Monday, March 30, 2009
Well I'm stupid. I could put myself in the WHO SUCKED column, seeing as I'm pretty much in the bottom 10% of bracket guessers this year, but I'm not going to. Instead I'm going to tell you to be careful about overthinking when it comes to these stupid things, because in my original bracket I had UCONN, Villanova, and UNC (along with Louisville) all in the final four, and talked myself out of it. I hate myself so much sometimes I have to cut myself to feel. At least UND lost. Suck it car in front of me this morning with the customized Sioux license plate "GR8 SK8". And also Super Sioux Fan.
WHO WAS AWESOME
1. Villanova. It pains me, quite literally pains me to put them here, but it's hard to argue with a 3 seed heading to the final four, and they've done it in very impressive fashion too. They followed up a second round depantsing of UCLA last weekend with a stomping of Duke like Duke was that Kentucky guy and they were Christian Laettner on Thursday, and then a great win over Pitt to get into the final four. I don't really think they're a threat to win the whole thing, but stranger things have happened. They have a ton of weapons and just one major liability (Scottie Reynolds), but the man who really makes things happen for the Wildcats is Dante Cunningham. I only remembered him as a side note to the good Nova team of a couple of years ago with Allan Ray, Lowery, Foye, and that white guy, but it turns out he was Nova's leading scorer this year. And, after watching him for three rounds now, the guy is really, really good.
2. Goran Suton and Durrell Summers. On a night where the defense of the Spartans was the real star, these two clowns really stepped up when the usual offensive catalyst of the team, Kalin Lucas, had an off night to get Michigan State the win and the trip to the final four. I figured if Lucas was off and the Spartans still won, it would be the most feared man in the Big Ten, Chris Allen, who went off, but he sucked too (2pts on 1-5 shooting) as did the highly overrated Raymar Morgan (0 pts, 4 fouls). Luckily, Suton was there in the first half, scoring 17 of the teams 30 points, hitting from outside (3-3 on threes), mid-range, and in the paint and generally looking like the second coming of Jamie Feick. When Suton cooled off in the second half, Summers took over and did his Allen impersonation, scoring 10 second half points including 8 during a quick 17-7 run by Sparty that put them up 15 with just five minutes to play. I don't think they can get it done against UCONN, but I've been saying that for three rounds now and also I'm an idiiot.
3. North Carolina. I guess the Heels wanted to remind everybody why they were the consensus pick to win the championship at the beginning of the season. They made sure neither of their games were ever in doubt this weekend, destroying my sleeper who I swear I still think is good Gonzaga by 20 and then Oklahoma by 12 in a game that wasn't anywhere near that close. Ty Lawson is playing incredible ball right now, even making a jump shot here and there, and if he can keep playing at that level I don't know that anybody can beat the Heels. And wow, turned out his foot was miraculously just fine. Watch that turn into a big story line this week. Yawn.
4. UCONN. I suppose if I'm going to highlight three of the four final four teams I may as well hit the fourth, although for whatever reason the Huskies impressed me least this weeekend. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe it's because Purdue just looked so damn awful in their first game, but the win over Missouri is definitely impressive. Fun fact about that game - the Tigers missed a layup at the buzzer that would have cut the margin to 5, and the spread was 5.5. Would have been fun to be in a Vegas Sportsbook for that one.
5. Tiger Woods. What more is there to say about this dude? Yet another comeback victory, this time without the fake injury dramatics, and this time at Bay Hill at the Arnold Palmer invitational. He was down five strokes going into the final round yesterday to Sean O'Hair, and ended up winning on a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 to put him ahead by one, winning his first tournament since his "dramatic" win at the US Open last year and "real not faked" knee surgery. Woods put some serious pressure on O'Hair right out of the gate by birdying two of the first three holes, and O'Hair responded poorly (more on that later), but give credit where it's due. Woods saved several pars from the sand, and made a whole assload of long putts to first get him back in the game, and then take the lead, and then - after giving the lead away - taking it back for the win. I quite seriously think he has a shot at all four majors this year.
