Archive for March 20th, 2009


March Madness… has commenced.  Here were the main highlights from yesterday.

With everyone thinking that UCONN will be the first #1 team to go down, almost everyone is picking Memphis to go to the Final Four in that region.  However, in what Memphis thought would be an easy, show-off game against UC-Northridge (a team that is supposed to be happy just to be there), Memphis got one heck of a competitor.  The game was neck and neck througout the first half, and UC-Northridge even pulled ahead towards the end of the game by 6 points.  But, like good #2 seeds do, Memphis… came back, behind some incredible 3-point shooting from Roburt Sallie.  He had 35 points, and, count ’em 10 3-pointers on the night.  And unfortunately for UC-Northridge, they fell behind again, and took some incredibly bad shots.  Memphis advances, but now has to play a rolling Maryland team.  Memphis 81, UC-Northridge 70.

Speaking of UCONN, there were some rustlings that #16 Tennessee-Chattanooga would give them a bit of run, especially since UCONN lost their best player (Jerome Dyson), and haven’t been the same team since.  And add to that, that their head coach, Jim Calhoun, didn’t even coach the game because he had to go to the hospital.  That’s a lot of factors from the outset, and those kind of factors are the ingredients for an upset.  But, UCONN seemed to take all of these negatives, and use them to jell.  They absolutely destroyed Tennessee-Chattanooga BY 56 POINTS!!! Wow.  But it won’t be the same in the second round, as they take on a very strong Texas A&M team, who, by the way, almost upset #1 UCLA last year in the second round.  UCONN 103, Tennessee-Chattanooga 47.

Next up, the East region, where #3 Villanova has emerged as a sleeper pick for the Final Four.  Why?  Because they play their first two games almost literally at home in Philadelphia.  And, the regionals are in Boston.  Not too far for their diehard fans to travel.  But their opponent yesterday, #14 American, didn’t seem to care about that whatsoever.  Villanova got on top early, but American surged back to take a 41-31 halftime lead.  American stayed strong in the second half, but completely choked towards the end.  Villanova realized — “Hey, we’ve gotta win this or we won’t be people’s sleeper pick to make the Final Four”.  And that’s just what they did.  Villanova 80, American 67.

Finally, in one of the last games of the evening, it was a highly anticipated game between #6 UCLA and #11 VCU (Virginia Commonwealth).  VCU is a small school, but their point guard, Eric Maynor, is one of the best in the nation, and a surefire 1st round NBA draft pick.   So this game was dubbed the battle of the point guards, as UCLA also has one of the best point guards in the nation in Darren Collison.  UCLA had the lead for most of the game, but in a late comeback, VCU drained some 3’s to tie the game.  Then, VCU’s tenacity paid off, as they got the ball with just 12 seconds left, down by only one point.  And, of course, they would put the ball in their best player’s hands.  It was Eric Maynor’s chance to play hero, and show the world just what he’s capable of (well, he did hit a game-winning shot to upset Duke 2 years ago).   Well, last night, he dribbled into the lane, did some head fakes, then took a fade away jumper that looked like it was going in, but fell just an inch short and hit the rim.  No good.  Maynor was hugged and consoled by his teammate, and walked off proud of his brilliant collegiate career.  Next up for UCLA… Villanova.  And that’s going to be an amazing game.  UCLA 65, VCU 64.

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