edwards there. It looked like Suton just lost control, but it’s hard to tell from the awful camera angles.

8:05 PM: UConn looks awful right now. Both of us have thought the Spartans were overrated all year long and thought they just got lucky in the tournament, but how many lucky games do they need to have before they’re considered good. Side note: If Michigan State holds on to win this game, how hard will their fans be rooting for Villanova in hopes of avoiding the same UNC team that beat them by 35 earlier this year at the same location?

8:06 PM: Oooooooooooooooh. Durrell Summers with the facial on Stanley Robinson.

8:07 PM: Josh, the UNC guy?

8:10 PM: A.J. Price needs to step up and hit some shots. With Jerome Dyson out, he is their only legit perimeter threat.

8:12 PM: Dear CBS, please stop using that stupid roof camera for live footage.

8:13 PM: UConn is done. They aren’t showing any hustle or heart tonight. I’m always shocked when this happens. How can you play this soft in a game this big?

8:16 PM: Great call by Izzo coming out of the time out. Horrible defense by UConn. Calhoun is about to lose his 1st Final 4 game (4-0 coming into tonight).

8:18 PM: Josh, I agree that UConn has been soft at times in the past, but with all the talk about how great the Big East has been this year you would assume they were a little mentally tougher this year. They’re just laying down, which isn’t that much different than what happened when Louisville played Michigan State.

8:20 PM: Matt, I agree. I mean there are certainly teams that you would rather face than others. Josh, I doubt it. I can’t see him going out on such a sour note. I guess a lot of it will depend on what happens this summer with the UConn/NCAA investigation. He could always use his health as an excuse.

8:23 PM: Huge play by Price there and Thabeet going to the line. Unless he pulls what he did against Notre Dame.

8:25 PM: I’d like to point out that Thabeet did the exact same thing against Notre Dame at the game I was at. Why hasn’t CBS mentioned this? The same announcers were there. Thabeet came back in a minute later.

8:27 PM: Wow. Huge sequence there. UConn closed it to 3 on that ridiculous Robinson dunk then the Huskies don’t get back. Just awful.

8:28 PM: Here’s my live blog of the aforementioend UConn-Notre Dame game and my post-game write-up.

8:31 PM: UConn needs to start taking 3s pretty soon even if they can get 2s. Michigan State has too many good  free throw shooters for UConn to hope the Spartans will miss a lot of free throws.

8:33 PM: Huge miss there by Kemba Walker. Would have cut it to 5 with 20 seconds left. Probably wouldn’t have mattered, but it would have made it interesting for a few more minutes.

8:35 PM: I’m going to be handing off BGtD duties to rtmsf who will be keeping you company for the 2nd game tonight.

8:54 PM: Whew.  Didn’t say we saw this one coming.  So for whoever we offended in the past by dissing MSU, our sincere apologies.  They simply out-played, out-toughed, and out-wanted that game against UConn tonight.  Josh, we have to say we largely agree with you – this UConn team didn’t play smart, and if you don’t play smart, you better play hard.  Didn’t seem that they matched the Spartans in the intensity department tonight.

9:06 PM: Let’s look ahead to this game between UNC and Villanova.  VU isn’t getting a whole lot of respect from Vegas (+7.5) or the so-called experts, but the Cats have shown in their last two wins that they shouldn’t be underestimated.  The key of course will be keeping Ty Lawson in check; if they can do that, they should be able to hang around long enough to have a shot at the end.  Otherwise, it could get ugly.  What I’m looking for is where Villanova stands at the 12-minute mark of the first half.  If they’re already down 8-12 pts, put this game away and head on out to the bars.  But if they’re ahead or close, we’re in business.

9:09 PM: Before we get started here, Jeff Goodman is reporting that Xavier Henry is likely headed to Kansas after the Calipari-to-Kentucky hire this past week.  How does this factor in with Lance Stephenson now?

