I am not sure what to call this column because I don’t want to steal rtmsf’s “After the Buzzer” title and it’s too damn early to think straight. If you have any clever ideas for a title, leave a comment and I’ll consider it. I’m breaking this into multiple parts because it would take me roughly the entire day if I tried to do this for every conference tourney. I’ll try to recap the major conferences with more emphasis on the games I actually saw. Since there is just too much stuff going on for one man to cover (thanks rtmsf), some people will get the short end of the stick (apologies in advance to the Big West Conference fans). If you want to add your 2 cents on these games or the ones I skip over, feel free to leave comments on them.
Onto the games/tornadoes. . .
– Obviously, the big story of the night as the Worldwide Leader told me this morning was the tornadoes/storms that delayed the SEC Tournament (and probably destroyed a few homes and various other buildings). I didn’t get to see much of the game because of other commitments (read: much better games were on), but the finish of Mississippi State-Alabama game was ridiculous. I caught the end of regulation as Alabama’s Mykal Riley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer that hit every part of the rim and bounced off the backboard before falling through. With the game going into OT, the really weird stuff as the roof tore and the building began to shake. After a hour-plus delay, play resumed and MSU won 69-67 as Riley couldn’t work his magic again at the buzzer at the end of OT. We would say more, but we were already on FSN watching the battle of LA. If anybody who was in the Georgia Dome when this all went down, we would be interested in hearing about it. In other SEC news, Tennessee survived a scare and maintained its bid for a #1 seed as Chris Lofton hit a 3 with 11.4 secs left to give UT an 89-87 victory over South Carolina in Dave Odom’s final game as coach of the Gamecocks. In the other game of the day, Arkansas beat Vandy 81-75. I didn’t see any of this game (not even the highlights), but I will just point to the HUGE edge for the Razorbacks on the boards (43-20 or 45-24 depending on whether you believe the box score or AP article).
– Play resumes today as the delayed UGA/UK game will be played at noon ET at Georgia Tech. After that, UT and Arkansas will play in thee first at 6 PM. MSU and the winner of UGA/UK will tip at approximately 8:30 PM. This obviously puts the winner of UGA/UK at a huge disadvantage as they will have to pull an Ernie Banks, but in the end I don’t think it will matter. UK is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the tournament and UGA won’t be making the tournament now that players can’t take a Harrick Jr. basketball class. The picks here are UK, UT, and MSU. Yeah, I’m going chalk and I briefly considered taking the Razorbacks, but I’ll go with UT waking up and taking care of business.
– Normally, I would give more coverage to the most hyped conference in the sport, but this year the conference is UNC/Duke and a bunch of nobodies. So here’s a quick recap of the games: UNC wasn’t firing on all cylinders, but beat FSU, 82-70 (Psycho T chipped in 22 and 6); Duke survived a weak stretch with the lead falling to 52-50, which they are prone to have given the way they play, but won 82-70 (not a typo); Virginia Tech and Clemson both won handily. I don’t even have to look at the match-ups to tell you my predictions: Duke and UNC.
– Big 12: I’ll give them more billing on my recap tomorrow, but there was not much that was noteworthy yesterday. Recap: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas A&M won. Beasley’s 25 and 9 wasn’t enough to lift KSU over TAMU, but KSU still should be in the NCAA Tournament comfortably given the way other bubble teams have performed. Another conference with 2 really strong teams followed by mediocre teams so the picks are Texas and Kansas
– CUSA: Memphis won to reach the finals where they will play Tulsa. Obviously, Memphis is the pick here.
– Atlantic 10: This was actually pretty big news for bubble teams as #10 Xavier lost to St. Joe’s in the semis. St. Joe’s will play Temple for an auto bid. This is particularly important because it means that St. Joe’s can give the conference its 3rd team in the tourney if they can beat Temple. Xavier is guaranteed with Temple and St. Joe’s a good shot regardless of whether or not they win the tournament. I’m going with Temple to win tonight.
I’ll be back later with a recap of the Big Ten and Pac Ten.