Sunday, March 30, 2008

Regional Results, Sunday Picks

West region

(1) UCLA 76 (3) Xavier 57
As expected, the UCLA Bruins had too many weapons for undersized Xavier and cruised to their third straight appearance in the Final Four. Kevin Love and Darren Collison each scored 19 points, and Love added 10 rebounds. Luc Mbah a Moute also put up a double-double with 13 points and 13 boards. The Bruins, who were beaten by champion Florida in each of the last two years, are looking for better results when they face the South region winner - either Memphis or Texas - next Saturday in San Antonio. UCLA has won 14 straight.

East region

(1) North Carolina 83 (3) Louisville 73
Scoring in transition throughout the first half, North Carolina built a 12-point halftime lead, saw Louisville charge back to tie the game, but then surged to victory behind Tyler Hansbrough's 28 points and 13 rebounds.
Glendale Golfs Manitoba
Glendale Manitoba Golf Winnipeg Golfs.
The All-American was magnificent, hitting 12-17 shots from the field as the Tar Heels won their 15th straight. They will face the winner of the Midwest region, either Kansas or Davidson, on Saturday.

South Region

(1) Memphis -3 1/2 (2) Texas
2:20 pm ET - Memphis has withstood criticism all season long about their soft schedule and poor free throw shooting, but they've answered all questions with three dominant wins thus far in the tourney. The advantage they hold over the Longhorns is mostly inside size and strength, where Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier will be nearly impossible for Texas to handle. While the Longhorns possess speed and ability on the perimeter with D.J. Augustin, A.J. Abrams and Damian James, they're not likely to score enough to overcome Memphis. The Tigers advance, winning by 8 to 12 points.

Midwest Region

(1) Kansas -9 (10) Davidson
5:05 pm ET - Both of these teams will go up-tempo, but Kansas has superior athletes, despite the obvious talents of Davidson's super guard Stephen Curry. Additionally, Kansas holds a size advantage at a number of positions, though the most important one may be on which of the Wildcats has to guard 6'6" Brandon Rush. While the Jayhawks have all the tools, Davidson has been able to ride Curry's hot hand while getting timely contributions from the rest of the team. Kansas should win but not cover the generous spread.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Regional Finals: East, West Predictions

West Region

(1) UCLA -6 (3) Xavier
6:40 pm ET - The Bruins have thus far sent a loud and clear message: to win the national championship, you'll have to stop Kevin Love. The freshman center has been spot on in all three of UCLA's wins, virtually unstoppable simply because no team has been able to supply a good matchup for the big man inside. Xavier's no different, relying more on guard and perimeter play to win games than inside heft.

The only remaining question is whether Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook can penetrate on Xavier's Lavender and Burrell enough to get love open looks. The answer is that they'll likely be able to do it often enough to use Love's size advantage and distance themselves from the upset-minded Musketeers. The Bruins should win by 8 or more.

East Region

(1) UNC -5 1/2 (3) Louisville
9:05 pm ET - Any time you have a matchup of this magnitude, you look to the bench and see who's coaching. Hmmm... Rick Pitino and Roy Williams. Not much separating those two veterans of many tournaments, so the game is going to be won where? Inside? Doubtful. The Cardinals have David Padgett, Earl Clark and Derrick Caracter to go up against UNC's Tyler Hansbrough. Outside? A little different story. Nobody can match the speed of Ty Lawson, and when Danny Green gets in the game, the Tar Heels have a huge backcourt advantage. Given Wayne Ellington and Marcus Ginyard on the wings, the Cardinals will be unlikely to keep up with Carolina's offensive juggernaut and may have to opt for a three-guard look.

All of this spells trouble for Louisville, but remember, Pitino's over there on the Cardinal's bench and he won't let things get out of hand. Look for Louisville to try to post up and get Hansbrough in foul trouble.

In the end, it looks certain that Carolina will prevail by a solid margin, though it's tough to see how they could win by more than 8 or 9. Slight edge to the Heels.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kansas, Memphis Win, Lead Conference Scoreboard; Big Ten, SEC Out

Conference Scoreboard
(Teams entered in parentheses)
Through Friday, March 28
ACC (4): 5-3; Winners: Duke, Miami, North Carolina (3); Losers: Clemson, Duke, Miami

A-10 (3): 3-2; Winners: Xavier (3); Losers: Temple, St. Joseph's

Big East (8): 11-7; Winners: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, West Virginia (2), Georgetown, Louisville (3), Villanova (2); Losers: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, West Virginia, Villanova

Big Ten (4): 5-4; Winners: Michigan St. (2), Purdue, Wisconsin (2); Losers: Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan St.

Big 12 (6): 9-4; Winners: Kansas (3), Kansas St., Texas A&M, Texas (3), Oklahoma; Losers: Baylor, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma

Conf-USA (1): 3-0; Winners: Memphis (3); Losers: None

Mountain West (2): 1-2; Winners: UNLV; Losers: BYU, UNLV

PAC-10 (6): 7-5; Winners: Stanford (2), Washington St. (2), UCLA (3); Losers: USC, Arizona, Oregon, Washington St., Stanford

SEC (6): 4-6; Winners: Tennessee (2), Mississippi St., Arkansas; Losers: Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi St., Tennessee

WCC (3): 1-3; Winners: San Diego; Losers: Gonzaga, St. Mary's, San Diego

All others (22): 7-20; Winners: Davidson (3), Western Kentucky (2), Butler, Siena; Losers: Portland St., Kent St., Oral Roberts, Cornell, Belmont, Winthrop, Miss. Valley St., George Mason, CS Fullerton, American, Drake, South Alabama, UMBC, Austin Peay, Mt. St. Mary's, Boise St., Texas Arlington, Butler, Siena, Western Kentucky

Friday Night Sweet 16 Picks and Previews

Midwest Region

(3) Wisconsin -4 1/2 (10) Davidson
7:10 pm ET - The Badgers have the defensive authority to shut down any offense, though holding down the scoring of just one guy, Davidson's Stephen Curry, has proven problematic for all takers. Davidson owns the nation's longest winning streak at 24 straight, though Wisconsin hasn't lost since Feb. 9, a run of 12 in a row, and their four losses have all been to ranked teams. Few thought Davidson would beat Georgetown, but they did, so can they do it again?

