April 1, 2012

Written by blueadmin. Posted in March 12

Back on the set already this morning for SportsCenter and our basketball specials. Wow, I feel like I just left here …it was after 1:15 in the morning when I went back to the hotel.

What a championship game, with the two winningest programs going at it. Kentucky and Kansas have such passionate fans and there will be tremendous emotion in the Dome.

Kentucky has been the best team in America all season long. They have six guys who can score in double figures and that is hard to defend. Anthony Davis has been such a defensive force in the paint, he is really worth 15 points a game, much like Patrick Ewing was at Georgetown.

Kentucky beat Kansas by 10 when these teams met at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca, back in November. These teams are different now. Marquis Teague has really natured at the point and hr makes better basketball decisions. The ‘Cats also get great production from Darius Miller off the bench.

John Calipari and Bill Self met in the 2008 final, with the Jayhawks beating Memhis. You remember the Mario Chalmers trifecta which sent that game to OT, baby?

The bottom line in Kentucky has too many offensive threats. I see Wildcats 77, Jayhawks 70. It should be awesome, baby with a capital A!

March 31, 2012

Written by blueadmin. Posted in March 12

Big Blue nation is smiling, baby!

Anthony Davis had another monster game with 18 points, 14 boards and five blocked shots. Kentucky shot over 57 percent from the field, the fourth time in five tourney games they shot over 50 percent.

I felt Darius Miller was a big factor with nine second half points.

John Calipari’s team is one win away from its goal of cutting down the nets.

Kansas staged a great rally to beat Ohio State to advance to the title game.

Bill Self did a great job getting this team to the finals. The Jayhawks lost four starters from last year.

Kansas got big plays from Elijah Johnson and Trevor Releford.

Jared Sullinger did not play to the level you expect. Deshaun Thomas was in foul trouble and Aaron Craft made a few questionable drives.

Kansas lost to Kentucky by 10 at Madison Square Garden back in November. These teams are very different now.

March 29th, 2012

Written by sherri. Posted in March 12

Arrived in New Orleans and you can feel a buzz of excitement here. I just ran into a Kentucky fan and a Louisville fan.

We should have a heavyweight doubleheader on Saturday. I hope you will be watching Sportscenter and our special shows from here in the Big Easy.

 

March 25, 2012

Written by sherri. Posted in March 12

Congratulations to Kentucky and Kansas as they advanced to the Final Four.

The Wildcats were down 10-5 before going on a 16-0 run en route to a win over Baylor.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis starred in the first half while Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones were keys in the second half.  Kentucky was 30 of 44 from the foul line and did a great job defending Brady Heslip, who took two shots the whole game.

Kansas was up 68-67 when Elijah Johnson hit a big three pointer.  The Jayhawks closed the game on a 12-0 run ot win by 13.

Our Final Four is  set with Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville and Ohio State.  All of them were in the top 15 in the preseason.  We have star power with Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger and Thomas Robinson.

It should be a blast…next stop is New Orleans, baby!

 

March 24, 2012

Written by sherri. Posted in March 12

Congratulations to Louisville and Ohio State as they advanced to the Final Four.

The Cardinals came back from an eight point halftime deficit to beat Florida.  A key was defending the trifecta; the Gators were right of eleven in the first half and 0 for 9 in the second half.

The Buckeyes got solid play from Jared Sullinger in the second half after he was plagued by foul trouble in the first 20 minutes.

Lenzelle Smith, Jr., who averaged six ppg during the season, came through with 18 big points.

The Cardinals and Buckeyes are heading to New Orleans, baby!

March 23, 2012

Written by sdunbar. Posted in March 12

More excitement in Bristol has we finished up the sweet 16!

North Carolina wasn’t the same team without Kendall Marshall, turning the ball over 24 times. Hall of Famer Roy Williams sweated one out, but Tyler Zeller had 20 points and 22 rebounds, the first 20-20 since Tim Duncan out of Wake Forest did it in 1997. Reggie Bullock came up big with five trifectas, many of them in the clutch. Carolina own despite Harrison Barnes struggling to shoot three-of-16.

Walter Offut was brilliant, finishing with 26 points to lead the Bobcats,

Baylor moved on thanks to Quincy Acy’s 20 points and 15 rebounds. Pierre Jackson had 16 points and 10 assists, while Perry Jones III came to life. He shot four-of-14 from the floor in the first two games, but seven-of-eight versus Xavier.

Kentucky pulled away from Indiana in the second half as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a brilliant performance. Doron Lamb contributed on the perimeter and Darius Miller was terrific off the bench. I picked Kentucky to win by 12…not a bad call.

Kansas was too tough inside with Jeff Withey blocking shots and Thomas Robinson putting up a double-double against NC State.

