Okay, since only a few of you on Facebook of my hundreds of thousands of readers — that includes you reading this right now — answered the question posed in last blog last night, I’ll do it myself. You all must have thought it was rhetorical or something. No, I was interested to see if you hoopaholics were as entranced by yesterday’s games as I was?
Q: Was yesterday the most exciting round in the NCAA ever?
A: I don’t remember any better. (And I’m not going to go through the record books to see if technically there were more one point or overtime or last possession games on some other day.)
And to celebrate it all, here’s what I say: Let’s Do It Again.
Cue Steely Dan.
Not that the song has anything to do with basketball, but the theme came to mind.
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Here’ one thing that is absolutely, positively, unequivocally clear. If UK hits 15 treys in a game, they ain’t losin’ to nobody. Period. I don’t care if Kobe’s on the other team wearing purple and gold, or that Coach Cal-lovin’ LeBron is suiting up for the opposition. Nobody. And that group includes Kansas and West Virginia and anybody else they might encounter in the next couple weeks.
The Wildcats provided the one truly dominating performance of the day. Which wording cleverly includes Kansas State — also Wildcats — who bashed North Texas by 20. Which is about how badly Kentucky would beat the boys from Manhattan . . . if they score 45 from beyond the arc.
All that said, it wasn’t the best performance by UK’s players this week. While in Lexington before leaving for New Orleans, the team ate at P.F. Chang’s. Where one Rebekah Sams was celebrating her 16th birthday. Turns out the team embraced the situation with style, when they discovered what her celebration was about. They led the house in singing Happy Birthday to her. Then gave her an SEC championship victory cake intended for them. Then gave her a b-ball they autographed for her. What a sweet story.
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My favorite performance of the day was that of Ohio’s Bobcats.
Their game plan and execution of same simply took Georgetown to the woodshed. The green team got ahead then never wavered. Hit their FTs. Kept driving into the paint. And were helped by — see previous section — hitting their treys. Thirteen for 23 to be precise.
They also fell within the context of one of the day’s other themes — school’s winning in the tourney for the first time in a long while. Ohio’s last NCAA W was 17 years ago.
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Unlike Ohio, Robert Morris, which could have easily taken down Villanova had jitters been calmed, succumbed to the pressure.
Good thing for the BEast. Twas the vaunted league’s only W of the day. Against shocking losses by Georgetown — see section above — Notre Dame and Marquette. The latter in a tilt that might be a dangerous harbinger for U of L fans, lost to Washington.
Before you SEC boosters get cocky, take note that UK was your only real plus of the day. Florida lost, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in double OT. Tennessee barely escaped, looking awful against San Diego State.
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Did these guys come up big or what?
Murray State’s Danero Thomas.
Northern Iowa’s Ali Farokhmanesh.
UK’s Eric Bledsoe.
BYU’s Jimmer Fredette.
Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds.
St. Mary’s Omar Samhan and Mickey McConnell.
Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh.
Washington’s Quincy Pondexter.
Wake Forest’s Ishmael Smith.
Ohio’s Armon Bassett and D.J. Cooper. (The latter not only had total control of the game against the Hoyas, but, in one sequence while dribbling the ball up court against pressure, slowed, reached down and grabbed a mouth piece of a teammate laying on the hardwood, handed to his fellow Bobcat, and continued over the timeline without a violation. The day’s best play if you ask me.)
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Days Biggest Meltdowns:
My bracket. (Okay, I haven’t actually looked at any of the three I filled out. I’m sure I did poorly. But, the mention of one’s bracket busting is required for membership in the United States Basketball Writers Association. Having met that requirement, I’ll continue.)
Sam Houston State. They had Baylor matched with two minutes to go. Then went on a turnover tear. U.G.L.Y.
Derrick Caracter. His second half performance was as lackadaisical and uninspiring as fans around here recall. (Save your bandwith. I don’t care to hear about his numbers. I’m sticking to my story.)
Texas freshman, especially J’Covan Brown, who felt compelled to try to do it all himself with the game on the line. And he didn’t.
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Anyway. As Steely Dan says (And we wouldn’t want to be arguing with a dildo run amuck would we?): Let’s Do It Again.
Tip off is two hours away.
By the by, for those who might care, I’ll be on 89.3FM’s State of Affairs today during the 1:00 o’clock hour talking tournament with the Nothing But Net guys, Matt Anthony and Mark Bacon.
– Seedy K