The answer is yes, and the reason is that they are one of the best teams in the nation, deserve to be in at least the Top 10, play tight defense themselves and stop Wisconsin's somewhat anemic scoring. The 4 1/2 points are a bonus.

(1) Kansas -12 (12) Villanova
9:40 pm ET - The Jayhawks have cruised to easy wins over Portland St. (85-61) and UNLV (75-56) without really breaking a sweat. The Wildcats are another case, though, being a quality team from a major conference and now just one of two remaining teams from the Big East (Louisville being the other). Villanova did a nice job knocking off to quality teams - Clemson and Siena - and may just have enough firepower and heart to pull off the upset. In any case, they won't go easily, and should be able to keep pace with Kansas until the end. The large spread helps make them a pick here.

South Region

Fish , Hunt Ducks and Waterfowl Lake Manitoba Narrows
Golf, Fish Walleye , Fall Duck Hunting at Resort Lake Manitoba Narrows Home Cottage Lot.
(2) Texas -2 (3) Stanford
7:27 pm ET - This is going to be a standoff between Stanford's giants - twin towers Brook and Robin Lopez inside and the Longhorn's outside shooting of A.J. Abrams, Damion James and D.J. Augustin. Almost too close to call, Texas deserves the slight edge due to versatility.

(1) Memphis -4 1/2 (5) Michigan St.
9:37 pm ET - The Tigers face a significant dilemma against Michigan State in that they may not know what to expect. Tom Izzo's troops are an adaptable lot, with scoring treats inside and out. In addition, the Spartans are a fair defensive team and since the arrival of Kalin Lucas to the starting lineup, they are improved in the backcourt. More disciplined and far better at the foul line, the Spartans can take out the phonies from Conference USA.

Sweet 16 Results from Thursday, March 27

(3) Xavier 79 (7) West Virginia 75 OT
It was 8-0 before West Virginia figured out they were playing a basketball game, and they didn't hit a bucket until five minutes had already passed.

...And then it got even worse. By the middle of the first half, the Musketeers were up 28-10 and seemingly on their way to the West regional finals. But the Mountaineers were just getting warmed up as they embarked on a 15-4 run to end the half down by just 7, 32-25.

West Virginia took the lead in the second half and were up by as many as four, but Xavier's players, remembering last season's heartbreaking loss to Ohio State, would not quit and finally won it in overtime, earning the right to face the winner of the Ohio State - Western Kentucky game.

B.J. Raymond hit two crucial threes in the overtime and Josh Duncan topped the scoring list with 26 points, playing most of the second half and overtime with four fouls. Xavier has won 16 of their last 18.

(1) North Carolina 68 (4) Washington St. 47
As expected, the North Carolina Tar Heels, ranked #1 coming into the tournament, thoroughly dismantled the Cougar defense, establishing a double-digit lead before the end of the first half and cruising to another lopsided victory. Tyler Hansbrough scored 16 of his 18 points after the intermission, hauling in 9 rebounds.

Glendale Golfs Manitoba
Glendale Manitoba Golf Winnipeg Golfs.
While the win was huge, it was the closest anyone has come to the Tar Heels in the tournament. Their previous two wins were by 39 and 31 points.

(3) Louisville 79 (2) Tennessee 60
Louisville's defense did a number of the Vols, forcing 17 turnovers and a 34% shooting percentage. Earl Clark came off the bench and turned in a dominating performance, with game-highs in scoring - 17 points - and rebounding, with 12 boards. The Cardinals will face North Carolina on Saturday for a chance to reach the Final Four.

(1) UCLA 88 (12) Western Kentucky 78
The Bruins nearly blew a 21-point halftime lead, as the Hilltoppers rallied back to within 4 points in the second half, but held on to win behind Kevin Love's 29 points and 14 rebounds.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008 Tournament Matchups

(3) Louisville -3 vs. (2) Tennessee
This happens sometimes. A higher-seeded team becomes and underdog due to inconsistent play and/or injuries. Tennessee has suffered through both. Guard Chris Lofton, usually the Volunteers' first scoring option, has been ineffective in his first tow games of the tourney and the team has suffered. Lofton scored in single digits against both American and Butler. The Vols finally prevailed in the second round game with Butler, but were forced into overtime.

Not to worry. Though Louisville is rock-solid, especially in their full court pressure, the Vols have more weapons all over the floor and should find themselves with plenty of transition opportunities. The Vols will move on with their best game of the tournament. They shoot better from outside than the Cardinals and from the foul line. They look like 3-5-point winners.

(7) West Virginia -1 vs. (3) Xavier
Here again, a lower seed as favorite. But, this time, it's because the Mountaineers beat Duke, which is considered, by some, to be quite an accomplishment. That assessment is dubious. Xavier should clamp down on West Virginia's flow offense and turn on the after-burners in the second half. Xavier is likely to run away with this and win by double digits.

(1) North Carolina -8 1/2 vs. (4) Washington State
Unlikely to see the Tar Heels derailed by the Cougars. Washington State is a nice team, but they were only the third best in the PAC-10. They are likely to find Carolina's inside game much too talented and difficult to contain. Tyler Hansbrough may add tourney MVP to his likely college Player of the Year honors, and his run to greatness begins right here. Carolina should win and cover.

(1) UCLA -12 vs. (12) Western Kentucky
Easy picking for the Bruins here. Western Kentucky's Hilltoppers will make this interesting for about the first 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the Bruins will finish them off with a flurry. UCLA should win handily, though that dozen-point spread is probably a canard. Take the Hilltoppers and hope they can hang in single digits, losing with honor to the delight of the smart betting crowd. LA suckers get taken down big time here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Big Ten, PAC-10, Big East lead tourney scoreboard

Conference Scoreboard
(Teams entered in parentheses)
Through Sunday, March 23
ACC (4): 4-3; Winners: Duke, Miami, North Carolina (2); Losers: Clemson, Duke, Miami

A-10 (3): 2-2; Winners: Xavier (2); Losers: Temple, St. Joseph's

Big East (8): 10-5; Winners: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, West Virginia (2), Georgetown, Louisville (2), Villanova (2); Losers: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Georgetown

Big Ten (4): 5-2; Winners: Michigan St. (2), Purdue, Wisconsin (2); Losers: Indiana, Purdue

Big 12 (6): 7-4; Winners: Kansas (2), Kansas St., Texas A&M, Texas (2), Oklahoma; Losers: Baylor, Kansas State, Texas A&M, Oklahoma

Conf-USA (1): 2-0; Winners: Memphis (2); Losers: None

Mountain West (2): 1-2; Winners: UNLV; Losers: BYU, UNLV

PAC-10 (6): 6-3; Winners: Stanford (2), Washington St. (2), UCLA (2); Losers: USC, Arizona, Oregon

SEC (6): 4-5; Winners: Tennessee (2), Mississippi St., Arkansas; Losers: Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Mississippi St.

