2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Important Observations 47-49 OSU/GM, Zona/Texas, Purdue/VCU
47. Ohio State 98, George Mason 66 — Jared Sullinger is good, but Ohio State is the number one overall seed because of all the three-point shooters.
David Lighty was 7/7 from deep this game, and the team was 16-26. Sullinger was good (18 points, 8 rebounds) but the reason Ohio State was so unguardable today is the three-point accuracy. The reason they are so unguardable every game this year is three-point accuracy. Usually it’s Diebler, but the buckeyes have a stable of shooters that are all automatic, which makes guarding Sullinger even more difficult. I’m excited to see how they play against a more equal opponent, but if the Buckeyes are hitting shots like they did today, no one in this tournament will beat them.
48. Arizona 70, Texas 69 — If you can’t put a team away before the final possessions, you can’t blame the refs for a blown call.
First off, I think the referees blew this one at the end. The five-second call was tough to determine because I couldn’t hear the audio on the court, so I’ll accept that Texas just didn’t get the ball inbounds in time, even though I’m pretty sure the guy counting to 5 forgot both 3 and 4. But watching a replay of the final possession for each team, I can’t see how the contact that Texas made was a foul and the contact that Arizona made wasn’t. It just doesn’t make sense. Texas is right that those calls were clearly not balanced. Still, the best way to not let a game get determined by the referees is to win it before the final seconds. I know that you can’t always control that and that teams would do it every game if they could, but you know that referee error is going to be a part of the games (seems to be a huge part in determining who wins in the last 30 seconds or so this year), so you can’t get surprised when they don’t make calls for you. The hard truth is that you have to make plays for yourself and you can’t rely on refs to bail you out. The other hard truth is that the referees have been awful at the ends of games this year. I feel like every game that has come down to a single possession has been influenced in some way by a bad refereeing decision. And I know that they’re trying hard and that I’m just sitting on my couch, but that doesn’t have anything to do with their horrible calls. And they are exactly that.
49. VCU 94, Purdue 76 — Finally, some upsets.
I love Purdue and I hated to see them lose this game, but I’ve been itching for some big upsets in this tournament, and it looks like we’re finally getting them. The lesson from this game could be that it’s impossible to win a game when you aren’t guarding the paint. Or the importance of the turnover battle. Or whatever. More importantly, the tournament is about seeing this happen. It’s not about the teams that are pretty good and that we expect to go pretty far but not win it. It’s about teams winning that we don’t expect. And VCU is a prime example of this. I hate to see good teams that I like lose, but if they do, I’d rather have it come at the hands of a Cinderella team than later on against a buzzsaw like Ohio State.