To be fair, if I'm having to guard Jarnell Stokes in the post, I'm probably diving out if the way too! #MarchMadness #TennvsMich
— Alan Skinner (@jaskinner6) March 29, 2014
This game was going according to script for about 85% of the game: Tennessee was playing well, and couldn't keep pace because Michigan was shooting out of their minds. But in the last 4 minutes, Tennessee started getting stops, and that allowed them to get within 10....within 7, within 6, within 5.
At this point Tennessee was pressing and denying the inbounds pass. Michigan (up 72-69 at this point), subs in guard Spike Albrecht to be the designated inbounds player. I find this interesting, as Albrecht is pretty clearly the smallest player on the floor in this game. But what do I know?
The next three inbounds passes go as follows:
- Pass leads teammate right to the sideline boundary, teammate forced to throw ball wildly, which leads to a turnover. Tennessee cuts the lead to 72-71.
- Pass leads teammate right back to end-line, teammate steps on end line corralling pass, turnover.
- Timeout called before 5-second violation
Albrecht inbounded all 3 of those balls, AND the next one. At this point, I'm thoroughly confused:
Why is Albrecht still inbounding the ball? 3 straight failed attempts to get ball in.
— Mike Kofron (@TestaverdeTD) March 29, 2014
So what does Tennessee do with the ball facing a one point defecit? Give it to their big man and have him charge into the paint. Unfortunately, he does this through his defender and is called for an offensive foul. It's a very close call.
Michigan escapes by the skin of their teeth and presumably will spend the next 48 hours diagramming new inbounds plays.
Connecticut 81 - Iowa State 76
UConn is the best illustration in basketball of this: You make your free throws, you advance.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) March 29, 2014
For 90% of the game, Iowa State couldn't chain stops together. Their offense wasn't bad (it wasn't as good as it was last round against North Carolina) but they couldn't keep UConn's penetrating guards out of the paint. It was just too easy for the Huskies offensively.
I'd like to tell you more about Iowa State's comeback to make things interesting, but Michigan was busy trying to give their game away which a) made it difficult to switch over and b) kept the UM-UT game going and going Energizer bunny style so by the time that game finally ended there was less than a minute to go in UConn-ISU.
But while Iowa State made the game interesting, they could not get it within one possession. Why?
2nd half free throw shooting:
Iowa State: 0/5
That's not a recipe for success.
Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to watch the state of Kentucky go to war with itself.