Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Road Ahead

The big question today, having already started to move beyond last night, is what our chances are moving ahead to Villanova. Naturally, the pundits are ignoring our first-round blowout and Nova's first-round scare, and focusing on our second-round scare and their second-round blowout. Moreover, after yesterday's game, Villanova players talked about how tough they are and how they look to send a message early that they're going to push the opponent around. My first reaction was certainly that was the case with UCLA. My second reaction was try telling that to American University.

You look beyond the hype though, and Villanova's rotation has no one taller than 6-8. Which means they may be tough, but so are Lance Thomas and David McClure, and neither will be at a height disadvantage. And for anyone wondering about Singler's toughness and whether he was completely focused on winning, or moving into the Josh McRoberts category of thinking more about his pro career, I think last night was an emphatic answer. You can see it in the picture above, and you saw it with his tip-in that brought back memories of Battier's tip-in down the stretch in the '01 title game. That was all desire and a refusal to let his team lose. My fellow member of the Old Testament Club also showed his fight by spending 40 minutes pushing through multiple screens to stay on A.J. Abrams like matzah balls on soup.

We'll see how Pitt comes out today -- maybe they too will erase memories of a first-round scare with a strong performance. But merely because we gutted it out against an erratic Texas team that saved its best for less doesn't mean losing to Villanova is a foregone conclusion. Thoughts?

14 comments:

The Ricky Time Guy said...

Like I said yesterday, my main concern with Nova is there ability to drive to the hoop. Something which we clearly showed we had trouble stopping yesterday.

But you're right about the pundits, many talk about how we are a good matchup for them but don't turn that around to say that they are a good matchup for us. It's not a foregone conclusion but it'll will be interesting. I wonder how being in Boston (which is much closer to Philly than Durham) will affect things as well.

The Dude said...

Josh McRoberts was thinking about his pro career? what career?

The Dude said...

I'm getting the Ok State - Pitt game; and Bill Raftery is nothing short of awesome. Onions!

Head Dude said...

Yep, the Onions are flying left and right ... and let's hope it's Pitt crying in 20 minutes!

The Franchise said...

This whole day was a waste of time. Some close games but all the higher seeded teams (yes, even 12 over 13!) advanced. Yawn...

I lowered my expectations for this tourney, so every round we make it past the Sweet 16 will be a pleasant surprise!

Head Dude said...

I agree that other than us advancing, the first weekend was pretty dull. Of course, with 14 of the top 16 seeds left, that should make for a great second weekend, but this was one of the least dramatic opening weeks I can recall.
And what's up with Pitt/Xavier getting the primetime nod over Duke/Villanova? CBS really think that'll get better ratings?

The Dude said...

Duke is the late game - isn't that traditionally considered prime time? In any case, what I am most interested in is the coverage map - am I getting the Duke game in Houston.

Head Dude said...

No, and No.
The late game starts at roughly 10 EST -- that means the second half is outside of primetime. The 7:27 Pitt tipoff is the primetime game.
And we'll get Memphis/Missouri in Texas because of the Big 12 tie-in. Which really sucks having to watch a game like this on the internet, even if the "High Quality" ncaa.com feed is admittedly not bad. It just doesn't feel like you're watching a big-time game. The one good thing is that the UConn region also is Thursday night and starts 20 minutes earlier, so we should at least get the last 5-8 minutes of Duke's game on TV.

Head Dude said...

It just occurred to me that our Regional Final opponent in '04 on the way to the Final Four was Xavier, which could happen again given Pitt's poor showings thus far.
Not exactly the rematch the country has been waiting for, but I'd welcome it.

Head Dude said...

One other interesting sidenote, courtesy of the Rabbi. Though he's sitting out for the year, Taylor King will be on the sideline for Thursday's game in Villanova sweats. If I recall, this also happened in the '99 Final Four, when Mike Chappell was in a similar situation with Michigan State.

The Dude said...

does taylor king being on the sideline prevent him from chucking up ill-advised shots the clang off the side of the rim?

Head Dude said...

No, since he liked to shoot from about 30 feet, that should just about be his range.

ThadisRad said...

Wow, some good old fashioned Taylor King bashing! Those jokes (in addition to those at the expense of Bobby Campbell) have such a limited audience, but find a perfect home on DudeSpin.

Franchise, I don't believe a weekend watching the tournament can ever be called "a waste of time." Sure it lacked the upsets, but there have definitely been some good finishes. I don't live the exciting life of a casio employee, so my time in front of the tube has been just fine.

And while this will surely become it's own post, down goes The Journey!

ThadisRad said...

On sports radio today the local guys were interviewing a Philly radio guy about Villanova. Here's the best exchange.

Nova Guy: They're building a championship program here. They've got a great recruiting class coming in, a transfer from Duke named Taylor King...

Local guy: Ha ha. You'll love him. He chucks it as soon as he walks into the gym.