Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Butler does have a chance. It's a small chance, but a chance never the less. They are definitely capable of beating Michigan State. They may be able to beat West Virgina. Duke? Not sure if anyone can beat Duke if the Dukies play up to their potential.
And certainly not if the refs start calling that moving pick in the lane thing that Butler's no. 54 likes to do.
Still stewing about that...
Baylor, Connecticut, Oklahoma and Stanford are your ladies Final Four schools. The best game and toughest test for UConn should be their semi against Baylor. If the Bears can shoot from outside, and Brittany Griner (pictured above) scores her usual points and adds 10 more blocks to her NCAA tourney record 31, they will give the Huskies all they can handle.
Your schedule: Oklahoma vs. Stanford 1900 4/4; Baylor vs. UConn 2100 4/4. Finals on 4/6 . ESPN is your network.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
There will be no purple wildcats in the Final Four, nor will there be any blue wildcats in the Final Four. For both Kansas State and Kentucky lost their Elite Eight games today.
For Kansas State, it appeared that they just didn't have their legs back after the epic match on Thursday night. That extra little burst, that extra hop, that ability to get the loose balls, and to fully execute plays was missing all game. Even with that, the Wildcats were able to obtain the lead briefly in the second half with about 5 minutes left in the game, but could not hold on. The trouble for K State was on the offensive end. K State shot just 38% from the field and 50% from the foul line (misses on free throws amounted to 7 points). Both teams had a lot of turn overs and steals, but it just seemed as if Butler was always just a step quicker to the ball, and after awhile, this was not something Kansas State could overcome. Final score: 63-56 Butler Bulldogs. A disappointing loss for sure, and one I think those not leaving the Wildcats' lineup will remember next year.
I don't much care for Kentucky--their redneck past, and hiring dirtier-then-the-usual-win-at-all-costs John Calipari are just two of the reasons I find this college team irritating. I was rooting for West Virgina--I've rooted for them before--remember Pittsnogle? The Mountaineers came through, winning 73-66. The turning point for this game came early--between the 11:00 minute mark and the 6:00 minute mark. Kentucky had a chance to put West Virgina very far behind. The Mountaineers were somewhat overwhelmed by Kentucky's size. But they kept their discipline, strung together some 3 point baskets and empty Wildcat trips and took control they did not relinquish the rest of the game. A clue that Kentucky was starting to struggle with composure was the Technical Foul given to DeAndre Liggins at the 1:37 mark. There were several times when coaches for Kentucky had to spend time calming their players. Shooting the three was profitable for WV (10/23) and a problem for Kentucky (4/32--below the Mendoza Line), and Kentucky had more turnovers.
Only one #1 seed remains in the tournament at this point, and that would be Duke. Duke takes on the lone remaining Big 12 team, Baylor. Needless to say, this blogger would like to see a Final Four with no #1 seeds left...
Friday, March 26, 2010
Lots of ink and bloggy bits have already been used to try and explain the Kansas State-Xavier game and my time is short with this WiFi access. I'll tell you these things: Go watch the game. Watch the clutch performances by players on both sides. Be amazed at the guts, athleticism, and willingness to take chances by both squads. A game like this is the sort of game that shows why we all can get lost in the drama and beauty of sport.
Wildcats to the Final Four: will need to beat Butler tomorrow. Other match up is Kentucky against West Virgina.
Today's results: St. Mary's thrashed by Baylor. Tennessee by Ohio State in a bit of an upset. Both late games close--Kansas foe UNI hanging in with Michigan State.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Just too much...too much Skylar Diggins for one. She had 31 points and 7 steals for the Irish. It really looked like the legs wore out on the Lady Cats, who only play 6-7 deep. The Irish went 10 deep on their bench and this makes a difference in a one-and-done tournament. Still, a great effort, and it seems to me, that like the men, we have something to look forward to next year.
Apparently UVM ran out to a 20-10 score with the lead, but Notre Dame has shown their quicker hands and faster team speed, and caused the Lady Catamounts to have heaps of turnovers. The trend has continued into the second half and now fouls are starting to stack up. A very long hill to climb with about 10 minutes left in the game.
