Monday, March 19, 2012

3/19: Wrapping Madness Sunday, etc.

Greetings everyone... a lot to get to... let's hit the Tourney first...
  • NC State snuck by Georgetown by a score of 66-63 after the Hoyas' offense characteristically stalled late in the game. NC State shot just 37% on the day, but made 7 of 15 threes (including a huge 4 for 5 from Scott Wood) and won the rebounding battle. The second half was a clinic on why John Thompson III is not to be trusted. He went offense/defense with his best player (Henry Sims) for 6 straight minutes, couldn't get him any touches (he attempted 3 shots in 21 minutes), and they couldn't get a good look down the stretch. There you have it.
  • Michigan State and St. Louis played a slugfest that saw Sparty advance 65-61. Draymond Green and Keith Appling led the way for MSU with 16 and 19 points respectively, but the key was holding SLU to just 35% shooting. Izzo-ball!
  • UNC cruised past Creighton 87-73, but the lead story from this one was the news that Kendall Marshall has a broken wrist. If it's truly broken, he's gone for the rest of the tourney, and that's the one position on this roster where there is no replacement. He routinely plays 35+ minutes a night because of that lack of depth, and I think this will prohibit them from making as deep of a run as they should.
  • Florida beat Norfolk State by 34, which begs the question, what in the world happened on Friday afternoon?
  • Ohio is your resident #13 seed in the Sweet 16 after they dispensed of the Big East's own South Florida 62-56. The Bobcats hit 9 of 18 threes and that was the difference when USF shot just 2 of 15 from that same distance. Live by the three.
  • Xavier sends Lehigh home with a 70-58 win. I don't love the Musketeers this year, but doesn't it seem like Xavier is in the Sweet 16 every year? Kenny Frease was huge with 25 and 12 and Tu Holloway (my preseason all-american pre-fight) had 21 for Xavier.
  • Kansas squeezes past Purdue 63-60. This was probably the best game of the day IMO as the Boilers led throughout and really had KU on the ropes before some ugly offensive trips late opened the door for Thomas Robinson and the Jayhawks. Robbie Hummel was tremendous on this night with 26 and 9 on just 13 shot attempts, but it wasn't enough even with T-Rob shooting 2 of 12 for Kansas. It may or may not have gotten a little misty in my house when the camera cut to Hummel, who famously has had multiple major knee surgeries, post-game and it seemed as though that reality hit him after shaking hands for the final time on a college floor. That's what it's all about.
  • And the nightcap featured historically ugly basketball between Cincy and FSU in Cincy's tough win. It wasn't "ugly" in the sense that it was poorly played, but these two teams got after each other defensively all night, and in typical FSU-style, things ground to a halt. That said, Cincy made plays late, and I thought Sean Kilpatrick's back-to-back threes were the turning point in this one.

On we march... until Thursday... Let's go elsewhere...

  • Derek Fisher and the Rockets have reached a buy-out. No one is surprised by this because a) The Rockets don't need Fisher, and b) they never wanted him in the first place. Is Fisher an attractive free agent option? Eh... It would have to be the right spot. I wouldn't hate him back on LA, but the intriguing options for me are OKC and San Antonio, who both have needs at back-up point guard, and could provide him with another shot at a title run.
  • Matt Flynn is headed to Seattle. The Seahawks have inked a 3-year deal with the former Green Bay QB to presumably take-over over T-Jax in the starting role. I like the move because the money isn't outlandish, and there's upside there.
  • The Nuggets have rescued Wilson Chandler from China with a 5-year, $37 million deal. This seems about the right price for him provided that he's the same guy we saw in 2011, and I like it for both sides.
  • Kobe shot 3 of 20 last night. 3 of 20! His worst shooting night of his career, and that's not a small feat.

What to watch for on Monday...

  • NBA - Celtics @ Hawks - SportSouth 7:30 - Interested to see the Celtics here now that all the trade winds have passed and they can concentrate on being the most dangerous East team not named "Heat" or "Bulls".
  • NBA - Bulls @ Magic - TNT 8:00 - Speaking of trade winds, Dwight is on the court in Orlando on Monday, and Chicago comes to town. Rose is banged up and if he's not at full strength, I like Orlando in this spot.
  • NBA - Mavs @ Nuggets - TNT 10:30 - Wilson Chandler!


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