Thursday, March 27, 2008

UCLA vs. Western Kentucky

The second week of the Tourney strikes again. UCLA was up by 21 at half over the last of the Cinderellas - Western Kentucky - before scraping together a surprising close win.

Davidson can't be considered a Cinderella because although they have pulled off two upsets, they were nationally ranked entering the Tournament. Anyone who didn't see this coming, or at least didn't see the Gonzaga win coming, should have.

And Villanova plays in the Big East which eliminates them from the Cinderella ranks, as far as I am concerned.

While it is too bad to see Brazelton and Co. go, I was glad this game was not close early on because I thought there was no way CBS would air the second half of it. That meant we would get to watch the other game which had Jay Bilas and Dick Enberg announcing, rather than Vern Lundquist and Bill Raftery. Trading Lundquist (who only blows by association) and Raftery (who is basically Vic the Brick Jacobs without the certifiable insanity and awkward and possibly dangerous man-crush on Kobe Bryant) for Bilas and Enberg (who are both charming, eloquent and intelligent) is like trading Kwame Brown for Pau Gasol.

Fantasy sports makes us root for these types of strange things sometimes. "Come on Mariano - no earned runs, but blow the save anyway." But rooting for strange occurrences so you get to listen to a different announcing crew is an NCAA Tournament staple.

UCLA's defense truly is spectacular when they are on. I don't know the stats at halftime but a few minutes to go in the first half, UCLA was up 30-15 and Western Kentucky was shooting 4 for 22. I swear they had not taken a single shot without a hand in their faces. Between that, Love's outlet passes and magical nose for lose balls, and Daren "the One-Man Press Break" Collison, I don't see UCLA losing. Yes, they have struggled in their three wins, but they just get it done.

Western Kentucky's Brazelton is a spectacular player won't likely get any NBA looks, but he is brutal. He single-handedly carried them in their opening round upset of Drake. Then he got USD's Brandon Johnson and the great Darren Collison to foul out trying to keep up with him. He doesn't take bad shots, he doesn't play out of control, and as John Wooden would appreciate, he plays fast but not in a hurry.

I was a little torn at halftime because MTV-HD was airing the U2: Rattle and Hum documentary. I admit I turned off UCLA long enough to watch "Bad" with the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" mixed in. But that will be on again, and thus can't compete with live sports once they came back from halftime.

Speaking of live sports, I got to watch the Mets take the Braves to the woodshed this morning on ESPN. It was my first Mets game of the year. They played about 3 starters (No Reyes, Castillo, Wright, Delgago, Alou, or Beltran) and crushed the Braves starting 8. That made me happy.

I was set to do an American League season breakdown today, but I realized I don't really care about the American league. I will get to it before the North American portion of the season starts.

I was very surprised that CBS stuck with the UCLA-WKU game after halftime since it seemed like a blowout and the other game was close. Boy, did that decision turn out to be prescient! WKU crawled back in and trailed by just 4, fouled Collison out and got four fouls on Shipp and Westbrook, why Louisville wound up crushing Tennessee.

Nonetheless, when they returned with that 21-point UCLA game, I wonder in how many households did the following conversation took place:
Her: This is over. Come on, turn on the figure skating championships.
Him: There is another game. They'll switch.
Her: We watched like 50 games last weekend.
Him: It's the Tournament! Plus, how many world championships do they have in figure skating?

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