Posted on: March 13, 2010 12:54 am
Edited on: March 13, 2010 1:00 am
Friday's afternoon and early evening sessions had their fair share of excitement with Evan Turner's buzzer-beater, John Wall's heroics, Lehigh's berth-clinching win and San Diego's upset of New Mexico. The madness didn't end at sundown, though, and three of the major conferences packed in the drama in their late games. Here's what you missed:
Minnesota upsets Michigan State - It took an extra period, but Tubby Smith's team was finally able to put away Michigan State in the Big 10 tournament semifinals on Friday, keeping their NCAA tourney hopes alive.
For the Golden Gophers, taking the lead wasn't the problem. It was holding on to it and closing out the Spartans that seemed to be difficult. Minnesota took a 13-12 lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half and wouldn't trail again until Michigan State scored the first points of the overtime period. When Raymar Morgan's bucket fell through the net with a whistle on the play, it seemed as if the Gophers' opportunity was gone. After all, they were up seven with 3:30 to go and wouldn't score again, missing five shots and committing one turnover in their six possessions down the stretch. They had their shot and now Michigan State was finally ready to take this game.
But, to their credit, Tubby's troops did not fold and countered Morgan's "And One" and Michigan State's three-point lead with a 10-0 run. By the time the dust settled, all the Spartans could do was foul and, all of a sudden, Tubby Smith's team looked to have new post-season life.
The Gophers will now take their shot at a Robbie Hummel-less Purdue squad Saturday - the same one they lost to by just one point a couple of weeks ago. As of now, the Gophers could be in or they could be out. A win over Purdue would likely lock up an at-large berth for them.
West Virginia holds off Notre Dame - Just 24 hours removed from Da'Sean Butler's buzzer beater saving them from the early tourney exit of their fellow Big East top seeds, West Virginia was almost victimized by a similar shot.
But, when Tory Jackson's three caught rim and bounced around, running out the final four seconds of clock, what is shaping up to be a fairly magical run for Bob Huggins' team stood intact. The Mountaineers, the only one of the top four seeds to win their first game Thursday, now have only Georgetown, a team they blew out two weeks ago, standing between them and a Big East tournament title.
Saturday's matchup at the Garden will have more at stake than a conference title for the Mountaineers, though. If WVU beats the Hoyas again and Duke falters in an ACC tournament that's even more pathetic than we thought, they will likely be staring a #1 seed in the face. Even if the Blue Devils win the ACC, the Mountaineers still have the opportunity to jump them for that top seed. They just need to make sure they bring their "A" game to the Garden Saturday. Winning because a buzzer beater catches rim isn't a good way to show it.
Kansas State puts away Baylor - The Big 12 semifinal between Kansas and Baylor didn't have any last possession or overtime drama, but it had the feel for 38 minutes that it would be decided by whoever had the ball last. But, with two minutes left, Jacobham Pullen eliminated all doubt with a clutch three-pointer.
Baylor looked like they were going to snatch one from the Wildcats after Ekpe Udoh's dunk cut the lead to two with just under four minutes to go. On Kansas State's next possession, a blocked shot by Quincy Acy got the ball back to Baylor who drew a foul. Senior leader Tweety Carter, who had an awful game, stepped to the line, down two, and clanked both free throws. Kansas State came down and Pullen hit the three that sucked the life from the Bears and put them away for good.
The Wildcats will now advance to their first Big XII title game and face off against rival Kansas, who they've both pushed to overtime and been blown out by this year. Their seedings might already be set for the most part, but you can expect emotions to be very, very high in Kansas City tomorrow.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 9:47 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 9:48 pm
Upset Thursday continued in the Big East as No. 7 Notre Dame eliminated second-seeded Pittsburgh, 50-45. Tory Jackson hit 4-of-6 threes to score 12 points and Luke Harangody came off the bench to add 12 more as the Fighting Irish won back-to-back games in the Big East Tournament for the first time in program history.
The loss dropped teams which had earned double-byes into the quarterfinals to 0-3, with only third-seeded West Virginia left to take the court.
After advancing to the championship game in four straight seasons, the loss marked the second straight one-and-done tournament for the Panthers, who were also the No. 2 seed in 2009.
Notre Dame's newfound commitment to defense was on full display again, as they held Pitt to their lowest point total of the season. The Irish have now held five of their past six opponents to 54 points or fewer. They've won all six games over that span and leapt from NIT-bound to single-digit NCAA Tournament seed.