WCC (3): 1-3; Winners: San Diego; Losers: Gonzaga, St. Mary's, San Diego

All others (22): 6-19; Winners: Davidson (2), Western Kentucky (2), Butler, Siena; Losers: Portland St., Kent St., Oral Roberts, Cornell, Belmont, Winthrop, Miss. Valley St., George Mason, CS Fullerton, American, Drake, South Alabama, UMBC, Austin Peay, Mt. St. Mary's, Boise St., Texas Arlington, Butler, Siena

Monday, March 24, 2008

Davidson Ousts Hoyas; Memphis Survives

(2) Tennessee 76 (7) Butler 71
The Vols had to go overtime to get the hard-nosed Bulldogs out of the tournament. That's not knock on Tennessee as Butler was as tough a draw one could have gotten. Plenty of 2, 3 and 4-seeds would have been eliminated by them, so give the Volunteers some extra credit. As expected, Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith had 16 and 15 points, respectively.

(3) Louisville 78 (6) Oklahoma 48
The Sooners weren't nearly up to the task at hand. Louisville got off to an early lead and substituted freely. 11 different players contributed to the scoring.

(1) North Carolina 108 (9) Arkansas 77
The Tar Heels are the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the room. Pity the next team - Washington State - that has to play them.

(12) Villanova 84 (13) Siena 72
Scottie Reynolds took over this game early on and turned it into a near rout. Siena couldn't hit the mark early and the Wildcats took advantage. Reynolds scored 25 points, knocking down 4-of-7 from behind the 3-point line. Kansas is the next opponent - a good matchup.

(10) Davidson 74 (2) Georgetown 70
Upset special and it was Roy Hibbert's foul trouble that once again led to the Hoyas' demise. Hibbert played only 16 minutes and scored just 6 points and grabbed only one rebound. Taking advantage of 20 Georgetown turnovers, Stephen Curry scored 30 points, rallying the Wildcats to their 24th straight victory.

(2) Texas 75 (7) Miami (FL) 72
A solid second half rally by the Hurricanes made this game much closer than it should have been. A. J. Abrams continues to light it up, scoring 26 points for the second straight game, including going 6-10 on threes in both games. That's consistency.

(1) Memphis 77 (8) Mississippi State 74
Memphis was lucky to get through the Bulldogs, who fell just short. The Tigers scored just enough from the field because once again they were horrible from the foul line - 15-of-32. That kind of performance is not going to get them to the final four. Either Michigan State knocks them off in the next round or the winner of the Texas-Stanford game does the job.

(12) Western Kentucky 72 (3) San Diego 63
Courtney Lee put up an impressive stat line: 9-15 from the field (4-5 from 3-point range) and 7-8 from the foul line for 29 points. Just for good measure, he had 7 rebounds and three steals. The Hilltoppers are headed to a showdown with UCLA.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Plenty On the Line for Sunday

In the East Region, #7 Butler squares off against #2 Tennessee at 2:30 pm ET. The winner will advance to the regional semifinal to play the victor of #6 Oklahoma and #3 Louisville slated for 5:00 pm ET.

Tennessee is favored by 4 1/2 over the Bulldogs, but the Vols could have their hands full with Butler's style, which, like Tennessee's, is very guard oriented. The advantage Tennessee may have is with their forwards, Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith, both capable of lighting it up inside.

Louisville is favored by 7 over Oklahoma, though this could go either way. Both teams have significant inside presence players and foul trouble could be the deciding factor. Louisville needs production from David Padgett, who was pretty silent in Louisville's opening round win over Boise State. Oklahoma took out a tough St. Joseph's team and are poised for the upset.

#9 Arkansas faces a challenge from the tournament's top seed, North Carolina at 5:20 pm ET. While the Razorbacks took out a disheveled Indiana squad, the Tar Heels emptied their bench in a first-round rout of Mount St. Mary's and are favored by 11 points, the biggest point spread of the day. Look for Carolina to advance.

In the blown up Midwest Region, #13 Siena faces #12 Villanova at 12:10 pm. Siena crushed Vanderbilt in their opener, while Villanova came from 18 points down to slip past Clemson. Siena is getting 5 points, which is something of a surprise. Somebody is going to advance from this game to face #1 Kansas in the regional semi.

Glendale Golfs Manitoba
Glendale Manitoba Golf Winnipeg Golfs.
The most interesting matchup of the day pits #10 Davidson against #2 Georgetown at 2:50 pm ET. Davidson has the nation's longest winning streak at 23 straight, while Georgetown is simply a monster, with abnormal height at all positions. The Hoyas are five point favorites, but they'll have to find a way to slow down Stephen Curry, who lit up Gonzaga for 40 in their opener.

Georgetown will defend well, but fouls could be a factor, especially for center Roy Hibbert. If he's allowed to roam free in the lane, it's going to be a long afternoon for the undersized Wildcats. Davidson has faced big men in the past, but Hibbert is really huge and has experience and post moves which make him difficult to defend.

In the South Region, #7 Miami goes up against #2 Texas at 2:15 pm ET. The Longhorns have a plethora of weapons and Miami may not be able to keep up on the scoreboard. If the Hurricanes are eliminated, it would leave North Carolina as the only representative remaining from the ACC.

#8 Mississippi State has an uphill climb with #1 Memphis at 4:45 pm ET, but the Bulldogs are one of the better defensive clubs in the nation. Memphis is favored by 9, but this one figures to be much closer. An upset is definitely a possibility. The winner gets Michigan State in the regionals.