9:17 PM: Uh-oh, a Blue Man sighting in the Villanova stands.  This one is as good as over.

9:19 PM: There’s talk that Stephenson might not be interested in KU now that Henry is going there.  UK fans at least think that they can get him, but I don’t know how much validity there is to that.

9:22 PM: Not a good start for Nova to already foul Hansbrough.

9:24 PM: Three fouls in this game already favors UNC, but not if it’s Ty Lawson picking them up.  Billy Packer would have never called anything, not even his wife, “honey sweet.”

9:28 PM: UNC starting off hot from outside here early.  The pace of this game is interesting so far – Villanova seems content to run and take quick shots with the Heels so far.  Not sure that’s the best strategy for 40 minutes with this team, though.

9:32 PM: Interesting that MSU is 2-0 in title games – of course, Jim Calhoun and UConn were 4-0 in the F4 prior to today, so that probably doesn’t mean much.

9:34 PM: Villanova down nine already.  This is exactly the start that Nova couldn’t afford to have.

9:36 PM: Carolina is getting the shots they want at will here, whereas Villanova seems a little out of sorts on their offensive end.  Remember what we said about the 12-minute mark?  Well, VU has about another 90 seconds to get back into this…

9:39 PM: Twelve minute mark and UNC is up thirteen, compounded by a bad three and a bad turnover on the last couple of possessions.  Meanwhile, Carolina remains on fire, shooting 67% from the field AND from three.  The next few minutes will decide this one if Nova doesn’t get something going soon.

9:44 PM: Haha, still early, Josh, but we’ll see.

9:46 PM: Nice consecutive possessions by Villanova there.  Carolina isn’t going to stay on the 125-pt pace here, but Villanova can’t continue to let the Heels have open shots.

9:50 PM: Scottie Reynolds with the line-drive three knocks down the first one for Nova tonight.  That was a big possession by Carolina there, b/c there were two or three opportunities for Villanova to go the other way on the break.  Instead, they’re down 11 again.

9:56 PM: Ellington is absolutely on fire, and Villanova stands no chance if he’s hitting everything he throws up.  Hard to believe it’s a 17-pt margin already, but it is.  Carolina just looks like the superior team in every way right now.

10:00 PM: Carolina is now shooting 60/67/78 from the field/three/line so far.

10:05 PM: Villanova will need a little bit of the magic from Ed Pinckney, Harold Pressley and company tonight to get back into this one.  They just can’t stop the Heels.

10:07 PM: Ryan, MSU is playing great basketball right now, and if this holds, it’ll be a really interesting Monday night with 50-60k fans favoring the Spartans.  Carolina looks damn near unbeatable, but maybe they just need to play a team that matches their athleticism and depth?  Of course, they beat that team by 35 pts in this venue earlier.  Granted, MSU wasn’t nearly the team they are now, but we don’t think a team that has lost by 30+ has EVER won the title.  Could that change this year?

10:10 PM: Maybe I should do more of that, where I talk as if there wasn’t a game going on, so that Villanova will continue to go on 7-0 runs to make something interesting here.  The key on the last two plays is that UNC got good shots, they just happened to miss them.  Doubtful that’ll continue.

10:15 PM: Terrible foul by Villanova there to let Lawson ram it down their throats, but he did miss both FTs.  Nova really needed to have this in single digits for their confidence.  Looking objectively, I think Jay Wright will take it.  Carolina was on fire for much of this half, and has already hit six threes and eleven FTs, but they’re only up nine points.  Villanova still has to figure out a way to slow down the Carolina attack, but things could have been a LOT worse for the Wildcats here.

10:19 PM: Interesting about G. Henderson signing with an agent, has that report hit any of the major wires yet?

10:36 PM: Coming out of the half, what should we expect here?  Another push-ahead by Carolina or a comeback by Nova?  Given what happened in the first half, the solid bet is the former, right?  Still, you never know…

10:41 PM: A little bit of a push by Nova here.  They’ll need more than five threes to get this game, though.

