March Madness 2011: Richmond Spiders Handle Highflyer Morehead State Eagles
We have seen many upsets through the first couple rounds of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. Amongst those surprises were Morehead State's victory over the No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals and the Richmond Spiders' victory over the No. 5 seed Vanderbilt Commodores.
- Demonte Harper's three-pointer with seconds left elevated the No. 13 seed Morehead State Eagles past the No. 4 seed Louisville Cardinals by a score of 62-61. "The coach said, 'Hey, I dreamed about this last night, this exact situation,' " Harper said. "He said, 'I know exactly who I'm going to. I'm going to put it right in your hands, Demonte.' He said, 'At six seconds, I want you to attack and pull up and hit the shot.' I hit the shot. It feels unreal right now."
- Kevin Anderson's late shot helped the No. 12 seeded Richmond Spiders finish off the No. 5 seed Vanderbilt Commodores by a score of 69-66. "We want to keep looking further into the tournament, not just be satisfied with this win," Anderson said. "We won one game. But we didn't win the tournament. That's our ultimate goal."
Not many if any expected these monumental upsets. Nevertheless, that is exactly what all this madness in March is about. Teams and their players/coaches inspire us all by accomplishing the unthinkable under pressure and other teams simply disappoint us and don't get the job done.
All the teams heading into the tournament feel confident and excited at the opportunity that presents itself. Thirty of the teams have been chosen to participate because they just won their conference tournament. Coming off of a win like that, teams can tend to lose focus at times and in turn be upset by a lower seeded foe.
Sometimes it is simply a question of which team shows up and wants it more. Vanderbilt could possibly have lacked confidence in their teams ability after losing the SEC championship to the Florida Gators only a couple of weeks ago. The Louisville Cardinals too were defeated in the Big East championship by the UConn Huskies and that loss could have been a blow to their moral.
Greatness is defined. It is not set by the bracket gods. Teams and programs like Morehead State and Richmond apparently understand that their seed number doesn't determine their identity; they do! Both of those teams now advance to the second round of the tournament.
It is clear that they are both hungry teams, but who is hungrier? They will face off against one another on Saturday, March 19, 2011 at 1PM EST and we will find out the answer to that very question. The game promises to be a great one that could potentially come down to the last minute of play once again.
My prediction was that Richmond would come out on top in this one and it was so. Usually, fueled by strong three-point shooting, Richmond only shot 4 of 16 (25%) from the three point line. They still managed to overcome their biggest weakness, rebounding only being out rebounded 31 to 29 in this matchup.
Morehead State went down easier than expected. They are known for having a terrible turnover percent, losing the ball on over a quarter of their possessions. However, this game was ultimately determined by their lack of defense and failure to distribute the basketball not their turnovers. Morehead State turned the ball over only 8 times to Richmond's 5 but was outdone in the assist category by Richmond 18 to 7.
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