NCAA Tournament, Day II, in a
handful of nutshells:
*The Bowl Championship Series
conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC) are in possession
of 24 of the 32 first-round winners.
There will be five ``BCS
showdowns’’ (UCLA-Indiana and Vanderbilt-Washington State in Sacramento, and
Louisville-Texas A&M in Lexington, along with North Carolina-Michigan State
and Georgetown-Boston College in Winston-Salem) on Saturday, and four more
(Florida-Purdue in New Orleans; USC and Texas in Spokane; Tennessee-Virginia in
Columbus; and Kansas-Kentucky in Chicago) on Sunday.
Just curious: I wonder if Matt Leinart and Vince Young might show up in Spokane Sunday and throw
some footballs around at halftime, just for old time’s sake?
*Virginia Tech struggled for every
point it scored while rallying from 13 points down in the second half to edge
Illinois Friday night in Columbus, 54-52.
Hokies’ Coach Seth Greenberg
believes baskets will be just as hard to come by Sunday when his team faces No.
4 seed Southern Illinois in a West (San Jose) Regional second-round
“They play as good of half-court
defense as any team in the country,’’ he said in the media room at halftime of a
game with Holy Cross in which the Salukis of Coach Chris Lowery pulled
away down the stretch to win, 61-51.
Greenberg already had a pretty good
first-hand knowledge of the defense his team is up against on Sunday: Southern
Illinois beat Virginia Tech, 69-64, during a November game at Disney
*Here’s a great stat for you, boys
and girls: Long Beach State, with 86 points, scored more than all but three of
the other 31 teams in action Friday.
And the 49ers still lost to
Tennessee by 35 points (121-86).
LBSU’s Larry Reynolds, whose
team was 24-8 after going 18-12 last season and is the fifth of a five-year
contract, may not get an extension from the school’s new athletic director,
Vic Cegles, who was hired away from the Temple administration early last
*Can Kentucky upset the West
Regional’s top seed, Kansas, Sunday in Chicago?
Yes, assuming the Wildcats can
limit the Jayhawks’ transition offense and kept the score to something in the
low 70s to high 60s range – easier said than executed, naturally.
*Current and former Southern
Illinois coaches came very close to going 3-0 on Friday night.
The current Salukis’ mentor,
Chris Lowery, saw his team earn a game with Atlantic Coast Conference
runner-up Virginia Tech.
The guy he replaced, Matt
Painter, watched from the bench as his Purdue team pretty much controlled
the entire proceedings during its 72-63 victory over an Arizona team that
dropped 10 of its final 18 games.
But Bruce Weber, who coached
an SIU club to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2002 before moving to Champaign-Urbana, saw
his Illinois team on the short end of the 54-52 score with Virginia
*Individual matchups I’m curious to
watch on Sunday: Marcelus Kemp (Nevada) vs. Chris Douglas-Roberts
(Memphis) in New Orleans, and Nick Young (USC) vs. Kevin Durant
(Texas) in Spokane.
*The two-day W-L total among
favorites and underdogs (by seed): Favorites 27, ‘Dogs 5.
The closest thing to a “shocker”
(I’m not putting VCU’s 79-77 win over Duke Thursday night into this slot) over
the first two days almost came Friday when Wisconsin had to scramble from 18
points down in the first half and eventually overcome a team (Texas A&M of
Corpus Christi) playing its school’s first playoff game, 76-63.
That would have been a tough one
for the folks in Madison to fathom.
*And, oh, yes: There were none of
those vaunted “12 over 5” Thursday or Friday after 29 of them (in 88 games)
since the tournament was expanded to six rounds in 1985.
The last time there wasn’t was in
Inducted into the USBWA Hall of
Fame in April, 2005, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s national basketball expert and is
also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at