Friday, March 28, 2008

March Madness Updates – Sweet Sixteen – Thursday's Games

The second weekend of the Madness has commenced with a couple of games that sure did live up to the excitement that the tourney puts forward.

Last night saw all but one of the favored teams winning with two of the games coming as exhilaratingly close as they could have.

(3)Xavier 79 over 7)West Virginia 75 (OT)
Xavier had a 7 point lead at the half but gave up the lead in the second allowing WVU to force overtime. The second half treated the Mountaineers better then the extra period would.

That is when B.J. Raymond went bananas. In 48 seconds he sank two 3-pointers (one more then all of WVU made all game) finishing the rally that brought Xavier back from 6 points down in the OT.

(1)North Carolina 68 over (4)Washington State 47
This was a tale of two teams that seemed to have different strengths; one with power on the Offensive side and one with an ability to play stifling Defense. When one team changes their modus operandi you would hope that the other team would do the same to try and keep up.

But this time, Washington State was unable to change their stripes. The Tar Heels stepped up their Defense last night to absolutely shut down the Cougars. WSU couldn’t do the same. North Carolina allowed the fewest points (as a team) since 1946.

It wasn’t close after the 10:00 mark of the first half.

(3)Louisville 79 over (2)Tennessee 60
A great game to watch the chess match between two prominent coaches, but in the end Louisville’s Rick Pitino came out on top. His defensive alignments seemed to keep the Vols Offense on its heels, unable to adjust to what they were seeing.

Bruce Pearl’s Defense was able to get the Tennessee team back into the game in the second half, narrowing the margin to 37-36, but their rebounding woes made it difficult for Volunteers to stay in the game. They were out rebounded 43-28 which may explain why they never took the lead in the game.

(1)UCLA 88 over (12)W Kentucky 78
This game may have come closer then the actual score shows. The Bruins came in to the half at 21-points up over the #12 ranked, upstart team. However, when they came out of the locker room, the team seemed to have sat back and relaxed, allowing the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to cut the lead to 4 points with 6:50 left to play.

They couldn’t sustain the run as the #1 Bruins showed they were worthy of the seed and shut them down. Josh Shipp, who had been dealing with shooting woes and a bout of strep throat, put the nail in the coffin with a 3-point shot that put the team back up 9.

Kevin Love stepped up his game and Russell Westbrook took over when the Bruin’s leader, Darren Collison, fouled out.

The Hilltoppers got some great play from some very talented young men, but it wasn’t enough.

[As seen in Afraidofedhochuli]

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