Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2/27 (Is It March Yet?) Quickie

Hard not to feel good for Minnesota fans after last night's win over No. 1 Indiana -- the signature win of Tubby Smith's era and arguably Minnesota's best win since the '97 team zipped to the Final Four.

It is also a reminder that Indiana -- like every other would-be contender -- is fallible, but it is hardly damning to lose on the road to an ultra-motivated opponent (see Florida losing at Tennessee).

No reason not to maintain IU as a Final Four team -- four straight on a neutral court isn't the same as a one-off in a rocking Minneapolis arena in February.

As for Florida? Still a bonafide Final Four contender -- if you're just casually following the Gators, it seems like an ugly road loss. But Florida was playing with 6 guys -- they were missing X-factor Will Yeguete and frosh super-shooter Michael Frazier, both of whom will be back for the Tournament. At full strength, Florida is as good as anyone -- as long as they aren't shipped out West, I'll take a 2- or 3-seed for this team -- all the more likely folks in my bracket pool won't pick them.

(The opposite? Memphis, who hasn't beaten anyone and whose "win streak" was snapped by Xavier. I can't dump Memphis out of my bracket fast enough; meanwhile, Xavier remains one of Those Teams where you will kick yourself for not anticipating the perennial Sweet 16 run. That is: If the Musketeers can even get into the Tournament; they are on the wrong side of the bubble -- last night was a must-win, but they have more work to do. KenPom has them ranked in the 80s, but they finish the regular season with games against Tourney locks St. Louis and Butler. Both are must-win, but if the X-men pull it off, they will be on the right side of the bubble.)

Gonzaga will be No. 1? Apparently, strength of schedule doesn't matter. Look: Gonzaga is a really good team -- over the weekend, I put them in my "if the season ended now" Final Four -- but they benefit tremendously from playing a soft conference schedule.

LeBron scores 40 in 2OT win over Sacramento: Was that the game of the year in the NBA? Regardless, one more superlative for LeBron's season -- highest scoring output for him this year. It is hard to think of a player who had a better month in the last 25 years than LeBron's February.

(Meanwhile, I really hope that LeBron keeps up with his pregame dunking shows -- who in the world thinks those are a bad thing?)

Pacers-Warriors scuffle: Roy Hibbert can look forward to a week or two off. The big winner? Stephen Curry, who took on Indiana's 7-footer.

NFL Draft: Alabama's Dee Milliner runs a 4.37 -- he was already the best DB in the draft. Feels like a can't-miss prospect in a league that is dominated by passing.

Mike Holmgren to the Raiders? He's a retread, but Oakland needs all the help it can get.

Milestones: Vivian Stringer hits 900 wins. After yesterday's talk of 500 wins for Bill Self, 900 is truly rare air.

-- D.S.

No comments: