Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Greetings from Philadelphia

This will be a short post because I have to check out today and I have to go to the morning session of the conference before I head to home. I have been here in Philly since Sunday and its been non stop sessions during the day, then hanging out with fellow Hofstra Colleagues at night, sans my 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. trip to the hotel bar to watch Davidson - St Mary's.

If anyone watched at least the first half of the game, you saw a very entertaining 20 minutes. It was like mano a mano, Patty Mills vs. Stephen Curry. There was Curry nailing that center court three from seemingly 3o plus feet to put Davidson up early 11-6. All net. Then there is Mills, who is sooo quick. That reverse layup down the lane later in the first half was just a treat. The first half ended with St Mary's up three 36-33.

Davidson tied it a 36, as who else, Curry, fired a three. But then Mills came back with a layup to put St Mary's back up. The Gaels eventually pulled away in the second half as Davidson had no answer for Mills along with Omar Samhan and Diamon Simpson, the dynamic front court duo for St Mary's. St Mary's would go on to the NIT quarterfinals with a 82-68 win.

It was Double Double night for the Gaels as Mills had 23 points and a career high 1o assists. Simpson had 12 points and 15 rebounds while Samhan had 18 points and 9 rebounds, as the Gaels outrebounded the Wildcats 45-36. Curry had 26 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. But as much as I love watching Curry and the Wildcats, there is no true second consistent scoring option for the Wildcats. Wil Archambault had 10 points and Andrew Lovedale had 9 points and 10 rebounds, but combined they shot just 7 of 20 from the field.

Watching the game, I felt that the rest of the country was denied from watching these two teams play each other in the NCAA tournament. Instead, most of the country had to stay up late to see two good teams with two great players play in the NIT.

On Sunday, I didn't get to see any of the games, sans the second part of the second half of the Louisville-Siena game where the Saints came back to take the lead only to lose at the end. By the way, what a team Siena has. They were down 12 early in the second half to the #1 overall seed in the tournament and came back and took a four point lead. Only Hasbrouck graduates from this Saints team, so we'll see them again next year.

I didn't see Cleveland State get beat by Arizona (more on that in a second). So, there is really only one mid major left, Gonzaga. Remember, the A10 is not considered a mid major here, thus Xavier, doesn't count. If you don't like that, go talk to Linda Bruno, commissioner of the A10.

It's a chalk fest Sweet 16. Outside of Arizona, who remember folks is not a cinderella because they are a power conference team, all the other teams left are #1 - #4 seeds. That's just amazing. I think you might see some upsets in the Sweet 16 round, but nothing like a #10 beating a #1 (sorry Arizona, your run ends with Louisville). No Davidson, no George Mason, no Southern Illinois or Western Kentucky. Kinda of boring in a way, no?

Remember, tonight, on ESPN2 at 9:00 pm, the last mid major left in the NIT (after Creighton blew a late lead at home to Kentucky, ugh), St Mary's is at San Diego State, as again the boys at the NCAA have no clue about seeding. The #2 seed in the "West" NIT bracket Gaels beat the #1 seed Aztecs on a neutral site. Yet the Gaels are at the Aztecs. Gotta love CM Newton. Hopefully Mills, Samhan and Simpson and company escape the Gaslamp Quarter with a win and allow the MSG folks a chance to seem them in the Mecca. If they make to the Garden, I will be there!

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