Friday, March 21, 2008

Some More Thursday Notes

Duke was really exposed in that Belmont game. Did you ever think you'd see a #15 seed that looked faster, stronger and more athletic than a #2 seed? I'm still picking Duke to make the Elite Eight because they have an easy route, but I just can't see how they beat UCLA without shooting about 60% from behind the arc. Kevin Love will get about 20 rebounds against Duke, and Duke's poor transition defense will lead to Love outlet passes and fastbreaks. Not to mention that if Duke's guards were getting torched off the dribble at will by Belmont, what is going to happen when Darren Collison shows up - a player that I have said has the "quickest first step in the country."

USC lost that game last night more than Kansas State won it. USC was just outhustled, and that led to ten fewer shots from the field (the foul shots were even). USC was basically even or ahead in every important stat (including shooting percentage) other than shots taken. You'd think USC got enough practice by playing Kevin Love, Jordan Hill and the Lopez twins, and I don't think that was the problem. I've just thought all year that USC is a team that thought it was a bit better than it really was. All of those hyped freshmen started thinking Final Four run (it was shocking how many analysts picked them to the Sweet Sixteen), and they forgot that they were playing a fairly evenly matched team in the first round. Kansas State played like it was their last game of the season, and USC didn't. In retrospect, it was a mistake for me to discount the possibility of USC being too over-confident, based on all of their ego issues. And it led me to one of my two losses on the day (the other being Purdue).

West Virginia's win sets up a very interesting second round game with Duke. Both teams are amazing at hitting the three-pointer (WVU was 11-for-19 in this one). I think West Virginia has slightly better size, although the overall athleticism on the two teams are pretty similar. This game could come down to who is hitting their threes, but if both teams get hot then we'll be in for an entertaining battle. As for Arizona, this was one of the most obvious losses to pick in the Tournament for me. This team has just completely fallen apart with this head coach strife. The only player who looked like he really cared was Jordan Hill. Hopefully this team can get reunited in the offseason, because they just have way too much talent for their season to end like this.

No comments: