I don’t mean to polish my own buttons, but I just did it – my first perfect day of action, 2 for 2 (I realize it took me a few days and ultimately I was only selecting two games, but still. I’m excited ok? So don’t take that away from me).
After a MSU vs Tennessee thriller, Duke vs Baylor saw Duke returning to the Final Four for the first time since 2004. Even when Baylor finished the first half with the lead, was there ever really any doubt that Duke would win? I thought the Blue Devil’s did a great job of responding with key baskets any time it seemed like the Bears were getting comfortable. Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith hit three after three to continually give Duke the advantage, not allowing the Bears a chance to build any significant lead.
As we approached the end of the game, Duke, as they almost always do, received a favorable whistle down the stretch. Now, I understand that these guys play smart against a sometimes overly-aggressive Baylor team, but still, watching that game could you justify Duke making 23 of 29 free throws while Baylor only shot 19? Not to mention the fact that Duke made 21-27 in the second half. Yes, I understand that some of those were intentional hacks at the end of the game, but historically that’s the way it works with this team. Not only are you trying to beat the players, you are trying to beat Coach K and the aura surrounding the program. You could see the frustrated looks on the faces of Baylor players. They were fighting an uphill battle.
I’m not saying Duke wouldn’t have won the game anyway (I think they were the better team regardless) but its hard not to notice their favorable whistle.
Duke’s win puts me at a much more stellar-looking 8-4 entering the final weekend of play. I’m hoping to keep this thing going. Check back soon for my Final Four selections.
On to the game I enjoyed watching…
Maybe call this Redemption? Speaking to me winning and Brent actually finishing the sandwich
MSU vs Tennessee
Both teams off to a very fast start. The quick pace and helter-skelter style definitely favor the Volunteers. However, MSU is doing “man”-‘s work on the offensive glass with 8 offensive rebounds.The Spartans just need to play better defense, not leaving Wayne Chism with open three point looks.
(I put “man” in quotes because of a certain exhibition game during my sophomore season in college. After getting beat badly on the boards by our division two opponent, we got quite a tongue lashing. One of our assistants went off on a tirade about our lack of effort, that went something like this – “You guys are just getting outmuscled, outworked, and outtoughed. These guys are MEN. You are playing against MEN. I mean, look at their stats, number 24, 8 min, 5 rebs, MAN. Number 44, 14 mins, 8 rebs, MAN. Number 32, 10 mins, 7 rebs, MAN. Number 50, 12 min, 9 rebs, MAN. These guys are MEN.” Naturally, this became a historic moment, repeatedly referenced for our team for years to come.)
Very impressed with the pressure of reserve guard Melvin Goins. He’s making life miserable for Korie Lucious. Forced a few turnovers and finished with a couple baskets. He is single-handedly taking MSU out of their offense with his ball pressure.
We have a close, high-scoring game (41-39 Tennessee) going into halftime. Its setting up to be a good one.
PS About a week ago Brent mistakenly referred to Tennessee big man Brian Williams as Bison Dele, as I continued to talk about what a big boy he was. For maybe the first time in his less than stellar career, Brent seemed to be onto something. Especially since Dele’s former name was Brian Williams. Creepy, I know. Ok, if he’s not a Dele-Williams maybe he’s the offspring of David Adkins. You don’t know who that is? Really? He’s very famous. Think. Think. More commonly know as the co-star of Houseguest with Phil Hartman. Yes, David Adkins is Sinbad.
Second Half Bill Simmons style
MSU ball. First possession Raymar Morgan jacks a three. For all the talent and athleticism present, he has not been able to take the next step to become an elite player. At times he takes bad shots, makes bad decisions, and looks lost on the defensive end. MSU needs him to play better.
17:14 And don’t look now, as Morgan makes a good strong move to the basket, Brent appears from this kitchen, the leftover sandwich and BBQ sauce in hand. We’ll continue to monitor his status and see if his second effort proves superior to his first.
16:31 After what looked like it should have been a halfcourt violation, Tennessee completes the third backdoor alley-oop to Prince. After this happens twice wouldn’t you think MSU players would learn that JP Prince is looking for back cuts to the basket?
Side Note: Brent Jordan Heemskerk has finally finished the Adam Emmenecker sandwich during round 2. It must have been the specialized BBQ sauce. If he can finish, I can predict this game. Maybe MSU will win afterall. Too bad we all don’t get second chances.