The West Region offers another battle of bracket busters with #13 San Diego facing #12 Western Kentucky at 2:40 pm ET. The Hilltoppers are favored by a healthy 5 1/2 after knocking off Drake in their opener, but the Toreros are hot, having won six straight including knocking off Gonzaga in the WCC tourney final and UConn in round one. This one is really up for grabs, with the winner advancing to a date with the region's #1 seed, UCLA.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

No Fluke: Duke Goes Down; Cardinal Grounds Eagles in OT

Saturday's Results

(7) West Virginia 73 (2) Duke 67
As the score indicates, Duke was overseeded, and should have been no better than a 4 seed. They became the highest-seeded team to be eliminated the first weekend as the Blue Devils could not find the basket while the Mountaineers cruise into the Sweet Sixteen.

While West Virginia shot only 40%, Duke hit at just 38%, knocking down just 5 of 22 3-point attempts. They were also badly outrebounded, 48-31, which gave West Virginia an excess of second chances.

Joe Alexander was solid, with 22 points and 11 rebounds, but the best stat line belonged to Joe Mazzulla, who scored 13 points, hauled in 11 rebounds (5 offensive) and dished 8 assists.

(3) Wisconsin 72 (11)Kansas State 55
Michael Beasley got his 23 points, but the Wisconsin Badgers put on a clinic on how to defend the three-point line, pressuring K-State into a dreadful 0-13 performance from beyond the arc. Trevon Hughes led the Badger scoring attack with 25 points, hitting 4 of 9 3-pointers.

(1) Kansas 75 (9) UNLV 56
The Jayhawks simply rolled past the Runnin' Rebels in the second half, holding UNLV to 27% shooting for the game. Kansas controlled the board, 40-28, shot 58% and could have made it worse as they were only 12-19 from the foul line.

(3) Xavier 85 (6) Purdue 78
Purdue put up a good fight, but the Musketeers shot 54% for the game to move to the next round in the West region. Despite getting 17 fewer shots from the floor, Xavier got Purdue players in foul trouble and got three of them to foul out, while going to the line 33 times, hitting 26 freebies. Grew Lavender get everything going, scoring 18 points and handing out 9 assists.

(4) Washington St. 61 (5) Notre Dame 41
Amazingly, the Cougars held the Irish to their lowest point total of the season - by a bunch. The previous low for Notre Dame was 64 points in a loss to Baylor way back on November 18. The Irish averaged 80.6 points coming into the game, but the Cougars only allowed 80 or more points once all season.

The Irish shooting performance was embarrassingly bad, at 25% from the field, including just 3 of 17 from 3-point range. Luke Harangody, usually the complete player, was just 3-of-17 for 10 points, though he did haul in 22 boards. Washington State's Kyle Weaver was outstanding, with 15 points and 9 rebounds.

(3) Stanford 82 (6) Marquette 81 OT Jerel McNeal did all he could, including three straight 3-pointers in overtime, but Brook Lopez hit a tough baseline bank shot with 1.2 seconds left in OT to lift the Cardinal. McNeal and Lopez both had 30 points, with all but two of Lopez' coming in the second half and overtime.

(5) Michigan State 65 (4) Pittsburgh 54
Pitt came in winners of seven straight, including four for the Big East tourney championship, but they ran into a buzzsaw in Michigan State. The Spartans have overcome adversity throughout the season and now head to the South Regional to face the winner of tomorrow's Memphis - Miss. St. game.

Guards Drew Neitzel and Kalin Lucas took it to the Panthers, scoring 21 and 19 respectively. Neitzel did his damage from outside, hitting 5-of-8 threes, while Lucas produced dazzling drives to the tin for his scores.

Pitt was ice-cold from beyond the arc, hitting only 2-of-18 three-point attempts.

(1) UCLA 53 (9) Texas A&M
The Bruins met their sternest test of the tourney, and overcame a stiff challenge from the Aggies. Darren Collison scored 21 points and Kevin Love had 19 and blocked 7 shots.

Conference Scoreboard
(Teams entered in parentheses)
Through Saturday, March 22
ACC (4): 3-2; Winners: Duke, Miami, North Carolina; Losers: Clemson, Duke

A-10 (3): 2-2; Winners: Xavier (2); Losers: Temple, St. Joseph's

Big East (8): 8-4; Winners: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, West Virginia (2), Georgetown, Louisville, Villanova; Losers: Connecticut, Notre Dame, Marquette, Pittsburgh

Big Ten (4): 5-2; Winners: Michigan St. (2), Purdue, Wisconsin (2); Losers: Indiana, Purdue

Big 12 (6): 6-3; Winners: Kansas (2), Kansas St., Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma; Losers: Baylor, Kansas State, Texas A&M

Conf-USA (1): 1-0; Winners: Memphis; Losers: None

Mountain West (2): 1-2; Winners: UNLV; Losers: BYU, UNLV

PAC-10 (6): 6-3; Winners: Stanford (2), Washington St. (2), UCLA (2); Losers: USC, Arizona, Oregon

SEC (6): 3-3; Winners: Tennessee, Mississippi St., Arkansas; Losers: Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt

WCC (3): 1-2; Winners: San Diego; Losers: Gonzaga, St. Mary's

All others (22): 4-17; Winners: Davidson, Western Kentucky, Butler, Siena; Losers: Portland St., Kent St., Oral Roberts, Cornell, Belmont, Winthrop, Miss. Valley St., George Mason, CS Fullerton, American, Drake, South Alabama, UMBC, Austin Peay, Mt. St. Mary's, Boise St., Texas Arlington

Friday's Late Results, Conference Scoreboard, Saturday Tips

Late Friday Results
(3) Louisville 79 (14) Boise St. 61
A real team win for Pitino's kids. Nine players accounted for anywhere from 3 to 15 points. Only Terrence Williams played more than 30 minutes (37). Next up, Oklahoma.

(9) Arkansas 86 (8) Indiana 72
Freshman Eric Gordon had the yips and finished with just 8 points on 3-15 shooting, including an ugly 0-6 from the 3-point line. The Hogs were led by their usual leader, Sonny Weems, who was nothing short of spectacular, hitting 12 of 14 shots (3-of-4 3-pointers) for 31 points. Teammate Darian Townes had a quiet but effective double-double, with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Arkansas should give #1 seed North Carolina a solid effort.

(12) Villanova 75 (5) Clemson 69
Add this to the list of upsets from Tampa. The Wildcats were down 18 points with five minutes left in the first half, but then began attacking the Tigers and clawed all the way back to an emotional win. Clemson went cold down the stretch, and ended up hoisting 33 3-pointers, hitting just 9 of them. Scottie Reynolds led the Villanova effort with 21 points, including 4-of-5 treys.

