The gang at Storming The Floor break down yesterday's NCAA tourney action. We'll be annoying you with our take on it the rest of the day as well.
Stephen Curry has scored 70 points in two games. The two teams that faced Washington State scored just 81 combined. There are a lot more numbers than that buried in the box scores, and we now have three days to tease out some notion of what might happen in the next round. We'll be wrong, of course, but guessing is half the fun.
#10 Davidson 74, #2 Georgetown 70
Stephen Curry has made a habit of waiting until the second half to go off in this tournament. He scored the majority of his tournament-high 40 points after halftime on Friday, and he only had three points at halftime of Sunday's game, as well. The Wildcats were down 17 before Curry went off and scored the remainder of his 30 points in this one. Jason Richards had 20, and Andrew Lovedale 11. On the other side, Georgetown center Roy Hibbert only managed six points, one rebound and one block.
#12 Villanova 84, #13 Siena 72
This is why nobody ever apologizes for being the last team in. Villanova carried a very weak at-large profile into the NCAA tournament, but the Wildcats now sit in the Sweet 16 (albeit in Detroit) after knocking off Clemson and Siena. The Saints from the MAAC put up a valiant struggle despite early shooting woes, but eventually succumbed to the scoring of Scottie Reynolds (25 points) and Corey Stokes (20 points). The worst part is, the Saints can't even drown their sorrows, because the Saint Bernard in their logo doesn't have a mini-keg around his neck like he should.
#2 Texas 75, #7 Miami 72
Miami coach Frank Haith left his assistant's position at Texas in 2004, to become the Hurricanes' head coach. He took them to the NIT twice over the ensuing seasons before this, his fourth, led him to the NCAA promised land. And who does he have to face after winning his first game? His old boss. Haith and the 'Canes made a game of it, but eventually the Longhorns' experienced starting rotation outlasted them. A.J. Abrams had 26 points, and Damion James chipped in the symmetrical 16/16 double-double to lead Texas to a Sweet 16 matchup with Stanford and the Lopez twins.
#2 Tennessee 76, #7 Butler 71
Want to know why people make redneck jokes about Tennessee? I think the high, keening scream that came from the stands every time Butler shot a free throw in this game gives a clue. The Volunteers only shot 26% from the three-point line and needed overtime to beat the Horizon-league champs. Butler got strong performances from Seniors A.J. Graves (21 points), Mike Green (15 points), and Pete Campbell (12 points), but Tennessee's JaJuan Smith had the last word, sinking four straight free-throws and pulling down a crucial rebound to seal the deal.
#12 Western Kentucky 72, #13 San Diego 63
Western Kentucky has been to the Sweet 16 six times before. The last time was in 1993, when the Hilltoppers defeated Memphis and Seton Hall before losing to Florida State in OT. Do you think they'd take a win over Memphis this year? So far, they've had to end the dreams of fellow mid-majors to get this far, taking down Drake in OT on Friday, and San Diego on Sunday. Next up is UCLA, and they'll need every one of Courtney Lee's 20 ppg, Tryone Braleton's 14, and whatever miracle shot Ty Rogers has in his arsenal to make it to the regional final.
#1 Memphis 77, #8 Mississippi State 74
My initial reaction when seeing this score is "See! Memphis is the weakest #1 seed!" But the other way to look at it is this: Memphis played a game at Mississippi State's preferred pace and still won. Not only that, but they outrebounded a rather grabby team by eleven. Joey Dorsey was a one-man wrecking crew (which is usually Robert Dozier's nickname), gathering 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 blocks before fouling out. Up next is Michigan State, which sets up the marvelous Calipari/Izzo head-to-head matchup.
#3 Louisville 78, #6 Oklahoma 48
When the Oklahoma box score reads "Leading Scorer: David Godbold", you know something went wrong. Freshman Blake Griffin is the engine that makes the Sooners go, and he was mostly absent in this 30-point beatdown. No one player carried the Cardinals; in fact, Rick Pitino managed to get thirteen players into the game before all was said and done.
#1 North Carolina 108, #9 Arkansas 77
The Tarheels cracked the century mark with 3:45 left in a tournament game. Wayne Ellington scored 20 to lead five UNC players in double figures, and Roy Williams one-upped Pitino by getting a full fifteen bodies in this game. This creates a sort of dynamic tension for the next game, as UNC takes on a Washington State team that prides itself on defense. The Cougars allowed 40 points to Winthrop in the first round, and 41 (oh, the shame) to Notre Dame in the second. The good news for UNC is that they'll be playing very close to home, in Charlotte.
For those who keep track of such things (OK, us), the conference tally for the Sweet 16 breaks down like this:
Pac 10, three teams: UCLA, Stanford, Washington State
Big East, three teams: Louisville, West Virginia, Villanova
Big Ten, two teams: Wisconsin, Michigan State
Big 12, two teams: Kansas, Texas
One Team: ACC-North Carolina, SEC-Tennessee, Southern-Davidson, C-USA-Memphis, Sun Belt-Western Kentucky, Atlantic 10-Xavier