NCAA 2nd Round-up
-Wazzu blew the game vs. Vandy. They did it by bad turnovers and some poor shot selection down the stretch--two things that you don't equate with this year's Wash. St. squad. Especially Kyle Weaver made some terrible decisions late (7 TOs overall) & Taylor Rochestie, their savvy guard, made some very uncharacteristic mistakes late. I think the key that made this year's Wazzu team so much more than the sum of their parts was their ability to minimize mistakes & execute precisely. Also, Bennett should have called a timeout in the 2nd OT before Rochestie's ill-advised 3pt, a rare mistake by Tony as well.
-Let's say I'm not surprised by USC. I have been big on USC since the start of the year and they were my sleeper pick since the pre-season as a team that could do damage. They did not upset Texas either. Many people are pointing to what Texas did not do right, but the simple fact is USC is a better team overall & are one of the best defensive clubs in the country (Sorry, Sports Guy). They have one of the best backcourts in the country, and Taj Gibson is as underrated as a post player in the country. Again, PAC-10 teams having to work harder to impress pundits who don't want to stay up late or watch Fox Sport.
-Even though I'm a big backer of USC, I really can't see them getting past UNC. USC's major weakness is on the frontline. Basically, their only player of subsatnce is Taj Gibson, really he's it. Brandon Wright can neutralize his effort, but that still leaves no one to contend with Hansborough.
-I said Nick Young was probably the most underrated player/draft prospect in my preview & he made me look real good this weekend. He's a great athlete with long arms who's got a nice stroke (he's been shooting great this year). He's a nice ball-handler with the ability to create space for himself in the mid-range--a talent that very few players have currently in the NCAAs. His nice footwork allows him to showcase a nice turnaround fadeaway jumper. This guy should have been a 1st round prospect all year, not sure why some mocks had him so low all year, especially while overrating Dom James, a guy I thought Young was better than all year.
-My upset special of Long Beach over Tenn, let's say I was off; a lot off. Long Beach tried to up the pace with the Vols, and in general, that's not a good formula for an inferior opponent to do. Although, Winthrop & VCU came thru, but then again I thought (like many people) they were easy upset picks.
-I mentioned in my preview that Oregon should get to the final 8 because I felt Wisconsin was the weakest 2-seed, and the Badgers definitely made me look smart. They were lucky to get a win vs. Corpus Doug Christi. But UNLV is better than I realized, and could make the Ducks advancing to the next round a rough road.
- If the over/under on the Pitt-UCLA is 85, I think I'm taking the under.
-When I saw the Oden foul live I definitely thought an intentional was in order. But after watching the replay, Oden did seem to be reaching for the ball, and had a hand on the ball before pushing Xavier's Cage into the basket. I think it makes the call more borderline than blalant, and when it's borderline at that time of the game, the refs should swallow the whistle, like they did.