Thanks to the man lying in the fetal position in the photo above, Frank Haith is the luckiest man alive, who may still yet get fired. After a tame opening day in terms of drama and upsets, day 2 brought the madness to March.
NC State pulled the days first upset beating San Diego State, but given the way the Wolfpack played in the ACC tournament this was not that big of a surprise. NC State looms as a dangerous 11 seed moving ahead.
Creighton and Alabama produced only our second nailbiter of the tournament with Alabama casting up an off balance airball as the final horn sounded to give Creighton the 58-57 win. All credit to Creighton to for rallying from down 11 to win.
The Great state of Florida came through with three wins on the day. Florida crushed Virgina 71-45. South Florida beat Temple 58-44. Florida State was taken to the wire by St. Bonneventure 66-63. The Noles trailed most of the way, and their trademark defense struggled to “get the claws” (a great Phil Jackson expression) into the Bonnies. Florida State is not a pretty team. Lacking consistent offensive fire power, they grind out results, which means the game today was true to form. It also leaves them vulnerable to be beaten by anyone left.
Michigan fell to Ohio, not even Ohio State, but merely Ohio. I am smiling because this is why the Big 10 blows.
On the occaision of the 4th and 5th time in history that a 15 seed has beaten a 2 seed, I want to salute Rick Majerus. He has never coached a team as esteemed as Duke, nor to my recognition ever coached a 2 seed, but in 14 of the last 15 years he has NOT been beaten in the first round of March Madness. He does however live in a hotel room, eat like a 400 pound trucker, has a propensity to sit around naked, and probably hasn’t had free sex since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.
For a few hours, Frank Haith stood alone as the bracket busting villian of this tournament. His highly regarded Mizzou team fell to Norfolk State 86-84. Norfolk State played a fantastic game, won the hustle categories and watched a potential game-winning three rim out. Mizzou did not play particularly well, but battled to the end. They have had a solid basketball program over the years, play in a major conference, but their appearance as a two seed while well deserved for their accomplishments this season, was an aberration not the norm. In some subtle way the shock of Mizzou’s upset would wear off by the Monday and be merely a footnote by next March. A 15 seed beat a 2 seed last year, but it was only Mizzou….
In this instance, the shock outside the state of Missouri wore off in less than six hours as storied Duke and their imperious, gold-medaled leader, Coach K were beaten rather comfortably by Lehigh of the Patriot League. I actually like Coach K, I wish he would incorporate more zone defense in international play, but I respect his coaching, his accomplishments, and the heart he puts into his work. It may ultimately be a credit to his coaching that this Duke team, lacking defense, athleticism and over-reliant on three point shooting, won as much as it did featuring only one player, Austin Rivers, seemingly destined for a career in the NBA. There is an undeniable spectacle to him getting beat that brings Joy, Joy, Joy to the soul. Perhaps it’s found in subconcious resentment that he has won all he has having given scholarships and played such people as Marty Clark, Fig Newton, Melchioni, Greg Zoubek, the God-forsaken Plumlee’s, but it is undeniable. And besides his Tobacco Road rival, no one sheds as many tears as Coach K.
I would be remiss if I did not mention what became apparent as I was listening to ESPN during the writing of this blog….Lehigh coach Brett Reed is a total dueche. The guy talks endlessly, and in a manner befitting a condescending kindergarten teacher.