The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are history and only 16 teams remain. Some are favored, some are underdogs, some are darkhorses - but their all ready to play some basketball. Here are my thoughts and observations on the teams that fought to get to the Sweet 16.
1.) Ty Lawson could probably play basketball with only one leg and an over mitt for a hand. Why in the world did I pick Butler to go to the Elite 8?
2.) The Big East has proved to be the best conference in basketball this year. With a record of 11-2 in the tournament as a conference, the Big East has advanced five teams to the Sweet 16 - UConn, Louisville, Villanova, Pitt, and Syracuse. Each team has a shot to advance to the Elite 8.
3.) The ACC is only as good as Duke and UNC. Florida St.? Upset by Wisconsin (called that), who went on to get beat by Xavier (called that, too). Wake Forest? Beat by Cleveland St. (called that), who went on to lose to Arizona (definitely did not call that). Maryland? Abused by the Memphis Tigers who, surprising to me at least, can actually play against decent competition. Clemson? Too easy.
4.) To everyone who said that Arizona did not belong in the tournament (myself included): the Wildcats are now in a Sweet 16 match-up with top seed Louisville with the Elite 8 on the line. Never underestimate a team playing with a chip on its shoulder.
5.) Ameer Ali went bush league on Blake Griffin. He must have been taking notes while watching the Pitt/UConn game last month. Body slamming the opponent's best player did not work the same way it did against Hasheem Thabeet. Ali got ejected - the Sooners moved on. Good job, moron.
6.) Do the referees know what their jobs are? No foul on Eric Maynor's shot at the end of the UCLA-VCU game? I know you're supposed to let them play, but give me a break. Maynor should have been at the line and sent it to at least overtime. UCLA advanced and was slashed by Villanova.
7.) Besides UConn, the top seeds aren't looking too strong. UNC almost got taken out by LSU, Louisville played down to the wire against Siena, and Pitt nearly lost both of their games. Last year's tournament advanced all four number 1 seeds to the Final Four - the first time in history that its happened. Don't be surprised if only two, or even one, make it this year.
8.) The 1, 2, and 3 seeds of each region all advance to the Sweet 16. So much for the year of the upset.
9.) Can anyone stop UConn? Sure, I go there, but honestly no one has come close to knocking them off. The Huskies blew out Chattanooga by 56 and beat Texas A&M by 26. Seniors A.J. Price and Jeff Adrien are showing supreme leadership and consistency. Stanley Robinson is coming into his own and putting a real hurt on the competition. Could it be that they're peaking at just the right time?
10.) What the hell is a Boilermaker?