The Madness Continues
Pooh’s picks may not have been right, but the games sure were.
by Thomas “Pooh” Jones
First, I would like to address those who are reading my blog, questioning my knowledge because I fail to pick winners correctly. If you are coming here to find out whom you should pick because you are gambling, you may need to seek help. I do not pick games for profit, I pick games for fun. For the thrill of being right if the team I picked actually pulls out the victory, or the agony of being wrong. I am not an expert. I am merely a fan with knowledge that was given a platform to voice my knowledge and opinion on a sport I love: basketball. Besides, this is March Madness; if you have every game picked you are either the rain man or a fixer.
Now that I got that out of the way, lets talk about last night’s action. Kentucky did what we all expected them to do, win. They had a tougher time than most expected, so don’t let the final score fool you. Once the time got to about three minutes or so remaining, Cornell was forced to start taking risks that they normally don’t take in order to prolong the game in hopes of a miracle. In the end, talent won out and Kentucky made enough smart decisions on the basketball court to secure the win. So on to the next round they march. West Virginia came out last night and proved why they are Big East Champions against a Washington squad that was rolling. I figured that Washington would have the advantage being that WV was down their starting point guard, but boy was I wrong. The Mountaineers came out and played some of their best defense all year, forcing twenty-one turnovers, frustrating Isaiah Thomas and Quincy Poindexter and making Venoy Overton look like he didn’t even belong on the court. As soon as I jump on the Huskies bandwagon, they come out and lay an egg.
The shocker of the night was the Butler/Syracuse game. If you go back to my blog from yesterday when discussing this game, I stated that I normally don’t like to pick talent over IQ and I should have stuck with that. Syracuse didn’t come out and play with any emotion last night. It’s as if they had the attitude that they were the better team and could turn on the heat when needed. Some friends of mine told me that game looked fixed. I thought about it, but realized what would the NCAA have to gain by having Butler beat Syracuse? I doubt the world is clamoring for a Butler/Saint Mary’s final. I also had to remind myself that this is how Syracuse has played all season. The nights they decided they could take off and win on pure talent were the nights Syracuse normally lost, and last night was no different. Three cheers to the Butler squad for coming out and playing the game like it mattered to them. They didn’t play with the “we are not supposed to win this game” attitude. They played like they were supposed to win and when the final horn went off, winners they were.
Last game of the night happened to be the best game of the night. I figured this was going to be the game everyone was talking about in the morning but I didn’t know Xavier and Kansas State were going to make an instant classic. That was what major college basketball should be all about. Both teams left it all on the court last night. A double overtime, shot for shot, physical game that left me wondering if Kansas State will have anything left emotionally Saturday. WOW. What about that Crawford kid? I’m not going to lie, I don’t know what his draft stock was before this game but now he is a surefire first rounder. He is a competitor, limitless range, and a big gamer. He was shooting shots from Ohio to keep the game going last night. What about Pullen and Kelly from Kansas State? Those two willed that win out last night. If it wasn’t Kelly making big shots, Pullen was. Kansas State quickly put the goof by the officials behind them that lead to the first overtime and eventually pulled out the win. I can only hope that at least one game tonight brings me to the edge of my coach like Xavier versus Kansas State.
Speaking of tonight’s games, let’s see if we can do better picking these next four than I did with the last four. I have Duke beating Purdue. I am a Duke hater, but I don’t know if Purdue will have enough offense to pull out the win without Robbie Hummel. I know the defense will be there, but Duke has three players that can go for twenty on any night. I have Michigan State over Northern Iowa. I know MSU is missing their do-everything point guard but I believe Tom Izzo will have his team prepared and they will physically beat up Northern Iowa—what Kansas failed to do last week. I have Baylor over Saint Mary’s. I believe Baylor will be too big for Saint Mary’s and Omar Samhan. Baylor has at least three guys they can throw on Samhan at any given time, I doubt he is used to that. I also have Tennessee over Ohio State. As much as I want to go with Ohio State, I believe Tennessee has the players to match up with Buford, Lighty, and Turner. I’m looking for this to be the game of the night right here folks. Enjoy your Friday game night. We can only wish for the same amount of excitement we had Thursday!