From the comments section of the Burlington Free Press, by "jonhemlock"
written by Al Lesar of the South Bend Tribune: (I hope he eats these words.) BELOW
Another concern might be the level of play. The talent gap between the Irish and Cleveland State was wide. The chasm between Notre Dame and Tuesday’s foe, 10th-seeded Vermont, is equally large.
The score shouldn’t be close.
Two Vermont star players - Courtnay Pilypaitis and May Kotsopoulos - wouldn’t start at Notre Dame, but could play in the Irish rotation. Can’t say that about any other Catamounts.
It’s been 17 years that women’s basketball has had the 64-team field. In that time, No. 1 seeds are 67-1 against No. 16 - the only loss being Harvard’s upset of Stanford in 1998. Likewise, No. 2 seeds are 68-0 against No. 15.
The closest game for a Nos. 1 or 2 seed last weekend was Notre Dame’s 28-point win. The average margin of victory for the top seeds was 37 points, and 32 for No. 2s.
...uncooked, without sauce.
Tip is at 6:16 pm central time.
"...Kansas City, goin' to Kansas City..."
Monday, March 22, 2010
Well, we are pretty darned excited here at "You're Looking Live" as the old alma mater, the University of Vermont won their first round game against 7 seed Wisconsin and advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA women's tourney. If the Lady Cats can beat #2 seed Notre Dame, they will be in the Sweet 16 and--get this folks--come out to Kansas City to play!!!! (Sorry, like I say, kind of excited.) In the Sprint Center, even!!! (Sorry, italics are better than bold or caps, right?)
While, UConn, Stanford, and Tennessee are a step (or several, in the case of UConn) ahead of much of women's college basketball, there has developed a deep enough pool of talent that there are now more upsets in the tournament then ever before. Two 11 seeds (Arkansas Little Rock, San Diego State), a 10 seed (Vermont), and a 12 seed (Green Bay) won over the weekend. While I would doubt that we'll see any of these teams in San Antonio April 6th, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see one of them in a Sweet 16 venue near you. March is getting Mad on the distaff side, too.
Well, now that some of the dust has settled, we can assess the debris field left in the NCAA men's tournament.
- Three out of four number one seeds survived--even thrived. Kentucky, Duke and Syracuse thrashed their opponents.
- There are 3 double digit seeded teams and a #9 seed left.
- Conference representation: Big 10: 3 Big 12: 2 Big East: 2 SEC: 2 ACC: 1 Pac 10: 1 Midmajor conferences: 5
- Hard to predict who will emerge from the mess the Kansas loss wrought in the Midwest bracket--we have Northern Iowa (9), Michigan St (5, but hobbled by a critical injury), Tennessee (6), and Ohio State (2) to choose from.
- Syracuse (1)-Kansas State (2) would be a good game in the West--but better be sure that the Emergency Medical Services are on standby.
- Heart pick: Baylor (3) over Duke (1) in the South.
- To me, Kentucky is the Dallas Cowboys of college basketball. Frankly, also, I find the redneck history of Kentucky hard to stomach. But I am afraid that no one left in the East is strong enough to take out the Wildcats. Maybe West Virgina can lull them to sleep the way they did Missouri.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
This three point goal, by Northern Iowa's Ali Farokhmanesh, was the final dagger in KU's chances (Kansas City Star)
Bench and fans both stunned at the proceedings (Kansas City Star)I was going to wait and blog all at once on the results of the first two rounds of the NCAA men's tournament, but this upset requires a note. Kansas had one lead at 2-0, and then played behind all game. While the numbers don't seem that horrible, it seemed the Jayhawks could not make a shot when they really needed it, committed fouls they didn't need to commit, and didn't play team offense. Watching the highlights, you see a fabulous behind the back pass, a terrific ally-oop and a great job breaking the full court press by Northern Iowa. That break of the press led to a 3 point dagger that eventually proved to be the game winner for Northern Iowa. When you watch offensive highlights of Kansas, you see players exerting individual effort to make hoops and it seemed the offensive end was presenting great difficulties to Kansas.
