So, I know was kind of down on the tournament earlier, even though I saw some good action in the early games... but last night just blew me away. I was really looking forward to the 9:45 (late) games between WVU and Texas and Gonzaga and UCLA. And neither disappointed...Probably, the most amazing stat of the whole night was the fact that WVU was outrebounded 43-15 and still, by all means, should have sent the game into OT, if not for the great last-second shot, but Texas' only senior. It immediately followed a three-pointer by WVU's own senior leader, Kevin Pittsnugle, which tied the game with 5 seconds left. Dick Engberg called the whole final 13 second sequence beautifully, even suggesting that WVU, which was down by 3, needed to shoot quickly before Texas could foul them and send them to the line for two shots - pretty much killing their chances at winning.
A quick aside on WVU's style of play: Where did John Beilein learn to coach hoops like that? He apparently was at LeMoyne for about 10 years in the 80s and early 90s, and I always remember them having good teams when they played Gannon - and I guess they always had gunner guards - but WVU pretty much ignores much conventional wisdom surrounding basketball - such as the importance of rebounding - and just fires away three pointers and goes for steals on D. I guess it works well with the athletes Beilein recruits. Talk about meaningful differences.
The UCLA-Gonzaga game that followed was equally entertaining. Proved once again that you don't count out a Ben Howland (or Jamie Dixon) coached team when it fall behind early. Was a pattern at Pitt... main difference, and Howland pretty much said it himself a couple days ago, is that he is getting better players to come to UCLA than he could at Pitt, where he always came up a little short in the Tourney. Last night's win got him the farthest he's ever been.
As a super bonus last night, we got to see Duke lose as well. Those Mike Kzycheski (excuse the spelling) car commercials have been driving me crazy. Who the f$%# does he think he is talking about moral values and then trying to hawk you a car? Anyways, glad to see the Dukies out and J.J. Reddick absolutely embarrassed himself, not only with a pitiful performance, but by acting like a total asshole when things weren't going his way.
I'll probably try and catch the UCLA-Memphis tilt Sunday - but nothing else really jumps out at me.