March 19, 2012

Written by sdunbar. Posted in March 12

March Madness has given us a few surprises, but the heavyweights have come through. That is what I predicted on our Selection Sunday show, that the Golaiths would be around when we got to New Orleans. It looks like the power conferences will be in charge again. There are four Big Ten teams and four Big East squads still dancing, baby!

In college basketball, it is about expectations. In the beginning of the season, there were big names supposed to be around at this point. A lot of them are still there when you consider that of the 16 teams still dancing, 10 of them were in the preseason USA Today/ESPN top 15: North Carolina (1), Kentucky (2), Ohio State (3), Syracuse (5), Louisville (8), Florida (10), Baylor (12), Kansas (13), Wisconsin (14) and Xavier (15).

If you don’t believe that coaching experience means something, consider this. Nine of the coaches in the Sweet 16 have been in the Final Four before: Billy Donovan, Tom Crean, John Calipari, Rick Pitino, Tom Izzo, Jim Boeheim, Roy Williams, Thad Matta and Bill Self. Six of those nine — Donovan, Izzo, Pitino, Boeheim, Self and Williams — have already won national championships.

There will be some great matchups in the Sweet 16, like Louisville vs. Michigan State, Marquette vs. Florida and Kansas against a hot NC State team.

Think about this. Do you believe Scott Drew of Baylor would have been happy seeing his first three tournament games would be against teams with double-digit seeds? South Dakota State was a 14, Colorado an 11 and now Xavier is a 10. The Bears could end up with #1 Kentucky in the regional final, baby!

 

March 16, 2012

Written by sherri. Posted in March 12

Here in Bristol, there was a group of people watching the end of the Missouri-Norfolk State.  All I can say is WOW!  Norfolk State was the first team to send shock waves in the big dance.  The MEAC champion scored the upset of the tournament, sending a second seeded Missouri team from the field, 86-84.

My friends, the Spartans are for real.  They beat Drexel and TCU and took Marquette to the wire (that was a second meeting after losing by 31 to the Golden Eagles earlier).  Coach Anthony Evans’ team had faith and pulled off the fifth 15 over 2 stunner in tourney history.

I had Missouri going all the way to the Final Four.  So much for that!

Dealing with bigger teams has been an issue at times for Missouri this season, and center Kyle O’Quinn was the star of stars, dominating for the Spartans with 26 points and 14 rebounds.  Norfolk State had a 37-25 rebound edge.

Missouri shot well (around 53 percent) and three players scored at least 20 – Michael Dixon (22 off the bench), Marcus Denmon and Phil Pressey (20 each).  The Tigers had just eight turnovers.  Norfolk State shot 54 percent and got to the winner’s circle in an emotional stunner.

I feel for Frank Haith.  His team went 30-4 going into the tournament.  The Tigers won the Big 12 tournament.  With all of those positives, Haith will be spending the summer hearing about two words – Norfolk State.

The tournament has become so big, that it is all about what happens in the big dance and a great season is overshadowed.

Congratulations to the Spartans.  That is what this tournament is about, as my buddy Jimmy V used to say, survive and advance, baby!

 

 

 

March 15, 2012

Written by sherri. Posted in March 12

There were a few shockers in tournament action on Thursday.  I am in Bristol, CT at ESPN spending lots of time with our gang, breaking down the action.

In terms of seeding, VCU did it again by beating a good Wichita State team.  Bradford Burgess led the way with 16 points and Darius Theus was five of seven from the floor, hitting a big shot late as Shaka Smart’s team got the W.

Iowa State put an end to Connecticut’s disappointing season.  The defending national champions underachieved, finishing the season 5-7 in their last 12 games.  Now comes some turmoil in Storrs as we wait to see how the APR mess works out.  Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond are likely to turn pro.  Jim Calhoun may have a decision to make.

Syracuse was tested in a surprising 1 vs 16 game.  Give Asheville credit and Orange fans have to be concerned with the play of Kris Joseph, who has not shot the ball well lately.  He made three of ten from the field in the win.

I was very impressed with Marquette and Gonzaga.  Jae Crowder was super, with 25 points, 16 rebounds and four steals.  The Zags had solid balance in blowing out West Virginia.

The Big 12 got off to a good start with Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor all winning.

Just finished on the set after 1:00 am ET.  More action ahead today, baby!

 

March 12, 2012

Written by sherri. Posted in March 12

I thought the selection committee did a very good job.  I give them an A.  You will always have teams that can make a case.  I feel like Washington and Drexel were snubbed but then someone else would have had to go.

The tourney should be special but I love the Golaiths. I have Kentucky, Missouri, Florida State and North Carolina to the Final Four. I like Kentucky to cut down the nets.

There is nothing like March Madness, baby!