Sorry for the delay and the lack of posts this weekend, but I was having internet and phone problems all weekend. They are all fixed now though so I am back and ready to go on a posting spree of everything that has happened in the last week in the busy sports world. First off let me give you the updated standings of our BSB staff’s brackets:
1. Chris- 93 pts
2. Wick: 86 pts
3. Robbie: 85 pts
4. Steve: 84 pts
5. Weave: 80 pts
6. Alex: 64 pts
6. Jesse: 64 pts
8. Eddie: 35 pts
As expected our bracket guru remains in the lead at 93 points. He has Kansas and Kentucky in the final with Kentucky winning so if that happens than obviously he will win. Robbie and Steve are the only other two that can still win this thing as Steve has Kent and Ohio St in the final with Ohio St winning it all so basically he needs Ohio State to win the championship for him to win. If Ohio State beats Kansas in the final four but loses in the final than Robbie will win by one because like Steve, Rob has Ohio St in the championship (but losing to Kentucky). It really doesn’t matter in terms of the BSB who wins the Kentucky Louisville matchup though because Rob has Steve by 1 point anyways if Ohio State was to win their final four match. This all may be a little confusing and I am sure nobody cares because there is no money on the line but let me breakdown the final four scenarios for you:
Ohio St beats Kansas than loses to Kent/Louisville- Rob wins
Ohio State beats Kansas than beats Kent/Louisville- Steve Wins
Kansas beats Ohio State- Chris wins
So as you can see the Kentucky/Louisville game means nothing in terms of our pool at this point. For some reason Rob thought he had already won the pool because he sent me a text last night saying “Its not how you start the bracket. Its how you finish. Quietly confident the whole time while chris is getting the q and a“. Obviously Rob misread Chris’s bracket as he later told me that he thought Chris had UNC winning it all. In reality though Chris (our bracket guru) has Kentucky winning it all going against Kansas in the championship and he is still leading the pool by 7 points and leading Rob by 8. Apparently Rob is getting enough attention so congrats Rob on being in 3rd place in an 8 man pool, I am very proud of you.
The rest of our pool kind of fell apart after a somewhat strong part. In particular both Weave and Jesse had terrible elite 8′s as they went from the 99% tile in ESPN to only combining for one correct final four team. Wick is doing well but he has Michgan State winning it all so he has no chance at winning but could remain in 2nd if Kansas and Louisville win. Kawa’s bracket was never really in contention or even taken seriously, primarily because a magnifying glass was needed to read it. (Extra thick glasses would also suffice) Last place is obviously my bracket which is pretty historically bad especially for a guy who has is own sports blog. To give you some context of how terribly my bracket is actually doing, I am in the 2% tile of ESPN’s brackets, I am in 3 pools (excluding the BSB one) where I am in 18th/18, 36th/36, and 146th/148. I promise you that I did not just pick team colors or mascots and actually used some knowledge for these selections which possibly makes it even more embarrassing. Anyways though don’t let that stop you from reading my great analysis here at the Beltway Sports Blog!
Now onto some of my thoughts on the actual games this weekend:
- Teams who blew it: Florida and Ohio. I try to be as un-cynical as possible (if thats a word) because people are way to cynical in this day and age if you ask me (nobody ever asks me, hence the blog) but these teams blew their chance at advancing in this tournament. Florida especially because they had an 11 point lead with 10 minutes to go. Obviously this is far from a lock but they were still in complete control of the game. Louisiville’s best player in Peyton Siva also fouled out with 4 minutes to go and yet they were still able to come back and win. (on the other hand, how good of a coach is Rick Pitino? This is his 6th final four and is 9-0 in sweet 16′s? How do you even do that?) Ohio on the other hand was actually extremely resilient in this game, fighting back from a 7 point half time deficit to lose in OT against UNC. Unfortunately though the Bobcats had their chance as Walter Offault (who had a hell of a game with 26 points in 40 mins) got an and one and had a free throw to take the lead with 15 seconds left. Unfortunately he clanked it of the front rim and the game went into OT and the Bobcats didn’t have enough left in the tank to beat the Heels. But watch out for Ohio next year because they only have one senior on their current roster and he only played 3 mins all year.
- UNC would be in the final four right now if Kendall Marshall was healthy: Losing Marshall was a huge dagger for the Heels and cost them a spot in the final four. Even though they were able to get by Ohio (though Stillman White wasn’t good in that game either), they weren’t able to get by Kansas without their point guard and leader. Even though as a pure pg White’s stats were not bad (13 assists 0 turnovers, actually that’s really impressive), where he was unable to get the job done was in transition and with the shot. In transition UNC gets a ton of baskets (at least 10 points a game) on just beating the other team down the floor (especially Zeller) and getting an easy lay up. Unfortunately White is not able to make all of the passes that Marshall can make, so while he can be steady and not turn the ball over, the easy buckets are hard to come by and the Heels are forced to create. One very underrated part of Kendall Marshall’s game this season is his shooting. He is known as a pass-first guy (because he is), but when he really kills you is when you are helping off on of the other great UNC players (Henson, Zeller, Barnes, McAdoo) and he knocks down the open jump shot and makes you guard him. Not only was White a poor shooter in this tournament, but he was almost afraid to shoot (possibly for good reason). Whoever was guarding White just helped out on the other UNC players basically causing UNC to play 4 on 5 on offense because when one of the post men would pass it back outside to Stillman after being double-teamed, he would be hesitant allowing the defender to easily recover on time. I think Marshall would have made them pay for doubling and that would have been the difference in the game.
- Draft Stock Up: Micheal Kidd-Gilchrist (MKG), Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson, Brad Beal. I thought all of these guys improved their draft stock over this tournament and weekend. I won’t go too in-depth about their games because I am going to write a post shortly about the Wizards draft prospects and they will all be in it. I will say though, in the key matchup of two potential lottery guys I was very impressed with Thomas Robinson against Tyler Zeller. Even though Zeller is a good bit taller, Robinson was much too quick for Zeller on the outside and was very strong once he got it inside. Anthony Davis would be on this list be he has been #1 for a while so he just maintained his draft stock with his great tournament play.
- Draft Stock Down: Perry Jones III and Harrison Barnes. Both of these guys are very similar because they both have immense talent but can be too reluctant. Maybe that can be blamed on their teams’ and how much overall talent is on it, but the lack of aggression is disconcerting. Both of these guys had very slow first halves in possibly the biggest games of their careers than turned it on somewhat in the 2nd half to produce decent stat lines. Unfortunately NBA teams want guys who are going to be motivated for the entire guy rather than just when they aren’t playing well.
I’m really looking forward to next week’s final four as 4 really good teams are playing it. Kentucky is almost a ten point favorite against Louisville next week which is almost laughable, not because they don’t deserve it but because anytime a team is almost a double-digit favorite in a final four game, you know they are special. Kansas and Ohio State should be a really good game featuring 2 of the 3 best power forwards in the game in Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger (Anthony Davis is the best). That will just be power on power and I will be interested to see how that plays out. Stay tuned for our predictions on those games coming up this week.