Thursday, March 16, 2006

Up in Flames

That's the current status of my brackets. I told you I suck, but this is bad even for me. As I write this, 11 games are final and I have lost eight of them. Among the losers were Seton Hall and Oklahoma, two of my Sweet 16, and Marquette, one of my Elite Eight. So what have I learned?

Don't be hatin' on the SEC. I had five of the six teams from that conference losing in the first round, but four of them have already made it through the first round. Winthrop gave Tennessee everything they could handle but still lost 63-61. The Vols made only 5-23 three pointers, but Chris Lofton bailed them out by knocking down a baseline jumper with only .4 seconds left in the game. I underestimated Florida and LSU and overestimated their opponents, South Alabama and Iona. The Gators showed plenty of poise, holding onto the ball and taking good shots. They pulled away for a 76-50 win. LSU also took over the second half in their 80-64 win over Iona. The Tigers posted 20 assists on 27 hoops and controlled the boards to post a decisive victory.

Alabama really showed me a lot in their win over Marquette. The Crimson Tide, with only seven available scholarship players, overwhelmed Marquette in the first half, then withstood a second half run by making clutch plays down the stretch. Raise your hand if you had ever heard of Jean Felix before today. I didn't think so. He came off the bench to knock down 8-11 threes and scored a career high 31 points for Alabama. Felix becomes the first unheralded star of this year's tournament.

Another unheralded star, this one from the 2003 tournament, returned to the big dance tonight. John Goldsberry, a senior for UNC-Wilmington, set an NCAA tournament record vs. Maryland in 2003 by making 8-8 three-point shots. The Seahawks lost to the Terps on Drew Nicholas' last-second shot, and tonight was UNCW's first trip to the tournament since then. The Seahawks moved out to an 18-point second half lead over George Washington, then watched the Colonials take the lead with a 19-0 run. At that point, the game swung back and forth with GW prevailing in overtime 88-85. Goldsberry made 4-7 threes this time, scoring 14 points and dishing out 7 assists. He wound up with a career scoring average of 20 points per game in the NCAA tournament, but no victories to show for it.

Gonzaga continues to squeak by against inferior teams, sneaking by Xavier tonight. They may indeed make it past the first weekend of the tournament this year, but no further.

Then again, what do I know. Excuse me while I crawl up in a corner and lick my wounds.


At 2:00 PM, Anonymous USIS - Anonymous said...

Don't take last place in the office pool hard, over analyzation is a hazard of being so knowledgable

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, this site rocks!!!! Too bad your blogs are similar to the blogs on ESPN and Sporting News. You need to add more some Pazazz' to your commentary. Be more Bryant Gumble'est.

At 3:05 PM, Anonymous USIS - anonymous said...

Last thing we need is another Bryant Gumble.
Dick Vitale should be your hero! He loves Duke! And is so enthusiastic - find a catch phrase... maybe Terrapins Choke *cough again....


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