Maybe having all #1 seeds play in the Final Four for the first time ever will ensure us some close, interesting games — because watching three of the four teams whoop up on their opponents in Elite Eight games isn’t the most scintillating viewing.
UCLA was expected to win the West easily — playing a series of what could have been considered home games in Anaheim — and took apart the #3 seed Xavier with the precision Ben Howland teams have become known for in Phoenix. Double-doubles for Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute represented ownership of the post and the boards, and Darren Collison showed his development as a point guard and a scorer by putting up 19 and turning Drew Lavender into a non-factor. Also important: UCLA got Josh Duncan in foul trouble early and kept B.J. Raymond from getting hot — which offset the apparent loss of Josh Shipp’s mojo.
I didn’t watch UNC-Louisville; I wasn’t sure it would be a double digit win, but apparently I did not miss a ton here. If the Tar Heels are clicking on all cylinders, that’s scary.
Memphis just flustered Texas completely, with size and strength inside and guards Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts just being bigger than D.J. Augustin and Damion James. Apparently John Calipari has figured out how to get this team to shoot from the stripe in the tourney, and Derrick Rose has probably shot up to where it has become a discussion of who would go first in the NBA lottery should he choose to go — him or Michael Beasley, and it would be a total toss up. Rose plays like UCLA’s Collison and Russell Westbrook combined and grew a couple inches: on the defensive end, he sees passes coming and is already going down the other way as soon as you’ve made the pass.
Bill Self is a very lucky man. Very lucky that Sasha Kaun bashed in the paint and Stephen Curry had a hard time getting open off screens all day, only shooting 9-for-25. The one glaring fault with Curry’s game is that he does not have the ball-handling skills to create his own shot, without the assistance of at least a screen or two — and when Self decided to go to the box-and-one defense, he couldn’t get those screens. Kansas survived off nights from both Sherron Collins and Brandon Rush, but they had better show up against UNC next weekend. As for Davidson’s future: the Wildcats will be back next year, and they may be better if Curry does learn a better handle.
Photo: AP/Eric Gay
Filed under: college basketball, March Madness Tagged: | Davidson Wildcats, Final Four, Kansas Jayhawks, Louisville Cardinals, Memphis Tigers, North Carolina Tar Heels, Texas Longhorns, UCLA Bruins, Xavier Musketeers