Friday, March 16, 2007

Thoughts from Day 1 of the Tournament

It wasn't too exciting of a first day of the 2007 Tournament, with one thriller in VCU's upset of Duke and only one other pretty good game in Xavier-BYU. With that in mind, here are some of my other thoughts from yesterday:

- Eric Maynor, the point guard of VCU who calmly sank the game winning shot against Duke last night, is a star. To be honest, I hadn't even heard of him until about a week ago, but this is now twice in the course of a week that he has willed his team to huge wins in the final minutes. Last week in the CAA Conference Tournament final, with his team losing to George Mason, with a couple of minutes left, he was clutch on the offensive and defensive end with a couple of steals to rally the Rams to the win. Yesterday against the Devils, everyone knew he was going to have the ball in his hands in the final minutes, and he still delivered. He's shown to not only be a composed leader but also an aggressive and quick player who penetrated into the paint time after time against the bigger Duke players.

-Speaking of VCU, their coach Anthony Grant looks like he's about 25 years old. I heard that he's 34 actually, but man, he looks young.

-What happened to George Washington yesterday? You'd think having been in the tournament for the third year in a row would translate into some kind of success on the court. Evidently not, as Vanderbilt mopped the floor with the poor Colonials.

-I know that North Carolina ended up winning by 21 over Eastern Kentucky, the #16 seed. But to take a 22-3 lead to start and let it get down to 6 in the second half is unacceptable for the Tar Heels. They were able to pull away at the end, but the lack of a killer instinct to put down an inferior team is troubling. This team just reminds me a lot of last year's UConn team - NBA talent all around, but you somehow doubt they can win a national championship.

-I'll be the first to admit, I was guilty of this, having picked Oral Roberts in the Sweet 16. (Ouch, that hurts.) But it's amazing how a lot of people dogged Washington State for their lack of tournament experience in picking them as the #3 seed most likely to be upset. But we don't seem to mind that lack of experience or lack of familiarity with teams from smaller schools when picking our upsets in our brackets.

- I love James Brown, but he doesn't do anything for me as a play-by-play man. He does best when he plays his role as the down-to-earth moderator in a group of over-exuberant jocks. As a play-by-play man, he's just not that exciting to listen to.

Games of the day today:

- Texas vs. New Mexico St. - because every game could be Kevin Durant's last in college

- Notre Dame vs. Winthrop - let's see if the Eagles can match the hype they've generated in recent weeks and pull off the upset

- Nevada vs. Creighton - good chance for the nation to see Nevada's star Nick Fazekas, one of the country's best players

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