Let the Silliness begin!
Indiana had gone through a tough stretch in the last month, with Dan Dakich taking over for Kelvin Sampson after his text message kerfuffel (was that spelled right?). It seemed that the turmoil carried over into the big dance as the Hoosiers, seeded ninth in the East region, fell to Arkansas, 86-72.
Tampa Bay: UPSET CITY, BABY!!!
After a rather dull first day, Friday saw a good deal of upsets and drama, most if not all of which took place at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida:
- Ty Rogers led off the excitement with a three-pointer at the overtime buzzer that sent West 12th seed Western Kentucky to an upset of fifth-seeded Drake (whom this reporter thinks got too high of a seed; either that or the Missouri Valley Conference looked pretty strong this year), 101-99.
- A few hours later, San Diego's De'Jon Jackson scored on a pull-up jumper with over a second left to give the Toreros a 70-69 overtime win over UConn.
- Where this reporter grew up, Siena was the dominant D1 program for many years until crosstown rivals UAlbany got into the mix. For the third year in a row, New York's Capitol Region had a dog in the fight, and the Saints (who sport a Saint Bernard in their logo, incidentally) never trailed in an 83-62 pantsing of Vanderbilt. Not bad if you beat a team that started off 16-0 like that...
- Midwest #12 seed Villanova edged fifth-seed Clemson to cap an upset-laden day's journey into night, 75-66.
- Mario Chalmers scored 17 points and punched Kansas' second consecutive ticket to the Sweet 16, 75-56, over UNLV. Meanwhile, Wisconsin ousted the Jayhawks' in-state rivals Kansas State and frosh sensation Michael Beasley, 72-55.
- In the same Midwest regional, Davidson has emerged as the Cinderella of 2008. Further edification comes with an 82-76 first-round upset of Gonzaga and their second-round 74-70 win that sent Georgetown packing early. In both games, Davidson forward Stephen Curry (son of former well-traveled NBAer Dell Curry) scored thirty points each, BTW.
- Memphis' Achilles heel during the past season has been free throws, a fact which has been well-documented. Despite making only six of thirty freebies, Memphis edged Mississippi State, 77-74. Also in the South regional, Texas held off a hard-charging Miami squad, 75-72.
- The night before, Stanford coach Trent Johnson had been well-behaved, but some of the calls the zebras made drew his ire, and with over three and a half minutes to go in the first half, got his second technical foul and got the boot from the game. He missed an exciting finish, as the Cardinal held off Marquette, 82-81 in overtime.
- In the East, North Carolina advanced to next weekend by blowing out Arkansas, 108-77, while second-seeded Tennessee held off Butler 76-71 in OT. But in the South, Duke, who held off Belmont in a tight battle on Thursday, was no match for West Virginia, 73-67 behind Joe Alexander's 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The pros played over the weekend, too, ya know
- Lost in the college hoops shuffle was Lebron James' latest career accomplishment. Early in Friday night's game against the Toronto Raptors, King James became the King of Cleveland as the Akron native passed Brad Daugherty to become the Cavaliers' all-time scoring leader. James had 29 points in a 90-83 win.
- The Dallas Mavericks seemed to have their Easter Sunday matinee with the San Antonio Spurs in their hip pocket, but a knee injury to Dirk Nowitzki changed the whole dynamic, as the Spurs got 26 points from Manu Ginobili, eight of which came in a 19-0 run, in an 88-81 win that swapped the sixth and seventh positions in the Western Conference playoff push.
Across the Pond
- United held on to their top spot in the Premiership with a 3-0 shutout of Reds at Old Trafford. Rafael Benitez' club also saw the sending off of striker Javier Mascherano due to arguing with the referee about whether or not United's Paul Scholes had challenged him outside the rules.
- In the nightcap (though it was actually mid-afternoon), Chelsea leapfrogged their North London rivals, 2-1, on a late double shot by Didier Drogba that sent the Lions within five points of United, but only one point clear of the Gunners. Chelsea also have a 14-match unbeaten (10-4-0 in the run; eat your hearts out, Houston Rockets...)
- The Easter Bunny hopped his way to Nashville Superspeedway, where the Nationwide (ex-Busch) Series was the only of NASCAR's three series in action over the weekend, and put a win into Scott Wimmer's basket. Among the chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps (which this reporter is lucky to find in his every year) came a trophy that looks and plays like a guitar. Imagine that!
- Soon after, he hopped on a Gulfstream to Malaysia, where he delivered a checkered flag to Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen in Formula One's second race of the season. Fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen joined him on the podium, along with Polish driver Robert Kubica.
Odds and Sods
- It had to end sometime, but Tiger Woods' seven-match PGA TOUR winning streak came to an end earlier today, as 2006 US Open champ Geoff Ogilvie took the top prize in the WGC-CA Championships at the Blue Monster at Doral in Miami, Florida.
- Hockey hasn't been mentioned much recently, but this reporter figured that the following was worth nothing: Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin scored his 60th goal of the season, which was his second in a 5-3 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Ovechkin became the first player in the NHL to score 60 goals in a campaign since the dynamic duo of Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr did it back in 1995-96 with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
- John Wooden: The 97-year-old uber-legendary UCLA coach was released from a rehab center in Los Angeles the day before his beloved Bruins ousted Texas A&M in the NCAA tourney. Wooden's time in the hospital was spent healing a broken left wrist sustained in a fall at his home earlier in the week.
- Also, big ups to Falcon, who gave me a cigar just as I wrap this up. As long as it's not a real one, I'll take it! ;-)
That's all for this week
Until next time, as always, let's all be good sports...