Did UConn really win that game?Jim Calhoun says his team is "a team of lapses." Last night's "lapse" encompassed 25 minutes. (Yesterday I referred to "those patented weird UConn funks." Little did I know last night's funk would be more like a coma.) And yet they're 30-3 and in the Elite Eight. Embrace the paradox....(1) Connecticut 98, (5) Washington 92 (OT)
I'm glad I wasn't liveblogging this game. If I had been I would have held forth with earnest sagacity early in the second half on how there was no possible way Connecticut could win. With 15 minutes left in regulation UConn had already turned the ball over 23 times. (After the game Calhoun gave credit to the disruptive D played by Washington. I think the coach was being more honest on the sidelines during the game when he was yelling at Marcus Williams: from where I sat I saw a lot of unforced errors.) But surprises were in store....First, and most importantly, the Huskies of the east stopped coughing the ball up. Second, of course, there was the crucial play with 13 minutes left where Brandon Roy went from having two fouls to sitting on the bench with four within five seconds. Roy was assessed his third personal and then slapped immediately with his fourth when his robust discussion with Rudy Gay resulted in a double-technical. (A double-technical is almost never a good call and it most certainly wasn't here. The situation merited a ref coming between the two and nothing more. Refs, please, remember your oath: first, do no harm.) Yet even with Roy sidelined for a crucial stretch of the second half, U-Dub still had this game within its grasp, leading 80-76 with 11 seconds to play. But that's when Mike Jensen decided to commit the dumbest foul in a Sweet 16 game since Dane Fife fouled Jason Williams in 2002. (And it wouldn't work out for Jensen the way it did for Fife.) With Marcus Williams about to finish a lay-in, Jensen came across the lane and hacked him: just like that, three points the old fashioned way. Roy made two free throws on the other end to put Washington up 82-79. No problem: Williams found Rashad Anderson, who sank the game-tying three with two seconds to play. And with the entire U-Dub team in serious foul trouble, there was not a single person in the Verizon Center last night that thought OT favored the Huskies of the west. Indeed, it did not. (Box score.)(1) Villanova 60, (4) Boston College 59 (OT) How amazing is it that this game went to OT with BC turning the ball over 21 times and shooting just 8-of-17 from the line? Those numbers demonstrate better than anything just how successful the Eagles' D was at making life miserable for the Wildcats. Villanova fell behind early and scrapped their four-guard lineup. Jay Wright's team couldn't throw the ball in the ocean from a rowboat (38.3 effective FG pct.) but they didn't commit any turnovers and fought the Eagles to a draw on the boards. Yes, Randy Foye scored nearly half (29) of Villanova's points (60). But then he took a healthy plurality of their shots, too (he took 25; the team took 60). (Box score.) (3) Florida 57, (7) Georgetown 53 Wow, this game was slow: just 56 possessions. The Hoyas shot just eight free throws; the Gators took 17. In a grind-it-out game that was otherwise remarkably even, this was the difference. One additional note: dub-dubs in games this slow are really hard to come by. So kudos to Joakim Noah for his 15-10. (Box score.) (11) George Mason 63, (7) Wichita State 55
Note to all West Virginia bashers: you can win a Sweet 16 game without offensive rebounding. The Patriots proved it last night, cruising to an easy win despite recording just two (not a typo) offensive boards. The Shockers jacked up 24 threes and missed 21 of them. Will Thomas recorded the J.J. Gittes dub-dub: 10-10. ("As little as possible.") In today's less Wonk-ish venues.... Can this level of hoops continue? I certainly hope so....(4) LSU vs. (2) Texas, Atlanta (4:40pm ET)There will, to say the least, be some athletes on display along the front lines of these two teams. Man, can't wait....(2) UCLA vs. (1) Memphis, Oakland (7:05pm ET)The Tigers want to play at a pace that's about 10 possessions faster than what the Bruins would like. Both teams are young--why did these youngsters (and, for that matter, LSU) make it this far while Kansas and North Carolina did not?Wonk back! Don't just mutter ineffectually; email me!