The Big Dance has not disappointed
From the First Four to the Sweet 16, the Big Dance has been full of excitement! The NCAA tournament selection committee deserves a big-time salute. There have been so many close games, like Butler-Pittsburgh, Kentucky-Princeton, Texas-Arizona, Louisville-Morehead State and on and on. North Carolina and Duke survived and advanced in Maalox Mashers. Here are a few of my thoughts about the tourney so far. I cannot wait for the Sweet 16, baby!
• VCU has been an amazing story in the Big Dance. Yes, on Selection Sunday I said the Rams did not belong in the field because they were 3-5 in their last eight games. This team was fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association, finishing behind Hofstra in the league standings. Yet here they are, and they deserve credit for wins over USC, Georgetown and Purdue. VCU is on a major roll, and coach Shaka Smart gets stock up, baby!
• Kemba Walker has been a star all season long for Connecticut. The Huskies have won 10 straight tournament games -- three at the Maui Invitational in November, five in five days in the Big East tourney, and two in the Big Dance. Walker has 17 assists and just four turnovers in Connecticut's two NCAA tournament games. Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun is smiling as his team heads to California for a date against San Diego State.
• Congratulations to Mike Krzyzewski on his 900th career coaching win. It did not come easily as Michigan took Duke to the wire. Coach K needs to get to the national championship game to surpass his mentor, Robert Montgomery Knight, for the Division I victory mark.
• North Carolina big man Tyler Zeller has been very impressive in the tournament, scoring 55 points while hitting 17-of-28 from the field so far. You will see the UNC trio of Zeller, John Henson and Harrison Barnes at the next level.
• The ACC actually has three teams remaining in the tournament -- Duke, North Carolina and Florida State. My friends, how many of you had VCU, Richmond, Marquette and Florida State, all seeded 10th or lower, in your brackets?
• Hard to believe, but it's true: Wisconsin hit more 3-point field goals (21-42) than 2-pointers (20-48) in its first two NCAA tournament victories.
• Butler has attempted as many 3-pointers as 2-point shots in the tournament (53 each). That Wisconsin-Butler Sweet 16 game should be interesting.
• Kawhi Leonard gets some publicity for San Diego State, but keep an eye on Billy White. He has a pair of double-doubles in the first two NCAA tourney games. He could be matched up against UConn's Kemba Walker in the next game.
• How good has Richmond been in the tourney, making it to the Sweet 16. The Spiders have turned the ball over just nine times in the two games. Next up is a date against Kansas, and they face a real challenge in coach Bill Self's squad.
• It is amazing to see three coaches with championship rings -- Krzyzewski, Jim Calhoun and Steve Fisher -- in the same bracket out West.
• Some kids don't understand time, situation and strategy. We have seen that on several occasions late in NCAA tournament games. Players are instinctive at times and just react instead of thinking about the situation. Coaches will have to work on that as we have seen one mistake after another.