(1) Memphis 87 (16) Texas Arlington 63
As expected, Memphis rolled past their first-round opponent, bettering the Mavericks in every statistical category, even free throw shooting, which is the Tigers' weak spot. They play a very aggressive Mississippi State on Sunday.

Conference Scoreboard
(Teams entered in parentheses)
Through Friday, March 21
ACC (4): 3-1; Winners: Duke, Miami, North Carolina; Losers: Clemson
A-10 (3): 1-2; Winners: Xavier; Losers: Temple, St. Joseph's
Big East (8): 7-1; Winners: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, West Virginia, Georgetown, Louisville, Villanova; Losers: Connecticut
Fish , Hunt Ducks and Waterfowl Lake Manitoba Narrows
Golf, Fish Walleye , Fall Duck Hunting at Resort Lake Manitoba Narrows Home Cottage Lot.
Big Ten (4): 3-1; Winners: Michigan St., Purdue, Wisconsin; Losers: Indiana
Big 12 (6): 5-1; Winners: Kansas, Kansas St., Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma; Losers: Baylor
Conf-USA (1): 1-0; Winners: Memphis; Losers: None
Mountain West (2): 1-1; Winners: UNLV; Losers: BYU
PAC-10 (6): 3-3; Winners: Stanford, Washington St., UCLA; Losers: USC, Arizona, Oregon
SEC (6): 3-3; Winners: Tennessee, Mississippi St., Arkansas; Losers: Georgia, Kentucky, Vanderbilt
WCC (3): 1-2; Winners: San Diego; Losers: Gonzaga, St. Mary's
All others (22): 4-17; Winners: Davidson, Western Kentucky, Butler, Siena; Losers: Portland St., Kent St., Oral Roberts, Cornell, Belmont, Winthrop, Miss. Valley St., George Mason, CS Fullerton, American, Drake, South Alabama, UMBC, Austin Peay, Mt. St. Mary's, Boise St., Texas Arlington

Saturday's Best

(2) Duke (7) West Virginia
West region matchup will be another test for an unusually undermanned Duke squad. After just barely escaping Belmont, West Virginia poses similar problems for the Blue Devils with Bob Huggins' flow offense and a variety of scoring threats. Duke looks like the worst #2 seed in the tourney and it's now just a matter of when they make their exit. The Blue Devils are slim 3-point favorites.

(3) Wisconsin (11) Kansas State
If there's a team out there capable of slowing down K-State's Michael Beasley, it's the Badgers, and they'd better be up to the task or they'll find themselves on a plane home, like USC, after Beasley and the Wildcats tore them apart. Wisconsin is a patient, disciplined club, winners of 11 straight, and their mission is a Final Four berth, so getting to the Sweet Sixteen is just another part of the plan. Wisconsin is favored by 4 1/2.

(4) Pittsburgh (5) Michigan State
An excellent South region matchup to finish the evening pits the Panthers against the resilient Spartans, who seem to rise to the occasion whenever disaster seems likely. Pitt is favored by a mere two points, though they look like the better team overall, having put together a remarkable surge, winning six straight and eight of their last nine. Remember, they received the automatic bid by winning the Big East tournament, and while Georgetown, whom they beat in the final, ended up a #2 seed, Pitt was relegated to a #4. This might be the sweetest spot the Panthers have found themselves in all season.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Regions Scrambled as Upsets Rule Second Day

Early Games

(2) Tennessee 72 (15) American 57
Chris Lofton was just 1-7, including 0-5 from beyond the arc, but the Vols didn't need him in a walkover win.

(10) Davidson 82 (7) Gonzaga 76
Stephen Curry lit up the Zags for 40 on 14-22 shooting, including 8-of-10 threes. That's 23 straight for the Wildcats, the longest win streak in the country.

(12) Western Kentucky 101 (5) Drake 99 OT
The Hilltoppers are the real deal, because Drake was certainly no pushover. This sets up a complete bracket buster with San Diego, upset winners over UConn. The tourney is officially in madness, at least in the West region.

(7) Miami (FL) 78 (10) St. Mary's 64
All of a sudden the Hurricanes don't look so bad. Texas is next up, however.

(7) Butler 81 (10) South Alabama 61
Pete Campbell was absolutely lights out for the Bulldogs, hitting 8-of-10 3-pointers and tallying 26 points. Butler looks ready for Tennessee on Sunday.

(2) Georgetown 66 (15) UMBC 47
This was never close, and somewhat unfair to the kids from Baltimore. Georgetown will have their hands full with Davidson on Sunday.

(13) San Diego 70 (4) Connecticut 69 OT
Proven that UConn was a team of pretenders rather than contenders. San Diego earned their way in, winning the WCC. Now, they're the only one - of three - left.

(2) Texas 74 (15) Austin Peay 54
A.J. Abrams, 26 points. Dominic James, 10 points, 10 boards. The Longhorns have plenty of weapons.

Late Games

(1) North Carolina 113 (16) Mount St. Mary's 74
Just in case nobody noticed, this was easily the most points scored by any winning team in the opening round and the 2nd-largest margin of victory. The Tar Heels spread the wealth around, as 14 different players scored.

(6) Oklahoma 72 (11) St. Joseph's 64
Two down from the Atlantic-10, leaving only Xavier from that conference. This makes the Big 12 5-1 for the opening round. Somewhat of a surprise as only Baylor lost.

(13) Siena 83 (4) Vanderbilt 62
Quite the shocker as Kenny Hasbrouck scored 30 and four other Saints followed him into double figures. Vandy got behind early and could just never make up any ground on this very well-coached group. Looks like they'll be up against it if they have to play Clemson. Should be a fun one.

(8) Mississippi St. 76 (9) Oregon 69
Charles Rhodes scored 34 points and pulled down 9 boards, but the story was the Bulldog defense and the collapse of Oregon. The Ducks hit just 2 of 20 from outside the arc in the second half as Miss. St. rallied from 8 down.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day One in the Books: Beware the Mighty Bruins; Big East, 4-0

(5) Notre Dame 68 (12) George Mason 50
This was over early as George Mason couldn't hit anything, opening the game 1-10 from 3-point range. The Irish quickly opened up a double-digit lead and were never threatened. Luke Harangody led the Irish with 18 points.

