And thats it. Lehighs win over Duke, another 15 seed toppling a 2, has just gone final, 75-70. Ive seen a lot of college basketball, but this is one of the wildest days I can remember.
And it aint over yet.| Jeff Rosen, email@example.com 8:13 p.m.:
Awaiting start of KU-Detroit, watching Duke have its hands full with Lehigh, and still trying to absorb the gravity of 2nd-seeded Mizzous loss to 15th-seeded Norfolk State this afternoon.
So, too, are MUs coaches and players. A few post-game quotes:
We tried all week, our coaching staff, explaining how good Norfolk State is, said Tigers coach Frank Haith. You get in the NCAA tournament on a neutral court, they cheer for the underdogs. That's what happens. And they stay in the game, they bank in a couple 3s, you have a ballgame.
It was a tough loss for us, said senior Marcus Denmon, who ended his MU career with 20 points. We had higher expectations for ourselves, and there's really nothing to say when you come out and don't perform.
We knew coming into this game if we let them hang around it was going to be a ballgame, said sophomore point guard Phil Pressey. They hung around the whole game. They made the plays at the right time.| Jeff Rosen, firstname.lastname@example.org 4:39 p.m.:
Its been a tournament of few upsets. There was No. 12 VCU taking down No. 5 Wichita State, some midmajor-on-midmajor violence that doesnt totally feel like an upset. There was No. 11 Colorado edging No. 6 UNLV, leaving one question: How is Colorado doing this? And there was a perhaps underrated N.C. State squad sending No. 6 San Diego State home early. And, well, thats about it so far. No. 14 St. Bonaventure came up just short this afternoon against No. 3 Florida State. Another high seed survives. Join the near-miss club, Bonnies.
Theres still time for a big upset. (You know that Missouri is tied with Norfolk State at halftime right?) But lets look at the three double-digit seeds to move on so far and rank them accordingly, in order of their likelihood to advance to the Sweet 16.
1. VCU: They get No. 4 seed Indiana next. Another tough test. But at this point, how can you bet against them?
2. N.C. State: The Wolfpack looked tough against San Diego State. But Georgetown should provide some little meatier competition.
3. Colorado: Next up, No. 3 Baylor, which would suggest that the Buffalos may have another victory in them. After all, Colorado coach Tad Boyle should be familiar with the Bears. Still, this is a Colorado team that didnt make the tournament last season and then lost Alec Burks and Cory Higgins. They added some talent, yes. But its amazing theyre still playing.3:57 p.m.:
Ten minutes in here in Omaha, and Norfolk State has come to play. The Spartans have been active on the glass on both sides of the floor. And Norfolk State center Kyle OQuinn is getting into the lane on offense. Of course, Missouri is doing what Missouri does chucking threes and moving the ball on offense and when the shots started to fall, the Tigers turned a 15-7 deficit into an 16-15 lead.
It probably wont hold, but right now, Mizzou is on pace to shoot more than 50 three-pointers. Thats a lot.| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com 3:55 p.m.:
Elsewhere around the tourney, Bonnies are giving FSU all it wants, but now down six with about three minutes left. Better games today than yesterday. March is heating up. Is there a better weekend of the year?| Jeff Rosen, firstname.lastname@example.org 3:35 p.m.:
Moved tracker headquarters in Omaha from the media room to press row for Missouri-Norfolk State. Note about Norfolk State: A team from the MEAC hasnt won an NCAA Tournament game (not including play-in games) since No. 15 seed Hampton beat No. 2 Iowa State in 2001.| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com 3:20 p.m.: From the AP
: Kansas State guard Angel Rodriguez says he has accepted Southern Mississippis apology over remarks made by its band and has moved on.| Jeff Rosen, firstname.lastname@example.org 2:58 p.m.:
Wild finish in the Creighton-Alabama game in Greensboro, N.C. After Creighton erased a seven-point deficit in the second half, the Blue Jays missed two free throws with less than 10 seconds left. Trailing 58-57, Alabama had an opportunity to win. Creighton gave a foul, giving the Crimson Tide the ball out of bounds on the side. Alabama inbounded, sophomore guard Trevor Releford thought about a shot, then dished off and timeout?
