What a freaking game!!! That’s why college basketball is such an incredibly great sport. I’m crushed that Xavier, I team I couldn’t respect more, lost that game, but it’s easier to deal with given that the game was an instant classic. That was seriously as good as basketball can be. Jordan Crawford is such an incredible, incredible player. Unreal.
The whole night was interesting – the three games beyond the closing gem were all more than a little interesting as well. From the start – I am very relieved that Butler came through on my faith. I picked them to go to the Final Four, but I was feeling more than a little nervous because Syracuse had found their form again in the first two games. What was amazing about that game was that Syracuse was clearly more athletic and explosive throughout the game, but Butler held their own, didn’t back down or get intimidated, and played out their game plan to near perfection – even if they didn’t shoot particularly well. The thing I really take exception to is the suggestion that this was a massive upset – as the major sports sites are suggesting. Syracuse wasn’t ranked in the preseason, while Butler was ranked 11th, and the Bulldogs have won 23 in a row. This was a game between two warrior squads, not a major upset.
The best part about Xavier losing like they did is that it’s going to be hard for K-State to get focused again in two days.
Cornell is going home, but they deserve a lot of credit or what they did. They should have been massively outclassed, and it was pretty clear that they were at the half and for much of the game, but they got it back to within six late in the second, and they held Kentucky to well below their season average. That being said, the way that Kentucky was able to open up the gap again when they were challenged is yet another reason why I don’t think that there is a team that can touch the Wildcats remaining in this tournament.
I won’t say too much about the fourth game. Washington was playing a team that was missing their highly valued point guard and they got blown away. After a deceptively strong start to the tournament Washington was, to paraphrase Dennis Green, what I thought they were. Not impressive.