Kansas has danced with danger a few times during the course of this season and this tournament. Eventually they found an opponent that could resist the pressure of a Kansas run and prevail. Pretty much a bummer, and a stunner. Where I was watching, no one had much to say after the game was over.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Kansas gets to go to familiar Ford Arena in Oklahoma City for the NCAAs. The bracket doesn't impress me greatly. Names that jump out as possible threats include Tennessee, Georgetown, Oklahoma State and Ohio State. There are lots of teams in the bracket that are frequent tournament underachievers.
The potential for stubbing one's toe is always there. But this bracket just doesn't seem that threatening.
There'll be more bracket related rantings later, but that will do for now.
It's still light out! Ah, the wonders of Daylight Savings Time...
The University of Vermont men's basketball team is seeded 16th and will go to Buffalo and play Syracuse.
One good thing for this mid-western UVM fan: It is not Kansas.
Another good thing: not traveling across the country as we have sometimes had to in the past.
One bad thing...do ya really think we could sneak up on Syracuse again?
Women's brackets out tomorrow at 7 pm eastern.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
OK, this is the sort of game it was:
UVM-----35 20 55
Hartford 17 33 50
A game of two halves. Vermont had large double digit leads in the first half and beginning of the second half, but Hartford, like any good team, had a spurt in 'em. A very good spurt, that got them within 3 with 2:15 left in the game. After that, the game looked like a normal game, except for Vermont's nerve racking free throw shooting. The team stats look pretty even in the end, but I bet to watch, this looked like two, no, make it three different basketball games. Vermont, then, is for sure, dancing in the NCAAs on the ladies side too.
TEAM STATS SUMMARY
Field Goals:-----------19-59 (32.2%)--------18-47 (38.3%)
Free Throws:---------11-20 (55.0%)--------11-13 (84.6%)
3-pointers:------------6-14 (42.9%)---------3-15 (20.0%)
Rebounds (Off):-------36 (15)---------------30 (4)
Big East Tournament Champion...
...and Big East regular season champion University of Connecticut
There's been much talk in the women's basketball world that the University of Connecticut women's team is too good and impossible to beat. Right now the UConn ladies are on a 72 game winning streak. Their most recent win came at the expense of #9 West Virgina and the final score was 60-32 this past Wednesday. West Virgina was unable to score against UConn for over 11 minutes. The win gave UConn the Big East Tournament title.
So if you are, say, Nebraska or Texas A & M, what could you do to prepare for UConn? This is what I would do: I would take a page from the Canadian gold medal women's hockey team and got find a men's team to practice against. Seriously. I would try to find a team that was similar to UConn in depth and height configuration. I would want to find a group of guys that knew each other and could play as a team together. Maybe an intramural team, a small college, junior college or really good high school team. I would have them learn UConn's stuff and play like UConn plays: the defense they play, the offense they play. In fact, if I was Nebraska, I would have already been working on this, since I knew I would be in the NCAAs regardless of the outcome of the Big 12 tourney. I would then let the boys play my girls in practice. I would set up game situations. I would play 10-20 minutes of real play with refs and everything. Raising the level of play in practice will show both the coach and the players what will be required to conquer the University of Connecticut women's basketball team. I really think this could give a good team a good chance against the Huskies.
UConn: quick to the hoop, as this West Virgina defender discovered.
Strong to the hoop too. Look at those muscles!
Photos from ctpost.com.
I never realized that I didn't write up the Big 12 men's semi's--big oops. Well, Kansas beat Texas A&M in another game where they didn't play their best...and Kansas State pretty much owned Baylor...so, right now, Kansas State and Kansas are playing in the finals.
The score right this minute is KU 62, K State 52 with about 5 minutes left to play. I was going to go watch, but it may be too late. Upon examining the in-game stats, I see that no one is shooting very well for K State, as a team they are 22/61 (36%) They are 4/8 from the free throw line. Kansas is 21/48 (43%) but 22/25 (88%) from the foul line.
Both teams are getting some nice bench play, as the starters have struggled, but my words about the importance of free throw shooting are coming true. That's 18 extra points for KU from the charity stripe. That outweighs the extra points K State has for being 8/19 from beyond the 3 point line while KU is just 2/8 from downtown.
OK, lots of fouls on K State, none on KU? Surprise, with 2:47 left in the game, K State has committed 18 personal fouls and Kansas has committed 12 personal fouls. That tells me that the Wildcats are fouling people in the act of shooting and the Jayhawks are not.
