Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Dirka Dirka

8. Cincinnati1. UConnUconn
UConn
'Nova
9. Syracuse9. Syracuse
5. Georgetown4. MarquetteGeorgetown
12. Notre Dame5. Georgetown
6. Pitt3. West VirginiaWVU
'Nova
11. Louisville6. Pitt
7. Seton Hall2. VillanovaVillanova
10. Rutgers10. Rutgers


Predictions are in italics.

It's that time of the year again: The Big East Tournament. Now, I know some of my faithful readers out there (all four of you) aren't as enamored with the Big East as I. That makes sense, of course, since most if not all of you did not attend a Big East School -- though I went to Rutgers, which hardly counts.

Regardless, the Big East is defnitively the best conference in NCAA Men's Hoops, and as such I think coverage of this event is warranted. And don't give me any jive about the ACC trumping the Big East; it just can't be done at this point. Last year you might have been able to make a case. This year, it's as clear as the Barry Bonds steroid case (sorry, had to throw that in).

As I type this, Syracuse is up 66-61 with five minutes left against Cincinnati, which makes my prediction kind of biased, but I was going to pick 'Cuse anyway. Lordy Lord do I hate Cincinnati and their elbow throwing ways. And now that it's 66-65, I feel better about picking 'Cuse.

Oh, and about the title. Well, there's this thing with Cincy; I've loathed them for quite some time now. Just not a fan of the elbow-throwing, complaining to the refs style of ball they've perpetuated for years. And during last year's tournament, my ire was directed toward a selfish, terrible shot lobbing mofo named Muhammed. Didn't catch his first name actually until today, which I found out is Jihad (pronounced Ja-Had, but he spells it J-i-h-a-d). Makes me want to pop in my copy of Team America: World Police.

Update: Holy shmoley! I hope everyone just saw what I saw. Did Syracuse just catch the break of their lives or what? Up 71-70 with few ticks remaining, 'Cuse allowed Cincy to go up one with a 15-footer. Eight seconds left, and a sloppy inbounds pass leads to a steal by Cincy and an immediate foul. And the bum missed the second free-throw, which was immediately followed by a Syracuse timeout.

Gerry McNamara -- a.k.a G-Money -- took the inbound pass and took it all the way to the three line. A hop-step (followed by another step, which could have been calle traveling) later, and he hits a tre to put his team up by one with .5 seconds left, all but assuring a bout with UConn. It was further to my delight that Jihad Muhammed missed the final shot (though it was frighteningly close).



Georgetown - Notre Dame
Digger Phelps thinks Notre Dame can go deep into this tournament. Someone alert the press! Digger is picking 'Dame! You know, at this point, I don't even think sarcasm fully captures the degree of bias Digger shows towards Notre Dame. Needless to say, I made sure I wasn't tuned in for his $.02.

But I was there for the beginning of the game, and cringed as the boys from South Bend rolled out to an 11-0 lead. More than six minutes ticked off the clock before G-Town finally hit a field goal (a tre), which had me worried about my pick. Alas, the world evened out and Georgetown battled to trail by only three at the half, 30-27.

At the half, Karl Ravich asked a simple question: if you're up 11-0, why not run away with the game? This perfectly portrays why Ravich should stick to baseball. Why didn't 'Dame run away with the game when they were up 11-0? Oh, I don't know, maybe because Georgetown is a good team? That could be part of the equation.

Doug Gottieb, Ravich's partner in crime for the day, seemingly brushed off the question, launching into his own rant about how this game is a Notre Dame game, and that it would come down to the final possession. I have trouble believing Dougy G., since Georgetown began playing like the team they truly are about halfway through the first half. And if Georgetown and 'Dame are both playing to their normal capacity, Georgetown wins every time.

And as I type this, the Hoyas just went up 33-30, meaning they're on a 6-0 run to begin the half. Not only am I emphatically standing behind my selection of G-Town to win the game, I'm figuring it will be by at least six points. And I'll stick to that one until the clock hits zero.

The Final Two Minutes
Man, G-Town just keeps putting the ball in the basket, but 'Dame has the answers. What a terrible foul, too, on Francis, allowing the Irish to pull within one with under a minute left.

HOLY CRAP! What a lazy freakin' pass, nearly netting Notre Dame a turnover. Thankfully, G-Town recovered and called a timeout to talk it over. Looks like my six-point prediction won't come to fruition unless the Hoyas can grab a four point lead late and net a few free throws.

Bowman takes advantage of his size and power and puts in a relatively easy layup to put the Hoyas up by three. And since they have fouls to give, they're able to foul and keep the Irish off-balance.

It's a one and one opportunity now for 'Dame, down three, which doesn't bode particularly well. And the first one clunks out, all but sealing 'Dame's fate. It's going to take two made free-throws, a quick miss by 'Dame, followed by a foul and some more made free throws for my six-point prediction to come true. Oh well. I'll take five, but more importantly, I'll take a Hoyas win and a 2-0 record in my rather safe Big East Tourney predictions.

Eh, it's four points in the end. But that doesn't matter; it's over. Unfortunately, I'm going to miss the bulk if not all of my beloved Scarlet Knights against Seton Hall, but I'll be back tonight with thoughts and commentary, plus some more on Pitt-Louisville.