That’s Debatable: NCAA First WeekendPosted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 2011
As we head into the Sweet Sixteen round, let’s take a look back at some of the key questions and moments of the first two, er, three rounds…
RTC Take: It was more interesting than it was the last nine years when it only involved two #16 seeds, but the only way to make it truly compelling is to pick teams with a little more national oomph than USC, VCU, UAB and Clemson.
RTC Take: The fouls at the end of Butler/Pitt offset each other and the two no-calls appeared to be play-on situations in those games. The Kalin Lucas travel probably wouldn’t have impacted the outcome anyway. But the Texas five-second call seemed to be a fast whistle, and it essentially gave Arizona the daylight it needed to win the game.
RTC Take: We really liked the ability to surf between games without too much trouble, and the free online platforms worked great. We did not like having entire afternoons on Saturday & Sunday limited to one game per window, though. That could end up poorly in future years with blowouts.
RTC Take: It’s true that Barkley/Jet don’t do their homework, but the scene where Barkley razzed Pitino about Louisville losing in their first game and clowning the Big East was priceless, well worth putting up with the rest of it. We’ve never seen someone so openly disdainful and dismissive of Pitino in his presence. Awesome.
RTC Take: Was Jimmer, still Jimmer. His performance against Gonzaga was phenomenal, and although Kemba was equally awesome, we still think BYU would essentially be Air Force without Fredette in the lineup.
RTC Take: For us it was Arizona’s back-and-forth affair with Memphis. Although the game got sloppy at times, the athleticism on display and the shot-making abilities of both teams made for compelling theater, and Derrick Williams’ block/foul at the end of the game was a fitting finish.
RTC Take: UNC vs. Washington. Although we knew that the Tar Heels would somehow find a way to win this one in Charlotte Sunday afternoon, we loved the high-octane tempo of this game between two of the more athletic teams in the field. Take your pick among this group, though.
RTC Take: Unless you get a maniacal pleasure out of the Big East implosion (it’s ok if you do), it’s gotta be Tennessee, right? A thirty-point blowout that didn’t feel that close. An AD who carpet-bombed his team right before their NCAA Tournament game? A dead man walking who got virtually no effort from his players? Yep, it’s the Vols.
RTC Take: VCU, by virtue of becoming a First Four entrant who nobody believed in, then proceeding to smack three straight power conference teams right in the teeth on its way to the Sweet Sixteen. Jay Bilas, it’s Shaka Smart on line two.
RTC Take: Definitely Pullen. One of the most interesting characters in college hoops the last couple of years, we had better hopes for his senior season in Manhattan. Second place goes to Faried in our book, but we didn’t expect him to make it past the first game, much less to the Sweet Sixteen. Great career.