The first weekend is finally over. I don't know about everyone else, but I've hit a basketball wall and it started to actually get taxing to watch at points during the weekend. Granted, I didn't watch every minute of every game (except for the first two days), but there were still quite a few entertaining moments.
After the jump, see what you missed during day four of the tournament.
BuffaloSpokane Wild Wings came through in the clutch today. I'm taking the liberty of renaming our favorite chain bar because the Buffalo pod had nothing nearing a close game, while Spokane provided the highlights of the day. One game came down to a last second shot, the other was sent into overtime. Spokane really drew some great second round games this year.
- I want to know if it is against TSA guidelines for baggage handlers to flash taxiing airliners. If so, that "bags fly free" commercial needs to disappear forever. Please make it go away.
- The finish of the day came courtesy of Michigan State and Maryland. Michigan State blew a 16 point and set up the final 30 seconds that came at a frenzied pace. To summarize, Maryland finally took the lead with 30 seconds to go. MSU answered with a jumper, followed by another Maryland bucket. In what had to have come from the "we didn't draw that up" department, Draymond Green, MSU's forward, took the inbound, pushed the ball up court and handed off to Korie Lucious who drained the game winning 3 at the buzzer. The final timeout by either team was called with 30 seconds to play, making the end of the game exciting and filled with non-stop action. It sure beat watching UW and Marquette call 3 timeouts, with a commercial break between each, before a final second desperation heave.
- I realized during the MSU-Maryland game that I will probably never be a sports announcer. For the last 30 seconds of the game, I sat watching the TV in a dumbfounded awe with sporadic outbursts of jubilation. When the last shot by MSU went in, I screamed something that would get CBS a hefty fine from the FCC. How these guys keep their composure (except for Gus because he's awesome and he's allowed to get nutty) is amazing.
- What most of us didn't see was Cornell take Wisconsin to the woodshed in every sense of the term. Wisconsin is a very good team defensively and they play a very slow pace (sound familiar?). What was so impressive was how incredibly efficient Cornell was. They scored 87 points on, I believe, 59 possessions. Their offensive efficiency rating was 146.5 and their eFG was 68.5%. Things like this don't happen to Wisconsin, especially at the hands of an Ivy League team. Cornell is a team to really keep an eye on, if you aren't already.
Evan Turner is still awesome, but the guards surrounding him are no slouches, either. Watching OSU run their offense and their full court trapping defense can be very entertaining. Turner will also have at plenty of "wow" moments and a couple of "d'oh" turnovers per game, which makes him even more exciting to watch. Turner is a guard in a forwards body that can rebound, shoot like a 2, and handle the ball like a point guard. That is a deadly combination to have at your disposal.
- Gus Johnson was in Buffalo for two more games that weren't really close. This makes me sad. Perhaps CBS was punishing Gus for his "getting away from the cops speed" quip during the NFL season. Thanks to Grady, though, we now have an awesome Gus poster.
- Rise and fire, buddy, Rise. And. Fire. You'll get 'em next time, Gus.
- The Pac-10 is now 3-1. Maybe we aren't the best conference in the land this year after all.
- Gonzaga got dismantled by Syracuse. The Zags couldn't hit anything for most of the game and a lot of credit goes to the 2-3 zone run by the Orangemen. Watch how Syracuse plays their zone and it may convince you that a 2-3 isn't that bad.
- I try to avoid watching or reading about Duke as much as possible, so it should come as no surprise that I had no clue how good they were defensively. Their defensive efficiency is third in the nation, according to Pomeroy's rankings, and they shut down a hot shooting Cal team. For all the credit Singler and Scheyer get, the defense should be the one stealing the headlines.
- Purdue continued their "No Hummel, No Problem" tour by taking Texas A&M to overtime before finishing them off in the final seconds. A lot of people, including myself, had written off Purdue a month ago. Turns out, they've got plenty of fight and quite a few other good players on that team.
- There is one each of the 9, 10, 11, and 12 seeds in the Sweet Sixteen. If you thought Cornell, UNI, and St. Mary's would all survive this long, could you help me fill out my bracket next year?
That's it for the tournament until Thursday. Take a much needed break from basketball until then. Feel free to add anything in the comments or wonder aloud how the heck an Ivy made it to the Sweet Sixteen.