After last night’s fantastic games (especially the Villanova–Pittsburgh game last night–probably the best game I have ever been to), we are hoping that today’s match-ups can equal what we saw last night. One of the more interesting things from the coverage last night (other than the fact that CBS cut to their regularly scheduled programming soon after the game was over according to reports that I have heard) is how little publicity ESPN and other media entities are giving the Scottie Reynolds mad dash to win the game. I’d be interested to hear your perspective on this since I was at the game and out for a couple hours after the game ended.
Anyways, here’s your schedule for today:
- 2:20 PM: #2 Michigan State vs. #1 Louisville
- 5:05 PM: #2 Oklahoma vs. #1 UNC
Even though the late game is getting a lot of the hype for the Blake Griffin vs. Tyler Hansbrough massacre match-up, I think the early game might be a better game. I think people are giving Louisville too much credit for destroying a very mediocre Arizona team and Kalin Lucas will do a much better job navigating the Cardinals pressure than any point guard they have faced this year.
Let me know what your thought in the comment section and I’ll be back a little after 2 PM to get things started.
2:15 PM: What happened to the guy posing with Magic Johnson? It looks like he got into a bar fight, but he looks like he’s pushing 70.
2:20 PM: Interesting fact regarding the coaching match-up today: Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo have never coached against each other.
2:22 PM: How crazy would Gus Johnson have been if he was calling the game in Boston last night? I’m pretty sure he would still be yelling today.
2:25 PM: Slow start for both teams (2 points combined in the first 3:30). I’m guessing this is just a bit of nerves. Hopefully the level of play will pick up.
2:30 PM: “Everywhere he (Pitino) goes success follows” – Gus Johnson. The residents of Boston would beg to differ.
2:43 PM: The teams still seem to be feeling each other out and the game seems to lack a real flow to it. Midway through the first half the teams are on pace to scored 92 points combined (a game after Louisville scored 103 points by themselves). How long the Spartans can maintain this pace before they need to go to their relatively inexperienced reserves?
2:50 PM: One thing to keep your eye on if the game is close late: free throw shooting. I harped on it last night after the Pitt-Nova game, but the Cardinals shoot an atrocious 64.4% as a team while the Spartans shoot 69.6% as a team. In fact, that may actually understate the difference in free throw shooting between the two teams. Louisville only has one starter who shoots over 67% from the line (Edgar Sosa at 74.2%) while Michigan State has 2 starters who shoot 80% or better from the line (Kalin Lucas and Goran Suton) in addition to a key reserve (Chris Allen).
3:00 PM: I just stumbled across this article from 2 days ago where Rick Pitino says that the responsibility of watching over a basketball program rests on the coach’s shoulders. He says they aren’t directed at anybody in particular, but if Louisville makes it to Detroit Jim Calhoun might want to speak to Pitino outside. . .
3:08 PM: Great feed there by Edgar Sosa. This game is really starting to pick up. Could we have a repeat of yesterday? I think this could be another great game, but I have my doubts about UNC-Oklahoma. I have a feeling that the Tar Heels could run away with that game.
3:11 PM: Michigan State goes into half leading by 3. Izzo has to be thrilled that his team adjusted to the Cardinals’ pressure so quickly now he just has to hope their legs hold up.
3:15 PM: Scott, I think Pitino will make a few adjustments and the Cardinals will probably come out of halftime with the pressure cranked up to 11. If Michigan State can weather that storm and keep it within 5 points midway through the 2nd half they should be fine. The one interesting thing about the lack of respect Louisville has gotten this year is that I don’t think they will feel the pressure that the typical #1 overall seed would in this situation. I mean obviously there is some pressure trailing at halftime of an Elite 8 game, but I don’t think they will have the typical pressure of expectations that a #1 overall seed would have.
3:30 PM: BS, I’m sure you’ll get your wish (at least the dunking on part, but probably not the broken collarbone stuff). As for questioning the hatred of Hansbrough, it’s definitely out there. I think the reason Eric Devendorf was at another level is that he’s a lot more demonstrative and there was the accusation and suspension for striking a female student even if the charges were later dropped. I’m sure if you go to Durham, NC you will find quite a bit of hatred of Hansbrough. To be honest though, when I spoke with Hansbrough earlier this year he seemed to be a nice enough guy even if he seemed a little too intense almost an hour after the game.