Okay, so, I’ve been busy with non-blogging stuff this week, and I’ll have a Duke/Purdue preview up tomorrow, but I’ve been reading up and here’s some news/good links…
- Paul Hewitt is staying at Georgia Tech(yay! Right?). I think it was a bit of a win-win situation as Georgia Tech is not enamored with him, but he has brought talent and made a couple tournament runs now with the Final Four and ACC Championship participation.
- While HD’s out, the 4LN is polling you the people on expansion here and some of the answers here. You won’t find a doomsday, apocalyptic view of expansion here, but the ACC certainly could have moved the ACC Championship to Charlotte a bit sooner.
Thanks for stopping by and we’ll have a Duke/Purdue preview up tomorrow!
Kool-aid hangover, not good.
We were just a bit optimistic on Sunday about the ACC’s shot at 3 in the Sweet 16–well, it’s just one now and the Blue Devils have a good shot at the Final Four.
Duke Advances with Dominating Win over Cal
- All hail, our one team left in the NCAA Tourney, the Duke Blue Devils. We had two left after last year’s NCAA Tourney weekend one with UNC advancing all the way to a championship. I called for Singler to step up and he did with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Another big man showed up big time in Brian Zoubek after vacuuming up 13 rebounds and scored 14 too!
- The 3-pointer happy Bears only shot 12 and made 3 which stood out from the box score to me. Jerome Randle for Cal shot half of them and made 2. Duke shot a putrid 3 for 17 from 3-point land as Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler missed a combined 12 of them.
- Duke kept a short bench for this one with Singler, Smith, and Scheyer each playing more than 38 minutes–Zoubek was on the court for 23 minutes with Plumlee brothers only on the court for under 15.
- Nolan Smith led the Blue Devils in scoring and that will have to continue–him scoring a bunch–for a run to the Championship game.
- Early look at the bracket ahead, Purdue is a gateway to the Elite 8 for the Blue Devils despite what seem like upsets over Texas A&M and Siena, but we’ll delve deeper into that game later this week. Baylor and St. Marys are interesting squads that will make life tough for the Devils. Don’t be surprised if a 10 seed comes out of the South if Duke’s perimeter shooting woes continue.
Second Round Is Last Dance for Maryland, Wake Forest, and Georgia Tech
- What a heartbreaker for Maryland was the last second Michigan State shot–Grievis Vasquez scored 10 of the Terps’ 12 points to gain the lead with 7 seconds to go, but a Korie Lucious 3-pointer ended their chance to advance. Michigan State blitzed the Terps with an offensive effort not typical of this year’s Spartans as they shot 55% from the field and from the perimeter as the Spartans posted an eye-popping 48 points at the half and 85 for the game. The Terps are built to run with an offensive effort like that, but they didn’t until the final minutes with Vasquez’s great run–Terps lost to a hot team, but they should have won this game.
- The Deacs’ doors were blown off. Wake Forest was strategically mauled by Calipari and the Wildcats as Gaudio and Wake Forest tried to run with a team of future NBA All-Stars. Ish Smith only scored 2 points and Aminu struggled with foul trouble, but neither really mattered–UK was the far better team with coaching and pure talent and it never was going to be close at the end.
- Georgia Tech couldn’t play Yellow Jackets’ basketball against the Buckeyes Sunday. Whether it falls on the referee or adjusting to them, the Jackets were aggressive per usual and fouls were being called for everything. Lawal and Favors were not allowed to get position and that led to a terrible 4 for 20 from the perimeter and guards Brian Oliver/Iman Shumpert missing 10 of those. The Jackets made a strong run in the ACC Tourney and the NCAAs–and really played well enough to get to the Sweet 16, but they go home to Atlanta and they shouldn’t hang their heads–it was a good run. This run doesn’t bail Hewitt if they struggle next season with all of the talent returning, but it certainly is a positive sign for the Georgia Tech program.
