NCAA Tournament of All-Time Rosters: Second Round Game Recap, Day Two

Marc DaleyAnalyst IApril 9, 2009

Game Five - (3) Kansas vs. (19) Illinois

The Illini’s excitement over the first-round upset over Louisville may have provided enough energy to sustain them through the first half against an opponent with a lesser front line. Unfortunately for Ken Norman and Brian Cook they had to contend with one of the best centers of all-time.

Kansas center Wilt Chamberlain dominated from the opening tip when he batted it back to point guard JoJo White who quickly passed it to a streaking Danny Manning for an easy dunk. From there it was a familiar theme.

Manning, Chamberlain and Raef Lafrentz were too much of an inside presence for Cook, Norman and Red Kerr. The only Jayhawk starter who had a quiet night was guard Paul Pierce but he seemed content to watch the fun inside the paint. And who could blame him?

Final Score: Kansas 92, Illinois 69


Game Six - (6) Maryland vs. (11) Georgetown

It’s a shame for college basketball fans that it took a forced matchup to finally bring these neighbors together for a hardcourt battle. Unlike their initial matchups both teams’ front lines would be evenly matched and it would fall on unlikely sources to provide the heroics.

During the opening play Maryland’s Len Elmore got the ball from John Lucas in perfect position to score but Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing swatted it away to Allen Iverson, who quickly dribbled up court and distributed a textbook bounce pass to Reggie Williams.

Williams prepared to channel his inner George Gervin with the finger roll but Len Bias had other ideas and pinned the layup against the glass with extreme prejudice. From there, both teams knew that passion and execution would have to be top-notch. Nothing else would be allowed.

Maryland had a chance to win it in regulation. Elmore had fouled out with three minutes left on a questionable charging call and Ewing was gaining an edge on backup center Tom McMillen.

Meanwhile, Mourning had also fouled out and Coach John Thompson decided to counter with Jeff Green over Dikembe Mutombo for offensive purposes. It turned out Green could play a little defense too.

Bias received the ball at the top of the key and went to launch a game-winning jumper until he noticed he had no ball to shoot as Green had stolen it. He immediately covered up as the buzzer sounded and the score was tied at 73.

The overtime period proved to be a war of attrition. Ewing got two easy baskets thanks to timely positioning on the offensive end but he made a rare mistake by lunging at Bias, who pulled up in the paint rather than risk a stuff on another finger roll.

Ewing’s collision resulted in a three-point play and, more importantly, his disqualification. Now Thompson hurriedly went to Mutombo, his only center left. With Maryland tying it again and Mutombo not an offensive threat Coach Gary Williams used McMillen as a double on any inside moves and shuffled Albert King with Steve Francis depending on who had the ball.

With fifteen seconds left, Williams’ strategy paid off. Francis drove his coach crazy on occasion but delivered when it mattered. He took a pass from Lucas, drove three steps to the right as he used a great pick from Buck Williams and lofted a feathery 17-footer that put the Terrapins up by two.

The Hoyas had no timeouts left and Iverson worked frantically to get people in position. With five seconds left he took matters into his own hands, drove the lane and put up a knuckleball from ten feet, which clanged harmlessly off the rim and ended the game.

Ewing put his face in a towel and Len Bias exulted as he put his hands on his head. The neighbors had waged a classic.

Final Score: Maryland 80, Georgetown 79 (OT)

Game Seven - (2) UCLA vs. (15) UNLV

It’s been argued that the 1990 UNLV squad was one of the best teams of all time. However, that argument could be successfully debated by UCLA fans who could point to several of the Wooden-era teams that collected trophies like boys with ten-speeds collect baseball cards. With that in mind, it wasn’t a day to expect the unexpected with this matchup.

UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian played his usual up-tempo style simply because his squad was best suited for it. However, teams that press typically don’t like to be pressed. Greg Anthony, Ricky Sobers and Glen Gondrezick had never seen a swarm like the Bruins’ pressure and were clearly getting worn to nubs as the game progressed.

Larry Johnson, Armon Gilliam and Sidney Green put forth valiant efforts on the defensive end but were simply no match for Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton, who Coach John Wooden decided to start ahead of Reggie Miller. No matter for Miller, as he came off the bench to become the fifth Bruin in double figures.

UNLV could only claim two double-figure scorers this day and went back to the desert a humbled squad.

Final Score: UCLA 96, UNLV 67


Game Eight - (7) Houston vs. (10) Michigan State

Historical analysis has shown that the 10-seed gets the better of the 7-seed in recent tournaments. In order to avoid that trend the Cougars would have to prove their trapeze act was effective against the more physical style of the Spartans.

While the Spartans’ Magic Johnson ran the point on offense and got the better of counterpart of Otis Birdsong on defense he was assigned to Clyde Drexler.

MSU Coach Tom Izzo knew that Greg Kelser would have trouble with Akeem Olajuwon in a mano-a-mano matchup so he shuffled Morris Peterson out with Kevin Willis to give the Spartans to an extra height advantage.

All in all, it proved to be an even, if contrasting, matchup except for one position. Despite Birdsong’s well-deserved defensive reputation Johnson seemed to have a little extra on this day.

He wouldn’t get one of his patented triple-doubles, but considering he held Drexler to 13 points and only two dunks 18 points, eight rebounds and nine assists looked nice on the final stat sheet. The final score looked pretty good to Coach Izzo, too.

Final Score: Michigan State 81, Houston 75

Tomorrow: Elite Eight Action From Greensboro and New Orleans


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