Posted on: March 13, 2010 10:56 pm
San Diego State wins the Mountain West Tournament for the third time this decade, defeating UNLV on their home floor, 55-45.
It was a slopfest between two emotionally spent teams less than 24 hours removed from hard fought upsets and clinching bids to the dance. Aztec freshman Kawhi Leonard provided the dirty work with a career best 21 rebounds and 16 points. Though they were the tourney's 4th seed, SDSU held wins against all league foes save for BYU, and have now won 9 of their last 10 games.
What's next for the MWC
--New Mexico could have locked up a 2-seed in the West but will likely find themselves in the 4 or 5 slot. At 29-4, New Mexico is not some cupcake glutton destined for first round despair. Building a 15 game win-streak in this league is one of the more impressive feats from any team this season. Conference MVP Darington Hobson has the right mixture of skill and swagger to ensure the Lobos don't buckle under the big stage.
--BYU figures to land a 5-6 seed after stumbling in the semis, and just as Hobson is for New Mexico, Jimmer Fredette is a force no one wants to see in their bracket, and the balance is there to set the Cougars up for the Sweet 16.
--UNLV can almost consider itself co-champs for how beneficial this tournament was to its seeding. Expect anywhere from a 7-11 seed for the tourney-savvy Rebs.
--Champs San Diego St. also fall into the 7-11-seed range most likely, and have the size, athleticism, and now some opportune confidence to make a run.
The potential is there for each school to be the higher seed in the first round. Whether they're favored or not, I would not be surprised if the conference came out of day one 4-0. Equal astonishment would arise if the MWC didn't have two reps in the Sweet 16.
Performances to remeber for maybe a night or two
Jimmer Fredette, BYU, quarterfinals vs. TCU: 45 points, 6 assists, 23-24 FT
Darington Hobson, NM, quarterfinals vs. Air Force: 28 pts, 15 rebs
Kawhi Leonard, SDSU, finals vs. UNLV: 16 pts, 21 rebs
Billy White, SDSU, semifianals vs. NM: 28 pts
Mountain West, it's been a pleasure. Thanks for the competitive basketball, gutsy performances, and a lights-out Mormon they call Jimmer.
Final Mountain West Bracket
Posted on: March 12, 2010 10:50 am
Good morning! You ready for some basketball?
Me too. Here are ten things to look out for today...
(1) Greivis Vasquez chasing the NCAA hair gel record. The ACC Player of the Year is closing in on the All-Time NCAA record for gallons of hair gel used in a single season. Vasquez, who prefers LA Looks - Level 10 Cement Hold, is just a few faux hawks away from breaking the record held by former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin. Maryland vs. Georgia Tech, 7:00 pm
(2) The Hummel-less Boilermakers. Purdue begins their Big Ten tournament title defense today without star player Robbie Hummel. The junior forward, who was averaging 16 per game, tore his ACL on February 24, leaving him sidelined for the remainder of the year. Purdue vs. Northwestern, 6:30 pm
(3) Kentucky begins their return to glory. It has been six years since the Wildcats won the SEC Tournament. Today marks the beginning of the end for the rest of the SEC. Kentucky vs. Alabama, 1:00 pm
(4) Marquette and Georgetown? Who let them in? The Golden Eagles and the Hoyas pulled off upsets yesterday over 'Nova and Syracuse to advance to the Big East semifinals. Which team will continue leaving the dream and move on to the finals? Only time will tell. My money is on Greg Monroe. Georgetown vs. Marquette, 7:00 pm
(5) Duke slapping floors all the way to a #1 seed. Duke controls their own NCAA seeding destiny as they enter the ACC tournament as the top team for the first time in four years. They play Virginia in a rematch of a game we saw on our Road Trip. If history repeats itself, Duke will win in a blowout and I will stare at the hot blonde two rows down in front of me. Duke vs. Virginia, 12:00 pm
(6) Are the banks still open in Madison Square Garden? West Virginia's Da'sean Butler banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer last night to beat Cincinnati's "Born Ready" in his hometown. Today, the Mountaineers face the Fighting Flat-tops of Notre Dame in the semis. Look out Dub-V, Harangody is back and he's hungry. West Virginia vs. Notre Dame, 7:00 pm
(7) UCLA vs. California. You don't actually need to watch this. It will probably break your heart if you do. UCLA is terrible. But, I had to show the Pac-10 some love. UCLA vs. Cal, 9:18 pm
(8) Wayne Chism's headband is almost off. Wayne Chism's headband is barely hanging on to his noggin as his 8-year career comes to a close. Will today be the day that it finally flies of the back of his head? Or will it continue to hang on for dear life as Chism jacks up ill-advised threes? Tennessee vs. Ole Miss, 3:15 pm
(9) Support the N.J.I.T. If you care about your most prized electronic possessions, you'll support the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Remember, they'll be your tech support when those porn windows keep popping up on your desktop. N.J.I.T. vs. Houston Baptist, 9:30 pm
(10) Jimmer Fredette is the real deal. BYU's Fredette has been demolishing records all season and he's trying to add Mountain West Conference champ to his resume. Today, his BYU Whatever-They-Are's face Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony's Running Rebels. Watch this one, because Grandmama says so. BYU vs. UNLV, 11:30 pm
Enjoy your day.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 11:46 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2010 12:19 am
And the Big East does it again. What a finish as West Virginia and De'Sean Butler escape at the buzzer, restoring a semblance of normalcy in an otherwise parallel bracket.
