Sunday, March 18, 2007
The Mads of March
Those of you who don't speak Hoopanese, I apologize, but I'm gonna talk a bit - just for a bit - as the second round of my favorite sporting event is ON.
First, the bruins looked really shaky yesterday. Going into this match, the first time I've seen Kelvin Sampson outside of Oklahoma, which is weird in itself, I didn't know anything about the 2007 Hoosiers. But I've always respected Sampson - a player's coach who always produced solid defensive teams.
The Bruins eventually found some of themselves in the second half but for 2/3rds of that game it was a defensive doo-doo fest. Luc Richard was a stud as usual, but Shipp was invisible and Afflolo didn't play up to his Pac 10 Player of the Year status. Mata was Mata. Collison found some of his stuff in the second half, but the Bruins are FAR from playing championship caliber ball. One of the big problems on offense is that they stumble against the zone. Another is that defenses are - if they're smart - keying on Afflolo. The Bruins must have more balanced scoring, and desperately need Shipp to step up and produce 12-16 -- NOW. I think he needs to average 14 here on out for us to have a shot.
On the plus side, I thought the Bruins, particularly Afflolo, did some good things at the right times, by driving to the basket and forgetting about these 18-20 footer low percentage shots. This saw Afflolo getting to the line, where he's solid. And that strategy's crucial in crunch time.
Sweet 16 is Howland's old school, Pitt, a #3 seed, and the bookies prolly have this as UCLA giving 3. I have it a coin flip.
The number 1 seed Ohio State (like UCLA, another former #1 during the regular season) number 9 seed Xavier game was a HEARTBREAKER... X had a NINE POINT LEAD WITH ABOUT 3 MINUTES... I was pulling so hard for X who then had a 2 point lead, seconds left, and were at the line with Justin Cage shooting... made the first, MISSED the second... and Ron Lewis hits the 3 ball to send it into OT - the first of THREE OT games for Saturday...
At that point, I was reminded of Joe Peci's Joey Lamotta, watching his brother Jake/Deniro on TV fighting the great Sugar Ray, and saying, "That's it." And then Ray moves in for the kill...
at 9:58 AM