Sunday, March 23, 2014

NCAA Tournament, Day 4, Parts 1 & 2

Stanford 60 - Kansas 57
In a development that should surprise no one, Bill Self's team flamed out of the tournament to a decided underdog. In a development that I found very surprising, Stanford put to bed the notion that you can't miss all of your three pointers in a game and win (the Cardinal were 0-for-9). 

Kansas had fewer turnovers, shot better from behind the arc and at the free throw line, and more offensive rebounds than the Cardinal. So how to explain the loss? The moment was too big for freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins (4 points on 1-for-6 shooting), and the team shot very poorly (32.8% from the field). 

Kentucky 78 - Wichita State 76
The energy in this game was off the charts. It felt like an Elite 8, or Final Four game, not a round of 32 one. The game was very evenly matched, the Only stat that provided any separation between the teams was offensive rebounds (UK had a 10-4 edge). 

I can't even say one team out-executed the other down the stretch. Wichita State simply missed their last shot attempt (the would-be game winning three-pointer). early front-runner for game of the tournament. 

Iowa State 85 - North Carolina 83
Fast-paced offensive show. Both of these teams brought their offensive A-games, resulting in a third extremely entertaining game in a row to start off Day 4. 

I really liked Iowa State's last possession: DeAndre Kane drove to the hoop rather than settle for a long two/three point shot. He scored in traffic, and then it got weird. 

With 1.6 seconds left, UNC immediately inbounded the ball, and their guard sprinted to mid court and then called a timeout. However, the clock ran out before he was granted the timeout. The referees checked the monitor, and found the following:
1) Timeout was called before the clock hit zero
2) The clock did not start right away when it was caught off the inbounds pass

The amount of time the clock was delayed was judged to be enough that the game clock expired before the timeout was called, so after a lengthy discussion, the game was declared over after all, and it was the correct call. 

My main question is, how did the clock operator screw that up so badly? These are supposed to be the best of the best (players, referees, and presumably other staff as we'll). 

Tennessee 83 - Mercer 63
These guys didn't get the memo that all games today were supposed to be nail biters. Instead Tennessee simply overwhelmed Mercer, who had already won their Super Bowl. 

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