Alabama coach Anthony Grant called timeout, and the Crimson Tide had just more than 2 seconds on the clock to set up a final play. Again, the ball was inbounded to Releford, who started to drive to his right, drew a little contact and then put up a contested three-pointer. The shot was way short, and Creighton escaped with a tournament victory. The immediate question: A little overcoaching by Grant? Maybe. Alabama would have had a decent shot to win before the timeout.
Here in Omaha, you could hear the cheers from fans watching the game on televisions in the concourse. And, of course, tough way to go down for KC native Releford, who has had a great two-year start to his career at Alabama.| Rustin Dodd, email@example.com 2:30 p.m.:
Bleed orange? Or just headed to/through Syracuse anytime soon?
The Syracuse Convention Visitors Bureau is touting a promotion called 1 for 1 All the Way, during which select regional hotel stays, bottles of wine, beer and other goodies are being made available for a buck. In the event your tastes for upstate New York trend more aria than alley-oop, one of the incentives even includes the local opera.
In honor of the second-seeded Tigers and Jayhawks, we could see the same type of promotion being extended to Columbia ($2 pies at Shakespeares Pizza, perhaps?) or Lawrence (who couldnt get behind a $2 pint at Free State?). Just sayin ...
Anyway, the Syracuse promotion will continue as long as the top-seeded Orange remain alive in the tourney. For more details, check out theVisit Syracuse
website.| Jeff Rosen, firstname.lastname@example.org 2:17 p.m.:
More rough news for the Missouri Valley. After Wichita State went home early last night, the No. 8 seed Creighton Blue Jays are in trouble against No. 9 Alabama. Crimson Tide sophomore Trevor Releford younger brother of KUs Travis Releford has been huge thus far: 14 points, three rebounds and three assists with eight minutes left. Earlier this week, Travis Releford said his younger brother had called and said the Crimson Tide were coming to meet the Jayhawks later in the tournament. Travis laughed it off. Little bro is laughing right now.1:56 p.m.:
Heres a question to ponder as No. 7 Florida leads No. 10 Virginia in the final seconds of the first half. Whos a better matchup for Missouri? The Tigers have lost four games this season two to Kansas State, one to Kansas and one clunker a 79-72 loss to Oklahoma State in January.
Lets look at K-State and KU. Both schools are ranked in the top 20 in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. The Tigers are a mentally tough group. They play with heart. And they have guards (especially Marcus Denmon) who rarely shrink in the big moment. But they could potentially have problems against physical, defensive teams. And this is exactly why Missouri fans should like how this game is playing out. Virginia is the fifth-ranked defensive team in the country, according to KenPom, while Florida is 121st.
The Gators may have a little bit more skill. But so do the Tigers. And Missouri should probably hope that Florida holds onto this 30-22 lead.
|Rustin Dodd email@example.com 1:51 p.m.: former Wildcat Darren Kent
and his role on the K-State coaching staff.1:44 p.m.:
Well, Ken Pomeroy giveth and Ken Pomeroy taketh way? If you follow stats, you know Ken Pomeroy, the master of college basketball computer rankings. Pomeroy, or KenPom, ranks every team in Division I based on an assortment of numbers adjusted offensive efficiency, adjusted defensive efficiency, strength of schedule, that sort of thing. In case, youre wondering, Pomeroy has Ohio State and Michigan State ranked first and second, respectively, following Thursdays games. Kansas is ranked fourth; Missouri is second.
