Back to Steelers football tomorrow while we wait for Sweet 16 games to commence on Thursday. Let's talk hoops for the moment.
*Let's start with the Pittsburgh Panthers in the West. Did anyone catch this game? I only got the end where I'm at, but wow, what a comeback from VCU. Pitt squandered a 20 point lead in the 2nd half to the pesky Rams of Virginia Commonwealth. Kudos to Lavance Fields for composing himself in overtime after missing two free throws to seal it in regulation. Next up for the Panthers? A showdown with their former coach Ben Howland and the #2 seeded UCLA Bruins. This is going to be a dog-fight; an utter slugfest between two well coached teams. Should be a good one.
*Freshmen phenom Kevin Durant and his Texas Longhorns were bounced just a short while ago by the more determined and better prepared USC Trojans. Durant finished with 30 points, but I'm sure it's not the way he would have liked to end a brilliant freshmen campaign. Now the question is whether Durant will leave Austin and declare for the NBA draft. I'm sure all college basketball fans are disappointed that this may be the last we'll get to see of Durant at the collegiate level.
*What an ending to the Ohio State/Xavier game yesterday. The Muskateers played their hearts our for 40 minutes, but couldn't hold onto the 11 point lead they had late in the game. Xavier Head Coach Sean Miller (who I thought coached a magnificent game yesterday) opted NOT to foul with under 10 seconds left and a 3 point lead. As I see more and more of these miracle shots to send games to overtime, I'm beginning to wonder why coaches don't elect to foul in that situation more often.
*Florida found a way to get it done again today, despite not playing their best basketball for the better part of the contest against Purdue. Al Horford was a beast on the low block during crunch time. The Gators still have to be considered the favorites.
*After nearly bowing out to Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the first round, Wisconsin struggled again today. Senior Guard Kammron Taylor tried to heroically bring Wisconsin back, but the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV were good enough from the foul line and didn't turn the ball over down the stretch. Thank God we don't have to watch Wisconsin anymore. What a boring brand of basketball they play.
*Kansas has avoided the early round jitters that contributed to their demise in the 1st round the previous two years. Kansas thumped Kentucky in the 2nd half today, not allowing Kentucky to even make a game of it for the final 20 minutes. The Jayhawks are stacked with talent. Might this be their year to break through and win the championship Roy Williams could never deliver?
What are your thoughts from the Opening Weekend of the Tournament? Who do you like to win it all, and are there any major surprises in store for this coming weekend?