Thursday, March 19, 2009

High seeds Villanova and Gonzaga sweat it out in the third block of games

We had a pretty good prediction on the American vs Villanova game. As we predicted, American would come out strong and grab the lead, but Villanova would come back in the second half and win the game. That's what we call home court pressure. But eventually Villanova survived the scare and advanced.

The other high seed of the third block of games managed to survive as well. As usual in March, SoftZaga showed up on the court, but the good news for Gonzaga fans around the world, GoneZaga did not show up. After struggling for three quarters of the game to keep up with the feisty LeBrons, the Zags finally woke up, played a little bit of a defense, and put a few balls in the baskets to give themselves a comfortable lead. It was certainly not the type of start Mark Few was planning or dreaming about, but it was certainly a pleasant ending.

And the selection committee has a sense of humor, they set up a match of the Zips vs the Zags. Zips vs Zags. Zips vs Zags!

The 7-vs-10 games were supposed to be the dramatic and competitive ones, but things got inverted. As we speculated, while Tubby is a better coach and makes the most out of his players, Texas had two players the TimberGophers didn't have, and when you have better players, sometimes the better players decide the game. And it was certainly the case in this one, as AJ Abrams had a shooting spree in just a matter of seconds that sealed the victory for the Austin Torreros. Okay, Longhorns.

After all, the TimberGophers were not supposed to make it in the tourney given their talent level and just year #2 of the rebuilding process under Tubby. And in our opinion, they really didn't deserve to get in, over mid-majors extra-ordinaire like Saint Mary's, Davidson and Creighton.

And then we go to Clemson. Oh poor Tigers. Poor little Tigers. Just like Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers, it looks like Clemson has a built-in ceiling. And just like Bo Ryan's teams, they can beat up and dominate NIT teams, but when they are faced with 2nd round and beyond NCAA teams then they usually lose.

And that brings us to Beilein. He is Mr March! A combination of the 1-3-1 and his "two-guard offense", with some karma and luck, means that no matter which team Beilein is coaching, he is going to do better than expected in the tournament. And what a relief for the Michigan fans who had to suffer for years and years of Tommy Amaker mediocrity. And in just two years, Beilein was able to install his system and turn it around. And with lesser talent than Amaker to boot! Congratulations John Beilein and Ann Arbor Elitists!

And we close with a recap of the in-between game, the 2nd west-coast game, between Washington and Mississippi State. Everyone outside the west-coast was picking Mississippi State, as if the Washington Huskies were chopped meat and they hadn't just won the round-robin Pac-10. Yes, a round-robin conference champion, not like the tweaked and made-up Big East, ACC and such conferences.

And the Romar Huskies delivered a smackdown on the Slick-Rick BullDogs, with a very balanced defense and offense. Poor Brockman, if he was playing at Duke, he would have been praised and awarded like Tyler Hansbrough, but because he is "hiding" in the hippy Northwest, he is not getting a lot of love from the east-coast biased media.

Watch out UConn, Washington may be finally able to avenge their previous NCAA tourney losses to y'all!

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