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Archive for March 22nd, 2008

Go crazy folks, go crazy

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 22, 2008

I hate to steal a line from Jack Buck, but it seems appropriate right now. I’m absolutely walking on cloud nine, as are all of you. Party it up tonight — you deserve it.

I’ll have thoughts on the game tomorrow. For tonight, I’m just going to enjoy this one.

Sweet Sixteen, here we come! Bring on the Heels!


Posted in NCAA Tournament | 10 Comments »

Bracket Challenge, Day 2 leaderboard

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 22, 2008

I’ve updated the Bracket Challenge standings — sorry it’s so late. Three teams neck-and-neck for first, while I had a little bit of a comeback yesterday thanks to some upsets.

Think Duke losing right now might have an impact on some brackets? It won’t on our leader — “Taylor Rochestie’s Scholarship” is in prime shape. That guy picked West Virginia to knock off Duke. Well done.

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GAME THREAD: No. 4 WSU vs. No. 5 Notre Dame

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 22, 2008

Cougars (25-8) vs. Fighting Irish (25-7)

Pepsi Center (Denver, Colo.), 3:40 p.m. PDT

In the old Schoolhouse Rock song, they used to say that three was a magic number.

Well, when it comes to today’s contest between Notre Dame and Washington State, 52 will be the magic number. As in, 52 effective field goal percentage. That’s because the Fighting Irish haven’t lost a game all year when they top that number, while the Cougs are 21-3 when holding opponents below that number.

(Those three losses when holding the opponent under 52 eFG%? All to the same opponent. Thank goodness we will never, ever see those guys again.)

What’s usually the difference between getting above 52 and not? Three-point shooting. And that — not containing Luke Harangody — will be the key today. (So I guess, in a way, 3 still is a magic number.)

Because Harangody (right) is the Big East player of the year and creates matchup problems galore for most teams with his strength and agility, most people will point to shutting him down as the key today for the Cougs. That’s simply not true.

I’ve isolated Harangody’s performances in the seven losses for the Irish, which you can see for yourself here, but here’s the gist: By every statistical measure other than assists and turnovers, he actually exceeded his season averages in those losses. His two best performances of the year in terms of points were 40 against Louisville and 32 against UConn … Notre Dame’s last two losses.

So while the Cougs of course will want to try and contain Harangody, focusing on him would largely be a mistake if it comes at the expense of keeping the Irish from shooting the 3 effectively.

Read the rest of this entry »

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GAMES THREAD: NCAA Tournament – Round Two, Day 3

Posted by Jeff Nusser on March 22, 2008

Welcome to Day 3 of the NCAA Tournament. This is your thread for all that you see today. While I love the first two days of the tournament, the second round generally is my favorite — still lots of games, but virtually all of them will be competitive.

Here’s the slate, along with my picks, which will come from my bracket if I still have the winner alive. All times PDT.

  • (2) Duke vs. (7) West Virginia, 11:15 a.m. — Duke is going to be motivated after Thursday’s scare. Of that, you can be sure. Pick: Blue Devils.
  • (3) Wisconsin vs. (11) Kansas State, 1:20 p.m. — With my winner gone, I’ll be rooting for K-State for the sake of my bracket. But I just don’t think the young Wildcats are ready to face whatever Bo Ryan has cooked up for them when the Badgers are on defense. Wisconsin will not allow Beasley’s supporting cast to go off as it did on Thursday. Pick: Wisconsin.
  • (3) Xavier vs. (6) Purdue, 1:40 p.m. — Another one of my Sweet Sixteen sleepers gone (Baylor) and I still think Xavier is horribly overrated. The Baby Boilers impressed me greatly with the win over the Bears. Pick: Purdue.
  • (4) WSU vs. (5) Notre Dame, 3:40 p.m. — Stop the 3, win the game. Pick: WSU.
  • (3) Stanford vs. (6) Marquette, 3:45 p.m. — Yes, Marquette’s guards are awesome. But the Cardinal’s advantage on the inside is awesomer. Pick: Stanford.
  • (1) Kansas vs. (8) UNLV 3:50 p.m. — It’s pretty safe to say that the Jayhawks aren’t going to score just 10 in the first half as UNLV’s first opponent did. Pick: Kansas.
  • (4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) Michigan State, 6:10 p.m. — Panthers showed in the opening round why they will be so very dangerous in this tournament. Levance Fields means as much to his team as any player in the country means to theirs.   Pick: Pitt.
  • (1) UCLA vs. (9) Texas A&M, 6:15 p.m. — I did pick UCLA to win the title, but the Bruins better be awful careful in this one. The Aggies possess enough talent to have been ranked in the Top 10 at one point. Pick: UCLA.

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