15:31 3 Summers, 3 Chism (Again Raymar Morgan, this is the second time you left him open), 3 Allen, missed 3 Bobby Maze, long 2 Summers and the foul. This is a frantic wide open pace. MSU is making shots now, but it definitely favors the Vols. MSU needs to play at their pace and not let Tennessee dictate tempo. MSU leads 51-50
14:06 Bruce Pearl yanks off his jacket contesting a no-call, revealing his orange suspenders, orange tie combo. You are a braver man than I Bruce.
13:50 Sinbad airballs a free throw. Are you telling me all those scenes in Houseguest were fake? I thought Sinbad could hoop. Hollywood’s so tricky. 51-51
12:16 Big three from Lucious after a great hustle play from Austin Thornton. Though he won’t show up on the stat sheet, Thornton’s hustle kept that play alive after a ten foot jump hook from Delvon Roe draws nothing but glass. 56-51 MSU. Timeout Vols
11:42 Great ball fake, agility, and finish with the left by Day-Day. Bucket good and the free throw. 59-51 MSU. I don’t even want to say this, am I right? (I hate karma, why’d I say anything?)
10:16 Lucious continues to struggle with pressure. This time, from Bobby Maze. To any ballhandlers out there, simplicity is key against pressure. Make the game easy for yourself. 59-55 MSU.
7:44 Day-Day iso from the top of the key against Sinbad. Nice assist to Chris Allen. 61-57 MSU. You know your starting point guard isn’t playing if you isolate your 6’6″ 250-lb power forward initiating your offense from and taking his man one-on-one from the perimeter at the end of the shot clock. Good thing Mr. Green is from Saginaw, MI, home of the versatile athlete.
6:06 Tennessee takes the lead on a nice jump hook by Sinbad. Good position and use of the wide body. We’ve got a game on our hands. 62-61 Tennessee
4:40 GREAT finish by Day-Day another basket and foul. He is MSU’s choice to make a big play. The big fella takes a well-deserved rest before the final four minutes. 66-64 MSU
4:24 Pick-and-roll between Sinbad and JP Prince. Sinbad receives the ball and draws the foul. Prince comes up after the play to hear Sinbad say “Shut the “expletive” up” on national television. He proceeds to miss both free throws including an airball on the second. See, karma. 66-64 MSU
3:57 Athletic finish by JP “Tayshaun’s younger brother” Prince ties the game, 66-66. Setting up for a great finish (have I said that already?)
2:52 Big three from Summers off the feed from Allen. 69-66 MSU. WebMaster’s comment – “This game’s setting up for an onions”. We love Bill Raftery.
1:56 MSU calls timeout after big offensive rebound and dunk from Sinbad. Verne tells us to “buckle up”.
Back from commercial and we get our first “onions” of the tournament (first one we’ve heard anyway). Again, we love Bill Raftery.
1:08 Maze drives baseline, pump fakes, and tosses up a shot… over the backboard. Thankfully, I am not longer the only guard to shoot a layup over the backboard in the NCAA tournament. Please just don’t show Ty Rogers anymore.
0:40 Missed three by Summers at the end of the shot clock. Huge rebound by Morgan (I guess he did step up didn’t he?) giving the Spartans a chance to take the next step to the Final Four
0:28 Apparently getting the rebound was enough for Lucious, as he misses the front end to give Tennesse life. 69-68 MSU
11.2 seconds Day-Day fouls Scottie Hopson, a 60% free throw shooter on a mid-range jumper. Two shots
First one good. 69-69. No doubt about that one. Timeout.
Second one hits the left side of the rim. Ball tapped around… Lucious corrals it.
Green pushes the ball up the floor (why your pg gives up the ball to a power forward, I do not know), finds Morgan (who else?) underneath. Gets fouled with 1.8 sec to go
1.8 seconds Morgan makes the first. Timeout Tennessee.
Brent asks make or miss. Not a bad idea assuming 1.8 seconds is not enough time to get a rebound and a decent shot.
I say make it. They will call timeout regardless. You want as many points on the board as possible. If they have no timeouts remaining, maybe I agree. Otherwise, I don’t think you have anything to gain.
Morgan misses hard off the backboard and iron. Purposefully. Sinbad grabs the board and quickly calls timeout.
Refs check the clock, say 1.6 to go. Tommy Izzo agreed with Brent. Hopefully Brent’s track record of failures does not doom the Spartans.
1.6 Tennessee ball on the baseline. Chism takes it out, Roe pressuring him. Heaves it to Prince near halfcourt. Airball. MSU prevails.
Yes! 1 for 1 today. And a close game, did I say it would be a good one?
Touche Brent. Even though I’m not sure either of us would’ve been wrong, at least it didn’t hurt you this time.