Some Quick Madness Views
In honor of my late and much missed friend Alan Malamud, here are some notes on an early Madness scorecard:
— A vintage Ben Howland-UCLA defensive clinic was almost ruined when the Bruins fell apart late against Michigan State. Good thing they held on, 78-76, because they deserved to win.
— Credit Malcolm Lee for a brilliant job, shutting down the Spartans’ Kalin Lucas. For most of the game, Tom Izzo’s team had trouble getting anything close to a good shot. The last few minutes, of course, were a different story.
— Funny how those free throws get tougher to make down the stretch, huh, guys?
— USC coach Kevin O’Neill said he was proud of his team. OK, but there wasn’t much to be proud of in that play-in (or was it play-out?) loss to Virginia Commonwealth. The Trojans not only lost, they quit at the end, failing to compete right up to the final buzzer. It was embarrassing.
— And if USC’s Nikola Vucevic thinks he is ready for the NBA, he should watch the tape of his game against VCU. He was pushed all over the floor. In the NBA, Nikola, the players are bigger, stronger and meaner.
— In view of the off-court controversy and the way the Trojans fell apart in their brief tournament appearance, you at least have to wonder a little about O’Neill’s future at USC
— Morehead State? Really?
— Jimmer, Jimmer, Jimmer. He gets 32 against Wofford, but now it starts to get tough for him and BYU. He’ll always score, but he’ll need a lot more help from here on in.
— Gonzaga over St. John’s. Mark Few over Steve Lavin. Let’s just be kind and say it figured.
— San Diego State beat Northern Colorado, but now we start to really find out about the Aztecs. As someone who used to cover them when you could count the fans in the stands with your finger, I’ll be rooting for them.
— Kentucky just held on against Princeton, or both John Calipari and Rick Pittino would have been knocked out in the first round. And that would have been a real shame, huh?
— Florida wallops outmanned UC Santa Barbara, and now gets its old friend, UCLA. The Bruins should be afraid, very afraid.
— Pittsburgh coasted in its first round game and may continue to coast in easily the tournament’s softest region.
— Beware of the Spiders from Richmond. They could have a free pass now into the Sweet Sixteen.
— If the Pac-10 wants to prove it wasn’t as weak a conference as many said, both Arizona and Washington have to at least win their first round games on Friday.
— STEVE BISHEFF