10:45 PM: Reggie Redding with the assist there to get Hansbrough out of the game – the old hiding the bloody arm trick, eh?

10:48 PM: Suddenly Villanova is shooting threes like they’re in the final two minutes of the game.  Not sure what’s going on here.  That’s great if any of them are actually dropping, but 3-19 isn’t exactly engendering confidence that any of these will actually go down.

10:53 PM: Close call there for Lawson, who was dangerously close to picking up his fourth foul on that drive.  Very bad FT shooting for Carolina lately (13-21).

10:57 PM: The last two minutes were chock full of opportunities for Villanova that they squandered on poor shot selection and horrible passes.  Villanova has seemed just a little shaky this entire game.  Credit to Carolina’s defensive length to force many of these misses from point-blank as well as three-point range, but they also seem to be rushing just a little more than usual.  If Villanova was going to come back, I feel like it would have been in the last five minutes.  Now, I’m not sure they have the gas to do it.

11:06 PM: Ok, it’s looking solid for UNC vs. MSU Monday night.  Villanova simply could not afford such a poor shooting game against an offensive powerhouse like UNC.  It’ll be Roy’s fourth Monday night and Izzo’s second, with both coaches looking for #2.

11:11 PM: Carolina left the door open there again the last few possessions, but Villanova is simply unable to capitalize on anything tonight.  Looks like that’s the end of the Big East, which by my count, will end the Tourney with only seventeen wins after such a strong start to the Dance.  Still a great performance, an all-time performance actually, but nowhere near the possibilities as of a week ago.

11:15 PM: Such an interesting final, with MSU playing near home vs. a team that absolutely obliterated them in December.  Seriously, the closest comparison I can even think of would be between seasons, when 90 UNLV defeated Duke by thirty in the finals, only to lose to largely the same Duke team in next year’s F4.  Michigan State is CLEARLY playing much, much better than that now, but how will they handle the mental aspect of getting raped in the same venue?  I can say one thing for certain, though, which is that the Spartans will not get outworked or outhustled on Monday night.

11:23 PM: Well, another F4 that really had two not-very-good games.  It really hasn’t been a very good year in terms of great games, but neither was last year and we ended up with a classic on Monday night.  Maybe we’ll see another one like that this year.

11:31 PM: Wow, the end of this game is interminable.  Have you ever seen a 12-14 pt lead seem so insurmountable?  That’s been the last eight minutes of game time tonight.

11:35 PM: Just wanted to point out that Hansbrough and Lawson are still in a 14-pt game with six seconds remaining.  Just sayin…

11:37 PM: And that’s it!  Carolina moves on to face the “home” team in the place where they were absolutely raped in December.  It will be VERY interesting to see where that game goes given the previous history.  So we’ll be back on Monday night of course, but in the meantime we’ll have our RTC Modern Bracket going tomorrow (the final two!) and the last bit of Mascot Madness as well.  Check back in throughout the weekend.


nvr1983 (1397 Posts)

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44 responses to “Boom Goes the Dynamite: Final 4 Edition”

  1. Matt says:

    I like the running that MSU is doing when possible. If they keep it up, they might make Thabeet a non-factor.

  2. Josh says:

    Okay CBS needs to A. have the shot clock on at all times and B. never show that 20 feet over the basket cam AGAIN.

  3. Josh says:

    For the record, i question the refs who have called a bajillion fouls on MSU but didnt’ call an obvious one where a jumped Thabeet lands and is basically LEANING on an MSU player with the ball.

  4. Matt says:

    What do they call that in basketball jargon?

  5. Josh says:

    @Blogger, yeah i was reading an NYT article about free throw discrepancies, and UConn’s discrepancy ALL SEASON has been far and a way greater than ANY team country wide. They get 8.5 less s fouls than their opponents per game (2nd most is Okla with 5.5 and below that’s like 3).

