Big Sky representative Weber State went up 7-0 on top seeded Arizona, at one point leading by 8 points. However Arizona went on a 30-10 run to end the 1st half and if you have half a brain there was no way Arizona was going to lose. Honestly was shocked that Weber State wound up losing by 9 points, thanks to a late offensive flurry. Arizona coach Sean Miller gave Weber State its due come post game and was quite candid with his disappointment in his teams performance. At least Weber showed me fight and didn't give up. Arizona will be playing Gonzaga on Sunday. Gonzaga survived the foulfest with Oklahoma State beating the pokes, 85-77. The refs, wound up calling a tournament tying 61 fouls in what was an unwatchable "game." Yet I watched and heard perhaps a career mistake from play by play man Andrew Catalon. When Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski was fouled, Catalon goes on to say that perhaps Ok.State's strategy was "hack a polack" noting his poor free throw percentage. Surprised to hear it, partner in the booth Mike Gminski said "Easy now" to which Catalon apologized and then went on to describe Karnowski's Polish basketball ties. This will get anyone in trouble but to me it wasn't as offensive as the officiating. Perhaps one of the worst officiated games I've witnessed but then I look no further than to the Nebraska Baylor game played a few hours prior. Even worse. Nebraska committed 31 fouls to Baylor's 16. The crossing guards went to the line 48 times, Nebraska 16. I'm sure this was one of the reasons Nebraska head coach Tim Myles was heated and got t'd up twice. But this is no way to focus on a great day of action. Not here on Modblog.
The most exciting game today was between VCU and the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin. In an eerily similar brain cramp to Oklahoma last night albeit a cramp of a different variety, VCU fouled a 3 point shot that SFA made, resulting in a 4 point play. This allowed SFA take VCU to overtime, eventually winning the game. All you Mercer-Duke game fans can say that Mercer was a lower seed, "it was Duke!", the game was played in Raleigh, but this game between VCU and SFA simply was more exciting. I wasn't that surprised with Mercer beating Duke. If you read Modblog, you should notice that I have been keeping tabs on the Atlantic Sun conference and as shocking as the Mercer win was, the SFA win was that times ten. Moving along, what's with this praise for Coach K acting classy in the loss? Last I checked Coach K is Hall of Famer. Would you expect anything less? Enough of the fake shock realizing Coach K is a decent guy. UNC played in an exciting game against Providence, negating Bryce Cotton's impressive 36 point performance beating the Friars 79-77. Coastal Carolina kept it close for awhile, led at the half even but eventually lost to 1 seed Virginia.
New Mexico lost again in the opener. Nothing against Stanford but for as much Mountain West basketball I follow, the Lobos played crumby. Sad really. I thought that last year's early exit to Harvard would still be lingering and New Mexico would find a way to overcome another loss in an opener. The Cardinal had other ideas and Johnny Dawkins gets his first tournament win as head coach. Speaking of the Mountain West, last week in the Mountain West Tournament there was a rather strange "administrative technical foul" given to Nevada when they played Boise State. In the scorer's book, Nevada had mis numbered one of its players resulting in the technical. You'd think that programs would a.) know better b.) take notice. Apparently not. This happened Thursday with Cincinatti. But in the category of "can you get any more serious?!?!," Kansas State probably topped it last night. I know this rule but for all of you who don't, while a team is in pre game shoot-around, NCAA rules prohibit players from dunking anytime after the 20:00 mark. If caught dunking after 20:00 the other team will shoot free throws prior to tip. Kansas State was caught dunking after the 20:00 mark(by a walk-on no less) and Kentucky shot 2 free throws before the tip. Kentucky wound up winning a game that seemed forever to end. This is why I like going to games early, like with 40:00 minutes left before tip-off. Case and point was this year witnessing a show put on by Florida Gulf Coast in Spartanburg S.C. The Gators weren't as impressive in their warmups in Columbia.
Iowa State, despite running on all cylinders beating NC Central, have lost matchup nightmare Georges Niang for the rest of the year. Devastating hit to their run. Not that they can't do it but not exactly what Hilton magic was wishing for. Broken foot, ouch. What doesn't hurt, is my Final Four remains intact. Creighton and Memphis survived tonight. I have Florida and Louisville as well. In closing it's interesting to note all flaws of the NCAA. For instance SDSU coach Steve Fisher going off in Thursday nights post game press conference or this tweet from Sports Illustrated writer Joan Niesen:
March Madness Indeed!