Daily Dribble: NCAA Tournament Day Three

    
March 17th, 2007

- A lot of talk the first two days about the lack of upsets and the lack of excitement.. but I think today's 3 overtime games more than made up for it.

- Mike Conley's 11 points might have owned overtime, but Ron Lewis owned the game. When things broke down for Ohio State, he pretty much got them to overtime by himself.

- When I say Ron Lewis brought Ohio State to overtime by himself, I mean it seriously. The Buckeyes, and this can only be blamed on the coaching staff, looked absolutely lost and undisciplined last 10 minutes of the game. It was basically due to sheer talent and heart that they managed to get to overtime, not coaching.

- Don't blame the loss on Xavier's Justin Cage. Sure, his free throw would have locked up the game, but if not for his monster 25-point effort, Xavier wouldn't even have been in the game. He shot 8-8 from the floor and even had 6 rebounds. The senior had never scored 20 points in his 119 game career before today.

- I'm tired of hearing about Tyler Hanbsrough's "will" and his "work ethic" and all that. Sure, he tries hard but its the same labels white guys in all sports (see David Eckstein) get. Lets talk about the fact he's 6-9 and faster than every other big man out there, he's stronger than most guys, has great footwork, and solid hand-eye coordination. Nothing like stepping up and scoring a season-high 33 points in the Big Dance.

- Michigan State did a nice job keeping it close against UNC, but ultimately the Tar Heels have just way too much talent.

- Texas A&M deserves credit for being the first team in the tournament to win a road game. The fact that the 6-seed Louisville Cardinals basically had a road game playing in Lexington was a disgrace. I had the feeling if these teams played on a real neutral court, A&M would have won by 10.

- Its amazing how many free throws there were in the A&M/Louisville game. The two teams combined to hit 53 of 70 from the line. In the BC/G'Town game for example, there were only 21 ft's hit.

- Down 51-32 with 12 minutes to go, I didn't think VCU had even the slightest chance of coming back and beating Pitt. When Levance Fields went to the free-throw line with 2 seconds to go, I still didn't think they had any chance of winning. Turns out I was right.. sort of. VCU, particularly Eric Maynor and Jesse Pellot-Rosa (who scored 20 in the 2nd half) deserve a lot of credit for pushing this game to overtime.

- Aaron Gray is probably Pitt's biggest name player and potential 1st round pick, but time after time, when the game tightens up, Gray disappears into the background.

- Sure Derrick Byars' 27 points and his 5 threes was impressive, but that late left-handed block at the end of the first overtime was probably the coolest play of the day.

- In the Vandy/WSU game, the announcers obsession with Kyle Weaver was a bit odd. I forget who was the color man, but he kept focusing on how Weaver needed to be more assertive, and Weaver needed to touch the ball, and Weaver this and that. Weaver's a guy who averages 11 ppg, has never broken 20 in his life, and was 1-8 in the game. It made no sense.

- Georgetown/BC was a decent game. The Eagles basically were playing 2 (Jared Dudley and Tyrese Rice) on 5, and the last time I checked, those aren't good odds. The only real excitement in this game were a few of Georgetown's sick dunks. Jeff Green had a monster put-back jam, and Patrick Ewing's reverse dunk and the foul was impressive.

- Statistically, Butler's AJ Graves doesn't look that impressive. Sure, he averages 17 points, but also just 2 rebounds and 2 assists per game, and he only shoots 38% from the floor and 36% from three. Even today, he was just 7 of 19. Yet, in Butler's 62-59 win over the Terps, you see how he somehow makes big plays when it counts, controls the ball when needed, and just gives his team the feeling that they're going to win.