Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Best Opening Afternoon Ever???

b-ballI’ll answer my own question.

Yeah, I mean, it’s the best one I can recall. Which isn’t saying much, since my memory isn’t exactly elephantine. But there sure haven’t been any opening eight tilts more compelling, more interesting, more scintillating.

Story lines.

Yeah, we got ’em.

How about the nation’s “best league,” that would be the Big 12 by consensus, starting out, uh, 0-3?

#3 Iowa State was surely outfoxed and absolutely outrebounded by UAB. The Blazers started the second stanza hitting but 3 of 15 FG attempts. Yet, never stopped battling.

There are always teams that come to the Dance, play nervous, play tentatively. The Mayor’s Team was a prime example Thursday afternoon.

The Cyclones are heading home.

#3 Baylor, had 19 FGs but committed 21 turnovers, and blew a dozen point lead to Georgia State in less than three minutes, giving up the final 13 points of the game, without a counter.

The Bears are going home.

Texas came back on Butler, on the shoulders of Isaiah Taylor, who was driving the lane and scoring at will. Until Bulldog coach Brandon Miller had Kameron Woods check the Longhorn PG, making two stops, then canning a 1+1 for an insurmountable 7 point advantage with a minute to play. Another Rick Barnesian Defeat.

The Longhorns are going home.

The Big 12’s luster has lost its sheen.

* * * * *

Then there’s the storyline about coach’s sons.

Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter, son of coach Ron Hunter, he of the Achilles injury, scored 16 for the victorious Panthers. 12 of which came during a last three minute surge to victory. Including a 35′ trey with but a couple ticks of the clock left for the 57-56 lead. And W.

And, yes, it was Son of Steve, Bryce Alford, who flung up that off balance trey that was falling short, when it was swatted away by SMU’s Yanick Moreira, and called goal tending.

Before I weigh in on the call, I must note that before that shot, Alford the Younger was 8/10 from beyond the arc. Since he’s been credited with that game winning trey, it made him 9/11 on the afternoon. He certainly wins the afternoon’s American Sniper Award.

* * * * *

Which brings me to certainly the most controversial call so far.

The goal tend that gave UCLA it’s stunning W. After they gave up 19 consecutive points to the Mustangs, falling behind 53-44.

I hate that UCLA won. I hate that the Bruins won on such an iffy call, which decided the game.

But, I think it a legitimate call. The ball was on a downward arc, and appeared, to me anyway, that it was going to hit the rim. Even if it looked like it wouldn’t go through the hoop. That’s goaltending. Damn it.

* * * * *

Notre Dame almost lost. But didn’t.

Because on a possible go ahead possession with the clock winding down, Northeastern passed up several shots, and eventually the Irish’s stellar defense prevailed, when they stole the ball before a FG was attempted.

Notre Dame survives and advances.

* * * * *

Can’t comment on the Ws by either Arizona or Xavier.

Since the Musketeers and Wildcats had their foes measured from the get go, I never clicked over to their games.

* * * * *

Which brings me to several observations about the all games/ all the time/ tip to buzzer/ four channel/ HD coverage.

Love it.

Love the way they show the scores of the games in progress, along with time clock, at the top of the screen. That way, you always know the status of what’s happening, and can switch to the tight ones.

Which I was able to do when Georgia State started its comeback.

I also love how the networks (and NCAA, to which I’m loathe to give any credit) tweaked the start times, so the games are more spread out. Which allows the viewer to take in significant action down the stretch essentially without conflict.

Here are a couple of things I don’t like.

The generic look alike courts at all the venues. (That’s on the NCAA.)

Charles Barkley, doing college games. He’s the best on NBA coverage, but an also ran during the Dance.

* * * * *

Of course, there are several rounds to be played before it might matter, but I feel compelled to note that Iowa State’s elimination makes Duke’s path to the Final Four arguably easier.

* * * * *

Then there was the afternoon’s finale, Ohio State vs. Virginia Commonwealth, the game I predicted would be the best of the day.

And, uh, it went to overtime.

To get there, the Rams’ Melvin Johnson drilled two consecutive long balls. For a two point lead. The Buckeyes’ Amir Williams dunked one to tie it. A couple of misses each way, then a botched Sosa play by VCU. Extra innings.

Traded hoops. Traded misses.

Then matters got chippy. Double foul.

And sloppy. VCU threw it away twice. But had the ball with :22.5 to play, down three. Treveon Graham missed a three. America’s best freshman, maybe the nation’s best player, Louisvillian D’Angelo Russell canned two FTs at :04.9. Ball Game! 75-72.

All that, and 55 games left to be played.

— Seedy K

3 thoughts on “Hoopaholic’s Gazette: Best Opening Afternoon Ever???

  1. Will Baylor and Texas realize they have great recruiters but not so very good coaches and be happy? Has the term “mid-major” become no longer relevant and now there are “supermajors” (seeds 1-4), “majors”, and “others receiving crumbs” (Lafayette et al) ?

  2. Hell of a day….but it wasn’t goaltending in fact or by the rule. That ball had 0% chance to go in. If that was a correct call, almost every one of Trez’ lob dunks Is offensive goaltending.

    Shame to lose like that…

  3. The rule doesn’t contemplate whether the shot is going to be good or not. It’s simply whether it’s on a downward arc, and will come in contact with any part of the vicinity of the basket, which includes the rim, even the outside of the rim. For the first time, since at least the mid 70s, the Professor and I actually agree on this one. As egregious and unfair as the result it caused, the goaltending call was, we believe, legit. And, yes, what a shame. Kudos to Larry Brown and Yannick Moreira for accepting the call and their fate with grace. Opinion on the call seems to be evenly divided by experts and the public, whether it was a good one or the worst ever. But not on the day of hoops, unarguably one of the best ever.

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