Great weekend of the NCAA Tournament, but not so much for the ACC. Can Duke move on to the Final Four? Reflections on the out-going teams?
Coach K say SMH to your upset talk.
I’m sipping on the ACC kool-aid folks, but there’s good reason to with how these teams have performed so far and down the stretch…
(2) Ohio State Buckeyes vs. (10) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 2:20 (EST) on Sunday
Coaches Tourney Records: Ohio State State-Thad Matta–12-7(2-4 in second round); Georgia Tech-Paul Hewitt–7-5(1-2 in second round).
Jacket That Has to Step up: Glenn Rice Jr.–He will be matched up with one of the good Ohio State guards and has to be in there face all game long.
Jackets Have to Stop: G Jon Diebler(6′6 210; 13.1 ppg, 42.9 3PT%)–Turner is the obvious choice, but Diebler hit seven 3-pointers against the Gauchos in round one and he could be the difference between the Jackets grinding out this one or the Buckeyes pulling away.
What I’m Thinking…: There’s no question that Georgia Tech is clicking at the right time. The Jackets have already faced one team with a strong primary scorer and shut him down–can they do it to Evan Turner? Turner only scored 9 points on Friday against UC Santa Barbara–could mean he is slumping or that he’s ready to break out. I really want to go for the upset here–ah, against my better judgment–we’ll go for it–Jackets are St. Louis bound!
Pick: Jackets 67-65
(4) Maryland Terrapins vs. (5) Michigan State Spartans, 2:30 (EST) on Sunday
Coaches Tourney Records: Maryland-Gary Williams–-29-15(8-6 in second round); Michigan State-Tom Izzo–31-11(8-1 in second round).
Terp That Has to Step up: G Grievis Vasquez–I said Hayes in round one, but Vasquez has to be the man in this one and every game from here on–Vasquez has to be on with leadership, shooting, and distributing in a now wide-open Midwest region.
Terps Have to Stop: G Kalin Lucas(6′1 190; 15.2 ppg, 3.9 apg)–Lucas makes the Spartans offense go and he’s coming off putting up 25 points against New Mexico State(fishy refereeing and all).
What I’m Thinking…: Man, that Izzo record in second round games is impressive–but the Spartans barely got by a fairly weak Aggies squad at the 12 seed. Terps will come out on fire as I expect Hayes and Vasquez to be on while Jordan Williams asserts himself in the paint–Maryland moves on to the Sweet 16 with a good shot at the Elite 8 facing Northern Iowa.
Pick: Terps 76-69
(1) Duke Blue Devils vs. (8) California Golden Bears, 5:15 (EST) on Sunday
Coaches Tourney Records: Duke-Coach K–72-21(18-5 in second round); California-Mike Montgomery–16-13(3-7 in second round).
Devil That Has to Step up: F Kyle Singler–Singler has to be the man in this game, on defense and offense. The Bears can put up points with the best when they are on so the Blue Devils have to be prepared to match them with a big game from Singler.
Devils Have to Stop: F Theo Robertson(6′6 230; Senior; 14.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 45.6 3PT%)–Robertson, coming off an injury, is turning it on at the right time as he’s a tough matchup for the Devils with Robertson being an in-between size forward at 6′6. He led the Golden Bears with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals against Louisville.
What I’m Thinking…: There’s a lot of chatter, especially post-Northern Iowa over Kansas, about Cal pulling the upset, but ultimately, there’s a reason why Duke is a one seed and Cal is an 8 seed–consistency. Cal played a number of great teams including Syracuse and Kansas this season–and they were drilled. They also lost to Oregon State by 16 points at one point down the stretch. I like Montgomery as a coach, but not enough to take him over a determined Devils squad aiming for the Final Four.
Pick: Devils 78-69
Are you partaking of the ACC kool-aid with me? Could the ACC get swept? Somewhere in the middle? Would love to hear your thoughts…