Four Games, Four Thoughts

1. Watching Purdue lose today was pretty decisive. I saw them play several times this year, and this game was pretty indicative of their season – they can be very good, but they can’t sustain it. Robbie Hummel’s night is a microcosm of their issues – Hummel had 15 points in the first seven minutes or so, and would up with 17 on the night in 35 minutes of action. That’s not to take anything away from UConn , mind you. They have all sorts of distractions and excuses to put in a less-than-perfect effort, yet they played pretty fine today. I still don’t think they have what it takes to win it all, but they looked nothing but business like and impressive tonight.

2. I love Xavier. They lost, and they probably deserved to, but I love how they just go in their with inferior talent and totally set the tone of the game. That’s not to say that it was interesting to watch – Xavier set an almost glacial tone, and other for the drama of the finish it was hard to stay awake. That’s three times now that Pitt has won and made it look hard. I have them in my Final Four, and I hope I am right, but they haven’t made a strong case for themselves along the way.

3. As I write this, there is eight minutes left in the second game in Arizona. Memphis is trying to make a game of it, but they are still 15 points back. I was watching the game, but CBS switched away from it because it was so ugly. I obviously owe an apology to the Missouri version of the Tigers. I thought that they were the most suspect team today, and the easiest bet-against, but they have proven me wrong. They have played with confidence and authority, and have confused Memphis far more often than I thought they would be able to. They have also shot better than expected. I’m very disappointed in Memphis, too. I expected them to be much crisper throughout the game. Unless they pull off the miracle comeback that’s the first of my Final Four teams to fall. I hate that. Despite that, though, I am amazed by Tyreke Evans. I wish that there was a way to see him in college for another year.

4. The last game isn’t over right now, but Villanova is thrashing Duke, and the Blue Devils show no signs of changing that. I’m not surprised that Duke is outclassed here as I expected them to be, but I am impressed by how dominantVillanova has been on both sides of the ball. This result and the rest of the night shows just how incredibly good the Big East was this year. Barring a miracle here, they already will have three Elite Eight teams. Louisville is almost a lock to be a fourth, and I give Syracuse a very good chance to be the fifth. I am always skeptical when something is universally hyped, so I didn’t necessarily believe that the conference was as good as advertised this year. Now I am. Another thing I am convinced of – if the Wildcats can replicate this effort on Saturday, Pitt is going home.

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