    A lot of that is probably the fact that they’re big and other teams cant stop them without fouling, but some bits are kind of questionable (particularly the way thabeet stays out of foul troubel).

  6. Josh says:

    Note to Refs, MSU is walking all over the place. Roe on that last drive just litterally did a whole bunch of mini hops without dribbling. Ugh.

  7. Matt says:

    One of my friends who got reduced price tickets through the school is in the 8th row. I hate him.

  8. Josh says:

    How is that NOT an offensive foul? He THROWS HIM DOWN! AT least its a double foul.

  9. Josh says:

    Most absurdly officiated 15 seconds ever. MSU player travels. Dishes it to big man on outside who loses it gets it back and double dribles. Player then gets the ball stripped on a clear reach in foul and then thabeet gets “fouled” when theres no contact and no evidence of a foul other than a big guy off balence falling after a jump.

  10. Josh says:

    Doesnt pay well. Which is why such crappy people turn up to be refs.

  11. Matt says:

    Tickets were $20. I didn’t have time to go sign up.

  12. Matt says:

    Damn, I missed the post-foul scrum while I was going to pick up a friend. What came of that?

  13. Josh says:

    Am i the only one who finds it funny that Morgan resembles Rip Hamilton with the mask?

  14. Josh says:

    I’m amazed that Adrian doesnt foul out every game….his big move his basically lower your shoulder, bullrush into defender, turn and hook.

    Should get a dozen offensive fouls.

  15. Josh says:

    4/5 of the way in, basically every spartan has 3 fouls. So if this goes to 2 OTs, the spartans will have 0 players left to play on the floor.

  16. Josh says:

    @nvr, well while i admit it doesn’t amount to 35 points, Goron Sutton wasn’t in that loss to UNC earlier this year.

    But, I’m gasping at straws. Go Nova.

  17. Josh says:

    WOW. How did the UNC guy not get called for a foul on that monstrous dunk? Amazing.

  18. Josh says:

    For all the FT disparity, Uconn is missing a bajillion FTs here. Absurd.

  19. Josh says:

    err Robinson. THe Uconn guy. i got 3 letters right.

  20. Josh says:

    FOUL?!!! he barreled into five guys and that was ALL BALL! CMON! Travel or held ball. jeeze.

  21. Josh says:

    Okay, this “Eye vision” or whatever CBS is calling this ceiling cam needs to stop being ever used.

  22. Josh says:

    For the record, this soft Uconn play is something that seems to be not atypical of Calhoun teams. Remember the 2005-06 team (lost to Mason and looked poor in each game up till that lost in the tourny).

    Honestly i think it’s cuz his teams aren’t that smart. Not to say anything really, but unless he has really superior talent, Calhoun’s teams tend to not have the highest bball iqs and it shows. (And no, i’m not just talking about duke as a comparison. UNC works fine too. Seriously, a team with thabeet that doesnt use him every play is reidonkulous. )

  23. Matt says:

    I felt that if UNC wins tonight, it’d be good to play MSU on Monday. However, MSU is now looking very good. I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t meet up with a team in the final game who doesn’t impress you.

  24. Josh says:

    Question for you RTC, if Calhoun loses this game, and all the talent goes bye bye to the draft (or at least Thabeet does).

    Is this it for Calhoun?

  25. Matt says:

    CBS is very proud of this camera angle, aren’t they?

  26. Josh says:

    nvr, it Doesnt have anything to do with who’ve they played in the regular season. NO ones saying that this team has had an easy schedule. But Calhoun’s teams tend to be….lazy.

    Talented yes. Driven, maybe not so much. Once again, compare that with Nova (Certianly not lazy), MSU (Uh, yeah), and UNC (Driven so much that every player came back from last year).

    Just something about Calhoun’s coaching style…he gets there cuz of talent, but always seems not to bring out the most in his talent.

  27. Josh says:

    O_o… this not over yet? WTF Refs? WTF MSU?