Kansas has 9 turnovers, Kansas St 5, so a pretty clean game from that perspective.
Kansas must be attacking the hoop. It will be interesting to see if the Jayhawks' leading scorers are Aldrich, a Morris twin and Collins. All are either inside players or can drive to the basket.
Game's over, Kansas wins 72-64--here are team stats below. I think the above analysis holds together pretty well. Amazing what you can glean from the play-by-play and stats!
Marcus Morris led KU with 18 points off the bench, Collins had 12 and Aldrich 10. Tyrel Reed, also a bench player, had 15 points. For K State, guards Clemente and Pullen had 17 and 13 respectively. The Wildcats' starting front line had a grand total of 11 points. Forward Jamar Samuel came off the K State bench to get 14 points.
Yup, free throws made a difference. Congratulations to the University of Kansas, Big 12 regular season and tournament champs.
|Field Goals||24-68 (35.3%)||23-52 (44.2%)|
|Free Throws||8-14 (57.1%)||24-31 (77.4%)|
|3-pointers||8-22 (36.4%)||2-8 (25.0%)|
|Rebounds (Off)||32 (14)||39 (11)|
The Texas A & M women's basketball team features three players from the Kansas City area: Junior Danielle Adams (Lee's Summit), Senior Tanisha Smith (Lincoln Prep) and red shirt Sophomore Tyra White (Hickman Mills).
A reason, besides Big 12 allegiance, to root on the Aggies in the NCAAs.
Except of course, if they play the University of Vermont.
Danielle Adams, a Kansas City product (Lee's Summit), had 22 points for the Aggies (Lincoln Journal Star)
Nebraska's ladies, who had been the only undefeated team besides UConn, lost today to Texas A and M down at Municipal Auditorium by a score of 80-70. The Aggies beat Nebraska in every way: shooting, defense, rebounding. The Cornhuskers' best player, Kelsey Griffin, spent most of the game on the bench with foul troubles.
Conference tournaments can be tricky things...
The University of Vermont men's basketball team must shoot better from the free throw line. You will not have a chance against better competition if you make only 23 out of 35 free throw attempts (65.7%)
This business with free throws is crazy. How can you shoot 8/14 (57.1%) from the 3 point line and only 65.7% from the foul line? Coaches must want to pull out their hair.
Right this minute, I bet Kansas State's Denis Clemente is clanking a free throw...
Patrick Gym--enter at your own risk! (Burlington Free Press)
Vermont gets to go dancing again. UVM overcame a game Boston University team for an 83-70 victory. Marqus Blakely had 24 points and 18 rebounds and definitely led the game in smiles. UVM never was behind in the game, leading by as many as 12 points, but BU went on a 15-4 run to bring the score to 54-53 UVM with 10:20 left. Then UVM went on a run too, to make it 60-53 with 5:48 to go. That number of points wasn't impressive, but not letting BU score in almost 5 minutes made the difference. BU never got closer than 4 points after that. Vermont made most of its free throws in the last minutes and completed the win. Ah, it's feels good!
Marqus Blakely at work. He had a monster in-yer-face jam in the second half that set the place on fire! (Burlington Free Press)
It was a joy to watch Blakely--it seemed he was always smiling--of course the numbers on the score board helped... (Burlington Free Press)
Evan Fjeld contributed 9 points and 6 rebounds, playing just four days after his mother died of cancer. He gave critical minutes in the second half playing well with four fouls to break BU's run. (Burlington Free Press)
Friday, March 12, 2010
Kansas State didn't have quite enough to overcome #3 Nebraska. (Kansas City Star)
We've been a bit neglectful of the distaff side of Big 12 basketball. The women's tournament is also in Kansas City this weekend. The Big 12 women are no slouches either at Mr. Naismith's game, with at least seven teams in the Top 25 and one in the top 5. That would be Nebraska--yes, that Nebraska that thumped my Catamounts earlier this year--and the Lady Cornhuskers won this afternoon, pulling away from K State for a final of 63-46. Also in the quarter finals, Texas A&M (11), which features three women from the Kansas City metro, beat Texas (20) 77-64. The nightcap features Oklahoma St (21) against Iowa St.(14) followed by Baylor (18) verses Oklahoma (12). Yes, Kansas and Missouri's women's teams are both done; neither made it out of round one. They are playing at the Municipal Auditorium, an older venue well cared for and restored in downtown Kansas City.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Sherron Collins had 19, despite spending half the game on the pine with foul trouble. (Kansas City Star)
In a game that at times was very rough, and other times was over officiated Kansas prevailed 80-68. Basically every time it appeared that Texas Tech was going to take a lead or extend a lead, the Jayhawks had a run. They would turn Tech over for a couple trips and make baskets. KU ended Tech chances after they drew to within 2 late in the second half with a 12 point run. Kansas was pretty balanced--five KU players in double figures--Sherron Collins, even though saddled with foul trouble all game, led scorers with 19 points. Cole Aldrich had 18 rebounds. So Kansas continues on in the Big 12 tournament, and will play the winner of the Nebraska-Texas A&M game. In fact, this game is going on now--in fact is almost over--with Texas A&M ahead 62-58 with about a minute to go.
