Saturday, March 23, 2013

Grading Saturday’s games: Yawn fest alleviated with final three games

Forget the lack of true upsets, as Oregon shouldn’t be a No. 12 seed, but the first five games made me nearly take a nap.

Five games. Five blowouts. Boring.

Don’t get me wrong. There were some great plays. There were some good performances by teams or certain players, but a blowout is a blowout.

No drama and one team playing awful.

But then came East No. 3 Marquette’s squeaker over No. 6 Butler and then came West No. 1 Gonzaga getting upended by the sharp shooting of No. 9 Wichita State.

Even South No. 4 Syracuse and No. 12 California had its moments. And I finally started to have fun.

Although, I did only go 5-3 in my bracket today, making me 29-11 so far but only 14-10 since Thursday.

Here are the grades for Saturday’s games.


No. 3 Michigan State (W) vs. No. 6 Memphis – C

Why does this game get an average grade? Because there were some good plays but more importantly, there were no other games to turn to.

No. 1 Louisville (W) vs. No. 8 Colorado State – D

This game had no doubt. Louisville was bigger, stronger, more athletic and more aggressive. Plus, Colorado State didn’t hit their 3-pointers.

After a big first half, Louisville ran away with the game in the second half. And I turned the game off.

At least I picked Louisville in this game in my bracket.

No. 4 Saint Louis vs. No. 12 Oregon (W) – C

While this is an upset by seed, it is actually a game Oregon should have won. What a bad matchup for Saint Louis.

This game was fast which made it not drag so much, but Saint Louis fell behind and never recovered and essentially gave up.

It looked like Oregon was playing by itself on rebounds, and it shot as if no defenders were present. Oregon got whatever shot it wanted.

The selection committee definitely got it wrong with Oregon. They should have been a No. 6 seed like Arizona.

MIDWEST grade – C

I hope the No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Creighton is better or this bracket is in danger of a D for the round of 32.


No. 4 Michigan (W) vs. No. 5  VCU – D

I was expecting this to be a game. I was wrong.

Michigan not only broke VCU’s pressure, it cut a hole in it, ran through and singed it back together to keep VCU behind a wall while they scored at will.

Michigan shot 51 percent from the field (31-for-60) and won the battle on the boards, 36-21.

This game was over in the first half, and I was forced to watch it because it was the first game of the day.

SOUTH grade – D

The only game ion this region was pretty terrible, but a Florida Gulf Coast upset could lead this bracket all the way back to a B, maybe an A if the other games are respectable.


No. 3 Marquette (W) vs. No. 6 Butler – A

This was the game I was waiting for all day. Both teams hit shots, made plays and it came down to a final shot. What more can you ask for?

There was a point it looked like Butler had the control, but it never happened. The teams were too similar, and it was fitting it came down to a final missed 3-pointer.

Both teams deserved to win, but Marquette won with the strength of Madison Memorial graduate Vander Blue. He nailed a huge 3-pointer to tie the game late, and the Golden Eagles never looked back.

No. 4 Syracuse (W) vs. No. 12 California – B

Syracuse jumped ahead early, and it controlled the entire game. It seemed like a blowout in the making, but California kept fighting.

And a couple of late runs, including back-to-back 3-pointers and a forced turnover, made this game fun.

It wasn’t the best, but compared to the first games, this was a B.

EAST grade – B+

Thursday was much better in the East, but overall, this was a good bracket.


No. 6 Arizona (W) vs. No. 11 Harvard – F

Arizona destroyed Harvard, and not just because Harvard missed its first 12 shots.

Harvard could not contain Arizona senior guard Mark Lyons, who transferred from Xavier for graduate school after three seasons. Lyons scored 27 points, and Harvard’s Cinderella story ended in the first four minutes.

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Wichita State (W) – A

And we have another big upset. What a game. Wichita State had a small edge for most of the game, but Gonzaga came roaring back.

It was then that the 3-point barrage started. Wichita State was 14-for-28 from beyond the arc and Gonzaga made a couple of huge errors, including a lane violation late in the game.

This is up there with Northern Iowa’s win over Kansas a few years ago. It is one we will remember when all is said and done.

WEST second-round grade – B

The Gonzaga upset made this bracket decent today, and the West is absolutely crazy. The highest seed left is No. 2 Ohio State. The next highest? No. 6 Arizona. I feel like an underdog is making the Final Four this year out of this bracket.

OVERALL Saturday grade – C

The final few games saved the day. I was ready to mark an F down, but I had lots of fun watching the end of the night. Hopefully, Sunday is better.

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