2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Important Observations 40-42 SDS/Temple Butler/Pitt BYU/Gonzaga

What an afternoon. I’m exhausted from all the activity.

NCAA Tournament spectator dictionary:
Festing- (v.) when the emotion of watching the closing moments of a college basketball game brings a spectator (who is at this point not watching the game in person, but only on television) to their feet. Festing can also be accompanied by pacing, unnatural arm movement, irregular breathing or nervous crying.

40. San Diego State 71, Temple 64This tournament is about overtimes.
The reason that I defined “festing” for you is because this game was the beginning of a fest-worthy afternoon of basketball that will hopefully undo the sour taste in my mouth from yesterday’s bracket. Not one, but two overtimes in this one. Everyone loves overtime because it’s a 5-minute microcosm of exactly what we love about the NCAA Tournament. Every possession gets increasingly more important and at the end of the day, there are a ton of individual plays where the outcome would have totally different had something small changed. But the really big game was the one that followed this one.

41. Butler 71, Pittsburgh 701) Don’t worry, everyone’s bracket got busted. 2) The Ryan Spencer Rule is laying waste to this year’s bracket. 3) If you’re going to play college basketball, don’t be an idiot.

You think you had a bad day because Pitt lost? Ask Nasir Robinson how his day was.

The reason we have so many important observations from this game is because there’s a lot to take away from a game like this. No one is going to talk about the first 39:57.5 of this game, but it proves that all these teams have the ability to play even with each other and that no one should be taken lightly at this time of year. Pittsburgh is really good and everyone knew it. Butler was ok and everyone knew it. But when it comes down to actually playing the game, you have to respect that a team like Butler can put together a good game and be competitive with a Pittsburgh team that overlooks the seriousness of a team like Butler.
The real conversation about this game is going to be about the last 2.5 seconds where two awful defensive plays were made. Or two awful calls were made. However you want to look at it. If you’re Pitt or you were cheering for Pitt, that game should have been lost when they let Butler eat them up for that easy layup on their last possession. Or on the shot clock violation right before that. Either way, it’s over and Butler won.
In case Gilbert Brown and the Pitt Panthers haven’t been reading SpreeGoogs, now they have an in-you-face example of the dangers of the Ryan Spencer Rule. It’s crippling. Just make your free throws. Please.
Nasir Robinson’s foul after those missed free throws was borderline braindead. But was it really his fault? Or was there a higher power at work here? The strength of the RSR is so powerful that it may have forced the hand of Robinson into making that horrible foul. I genuinely believe that. I hope he has friends in other countries, because I don’t think he’s enrolled at Pitt anymore and it’s going to be awfully hard to find someone to put him up after what he did to everyone’s brackets.
Speaking of that, calm down. Your bracket is busted and so is every other one in your pool. The only people who picked Butler in this game are celebrating the way I celebrated Richmond’s win (see last post) and the pain you’re going through isn’t anything compared to the joy they’re feeling. So calm down, this tournament isn’t about you. And at the end of the day, at least you’re not Nasir Robinson.

42. BYU 89, Gonzaga 67— Jimmer Fredette can score, and he might be the player whose NBA draft stock soars in this tournament.
Every year it seems like there is one player whose team does very well and his draft stock skyrockets. It could be a player revealing how talented he truly is (see also: Derrick Rose) or it could be a bunch of scouts overrating a player at the same time and all he’s going to be is a bust (see also: Greg Oden), but at the end of the day, someone is going to jump up a bunch of draft spots because of how they play in the tournament. This year’s candidate for that draft jump could easily be the Jimmer. Like Steph Curry, who was also one of the draft jumpers, he’s an offensive machine, who has a weird combination of shooting skills, range, vision, and playmaking ability that makes him crank out points again any defense. And the weird thing about the Jimmer is that his buckets all look like they’re kind of a fluke. When I watch him, I think that the defense playing against him has to be happy with how they defend him because the shots he’s making aren’t great shots. There’s body contact, or they’re shot off-balance and at a weird angle or from way too deep. But they go in, and it’s all because of the way the Jimmer plays offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slide into the top half of the draft lottery, depending on who as what picks, if he keeps having these 30-point games.

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