Well two of the four have been decided and so far it's Big East - 2, rest of the country - 0. With the Cards playing later today it could (and should) make it three out of four. I went into Saturday's games waiting to see UCONN beat Missouri and to watch Villanova go to war with Pittsburgh ans I got everything I wanted and then some. Here is what I came away with after watching two good games....
- I knew Missouri wasn't going to go down like a punk but I also didn't think they could really threaten UCONN. They showed a little more heart then I expected from them but as I assumed in the end UCONN was to much. The Huskies kept the Tigers at arms length the entire game. Every time Missouri would get with in a point or two or even tie the game UCONN would have answer from A.J. Price (18 points) or the star of the game, Freshman Kemba Walker. He (Walker) hit big shot after big shot, putting up a game high (and matching his career high) 23 points off the bench. I mean with UCONN's size and skill in the post with Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, and Stanley Robinson (two Seniors and Junior), that matched with the guard play of Walker and Price. UCONN is such a scary scary team to have to play.
- Villanova and Pittsburgh didn't disappoint when I said they would have a slug out battle for the final four. The Wildcats jumped out early but Pittsburgh rallied right away and from then out this game went back and forth, blow for blow. Sam Young was just awesome in what turned out to be his last game. He scored 28 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, including hitting a huge three to pull the Panthers with in 1 at 72-71 with under a minute to play. 'Nova's own Senior big man Dante Cunningham had a slow first half (4 points) but came out in the second half with a new fire and finished the game with 14 points and 5 rebounds, of course most importantly he made a David Tyree like catch on the last inbounds play to set up teammate Scottie Reynolds to do his Bryce Drew / Tyus Edney / Danny Ainge (stop me cause I can go all day) impersonation to win the game. Reynolds struggled from the field throughout the game but even though he was 4-11 from the field only one of those really mattered. He did go 7-7 from the free throw line and finished with 17 points. DeJuan Blair was his usual beast like self as well, going 9-9 from the floor (20 points) to go along with his 10 rebounds.
- As I thought though, Villanova's depth was the big difference. Well that and the fact Villanova shot 22-23 from the free throw line (Pitt was 21-29) and outrebounded the Panthers 29-27 but the minutes that the Wildcats bench brings, most notably the Corey's, was a huge lift. Fisher (Corey) and Stokes (Corey) were big, with Fisher throwing in 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists and Stokes contributed 7 points and 2 rebounds. What doesn't show up in the stats though is the relentless defense these two brought and their ability to play the point guard position with out the team missing a beat. Taking much needed pressure off the normal point guard Reynolds at times in the game.
- I have bragged all year that no team is deeper at the guard position then Louisville. I altered that opinion about a month ago when I admitted to maybe be second to Villanova's guard rotation. I am still on the fence between the two but this is more of a 1A and 1B thing then a 1 and 2 thing.