More tournament observations

Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2010 by Travis Cody in
4

I'm having a blast on the first day! What I'm seeing today is that that the middle of the field, from 3 seeds through 14 seeds, is pretty competitive. You can't say that teams from mid-major conferences are at any kind of disadvantage in this tournament.


Richmond was the higher seed at 7, but 10 seed Saint Mary's took control in the second half and ended up winning by 9 in what would be considered an upset because a lower seed beat a higher one. The reality is that these two teams were evenly matched. Senior Omar Samhan was the difference for the Gaels, with 29 points and 12 rebounds. Richmond didn't have an answer for him.

2 seed Kansas State was essentially unchallenged, using a balanced attack to beat 15 seed North Texas by 20. That was really the only early game that wasn't competitive today.

I was emailing with my pal Songbird during the Butler game. She's an alum and I've become a fan of this scrappy bunch. We were both concerned about the match up with 12 seed UTEP. The Miners are big and physical, and they were knocking the 'Dawgs around in the first half. Butler was behind at the half, and it wasn't looking good.

But then Butler exploded at the beginning of the second half, running out to a lead behind the 3-point shooting of sophomore Shelvin Mack.

I'm impressed with this Bulldog team and with coach Brad Stevens. The players could have folded under the physical play, but they sucked it up and figured out that good perimeter shooting could trump the size and athleticism UTEP brought to the table. That opened up the interior for junior Matt Howard, and Butler was able to manufacture a quality win.

4 comments:

  1. I know this is a fun time this year... I haven't filled out my brackets yet. guess it's too late...

  1. It's good when there's no clear megastar at the very beginning - makes it more fun to watch everyone duke it out.

  1. Travis says:

    Lois: It's a great time, especially with so many competitive games.

    Julia: I always enjoy the first weekend of the tournament, but this time around it's been even better.

  1. Desert Songbird says:

    Fundamentals, my friend. Fundamentals are what saved it for my 'Dawgs. Shelvin Mack is the consummate team player, though; he would not take credit for his stellar play, saying he's part of a team, and that team plays The Butler Way. I think that's what I love about my scrappy 'Dawgs; they are about team and fundamentals. No superstars, and at on any given day, anyone can be the star.