Sunday, March 17, 2013

3/17: Selection Sunday!, NBA, etc.

Greetings everyone! Selection Sunday is upon us, and while we have to wait until the evening for the Bracket announcement, there's plenty to cover until then. Let's take a look at what happened on Saturday...
  • First, we crowned four "major" conference (yes, I'm counting the Mountain West as major) champions on Saturday. Louisville gets top billing after a 78-61 win over Syracuse to claim the Big East title. The Cardinals trailed by 11 points at the half before absolutely exploding for a 56-26 margin in the second half en route to the title. Montrezl Harrell had 20 points to lead the way for Louisville, and Peyton Siva was named tourney MVP. Earlier in the day, Kansas beat up on in-state rival K-State to win the Big 12 championship by a 70-54 margin. Jeff Withey led the way for the Jayhawks with 17 points and 9 boards, and this win gives Kansas a shot at a #1 seed. New Mexico pulled away late in their 63-56 win over UNLV to win the Mountain West. The Lobos got 21 points from Tony Snell, and if you look at their resume (on paper), they have a claim on a #1 seed as well. That'll be very, very interesting. In the night cap, Oregon won the Pac-12 title with a 78-69 win over short-handed UCLA. The Bruins were without Jordan Adams, who broke his foot in the semis, but Oregon was impressive in the win. The Ducks got a combined 39 bench points from Johnathan Lloyd and Carlos Emory and that keyed the win. 
  • The New England Patriots made two high-profile roster moves on Saturday. First, they inked CB Aqib Talib to a 1-year deal, and then they released WR Brandon Lloyd. The Talib move I like a lot because, frankly, the Pats secondary has been a mess for years, and he was very good after arriving from Tampa. He comes with personal baggage, but on the field, he's a player and it's a low-risk deal. Lloyd disappeared last season, and it'll be very interesting if he ever duplicates that breakout year from Denver. 
  • NBA Round-up - The Wizards exploded for 127 points, led by a career-high 34 from Martell Webster (yes, the former Portland #1 pick), in a rout of the Suns. I'm aware that no one cares, but I like Martell Webster, so here we are. Indiana hit a speed-bump in a road loss to the Sixers by a score of 98-91. Philly got monster games from Jrue Holiday (27 points, 12 assists) and Spencer Hawes (18 points, 16 boards, 7 blocks), while Indy's starting lineup struggled mightily on offense. Roy Hibbert (9-26 FG), George Hill (5-15 FG), and Lance Stephenson (1-6 FG) had horrendous shooting nights, while Paul George (6-17 FG) wasn't much better aside from 14 rebounds and 8 assists. Finally, San Antonio improved to 28-4 at home after a 119-113 win over Cleveland. The ageless Tim Duncan led the way with 30 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks for the Spurs, while Kawhi Leonard chipped in with 24 points and 13 rebounds. 
What to watch for on Sunday (in chronological order)...
  • 1:00 - ACC Title Game (ESPN) - North Carolina vs. #9 Miami - UNC has been a different team since they went small, but Miami has been consistently good all year and they have a huge experience edge. Nice match-up.
  • 1:00 - SEC Title Game (ABC) - Ole Miss vs. #13 Florida - If you read me, you know I'm in the tank for Florida, and that hasn't changed. 
  • 1:00 - Atlantic-10 Title Game (CBS) - #25 VCU vs. #16 Saint Louis - Did you notice that the only 1:00 game with two ranked teams is from the A-10? That's kind of awesome (lol) and both teams are legit tourney squads. No one is talking about St. Louis, but they should be, and I think they win this game. 
  • 3:30 - Big 10 Title Game (CBS) - #22 Wisconsin vs. #10 Ohio State - This is not the match-up that anyone expected, but two of the best coaches in America are squaring off. I have no idea how the committee evaluates these teams when the game won't finish til at least 5:30, but alas. With a gun to my head, I'd pick the Buckeyes, but you know I don't want to. 
  • 3:30 - NBA - Knicks @ Clippers (ABC) - Well, Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony are "questionable" (and leaning out, from sources) for the Knicks so that'll put a damper on things. 
  • 6:00 - Selection Sunday! (CBS/ESPN) - I personally don't care where you watch the bracket unveiling, but CBS has it first (I think) so I'd recommend it. The Madness begins!
  • 8:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Nets (SportSouth) - Two of the mid-tier East playoff teams squaring off. Brooklyn is considered (by everyone, it seems) to be markedly better than the Hawks, but they are only 2 games better in the standings. Just a thought. 

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