But here are some KenPom rankings with interesting relevance today: Pomeroy had No. 11 seed Texas (No. 29 by KenPom) ranked ahead of No. 6 Cincinnati (No. 31). He also has No. 11 seed North Carolina State (No. 45) ahead of No. 6 San Diego State (No. 59). Well, Texas-Cincy and N.C. State-SDSU were both 11-6 matchups today. In the first case, Texas nearly proved KenPom right. In the second, N.C. State is (predictably) taking care of the Aztecs. And if you consulted KenPoms site before filling out your bracket, you may have just picked a minor upset.1:28 p.m.:
The final minutes of the Texas-Cincinnati game played out just like youd expect a Texas-Cincy game to play out. Too many Texas jumpshots against a tough Bearcats defense. And too many defensive breakdowns for the Longhorns. Texas had come back from 19 down and tied the score at 52-52 with three minutes left. But the No. 6 seed Bearcats outscored Texas 13-7 down the stretch in a 65-59 victory in Nashville. So theres the first Big 12 loss of the tournament. If KU and MU take care of business today, the conference will have five teams in the round of 32.1:10 p.m.:
Day two from Omaha. Quick recommendation: Try the Italiano pizza at Upstream in the Old Market if you get a chance. A couple things were watching as Virginia and Florida prepare to take the floor here at the CenturyLink Center. What happened to Texas? The Longhorns, who trailed 36-17 in the opening minutes of the second half, are down just 51-50 with four minutes left against Cincinnati. And the Longhorns are doing without JCovan Brown going all Durant. He has just 14 points. We also want to keep tabs on the Creighton-Alabama matchup. Two of our favorite players to watch in the country: Alabama guard Trevor Releford, a Bishop Miege grad, and, of course, Creighton superscorer Doug McDermott.| Rustin Dodd, firstname.lastname@example.org 1:03 p.m.:
If Creighton had its druthers, the tempo against Alabama would be much higher. The Bluejays were 23-1 when scoring at least 70 points this season the only loss coming in an 80-71 decision Dec. 10 at St. Joesph in Philadelphia. The Crimson Tide are probably going to keep the game in the 60s at most, which means Creighton should send a thank you note to its Missouri Valley bretheren if it manages to hang on. Teams like Northern Iowa, Evansville, Wichita State and Missouri State have the Jays well prepared for such defensive slugfests.1 p.m.:
Games starting to heat up. Texas is within three points of Cincinnati. And Travis Relefords brother, Trevor, has Alabama up a couple over Creighton.12:50 p.m.:
Wow, how bad has the Mountain West shown so far in the tourney? Its a league that desperately wants more respect from coast to coast, but San Diego State had better rally in the second half if thats going to happen. The table was set for the Mountain West to turn a few heads. Instead, the conference looks fairly sad. Colorado State wasnt competitive against fellow midmajor Murray State. UNLV got bounced by a Colorado team that didnt realistically belong in the field. So far, the Mountain Wests only positive result is New Mexicos squeaker against Long Beach State. If the Aztecs, who were co-champions with the Lobos, get blown out in the second half, it will cement a terrible look for the Mountain West on the national stage.| Tod Palmer, email@example.com 12:40 p.m.:
Is this for real? Who knows. The guys who developed it swear it is.
Either way, wow. Just wow. Check it out and happy March Madness indeed.
From AP columnist Jim Litke: No. 2 seed Missouri is a popular pick to displace one of the four No. 1s at the Final Four and with good reason. The Tigers convert possessions into points better than any team in the country, averaging 1.2555 every time they bring the ball up the court, according to STATS LLC. Thats important because four of the last six national champions have come into the tournament ranked first or second in that department and a fifth the 2010 titlists from Duke were sixth. The outlier? UConn, which won last season despite ranking 43rd.| Jeff Rosen, firstname.lastname@example.org 11:38 a.m.:
For Big 12 fans, it should be no surprise Texas is struggling mightily. The Longhorns havent seem like much of a threat against quality opponents most of the season. But never in a million years would I have expected Cincinnati after that ugly scene with Xavier in mid-December to have rallied like this. The Bearcats are usually March disappointments as well, so reaching the Big East tourney final and putting on a clinic against Texas speaks volumes about the job Mick Cronin has done the last three months.| Tod Palmer, email@example.com