We breezed through the first part of Conference Championship week and found it to be a bit chalky quite frankly, then the Big East goes out today and completely turns our blogging world on its head. The most feared conference in all the land with it's self-important "double-byes" and permanent NYC home, has been dwindled to four: an 8-seed, 7-seed, 5-seed and a 3-seed.
And yes, De'sean Butler is nails. Stay tuned for more Big East updates.
--For the game of the night we go to the MAC, where the Akron Zips survived Eastern Michigan 97-89 in double OT. Eagles guard Carlos Medlock poured in 42 points in the upset bid, the second most in MAC tournament history. Even more amazing, the seven technicals called between the teams with three ejections. That's just how they do things in the MAC. Dog v. dog. Ohio University provided the other big news, as they throttled top-seeded Kent St. 81-64 to earn a spot in the semis.
--PAC 10 regular season champs by default, the Cal Bears, disposed of the wounded Ducks of Oregon, 90-74 in quarterfinal action. The loss wrecks coach Ernie Kent's pre-tournament prognostication, and soon, his job. Cal guard Tajuan Porter set the PAC 10's career 3-point record with his 343rd to break the mark held by former Zona guard Salim Stoudemire. The win moves Cal to the semis and a date with UCLA, which surely makes Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz quite happy, which will ultimately lead to the termination of the band.
--The Mountain West held true today, with top seeds New Mexico, BYU, and San Diego St. all advancing despite each getting pushed to the end. UNLV tips off against Utah sometime before sunrise, I hope. On a day where conference MVP Darington Hobson racked up 28 points for New Mexico, runner-up Jimmer Fredette went off for 45 in a 95-85 BYU win over TCU. Fredette made 23-24 free-throws and topped 40 points for the second time this season.
--The C-USA appears to be a one bid league now with a pair of bubbles bursting in Memphis and UAB. Memphis may still have a shot a a bid but they'll need some help or just a 96-team tournament. Also, Marshall fell to Tulsa tonight 80-64, meaning the most intriguing player most of us have never watched will not be in the dance. Seven-foot freshman Hassan Whiteside is being projected as a lottery pick and recorded a set of triple-doubles this season.
--In the Southland, my NCAA Tourney sleeper Sam Houston State survives 89-85 against SE Louisiana to set up clash of top seeded gents, Sam Houston and Stephen F. Austin, for tickets to the deb ball.
Posted on: March 11, 2010 5:20 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2010 9:24 pm
All it takes is two weeks of following every conference tournament to realize that there there are so many conferences and D1 teams in this country that it could drive a person crazy trying to touch them all. This afternoon's rounds saw games from the Mountain West, the Big East, the Big 12, the SEC, the ACC, the MAC, the Pac-10 and several others. That's a full plate, America, so let's dive right in, shall we?
Marquette 80, Villanova 76: Yesterday, we reported that "cartoon thug" Buzz Williams said that close games are "all they know." Guess that knowledge came in handy as traditionally marginal producer Darius Johnson-Odom stepped seemingly from nowhere as the rocketsauce the Golden Eagles needed to bust down the #10 (and no slouch) Villanova. I kept waiting for this one to go into overtime, and Marquette just kept denying that there would be any overtime for them today. So far, you really have to like this Marquette team. They're manufacturing wins any way they can, and they probably have a good shot against #5 Georgetown tomorrow. The Golden Eagles look to have the steam to off some giants if the invisible laser beams shooting out of Buzz Williams' giant, magical head can continue to empower these guys.
Utah State 84, Boise State 60: The first game of the WAC Tourney was a bit of a snoozer (you'd think Boise State would want this thing more, because if they lose they have to go back to Boise) at a 24-point deficit, but you can't take anything away from the Aggies' Tai Wesley's 18 points and 10 rebounds. In case you're wondering, Boise's bench player Zack Moritz only saw two minutes, because he was busy distracting Mr. Belding from the secret party the team was arranging in the school library.
New Mexico 75, Air Force 69: The Mountain West Tourney was in full swing today in Sin City as my new favorite-named player Darington Hobson (that's Lord Darington Hobson to you) walks away with 28 points and a stellar 15 rebounds.
Michigan 59, Iowa 52: It's no secret that the Wolverines need to win the Big Ten Tourney to get onto the mainstage, but beating a similarly limping Iowa isn't the way to do it. Michigan's Manny Harris turned in 22 points and 9 rebounds to lead his crew to a victory, even though Iowa's Cully Payne was doing his thang with 25 points. They'll step forward to play the 1-seeded Buckeyes tomorrow.
Miami 83, Wake Forest 62: The Canes exorcise the Demon Deacons in the ACC Tournament, which is bittersweet for the Canes -- on one hand, they advance and get to play Virginia Tech tomorrow. On the other hand, they're probably going to miss a really good boat party on Friday night. Nevertheless, Miami was propelled into the second round by freshman Reggie Johnson with 22 points. A second half where the Deacons couldn't even get within sixteen points of the Canes means that it was a very, very smart move not to nationally televise this game.
More's on the way as scores are ticking in constantly. Stay tuned.