While there may not have been any buzzer beaters in tonight's sweet 16 action, it doesn't mean there wasn't a lot to watch. If you weren't convinced that the Big East is head and shoulders above the rest of the country after tonight, I would love to hear your reasons why they aren't. Especially after Louisville and Syracuse advance tomorrow there will not be much room for argument. Here are a few things and thoughts I came away with after another night of watching some great college basketball.....
- You would have thought Pittsburgh had advanced to the final four the way they reacted over their victory against Xavier. I would say they should act like they have been here before but they haven't. This will be Pitts first time past the sweet 16 since the tournament went to 64 teams in 1985. Sam Young, the best player on Pittsburgh team bar none, was again consistent allowing Blair to have his third straight game with a less then average first half. Though he (Blair) did wake up after halftime again for the third straight game. The key to this game was the Panthers defense. Pitt did a great job in the last 10 minutes not allowing Derrick Brown and B.J. Raymond to get good looks. Both of them (Brown and Raymond) are solid players but the better team just won. Oh yea it doesn't help when Levance Fields fields hits a Scotty Thurman like three pointer with 40 seconds to play.
- I don't think the story of cheating has bothered UCONN one bit. Not that it really surprised me that they (Huskies) handled Purdue with ease but they have by far been the most impressive team still out there. Even with Jeff Adrien only scoring 8 points, the Huskies never were threatened by the Boilermakers. I am writing this while I am watching the Missouri / Memphis game (it's halftime) and I am really impressed with the Tigers....Missouri Tigers.
- Speaking of the Missouri Tigers, I had watched them play a couple of times this season before and I was fully aware that they were a good team. I am a fan of Coach Anderson and he has done a great job there. But Memphis would not go away and as J.T. Tiller went from surprise star, scoring 23 points in the first 30 minutes of the game (he averages 10 points a game) to cold shooter, the other Tigers (Memphis) fought back behind Tyreke Evans 33 points, who after watching him tonight I can say if there was any doubts about him returning for his Sophomore they are completely gone now.
- Well UCONN and Pittsburgh looked impressive representing the Big East but it was nothing like the pimp job Villanova did on Duke. 'Nova held Duke to 27% shooting and the Blue Devils gave up 40 rebounds to the Wildcats. Dante Cunningham has been as consistent as Sam Young has (both are Seniors) and when he gets Scotty Reynolds with 16 points, there are not to many teams that are going to beat Villanova. Watch out Panthers, Villanova is the only team in the country who is deeper then Louisville at the guards position. That's saying a lot.
My final thoughts before the Cards game with Arizona....
- I am more relaxed about this game then I was about Siena. One of the main reasons is we have had time to rest. I know the Cards are deep but they are also the most dangerous when they are hitting their outside shots and I don't care how deep you are 2 games in three days is going to wear you down a little.
- While I and everyone else have been pumping Arizona this week, with their 3-headed monster in Hill, Budinger, and Wise but while they have looked good in their first two games it was two games that were very good match ups for them. Utah was overrated and should have been a 7 seed as is and while I liked Cleveland State, the Vikings were not a good outside shooting team and struggled against the Wildcats zone.
- If the Cards have even a decent shooting night from the outside they will move on in this game, cause I am not worried about Arizona going an entire game with less then 10 turnovers like Siena did. This will be one of Samardo Samuels hardest tests of the year and that is saying a lot. Jordan Hill is a polished beast in the low post and has by far been the most consistent of Arizona's "big three". In a battle between two zone teams rebounding will be just a big a factor as who is the hotter shooting team.
I guess I should at least give a prediction, I like Louisville 79 Arizona 65.