  28. Josh says:

    I CALL BULLSHIT. Thabeet is so not hurt, but austie gets to shoot FTs for him ….that’s absurd.

    And i thought Marquette Missouri was stupid.

  29. Josh says:

    Okay, WTF. That foul was way before the shot. STupid NBA continuance.

  30. Josh says:

    EDIT, to explain, my outrage is that MSU gets and AND 1 there. Seriously awful officiating. All Round.

  31. Josh says:

    And NOW this game is over.

  32. Matt says:

    Ok guys, I’m off to the bar for the UNC game. Take care.

  33. Josh says:

    rtmsf, i thought stephenson was so favored to go to KU anyhow. It makes KU a much better team, but they’ll need that since i think cole aldritch is gone.

  34. Josh says:

    For the record, i’ll remind you rtmsf that you thought Nova was a bad match up, while I said this would be a UNC rout.

    Just saying.

  35. Ryan says:

    MSU is undoubtedly the 2nd best team in the nation. Maybe they get some breaks on Monday v. UNC? Maybe not.

    But you got to love deep teams with options. UConn had no other options. Izzo had/has 3 or 4 sitting on the bench at all times. Got to love that kind of coaching AND player development. No reason other teams (UNC) cant be like that too.

    Go MSU!

  36. Josh says:

    Curious bit from draftexpress:

    Gerald Henderson is also expected to announce he’s leaving college shortly, and is expected to hire an agent with strong ties to Duke.

    Rather surprising to me the part about an agent. I’ve long since been resigned to Henderson leaving, but him hiring an agent so early is surprising to me. One draft expert has him not in the lottery (Chad Ford) and I’d imagine he’d want to test the draft without an agent and only leave if he was lottery or close enough. Especially if John Wall was to commit to Duke (Wall is expected to commit on April 19th…somewhere).


  37. Josh says:


    (Predictably, Roy’s comments were “Oh FUCK THAT”

  38. Josh says:

    Nothing yet. He hasn’t “signed with the agent” or declared himself yet, but Draftexpress did just report the rumor at 7PM, and the major news sources have been mainly distracted if you haven’t noticed. Some silly basketball games of no importance on tonight.

  39. Josh says:

    They nee dto stop that.

    First Mr. Kellogg doesn’t realize there’s no circle in college bball.

    Second, the refs are calling “And 1″s like its the NBA with continuance. Yuck.

  40. Josh says:

    Nova missing every opportunity

  41. Jumpin' Johnny G says:

    Good grief you guys are lame! The Spartans took it to UConn in every facet of the game. Overrated?

    Ha! The Big East was the most OVERRATED conference this year in the country.

    Give it a rest.

    Mondays game is gonna be fun and a heck of a lot closer than many think.

  42. nvr1983 says:

    If you bothered to read the post you would see that I questioned the assertion that the Spartans were overrated, but I guess you Spartan fans (along with Ryan) can’t be bothered with reading (or class considering Ryan still thinks it is funny using racial slurs in 2009).

    Before you Spartan fans start talking trash you might want to try winning a title because that’s the only victory people will remember years from now and if you watched the Michigan State home game in December you might want to wait about 36 hours until you start trashing other teams.

  43. Ryan says:

    I get it. Cracking jokes about the misfortune of a city that is virtually all black is ok, but “Jungle Man” is somehow a slur.

    The joke is on you guys.

  44. nvr1983 says:

    I’m sure that you are quite sensitive to the issues of Detroit’s economic situation judging by your IP address, but there is a difference between cracking jokes at the economic situation of a city that is largely self-inflicted (not keeping up with the times and union/management issues) and making racist comments about a guy based on his ethnicity.

    The fact that you continue to revel in calling Thabeet “Jungle Man” and try to make rtmsf’s economic criticisms of Detroit into something racial is even more ridiculous.

    P.S. The joke is not on us. Both rtmsf and I are doing fairly well financially and have relatively safe, high-paying careers.

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