BGTD: Friday Night Tourney SessionsPosted by nvr1983 on March 12th, 2011
Throughout conference tournament weekend, we’re going to pop in with some BGTD-style analysis at least twice a day. For a recap of the action earlier today, check out our afternoon BGTD post.
- Jimmer goes off. For most of the past week we have focused on who BYU doesn’t have (Brandon Davies) while seemingly ignoring the who they do have (Jimmer Fredette) and Jimmer reminded us how good he can be thanks to a ridiculous 52-point performance to knock off New Mexico, a team that had beaten the Cougars the two previous times they played this season. We aren’t saying that the Cougars are still a contender without Davies because we think they lack the depth to make it past the second weekend without him, but with Fredette and a decent supporting cast we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see the Cougars in the Sweet 16. As for Fredette, this should basically be the stamp on his national player of the year campaign. There are plenty of excellent players this year (more on a few in a bit), but nobody has been as dominant throughout the entire seen as Fredette.
- OT at MSG. The Big East seminfinals provided us with a pair of excellent games that required an extra session. In the first semifinal Kemba Walker finally played like the phenomenal player we saw in Maui, but UConn still required an extra 5 minutes to knock off Syracuse after a pair of huge threes by Scoop Jardine late in regulation. In the end, Walker (33 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 6 steals) and Alex Oriakhi (15 points and 11 rebounds) were too much for the Orange. In the nightcap, Louisville overcame a 14-point halftime deficit against Notre Dame to force overtime and join the Huskies in the Big East finals. The key for the Cardinals was forcing Ben Hansborough into numerous poor shots as he ended the day 3 for 16 from the field. The Cardinals comeback victory sets up an intriguing Big East final match-up involving two of the league’s most controversial coaches who each have dealt with major issues in the past year (Rick Pitino‘s being personal and Jim Calhoun‘s being professional). One thing to watch for is the Huskies legs as they are attempting to become the first team in Big East Tournament history to win 5 games in 5 days. You might also want to watch for how the Huskies respond when they get to the NCAA Tournament as all these miles might begin to take a toll on them.
- Toe Problems at Duke. Normally we would brush off Nolan Smith‘s toe injury against Maryland in a game that the Blue Devils won handily, but given how innoucous another toe injury to another Duke guard (Kyrie Irving) seemed at the time we think the Blue Devils will be a little more cautious heading into their game against Virginia Tech.
- Virginia Tech catches a break. When the ball left Derwin Kitchen‘s hands you could almost imagine Seth Greenberg‘s heart stop as he saw another NCAA Tournament bid slipping away as his Hokies might be left p to the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee. Instead the use of replay (not available in the Big East) showed the ball was still touching Kitchen’s fingers as the clock hit zero. With the win the Hokies should be in although given their recent luck we are sure that Greenberg is telling his team that they need to beat Duke to get in.
- Arizona knocks off an O’Neill-less USC team. In one of the more interesting developments of the weekend Kevin O’Neill was suspended from the Pac-10 Tournament after getting into a verbal altercation with an Arizona booster at a hotel with whom he had a contentious history. Details about what exactly happened are sparse and we doubt that we will get an answer any time soon about what the cause of the alteracation was. As for the actual game the Wildcats moved onto the Pac-10 Tournament finals behind 20 points from Derrick Williams and may have put themselves in position for a 3- or 4-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
- Michigan State makes a statement. While the Hokies needed every tenth of a second to knock off a solid FSU team another bubble team (Michigan State) needed far less time to destroy an excellent Purdue team. Paced by a career-high 30 points from Kalin Lucas the Spartans ran all over the Boilermakers on their way to an eighteen point win. Like the Hokies the Spartans shold be in pretty good shape on Selection Sunday, but might need an additional win to feel safe at 6 PM ET on Sunday.
- Cover your eyes. Penn State scored 36 points. In the entire game. And won. We saved this for last because we are hoping that you might have stopped reading by now. Some of you may remember the atrocious game that the Nittany Lions won 38-33 over Illinois two years ago. This was worse. The scary thing is that Jordan Taylor and Jon Leuer actually put up some decent numbers offensively (26 points), but the rest of Wisconsin team only scored 7 points on 3 field goals and did not even get to the free throw line. I suggest that we all pretend that this didn’t happen.