Monday, March 25, 2013

3/25: Madness De-Brief, etc.

Greetings! It was an absolutely wild weekend of games, and while the content in this space was limited, I was a busy man.
  • Rather than fully recap every game from Saturday and Sunday, I will simply direct you here(!) to read (if you wish) my extended thoughts on all 16 games from the weekend, as I reviewed them in full for Yes, I'm this lazy.
  • The biggest story? As always, it's the Cinderellas, as #15 Florida Gulf Coast and #13 La Salle advance to the second weekend. FGCU knocked off Georgetown (with ease, somehow) and San Diego State in rout to the Sweet 16, and they looked incredibly legit doing it. If you removed the front of their jersey, they would look a lot like a "major" team with big-time athleticism and a full-time swagger. La Salle's wins were more grinding, but they had to win 3 to get there (including a play-in win over Boise State), and that's all the more impressive. 
  • The runner-up? Gonzaga going down in a heap on Saturday. I still don't want to talk about it (as they were my champion pick), but the 'Zags were the victim of some incredible shooting by Wichita State. In short, WSU made their final 7 threes in a row (most of which were contested), and they did so as a 33% 3-point shooting team for the year. I will now light myself on fire. 
  • UCLA fired head coach Ben Howland yesterday after 10 seasons at the university. After the Reeves Nelson story in Sports Illustrated, I felt like the writing was on the wall for Howland, so a first-round exit at the hands of a lower-seed likely just shoved him over the edge he was already teetering on. I've always liked Howland, but the fit wasn't right as UCLA is a fast-paced, high-visibility program and Howland succeeded at Pitt as a grinding, defensive-minded coach. He'll land on his feet, but it won't be at a job this big. 
  • The Baltimore Ravens have signed Elvis Dumervil away from Denver. Dumervil was the victim of a weird contract situation that forced him out of Denver, and Baltimore came calling with 5 years and $35 million for the pash rusher. He'll help to mitigate the loss of Paul Kruger, as the Ravens re-tool their defense on the fly. 
  • Tiger Woods leads the Bay Hill by 3 shots with 16 holes to play. Play was stopped due to weather, but Tiger is in the driver's seat, and that's always noteworthy to me. Stay tuned to see how that one plays out. 
  • Vernon Wells... is going to the Yankees! The Angels finally rid themselves of Wells after acquiring him in the one of the worst trades of all-time (where they gave up a cheap Mike Napoli who was a better player than Wells, who was making $120 million). New York needed a right-handed bat, and they'll take a gamble on Wells by paying him about $15 million total over the final two years, while LA picks up the rest.
  • NBA Round-up - Miami won their 26th consecutive game, and they did so without Dwyane Wade. Lebron James finished with a "ho-hum" 31/10/8 triple-double, and the Heat destroyed Charlotte 109-77. Another day, another win. The Hawks stole a 104-99 road win in Milwaukee on the strength of a 12-2 run to end the game. Al Horford (24 points) and Josh Smith (23 points) teamed up to beat up on Milwaukee's frontcourt, and the Hawks overcame a big-time rebounding disadvantage in the win. Finally, Houston eeked past San Antonio 96-95, thanks to 29/9/6 from James Harden and some uncharacteristically poor offense from San Antonio. 
What to watch for on Monday...
  • 1:00 - MLB - Red Sox @ Orioles (ESPN) - Day baseball as we count down the days until Opening Day!
  • 7:00 - NBA - Heat @ Magic (ESPN) - Miami goes for 27 in a row against the hapless Magic.
  • 7:00 - NBA - Hawks @ Pacers (SportSouth) - This is a much better game than the Miami one, only there's no story line around it. Indiana is very good, and Atlanta is in for a challenge on a back-to-back. 

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