Georgia Tech went ahead and put the bullet in the head of the gravely injured animal that was North Carolina's 2009-2010 season, knocking the Tar Heels out of the ACC Tournament by a final score of 62-58.
The Yellow Jackets, playing with their season on the line, trailed by ten at the break but a monster second half by star freshman Derrick Favors helped keep them (most likely) in the dance for the time being. Favors finished with a game-high 18 points.
Kansas State began its three-day case for a one seed by completely humiliating Oklahoma State, 83-64 in a game they led by as many as 33. Jamar Samuels scored 21 of his career-high 27 points in the first half.
The Cowboys are still almost certainly in the field of 65, but the loss - which came just a day after an impressive rout of rival Oklahoma - may have knocked them down a seeding row or two.
OTHER MAJOR CONFERENCE GAMES I WATCHED ZERO SECONDS OF
Elsewhere, Minnesota beat Penn State by 21 in a game I thank every possible religious deity that I wasn't forced to watch, and Florida at least momentarily speared itself from the knowledge of having a stressful Sunday on the horizon by knocking off Auburn, 76-55.
Posted on: February 21, 2010 12:53 am
Edited on: March 9, 2010 8:44 pm
Each morning, the CBS College Basketball Road Trip team will stop spooning each other in their Motel Six beds at the crack of noon, grab a couple of NCAA approved bagels and hit the road in pursuit of their next college basketball destination. Though their dossier and agenda are to supposed to remain top secret, I went to high school with one of the writers from "Viva Laughlin" and CBS forgot to take back his keys. Here is what he found…
By: Thomas Beisner
Location: The story of how East Lansing came to be has the sexiness of Susan Boyle and the entertainment value of Riding the Bus with My Sister. So, for the purposes of this, let’s just pretend that many believe that East Lansing just appeared one day, while others argue the city evolved from monkeys. Both sides, however, agree that it’s in Michigan. (I hope my vague reference to the Big Bang Theory makes up for the Viva Laughlin jokes...have I mentioned how much I love CBS?).
Traveling Distance: Unshaken by the Iowa blizzard and the audible that landed them at DePaul, our road warriors have just over 200 miles between themselves and the center of Big 10 basketball. In real time, that’s about three hours. In “this is the fourth destination of this road trip” time, that’s miserable. On the positive side, they’ll at least have time to discuss if Louisville fans tucked Black and Milds in their ears for fashion or for function.
Historical Relevance: Michigan State students pack an area of the Breslin Center called the Izzone and the Spartan program can boast of Magic Johnson and The Flintstones. Ohio State, meanwhile, gave the world 1960 National Champion Bobby Knight and the “O-H, I-O” chant, a duo more hateable than Spencer and RoboHeidi.
Boarding School: The Spartans have never been afraid to unleash a football player on your power forward or throw an awkwardly physical white guy on the floor in an effort to grab a rebound (Duke point guard and Michigan State center have to be the whitest position of the last decade, right?). This team is no different - and it could spell doom for the Buckeyes, especially on the offensive end. Michigan State has over 100 more offensive rebounds this season than the Buckeyes and will look to beat them up inside. Can we tag those last seven words under “Rick Pitino jokes”?
Grudge Factor: I’m sure these teams hate each other, but not as much as I hate them. It all stems from the 1999 Final Four. I was there and my beloved Kentucky Wildcats were not, thanks to Michigan State. Ohio State was apparently not there at all thanks to Jim O’Brien. What we were left with was Khalid El-Amin’s beer gut winning a national title and Jake Voskuhl’s hair permanently placed in the record books. These schools must accept at least a little blame for this.
Famous Alumni: For Ohio State, Greg Oden’s genitalia probably has the highest Google ranking, but I don’t think it graduated. But, as far as true alumni go, Ohio State can be proud of Tomlin and Drew’s favorite writers (Bruce Vilanch and R.L. Stine) and Matt’s favorite basket-weaver (Tami Longaberger). Michigan State, meanwhile, earns bragging rights over James Caan, professional junkie Tom Sizemore and lover of the Charles Manson joke, Jemele Hill.
Agenda: While the goal is likely to see how good Evan Turner is and if he has anything up his sleeve the day after John Wall improved his National Player of the Year stock, that’s probably not what will happen. I foresee trouble in reigning in Matt while in the same building as his man crush, Tom Izzo, and Drew disappearing once he finds out Michigan State has the largest “study abroad” program in the United States (abroad is one word, Drew).
East Lansing, let‘s do this.