... the safe, smart AM read for college basketball fans
With college football whisked away to hibernation, it's college basketball's time to shine. And if last night's bore-fest of a title game is any indication of the level of excitement necessary to win over legions of fans, then college hoops has it far too easy.
That's because there are no misses in March Madness. The games, from a small conference tournament championship to the opening four days of the dance, all live up to the hype. Some might scoff at a comparably-boring finale between Butler and Connecticut last April, but remember, that game was still largely competitive even if neither squad was capable of finding the net. And of course, it's not like fans didn't get to witness yet another enthralling NCAA tournament field play out before their very eyes.
Football's time in the spotlight is finally over, and it's almost laughable that the second greatest sport in America went out with such a dud in the most important game of the year. Thankfully, to all the diehard college hoops fans out there, we can continue to take solace in one thing: March Madness, the greatest spectacle on Earth, will never let us down.
* Jim Calhoun on Drummond: "He hasn't been special all season -- he's been good -- as you would expect for a freshman. But tonight, he was special." (Greenwich Time)
* Stephen Holt's triple-double bid: "It's kind of funny because on that last play when I jumped, Tim took that one from me. I'll have to get on [him] for that one." (San Francisco Chronicle)
* Some outstandingly in-depth shot-based data on UNC players (Tobacco Road Blues)
* The one where our Sooners blogger flies off the handle: "Oklahoma State sucks. They are a horrible basketball team. Which begs the question, if those statements are true (and they are) what the heck does that make Oklahoma?!?" (Crimson and Cream Machine)
Cincinnati - While their opponents were busy, rather foolishly, trying to get everyone involved, the Bearcats let the hot hands of Sean Kilpatrick and Dion Dixon do all the work. The pair poured in a combined 49 points on 18-of-31 shooting to go along with EIGHT steals. Now 3-1 in the Big East, Mick Cronin's team came out and answered the bell after falling to St. John's over the weekend. This win alone might have elevated Cincy beyond bubble-status for the time being. Or at least until they lose to St. John's again.
Jackson State -The Tigers are 3-13 on the young season and hail from a league that doesn't sport any team currently over .500. So even for a bad team like Jackson State, most nights in conference play will offer more than just a glimmer of hope for a win. Most nights. Sadly, Monday was not one of those times. The Tigers entered the day as one of the NCAA's worst offensive squads, and after scoring just 14 first-half points and 37 total in a lopsided loss to Southern U, that distinction hardly managed to wear off. Forget about points per possession - Jackson State's 0.925 points per minute (PPM) average is the new rage.
92 - Total rebounds in Oklahoma State's 72-65 win over Oklahoma. Eight players finished the game with seven or more boards - five from the Sooners.