Here are some interesting links from around the web, most I found while on the vandysports.com forums:
Well, my predictions are true. Another college classic, and the ‘Dores take it in 2 overtimes! It’s party time! On to New Jersey!
Here it is, my preview of today’s game between the Commodores and the Cougars. I must admit that it is poorly thought out, and even more poorly researched. I’ve been thinking more about all the Guinness that I am about to consume today. So I have to quickly get this done before I go to the Houston St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
So often as Vandy fans, we rely on being “disrespected” by the media and other fans to give us a boost for big games. However, in today’s game we have two programs that looked very poor in the beginning of the season and have worked their way into the tournament over the last 2 months. Since WSU has the higher seed, they are the ones getting more disrespect in this game, especially after they struggled against Oral Roberts while Vandy manhandled George Washington.
The reassuring part of this game is that Vandy destroyed GW while having a rather subpar offensive day. They will need to get back on track in order to defeat this stingy WSU defense. I think they have the tools to get it done, though. The Cougars have been geared up to go after Derrick Byars, SEC Player of the Year. This is how they have competed well against top teams all year. They keyed on Afflalo of UCLA in their previous meetings. However, VU has multiple perimeter threats, and the inside presence has been strong of late. I think that they will have trouble guarding all of our threats.
All in all, I think that this is going to be a great game between two solid programs that live under the spotlight of other teams in their conferences. WSU is looking for their first back-to-back tournament wins since 1941. Vandy is looking to get back to the Sweet 16 just three years after their last run. This game could turn into the “basketball clinic” of the tournament with solid play and good fundamentals on both ends. I just hope that Vandy can pull it out in the end, and my heart says they will. My brain has no idea….
Today, the other four SEC teams in the NCAA tournament will play their first round games. Here’s a quick preview on each of their games.
1:45PM Tennessee(5) vs. Long Beach State(12)
This game is one of today’s upset picks by the CBS analysts. And, as everyone knows, that means the upset will not happen! Just look at yesterday, when Vandy was the upset special, and summarily dismissed George Washington by the largest margin of victory for the day. Long Beach State just doesn’t have any experience playing top teams, except for a 30 point defeat to UCLA at the begining of the season. UT should be too much for the 49ers, and Chris Lofton loves the big stage. 66-55 UT.
Update: Tennessee has scored 57 points in the first half, so my score may be off slightly…
8:40PM Kentucky(8) vs. Villanova(9)
Although Kentucky is my second-favorite team, they just haven’t been taking care of business this year. They have shown the ability to consistently lose close games, so unless Tubby has turned around the mental toughness of this team in the past week, they don’t have what is needed down the stretch. UK has lost 6 of its last 10 games. Conversely, ‘Nova has won 7 of 10, and two of their losses have come at the hands of 2 seed Georgetown (by a total of 8 points). Sadly, I think I will be saying goodbye to the Wildcats today, which could mean a goodbye to Tubby as their coach, also. 78-74 Villanova.
8:50PM Florida(1) vs. Jackson State(16)
What to say here, Florida is one of the nation’s elite; Jackson St. is not. In Jackson St.’s only game against an SEC opponent this season, they lost by 31 points to Alabama. For an upset here, it would really take a triple dose of March Magic. Florida has rebounded from their February slump, just like last year, and is storming into the tournament. Even the second and third string Gators should handle this Tiger team. 81-58 Florida.
8:55PM Arkansas(12) vs. USC(5)
This game should be an exciting matchup. Before losing to Florida in the SEC championship, Arkansas had won 5 in a row. USC has played the top members of their conference very close all season, but has also had some surprising losses, their last one being a blowout in the Pac-10 finals to Oregon. They seem similar to a Vanderbilt, who plays to the level of their competition so often. This game is being played in Spokane, so the Pac-10 crowd should give USC a loud group of supporters. One big question in this game is whether Charles Thomas will be available for the Razorbacks. He helped lead Arkansas into the SEC title game, but wasn’t available against Florida when they fell by 21. If he isn’t playing, I see about a 10 point victory for USC, but if he is healthy enough to contribute, this could become a tournament classic game. 74-71 USC.
Xavier managed to pull it out against BYU 79-77; EKU made a furious rally to pull within 4 of UNC before the Tar Heels became too much and won by 21; Indiana slowly stretched out their lead to win against Gonzaga by 13; and Pitt handled Wright State.
Although the Indiana-Gonzaga game is still close, the Xavier-Brigham Young game is turning into the matchup of the night. One point X lead with 7 and a half left. Jesuits vs. Mormons. Let’s get it on!
Virginia Commonwealth gets the tournament’s first upset in the day’s first close game, winning 79-77 over Duke. Michigan State then gets the second upset in an 8/9 game. The other evening winners were big dogs UCLA and Ohio State.
In the later games, Xavier and BYU have been battling all game, Wright State has come back from 13-0 to tie it up against Pitt at 22, Indiana is still holding off Gonzaga, and UNC is winning big over EKU, which
is was coached by one of my all-time favorite college players, Travis Ford. (Just wanted to keep my Travis Ford plug in here.)
I guess I should finish off this post. Vandy wins big, 77-44. Dores should be well rested to face Washington St. on Saturday. And Duke just lost, woohoo! First upset of the tourney.
Nothing new to report. Dores are dominating on both sides. GW is missing open layups. My friend showed up (finally) so we are drinking Shiners and enjoying the slaughter. 60-29 11:53 2nd.
Every big screen TV in Buffalo Wild Wings is now tuned to the Vandy game. Since no more games should start before the end of our game, that means we will have a completely captive audience for the second half.
Vanderbilt. Is. Dominating. We are comparable to Louisville right now as far as impressive performances here in the first round. 45-20 at the half.
Because the Vandy/GW game was the last game to start of the afternoon round, we are now the only game running, and so should be seen basically nationwide.
The Vanderbilt offense is completely shredding the GW defense right now, resulting in 3-point shots opening up all over the court. Right now, Vandy is 7-14 from 3 and 4-8 from 2. (30-12 4:50 1st)
A 3 from way downtown (NBA range) followed by a GW shot clock violation forced by our D takes us to the under-8 minute timeout. (22-9 7:35 1st)
Everyone loves an alley oop! (17-9 9:36 1st)
We are lucky that GW is cold from the floor right now. They are getting open looks, but just not hitting them. (15-7 11:41 1st)
Despite receiving quite a few questionable calls already (over and back, traveling), the ‘Dores are out to a 15-7 lead. (12:25 1st)