1. Arizona. I suppose it's a little bit rough to pick on a twelve seed that managed to get to the sweet 16, but what about if they were a team that pretty much underachieved all year and then got a cherry path to the round of 16? Like Arizona, I mean. Getting Utah as their #5 was very fortunate for them, since the Utes are not a very athletic team and that's Arizona's strength, and then to get lucky enough to have Cleveland State beat Wake in the first round was a huge boost - Wake would have won by 20. Keep in mind that Zona didn't just lose to Louisville, they lost 103-64. So you know, that's a 39 point loss. For a team with Nic Wise, Jordan Hill, and Chase Budinger. Unfortunately, even with that kind of firepower you still have to play defense once you play a good team, and letting Louisville shoot 58% is not playing defense, except maybe in the Pac 10 - which sucks.
2. Duke. Holy crapoly did Duke ever suck against Villanova. We can even just go ahead and ignore the fact that they lost 77-54, and instead just concentrate on the fact that your precious little Blue Devils shot 26.7% for the game, including 18.5% from three. Gerald Henderson was 1-14. Jon Scheyer was 3-18. Kyle Singler was 5-13. When you only have three scorers, and those three dingleberries account for 60% of the teams scoring and are the only three averaging more than 9 per game, and those three happen to suck, you're pretty much screwed. Oh, and getting outrebounded 46-32 doesn't help. So freaking glad I picked these idiots to make the final four. God I suck. You know who else sucks? Duke. Fun fact: Duke hasn't beaten a team seeded better than fifth since 2001.
3. Terrence Williams. Williams played great for the Cardinals in their blowout 103-64 win over Arizona, but in the biggest game of the year for Louisville, he really didn't come to play, shooting just 1-7 for a total of five points, and finishing below his season average in both rebounds and assists as well. Louisville as a team didn't exactly play well anyway, shooting just 38% and getting out rebounded 35-26 against Michigan State. Interestingly, the Cardinals previous three opponents in the tournament were ranked 134th, 79th, and 145th in defensive efficiency, and then suddenly they get Michigan State who was ranked 10th, and you could see they had trouble handling a team defense that solid. Their only other matchup this year against a top 10 defensive team was against UCONN, and they dropped that one too.
4. Willie Warren. A lot of people, myself included, said Warren would be the real key to how far the Sooners would make it in the tournament. Blake Griffin is pretty clearly the best player in the country, but he's pretty much surrounded by idiots like Fro-Hawk and Long Sleeve T-Shirt Guy. Warren is the one other player on the team who can do some damage, and he clearly declined that option this weekend. He started out by scoring just six points in their sweet 16 round win over the Cuse, also turning it over five times (to go with five assists). The Sooners still managed to win that one because they have Blake Griffin, but Carolina was too much for him to do alone as Warren decided once again not to show up. He ended up with 18 points on 6-16 shooting, but at one point he was 1-9, and scored most of his points while the Sooners were well out of it already. He's going to be a good player down the road, but this was not Warren's finest weekend.
5. Sean O'Hair. He led pretty much the entire week at Bay Hill, and came into Sunday's final round with a five stroke lead over his closest competitor, El Tigre, but then proceeded to give a clinic on how not to play with a five stroke lead. He played tight, he played passively, he played weak, and generally tried to just play caretaker with his lead, and it most definitely didn't work out for him as Tiger won in the end thanks to O'Hair's round of +3 compared to Tigers -3. He came out completely passive, hitting irons to the middle of the green rather than going anywhere near the flag, giving him little chance for birdies, and hit several long putts well short, as if he was afraid to knock it too far passed the hole - even missing one of the four footers he left himself to end up with a bogie. He also had a nice easy 7-iron from the fairway on 16 that he somehow managed to knock in the water, giving Tiger his first lead of the tournament. Tiger made the shots he needed to and O'Hair didn't, but it was more his style of play than anything else that doomed him yesterday.