2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Important Observations 17-20
Final thoughts on the last wave of games from Day 1:
17. UCLA 78, Michigan State 76 — Never count Michigan State out of a game.
How many times in this game was Michigan State beaten? And they still only lost by two. I still don’t completely believe that they’re out of the tournament. At some point, Tom Izzo is going to find a way to sneak his team back into the brackets, I know it. He’s like Jason from the Halloween movies. You might be running and he might be walking, with a sword through his whole body or something, but when you think you’ve finally gotten away from him, you’re just falling into his trap and he’s in front of you. I’m honestly not convinced Michigan State is beaten.
18. Gonzaga 86, St John’s 71 — It’s hard to play basketball without your good players.
It’s no secret that St. John’s was playing without DJ Kennedy. But still, you can’t just organically generate that leadership. Or the rebounding. Gonzaga is just one of those teams (see previous important observation) that always brings it to the tournament. It was kind of a funny joke for a while 10 years ago, but the Stocktons can beat you. They’d probably assist you in getting up after they knock you out, but they’ll knock you out nonetheless.
19. Cincinnati 78, Missouri 63 — Points in the paint will win games a lot faster than no points at all.
This game wasn’t really that close, and I was hoping it would be. When it came down to it, Mizzou scored on turnovers and against Cincy’s press, but the Bearcat bigs eliminated scoring in the post and controlled the tempo on the offensive side of the ball. It seemed like the entire second half Cincinnati kept scoring on layups and then Mizzou, who missed 13 shots in a row at one point, kept getting stonewalled around the basket. This was a frustrating one for me, and Mizzou should just bury this season as soon as possible. Even joking about it won’t be funny.
20. Kansas State 73, Utah State 68 — Every beard needs a mustache.
I Like Jacob Pullen. He’s a great scorer and it seems like he supplies the Wildcats with energy for the entire game every time he plays. He’s the reason they win most of the games that they win. But his facial hair advisor is severely mistaken. The chinstrap of beard that he has is kind of thin, but without the appropriate matching mustache, Pullen looks nothing short of Amish. Is he Amish? Maybe he is and I don’t know. I’d feel bad then. But seriously, if you’re growing the beard, grow the mustache too, you have to. It’s collateral damage.