0:12 seconds left--Texas A&M has a 6 point lead and is shooting free throws--looks like the Aggies will be KU's semifinal opponent.
The Des Moines Register recently posted a look back on girls high school basketball in the state of Iowa--a 100 picture gallery of girls high school hoops. This is an amazing look back on the styles of uniforms over the years. Hat tip to the Uniwatch Blog. I picked out a couple to have a little fun with...
This photo is from 1978, the year of The Observer's graduation from high school. I have to say these uniforms were considerably more fancy then anything we had going on in Vermont!
This photo from this year's America East women's tourney shows a UVM player getting some pretty good air.
This skirt wearing Iowa high schooler circa 1961, though, had some hops!
Photo credits: top and bottom--Des Moines Register Middle--Burlington Free Press
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Head palms all around...the Tiger bench near the end of this afternoon's game (Kansas City Star)
The University of Missouri men's basketball team put out a real clunker this afternoon at the Sprint Center. The Tigers (declawed, perhaps?) lost to #12 seed Nebraska 75-60. They never led this game, shot less than 40% from the field, were beaten to almost all loose balls and just generally stunk up the place.
Missouri looked great during the first part of the season, but seems to have worn down, plus an injury to Justin Safford seemed to really affect the team--they lost more then they won after he went down with a knee injury. At this point, I don't know if Mizzou is ready for the NCAAs. It would not surprise me if they don't make the field of 65. They do have some good wins, done early in the season, so that might get them in.
Mike Anderson needs to find some height to go with the quick hands and feet that this team features, and he will have three seniors to replace.
Kind of a pppffft ending, though...
Monday, March 8, 2010
Thou shalt not pass! or shoot! (Burlington Free Press photo)After playing another ugly basketball game with the University of New Hampshire (final score 57-38), the Vermont men will play in the America East finals against #4 seed Boston University. UVM has beat BU twice already this season--hopefully they have that third win in them.
With the story in the Freeps was reader comments on going to the NCAA tournament. One comment did not think going to the Big Dance was that much of a Big Deal, to get bounced out by some basketball power (Oh, not KU again) in the first round. One writer proposed that the National Invitational Tournament would be a better choice for midmajors like UVM.
Very interesting conversation--however, I think if you were to ask the players, they would rather win a conference championship and go to the NCAAs. If I were in their shoes that is what I would say--to be a winner in your neighborhood, and then go and play in the tourney that features other conference winners and the best of the best? Even if I was UVM, and I checked my bracket and found Duke, Kansas State, Kansas or Syracuse there, I would still say, "This is the place to be."
UVM's May Kotsopoulos puts up a shot against BU (Burlington Free Press photo)
The University of Vermont women's basketball team will play ranked Hartford in the America East conference finals at Hartford Saturday March 13. The two teams have already played twice, with Hartford winning both times, 38-36 (how painful must this game have been to watch?) in Burlington and 61-51 at Hartford. This should be a close and interesting game, unless UVM does whatever they tried at Patrick Gym again...
To get there, UVM beat Boston University 69-52 on Sunday. The game featured a balanced attack with contributions from several players. Go Cats!