|Monster's ball: Big names rule this NCAA tourney|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 23 March 2009 12:19|
Defending champion Kansas. Big East bombers Louisville, Connecticut and Pittsburgh. The Tobacco Road twosome. Tyler Hansbrough and a bevy of All-American big men, Jim Boeheim and a bunch of coaches with rings.
No room for the little guy at this party. Siena, Butler, Cleveland State? Not a George Mason among 'em.
A year after every No. 1 seed reached the Final Four, so much for parity in men's college basketball: For the first time, the top three seeds in every region advanced.
Hardly an upset, hardly anyone upset at the selection committee.
``I'm not an expert, but I thought this year, for some reason, it seemed the easiest to pick 64 teams,'' Villanova coach Jay Wright said before Monday's practice. ``I thought it was pretty clear this year more than most years. When you look at how it's ended up, I think they proven to themselves they did a very good job.''
d for President Barack Obama - he correctly picked 14 of the 16 teams still competing.
Griffin picked himself off the floor and helped the Sooners hammer Morgan State. Oklahoma and its star now are surrounded by power teams from proven conferences.
``The teams that are all on top ... have done a good job being the teams they've been all year and haven't given up anything,'' Griffin said.
At No. 12, Arizona is the lowest seed left. Other than that, it's No. 5 Purdue.
And once again, March Madness becomes a tale of two tournaments: The first weekend is for the bracket busters, then it's time for bruising matchups.
All those early forecasts this event was wide open? North Dakota State, East Tennessee State and Morehead State gave good accounts, up to a point. But going into the round of 16, it's more like invitation only.
Sure, Louisville lost to Western Kentucky earlier this season, Syracuse fell to Cleveland State and Gonzaga lost to Portland State. That was before the calendar flipped to this month of mayhem.
Siena gave it a good try, beating Ohio State in overtime in the first round and leading Louisville with 7 1/2 minutes to go Sunday. That's when coach Rick Pitino delivered a simple message and his Cardinals, the overall No. 1 seed, turned their panic into production.
on, to prepare us for these moments,''' he said after the 79-72 win.
Having made a nice dent in a national setting, it was time for the Saints to go home to upstate New York.
``When I first got here everybody knew we were one of the worst teams, probably, in America,'' star Kenny Hasbrouck said. ``Now I'm proud to say we made it to the second round.''
Making it that far certainly won't satisfy the likes of Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams, Bill Self, Jim Calhoun, Tom Izzo, Pitino or Boeheim - the seven coaches left in the tournament who already have won championships. John Calipari is eager to join them, too, after his Memphis Tigers missed a slew of late foul shots and lost last year's title game to Kansas in overtime.
Arizona, with its own championship pedigree, also has aspirations of winning twice this weekend making it to Ford Field in Detroit. This is the 25th straight year the Wildcats made it to the tournament, but their lowest seeding.
``I think they get them right probably 99 percent of the time, and in our case with our record coming in, it's probably correct,'' Arizona coach Russ Pennell said. ``But once you start playing the games, seeding, I think you can throw it out a lot of times, because it really comes down to one-game seasons.''
AP Sports Writers Dan Gelston and Murray Evans contributed to this report.