(3) Wisconsin 71 (14) Cal St. Fullerton 56
The Badgers began to dominate the interior midway through the first half and continued to wreak havoc inside. Wisconsin brought plenty of heft inside, a stifling defense and an efficient half-court offense, but Fullerton countered with an up-temp offense and stayed close, scoring in transition. Wisconsin held just a 2-point lead at the break, but re-established the inside game and ran away in the second half.

The Badgers will be a tough opponent from here on out. They face Kansas St. on Saturday.

(7) West Virginia 75 (10) Arizona 65
A contentious game from the start which the Mountaineers took over early in the second half, maintaining a 4-to-9 point lead through most of the second half.

(1) UCLA 70 (16) Mississippi Valley St. 29
A complete blowout from start to finish, the Bruins were just too good for the undersized Delta Devils. Kevin Love nearly outscored the opposition himself, scoring 20 points. The Delta Devils' 29-point effort was a tournament all-time low.

Conference Scoreboard
(Teams entered in parentheses)
Through Thursday, March 20
ACC (4): 1-0; Winners: Duke; Losers: None
A-10 (3): 1-1; Winners: Xavier; Losers: Temple
Big East (8): 4-0; Winners: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, West Virginia; Losers: None
Big Ten (4): 3-0; Winners: Michigan St., Purdue, Wisconsin; Losers: None
Big 12 (6): 3-1; Winners: Kansas, Kansas St., Texas A&M; Losers: Baylor
Conf-USA (1):
Mountain West (2): 1-1; Winners: UNLV; Losers: BYU
PAC-10 (6): 3-2; Winners: Stanford, Washington St., UCLA; Losers: USC, Arizona
SEC (6): 0-2; Winners: None; Losers: Georgia, Kentucky
WCC (3):
All others (22): 0-9; Winners: None; Losers: Portland St., Kent St., Oral Roberts, Cornell, Belmont, Winthrop, Miss. Valley St., George Mason, CS Fullerton

Duke Survives #15 Belmont; Quick Exit for USC

(3) Stanford 77 (14) Cornell 53
The stats were even more lopsided than the score here. The Big Red shot just 31% to Stanford's 55% and the Cardinal outrebounded Cornell 47 to 25.

(2) Duke 71 (15) Belmont 70
The pace of this first half would have buried most normal teams, but the Blue Devils and Bruins pushed the offense relentlessly, launching threes from everywhere on the floor.

By the first timeout of the second half the fatigue could be seen on both teams, but especially Duke, which began to turn the ball over and leave Belmont players with open looks.

Fish , Hunt Ducks and Waterfowl Lake Manitoba Narrows
Golf, Fish Walleye , Fall Duck Hunting at Resort Lake Manitoba Narrows Home Cottage Lot.
The Bruins actually led by a point late, but Gerald Henderson scored on a driving layup with 11.8 seconds left and Belmont could not convert another score.

(11) Kansas St. 80 (6) USC 67
This was supposed to be about the two finest freshmen in the country, USC's O.J. Mayo and K-State's Michael Beasley, and while the two did lead their respective teams in scoring, the supporting casts reminded us that it's still very much a team game. The up-and-down Wildcats actually outplayed the Trojans in the most important game aspects, outshooting them, 48-42%, and outrebounding, 44-27.

(4) Washington St. 71 (3) Winthrop 40
Tied 29-all at the break, Washington St. scored the first nine points of the second half and limited Winthrop to just 11 second half points in a runaway victory.

(9) Texas A&M 67 (8) BYU 62
The Cougars could have been blown out of this game, but after starting out 0-5 from the 3-point line and down 22-12 at one point, BYU rallied to a 29-all tie at the break.

Josh Carter scored 26 for the Aggies, hitting 6-of-10 3-pointers to lead all scorers.

Mid-day Madness: Big East Notches a Pair of Wins

(6) Marquette 74 (11) Kentucky 66
Kentucky turned this into a street brawl, and nearly pulled off the upset, though Marquette's speed and skill players eventually triumphed.

Kentucky's Joe Crawford scored a career-high 35 points in his final game as a collegian, but it was not enough as the Golden Eagles made their free throws down the stretch and defended the three-point line well.

Jerel McNeal scored 20 for Marquette, while his teammates, Dominic James and Wesley Matthews hit a combined 17-20 from the foul line.

Marquette is likely to face Stanford on Saturday, as the Cardinal is a heavy favorite over Cornell later today.

(8) UNLV 71 (9) Kent St. 58
The Runnin' Rebels held Kent State to an NCAA tournament record-low ten points in the fist half and cruised to an easy first round win. Joe Darger had 19 and Wink Adams threw in 18 points. The Rebels will find the going a little rougher in their second round game against Kansas.

(6) Purdue 90 (11) Baylor 79
As many had suspected, the Baylor Bears, in addition to three or four other Big 12 entrants to the tourney, did not belong. Purdue stymied the Bears, who were just 5-8 down the stretch, making Baylor's appearance in the NCAA tourney a short and forgettable one.

Purdue's balanced scoring included 8 players with between 8 and 17 points apiece.

Purdue advances to a second round matchup with Xavier on Saturday.

(4) Pittsburgh 82 (13) Oral Roberts 63
One of the hottest teams heading in, Pittsburgh went about the job of dissecting Oral Roberts with all the efficiency of a skilled surgeon. The Panthers held the Golden Eagles to 34% shooting in the rout.

Levance Fields dominated the proceedings, scoring 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including hitting 4-of-7 three pointers.

Early Returns: Xavier, Kansas, Michigan St. Advance

(3) Xavier 73 (14) Georgia 61
Xavier had their hands full with the determined Bulldogs, finding themselves down by nine points at the end of the first half. Georgia shot 55% (16-29) to Xavier's 36% (10-28) in the opening period.

In the second half, the Bulldogs began to unravel under Xavier's relentless pressure defense, picking up their 7th team foul and putting the Musketeers into the bonus with 12 minutes still to play.

With the score 46-36 in favor of Georgia, Xavier went on a 16-3 run to completely turn the game around. Consecutive 3-pointers by B.J. Raymond and freshman Dante Jackson gave the Musketeers a 52-49 lead with 7:18 remaining. Jackson's trey was his first shot of the game and it was huge as Xavier led the rest of the way.

As time wore down, Georgia continued to turn the ball over and Xavier kept penetrating, scoring and hitting their free throws.

