Sports 56 WHBlog Q

March 30, 2009

Tournament Thoughts-Regional Recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — Eli Savoie @ 11:18 pm

The Regional rounds of the NCAA Tournament didn’t produce the drama that we like to see, but it did include some great individual and team performances and some surprises. My bracket fell apart over the weekend and I only ended up with one of my Final Four teams actually making it to Detroit. The only good part of it is that it is North Carolina which I picked to win it all.

Best/Worst of the Regionals
Best Team Performance: Missouri over Memphis-The Tigers put up 102 points against a Memphis defense that was one of the best in the country. Mizzou did almost everything right offensively in this game including making a 65-foot shot at the end of the first half. It was simply a terrific performance by Missouri.

Worst Team Performance: Louisville losing to Michigan State-The Cardinals put up 103 points in their semifinal win against Arizona, but come back with half that in a loss to the Spartans. The most shocking thing about this wasn’t that Louisville flopped because I’ve said all year that they have this capability despite their great talent, but what surprised me was that the one guy I thought could always be counted on, Terrence Williams, was awful(5 pts, 1-7 FG). This was a very disappointing performance by the tournament’s overall #1 seed.

Best Individual Performance: His team didn’t advance to the Final Four, but Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin showed why he is going to be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft and why he is considered the best player in the country. Griffin went for 30 pts and 14 rebs in the semifinal win over Syracuse and then followed that up with a 23 pt, 16 reb performance in his much hyped battle with Tyler Hansbrough in the regional final won by North Carolina. Having sat courtside for both of the performances I can tell you just how dominant Griffin was. I knew he was a great player, but after seeing him in person, I can say he’s much better than I thought. I would love to see him in a Grizzlies uniform next year. He is big, strong, athletic, smooth, smart and has some of the best footwork I’ve ever seen on a big man. He should be a great player at the NBA level.
I do want to add an honorable mention to Ty Lawson of North Carolina who was also unbelievable here in Memphis and deserves the recognition.

Best Game: Villanova 78 Pitt 76-No question on this one. It was the game of the tournament so far and one of the best I’ve seen in a while. The two teams went back and forth over and over in the second half and then it was won with a great drive by Scottie Reynolds with 0.5 seconds left. A terrific game and a terrific performance by Villanova.

Worst Game: Louisville 103 Arizona 64-This one is easy, a total dismantling that you don’t expect to see in the Sweet 16 round.

Tracking the major conferences: Big East 17-5, Big 12 11-6, Big 10 8-6, ACC 7-6, Pac 10 6-6, SEC 1-3

The Vegas Perspective:
Favorites are 32-28 so far in the tournament with 15 straight up wins by underdogs.

The over is 34-26

The linesmakers continue to be right on in the tournament with 42 of the 60 games finishing within 10 points of the line while the over/under lines have not been nearly as good.

Breakdown of line vs actual outcome
0-5 points: 28
6-10: 14
11-15: 8
16+: 10

Over/under line vs actual total
0-5 points: 16
6-10: 13
11-15: 12
16+:19

Other nuggets on the tournament and college hoops:
In the North Carolina-Oklahoma game on Sunday, the Sooners did not make one shot outside of the paint until 5 minutes remained in the game. 35 minutes without a single field goal outside the paint? I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. They finished with two field goals outside of the paint.

If Michigan State and North Carolina win their Final Four games, we will get a rematch of an early season game that was actually played at Ford Field and was dominated by North Carolina in a 98-63 win. Let’s hope if they do matchup again, the Spartans keep it a little closer the second time around.

I learned this weekend that Ole Miss Freshman guard Terrico White is gathering information on his NBA Draft stock. White is concerned that with all of the injured players the Rebels have returning, his touches will go down and his stock could go down. It looks as if he will at the very least throw his name in to test the waters and if he thinks he’ll be a first round pick, he will go.

Finally, it looks as if John Calipari is leaving Memphis for Kentucky. This has been talked about all day today, and looks like it is just about a done deal at this time. I think this is a huge loss for the Tiger program and I’m not sure if anyone they can hire can come in and keep this program on the level Calipari has it, but if I was R.C. Johnson, my first call to find a replacement would be to Andy Kennedy at Ole Miss. Kennedy is a hell of a coach and the legal issue from this year is blown way out of proportion. I also think Kennedy would be willing to take the job and he already recruits heavily in this area with Ole Miss.

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