Into the Regional Finals

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008 by Travis Cody in
16

The overall 1 seed in the tournament advanced with a blow out of 4 seed Washington State. WSU did a pretty good job of controlling tempo early in the game, but they couldn't keep the offensive pressure on UNC. The Tarheels didn't get much offense from Tyler Hansbrough in the first half, but they were still too athletic and too big for the Cougars. In the end, WSU just couldn't match UNC offensively and the Tarheels played outstanding defense to advance to the East Regional final on Saturday.

3 seed Xavier raced out to an early 18 point lead over 7 seed West Virginia. The Mountaineers chipped away in the second half behind Joe Alexander, and took the lead in the final minute. Xavier re-took the lead, and then WVU tied it again. Alexander missed a free throw that might have won the game at the end of regulation. Alexander then fouled out early in the overtime. Joe Mazzula did his best to keep WVU in the game, but Xavier used strong outside shooting and timely rebounding to win and advance to the West Regional final.

The thing that has bothered me about 2 seed Tennessee all season is carelessness. They rely on athletic ability, and often play too loose and try to make althletic plays rather than the simple basketball play. That frenetic style is going to win plenty of games against teams that aren't as quick, but when you match against a team of equally skilled athletes it can do more harm than good. Louisville, the 3 seed, plays a chaotic defensive game as well, but they are much more controlled and mature offensively. The Cardinals exploited Tennessee's lack of basketball IQ at key moments, and reigned in their own tendency to play too fast. Tennessee started to panic and made too many bad plays out of the context of the offense. Louisville took advantage and advanced to the East Regional Final.

1 seed UCLA was just too strong for 12 seed Western Kentucky. The Bruins are one of the best defensive teams in the country, and they showed it by holding the Hilltoppers to 20 points in the first half. UCLA contested every drive to the goal and had a hand in the face of every jump shooter. They controlled the boards on both ends of the floor and broke the Western Kentucky press with ease. UCLA freshman Kevin Love is one of the best passing big men I've ever seen. His outlet passes made it almost impossible for Western Kentucky to put any pressure on the Bruins. However, Western Kentucky made a furious run in the second half, forcing turnovers and creating foul trouble for UCLA, putting the issue in doubt until the Bruins restored order late to preserve the win and advance to the West Regional Final.

East Regional Final: 3 Louisville vs 1 North Carolina

West Regional Final: 3 Xavier vs 1 UCLA

16 comments:

  1. Janna says:

    Since I know absolutely nothing about any of this whatsoever, I would just like to take this moment to point out that I really like nachos.
    And pizza.
    But not together.

  1. Turnbaby says:

    Your analysis is spot on as usual Trav. And I must say--with the way this thing is shaking out--my interest drops every day. Here's to Davidson---my alama mater Marshall was in the Southern Conference when I was there--making it worthwhile.

  1. Matt-Man says:

    Here's to the Men of X. Go Muskies. Cheers Trav!!

  1. DrillerAA says:

    Thanks for the update Trav. I was tied up with other projects last night and only got to see the last five minues of regulation and the overtime period of the Xavier v. WVU game.
    Right now, I think you're going to see NC play the winner of Memphis v Texas for all of the marbles. But, I think that NC v Kansas in the semi-finals will be the real championship game...and there may be an upset there.

  1. I knew that had Butler advanced, they wouldn't advance against Louisville. Good to see that I was right, even if it was Tennessee that had to play them. (Boo hiss!)

    I'm pulling for Xavier to continue to make a great showing.

  1. them tar heals can play round ball, I think win the dance contest.

  1. What did you say Travis? Do you know where Pam is? I'm just asking because all this sports may have displaced her somehow. Have a great day and weekend sweetie. :)

  1. Bond says:

    ARG... had I know that Pitino had beaten TN like 2,000,000,000 times in a row i would NOT have made TN my pick in that game... UCLA is tough and Love is freakin' incredible...what a player

    And Sandee has to know Pam LOVES sports also...

  1. Ivanhoe says:

    Go OSU!
    O.H........I.O.!
    Have a great weekend!

  1. Akelamalu says:

    Sport?

    Have a great weekend. :)

  1. Interesting that there is a Xavier in the mix, although it's not MY Xavier.

  1. Meribah says:

    **The puppy's limited attention span starts to wander at the mention of sports** LOL I'm sure this was a good post. I just could not get my brain to concentrate once it realized the topic was sports!
    Sowwee.
    Will try harder next time.
    Ooo! Did somebody mention pizza???? :P

  1. Travis says:

    Janna: You should give the nachos and pizza combo a try. They go well together.

    Turn: I'm actually becoming even more intrigued by the way the regional finals are taking shape.

    Matt: I'll second that!

    Drilleraa: There's something about this Xavier team I like.

    Songbird: Me too. I like the way Louisville is playing right now, but UNC is so strong. It should be an athletic game, with the most disciplined team winning. Right now I'd say that's UNC.

    Sarge: I picked them on my brackett, even though I'm a Duke guy. Gotta go with the ACC.

    Sandee: Pam is right with me on sports. She likes it as much as I do.

    V: All it took was for me to watch the Tenn-Memphis game earlier this season to realize that the sloppy play was going to catch up to them.

    Ivanhoe: You too! Here's to Monday and DWTS!

    Akelamalu: Yes dear.

    Charles: Yet still a Xavier worth rooting for.

    Meri: **tosses frisbee**

  1. Jeff B says:

    My completely uneducated prediction is UCLA will advance and beat Louisville in the finals by five.

    Just wanted to let you know I'm still reading even if I don't know a thing about roundball.

  1. Kimmie says:

    I'm still not sure I want to listen to squeeky sneakers...winks!

    Happy your lady likes to watch with you! Wish mine would sit with me during football season. I am glued to to TV watching College on Saturdays and Pro on Sundays...Go Bills!!! Only thing we both like is Hockey...Go Sabres! Good Lord, I married a man that don't like FOOTBALL...Who'd a thunk it??? I must have been heavily medicated or something????!!!! LOL!!! Oh my favorite College Teams...Clemson and The Alabama Crimson Tide!

    Smiles,
    Kimmie

  1. Travis says:

    Jeff: Congrats on picking UCLA! Of course, they haven't gotten to the finals yet but they did make the Final Four.

    Kimmie: Well, at least you have hockey to share!