The free throw disparity was glaring. Xavier hit on 27 of 33 attempts, while the Bulldogs only went to the line just 5 times, hitting three.

Josh Duncan led all scorers with 20 points. The Musketeers advance, and will play the winner of the Purdue-Baylor game on Saturday.

(1) Kansas 85 (16) Portland St. 61
As expected, the Jayhawks had few problems handling Portland State. Kansas led from the opening basket, quickly establishing a double-digit advantage and keeping the Vikings at bay the rest of the way.

Brandon Rush led the way with 18 points. Darrell Arthur had 17 and Mario Chalmers scored 16.

(5) Michigan St. 72 (12) Temple 61
The Spartans couldn't buy a basket from the outside, but got plenty of scoring in the lane and in transition against the Owls. Temple had problems from the very start finding open shots, as the Spartans' defense kept everything on the perimeter and contested every shot.

Drew Neitzel finally hit his first shot from the field with under a minute to go in the first half, a three-pointer which gave the Spartans a 10-point lead just before the half. While Neitzel finished with only 5 points, hitting only 1-8 from 3-point range, his overall floor generalship was a key to the Michigan State win.

Countdown to a Championship

64-32-16-8-4-2-1. Today, 64; by April 7, there will be just one. One national champion. One shining moment, as the song says. The countdown from 64 begins today.

This is day one of two of the greatest annual event in college basketball, when all 64 teams will battle to the final buzzer. By Friday night, after 32 games, there will be 32 winners and 32 teams heading home.

It all begins at 12:20 ET, when the miracle men of Georgia, who, after going 4-12 in the SEC, earned an automatic bid by winning their conference tournament. Seeded #14, the Bulldogs tip with the #3 Xavier Musketeers.

#1 seeds in action today are UCLA and Kansas. North Carolina and Memphis begin play on Friday. For the Bruins, their foe, #16 Mississippi Valley St., presents no more a challenge than the usual practice. The Bruins are favored by a whopping 32 points. That game is scheduled to begin as the final game of the day for the West region, at 9:55 ET.

Kansas will take to the hardwood much earlier, as the opener in the Midwest, at 12:25, facing #16 Portland State. The Jayhawks, winners of the Big 12, are 22 1/2 point favorites.

I'll be blogging on and off most of the day and into the night, with highlights and analysis of key games.

Stay tuned. It's about to get serious.

Monday, March 17, 2008

NCAA Tournament: Matchup Mayhem

While the selection committee may not have picked the very best 65 teams for the tournament, they did come up with a number of intriguing first-round contests.

Here are some must-see games which will resonate through the college hoops universe all the way to San Antonio:

East Region
(8) Indiana vs. (9) Arkansas - The talented Indiana backcourt of freshman Eric Gordon and sophomore Armon Bassett should have their way with Arkansas' Gary Ervin and Patrick Beverley. The Hoosiers will also have JaMarcus Ellis and Jordan Crawford for extended periods, putting further pressure on the Arkansas guards.

Up front, however, it's a different story, where D.J. White, an experienced 6'9" post presence, will be hounded by the likes of Darian Townes, Vincent Hunter, and the ever-dangerous Sonny Weems, all seniors.

While Indiana may still be reeling from the departure of coach Kelvin Sampson, the Razorbacks have no such concerns, as coach John Pelphrey looks like he's going to be around a while. Both he and Hoosiers interim coach Dan Dakich are seeking their first tournament wins, and this one could go down to the wire.

It will be interesting to see if Gordon takes over the game from the backcourt or the Hogs run wild in the lane. The winner earns the right to play North Carolina in the next round. No picnic and little time to prepare.

Midwest Region
(6) USC vs. (11) Kansas State This may not be that great of a game, or it might, considering K-State's late-season meltdown and USC's arrival as a premiere West coast team loaded with studs. The big marquee players are here: Wildcats freshman Michael Beasley may be the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, so this is his chance to showcase his talents to a national audience.

Likewise, USC's O.J. Mayo may not last into his sophomore year. The Trojans have the better team overall, though they start all sophs and freshmen. Forwards Taj Gibson and Davon Jefferson should be the difference-makers for USC, which should advance and could be a final four team if everything falls into place.

Look for USC to win this one going away, though holding Beasley under 40 may not be possible. A Kansas St. win would be a pretty remarkable upset, but future NBA stars will be on parade for both teams.

South Region
(7) Miami vs. (10) St. Mary's - If anyone picked either of these teams to be in the tournament preseason, they should get a full scholarship to Bracketville U.

The surprising Gaels of St. Mary's performed admirably through the rugged West Coast Conference schedule, and have what amounts to an international lineup with four Australians on the squad. Guard Todd Golden hits at 45% from 3-point range and 6'11" center Omar Samhan can be dominant in the post. The supporting cast is very athletic and long and can play with anyone.

For the Hurricanes, it was a season in which they exceeded expectations. They're an undersized group that can leap and run with any team in the country, so they are prime for upsets should they survive the opening round. Watch for Dwayne Collins and Jack McClinton to do most of the scoring and everyone else to crash the boards. These guys upset Duke earlier in the season and are one of only four ACC to make the tourney.

This could be the wildest game of the first round and it's a shame one of these exciting teams has to lose.

West Region
(5) Drake vs. (12) Western Kentucky - Surprising nearly everyone except themselves, the Drake Bulldogs - the only entrant out of the Missouri Valley Conference - may have the best team concept in the country, whipping the ball around the perimeter until Adam Emmenecker, a 6;1" senior dashes into the lane with the ball and either scores on a layup or dishes out to a teammate for an open three. These guys are also very adept passers who employ lots of back-door plays.

The Bulldogs can play stingy defense and will throttle down any hot shooters with a stifling zone or rough man-to-man.

The 27-6 Hilltoppers, winners of the Sun Belt tourney, have a slew of shooters who can light it up from anywhere on the floor, though they prefer to do their damage from behind the three-point line. Led by senior Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky may have trouble stopping Drake, but they won't have any problem finding shots.

The flow of the game will be intense and all-important. If the Hilltoppers get off early, they may make it hard for Drake to come back, though the Bulldogs have the kind of grit and heart to overcome early setbacks. This one ought to be a barn-raising good time with the winner set on upsetting another team in the second round.

Tomorrow: Locks, Bracket Busters and Definite Maybes

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bracketology: Georgia Plays Way In; Say UNC-le

The just-released 2008 NCAA Tournament brackets contained no surprises as far as the top four teams were concerned. North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA and Kansas ended up at the top of the heap with #1 seedings.

The Tar Heels received the #1 overall seeding after topping Clemson, 86-81, in the ACC tournament final. UNC will play in the East region, Memphis in the South, UCLA in the West and Kansas in the Midwest. The Final Four will pit East vs. Midwest and South vs. West in the semifinal games.

Georgia turned in the day's best story line, beating Arkansas, 66-57, to capture the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs, 4-12 during the regular season, won four straight in the conference tourney, including wins over both Kentucky and Mississippi State on the same day. Because of the hurricane that ripped through downtown Georgia on Friday night, damaging the Georgia Dome, the scheduled game between Kentucky and Georgia was moved to the Georgia Tech campus and played on Saturday afternoon.

After winning that one, the all-Bulldogs semifinal went to Georgia and the rest, as they say, is history. Somewhat mercifully, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Arkansas also received NCAA bids, so nobody from the SEC was the victim of Georgia's fortune.

While Georgia actually earned their way in, a number of teams were very questionable choices, especially four from the Big 12 - Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Kansas State and Baylor.

None of these, nor Kansas State, reached the tournament final. The Aggies lost 5 of their last 7 regular season games; Baylor lost four straight and six of seven before finishing the regular season 3-1, then lost their first game of the conference tournament to last place Colorado.

Oklahoma may have a little better case. After finishing 9-7 in the conference, then, following a first-round bye in the conference tourney, beat Colorado, but were then buried by the Longhorns, 77-49. Texas beat the Sooners 3 times during the season by a total of 55 points. Do they really belong?

As for Kansas State, they've won just three times in their last nine games. The wins were against Missouri, Iowa State and Colorado, the three worst teams in the Big 12.

Realistically, the Big 12 should have sent two or three teams to the tournament, not six. Kansas, Texas and maybe Oklahoma were the only measurably solid choices.

From the Big East, Villanova could easily have been refused a bid. The Wildcats, 9-9 in the Big East regular season, beat two ranked teams, Pitt and UConn, by one and two points, respectively, and both games were at home. After winning their tournament opener over a depleted Syracuse squad, they were rousted by 19 points by Georgetown. At one point during the season, they lost five straight.

Another couple of questionable choices were Arizona and Oregon from the PAC-10. Arizona was 8-10 in the conference, Oregon 8-8

The six or seven teams mentioned here could easily have been replaced by any of the following: Illinois St., Southern Illinois or Creighton - all from the Missouri Valley Conference, which sends only one team, conference champion Drake - Ohio State, Virginia Tech, VCU, Wagner or New Mexico. All of these teams had records equal or better than those selected and would have added some more flavor - and representation by smaller conferences - to the tournament.

Tomorrow: Matchup Madness

Hail the Champions: Conference Titles Up for Grabs

A number of conferences wrapped up their tournaments on Saturday with more to come on Sunday. One thing's for sure: take nothing for granted. Upsets were the norm in the Big East, ACC and SEC.

Here are recaps of Saturday's key games and how they will affect the NCAA field.

Memphis 77 Tulsa 51
As expected, the Tigers swamped Tulsa and added the tournament title to their regular season conquest of Conference USA. The only question remaining is whether any teams other than Memphis will be invited to the big dance. Tulsa seems the only decent choice, but Memphis alone would make sense.

North Carolina 68 Virginia Tech 66
The Hokies have made their case for the big tourney, coming within a hair of upsetting the #1 Tar Heels. Carolina moves on to the finals on Sunday against Clemson.

Clemson 78 Duke 74
Not so shocking, Duke was vulnerable away from Cameron Indoor Arena. A tight game throughout, the Tigers made their case to the tournament committee, no matter what happens against North Carolina.

Wisconsin 65 Michigan St. 63
The Badgers took care of business to reach the finals on Sunday. If they beat Illinois, they will add the Big Ten Tournament title to their regular season trophy.

Illinois 56 Minnesota 50
The Illini got the best matchup they could ask for and took advantage, with a chance to play into the NCAA tourney with a win over Wisconsin Sunday in the finals.

Pittsburgh 74 Georgetown 65
Pittsburgh came all the way back from late-season woes and swept through the Big East field with wins over Cincinnati, Louisville, Marquette and last night, Georgetown. They are the real deal and should get a #2 or #3 seeding.

Texas 77 Oklahoma 49
Ho-hum. Texas and Kansas are the only Big 12 teams that belong.

Texas A&M 71 Kansas 77
See above comment.

Stanford 64 UCLA 67
The PAC-10 was almost as boring as the Big 12. The top four seeds ended up in the semi, and #1 UCLA topped #2 Stanford. Nothing to see here. USC and Washington St. will join these two in the NCAA field. UCLA will be the #1 seed in the West.

BYU 61 UNLV 76
This was somewhat of a shocker and nice to see, but it does create problems for the tournament selection committee. BYU won the Mountain West, and they're 27-7 overall, so expect both the Runnin' Rebels and Cougars in the tournament.

Temple 69 St. Joseph's 64
Another championship won by an underdog creates more questions for the selection committee. Xavier won the Atlantic-10 regular season, and they're no doubt about getting an at-large berth. Temple receives the automatic and St. Joseph's, 9-7 in the regular season, should be considered, as they've beaten Xavier twice in the last two weeks.

Arkansas 92 Tennessee 91
Arkansas pulled off the biggest upset of the day, cementing their credentials for the NCAAs, but Georgia, winning twice in the same day, really deserves a bid.

Georgia 60 Kentucky 56
The Bulldogs, 4-12 during the regular SEC season, topped the Wildcats to advance to the semifinals. Because of the storms that ripped up the Georgia Dome, this game was canceled Friday night and played Saturday afternoon.

Georgia 64 Mississippi St. 60
Just hours after beating Kentucky, Georgia's kids took out the SEC West champions in the semifinal of the SEC tournament. They move onto the finals against Arkansas. Oddly enough, the Razorbacks are one of the four teams that Georgia beat during the regular season, winning 82-69, back on January 19.

The Bulldogs finally evened their full season record at 16-16 with the win. If they do capture the SEC crown, they'll surely have the worst record of any team entered in the NCAA tourney, but the best story of how they got there.