Michigan 7 vs Oregon 3:
The Michigan men of destiny took on the wounded Ducks in the sweet sixteen. Oregon has been without their second best player Chris Boucher, for the entirety of the tournament, so far they've managed just fine. Michigan should've won this game, they couldn't score with the same efficiency as Oregon, and ultimately it led to their exit from the tournament. Very even battle throughout, Oregon was able to score on a go ahead layup from Tyler Dorsey with a minute left that'd end up being the game winning basket. Michigan's Walton Jr. took an open 3 late for the win that missed. Overall, Oregon just outplayed Michigan a tiny bit in all aspects. Oregon wins 69-68.
West Virginia 4 vs Gonzaga 1:
Gonzaga is one step closer to reaching their first final four in history and coach Mark Few to getting the monkey off his back. Gonzaga squeaked out a win over West Virginia 61-58, using great defense, and smart offensive possessions to lead them to victory. Despite shooting 26% from the field and 21% from the 3 point land, West Virginia still was in the game late in the second half. Down by 2 after Jordan Matthews hit a 3 to put Gonzaga up, West Virginia had a chance to tie it up or go for the win with about a minute left on the clock. Gonzaga went up by 3 after hitting a free throw and West Virginia needed a three to keep their season alive. Their final possession was filled with chaos and dysfunction. Jevon Carter chucked up two 3's not even coming close on either, they were able secure a second offensive rebound on the possession, and then they dribbled out the clock too long didn't have a play to go to and didn't even get off a final shot. No timeouts left for coach Huggins to use to call a play at the end, probably cost his team the game. That's the way the cookie crumbles.
Purdue 4 vs Kansas 1:
Kansas absolutely demolished Purdue last night in the sweet sixteen cementing their role as the favorite to win this tournament. 98-66 was the final, although the first half was slightly competitive. Kansas only lead by 7 at half, however the second half was all Kansas as they outscored Purdue by 25. Frank Mason and Devonte Graham both scored 26 a piece as Kansas continued to show just how dominant they are. As long as Kansas plays their style of basketball and execute, no team in this tournament has the talent to beat them.
Xavier 11 vs Arizona 2:
If your bracket wasn't busted already, it certainly is now. Xavier, the Cinderella of the 2017 tournament, continues to play fundamentally sound basketball and keeps on marching forward. This game was back and forth for the majority of regulation, Arizona pulled away late with a 7 point lead, unfortunately for them it wouldn't be enough. With 3 minutes left they were up 7, Xavier wouldn't give up though, they locked down on D and held Arizona to 0 points the rest of the game. Xavier's Sean O'Mara hit the game winning shot for Xavier and Arizona's Allonzo Trier took a 3 for the win at the end of regulation, but it was no good as Arizona ruined everyone's bracket.
John Thompson certainly went out with a bang this season, he almost killed Chris Mullin on national TV during the big east tournament. After his second straight year of finishing below .500 and missing the NCAA tournament, Thompson was fired by Georgetown. The general consensus seems to think it was the perfect time, and I tend to agree.
After 13 season as the Georgetown head coach John Thompson III never quite lived up to the legacy of his father. How could he, his dad was one of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball, and is most definitley the greatest Georgetown coach ever. John Thompson III, had a 65% winning percentage overall and a 58% winning percentage in conference. Also, after Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Louisville, West Virginia, and UConn left the conference they didn't take over and dominate like they were expected to. Instead, the Hoyas had their 2 worst seasons in Thompson's tenure.
It wasn't all bad for the Hoyas under Thompson though, they had one team go to the final four and they went to two sweet sixteens. Unfortunately, the Hoyas found themselves being eliminated early most times in the tournament. 5 of the years he was their he didn't even make the tournament, and that's unacceptable. We all know who the next head coach is going to be, so why bother actually discussing. If you don't know it's going to be Patrick Ewing, the Georgetown legend. It's going to be his mission to bring back this team to the promise land. After he does that and proves he can actually coach, it'll be off to the Knicks to save them.
ESPN: "LeBron James directed a cease-and-desist order of sorts Tuesday to LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of three boys -- including star UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball -- who said earlier this month that his children are set up better for future success than those of the Cleveland Cavaliers' star.
"Keep my kids' name out of your mouth, keep my family out of your mouth," James told ESPN on Tuesday, as the Cavaliers practiced on UCLA's campus, two days after a victory at the Lakers.
"This is dad to dad. It's a problem now."
James' two sons, 12-year-old LeBron James Jr. and 9-year-old Bryce Maximus James, have shown plenty of promise on the AAU circuit -- to the point where eldest son "Bronny" has standing verbal scholarship offers from Duke and Kentucky, as ESPN reported last summer.
"The monsters in the NBA, their dads wasn't that good," Ball said. "They were OK, they was players, but the fact that the old [Dell] Curry wasn't no All-Star, he wasn't cold. He could shoot the ball, though. Kobe Bryant, his dad wasn't all that, that's why he's such a monster."
"You got LeBron, it's going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, 'You got to be just like your dad.' And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, 'Why do I got to be just like him? What can't I just be me?' And then they are going to be like, 'Aw, you're soft, you're not that good.' Because the expectation is very, very high."
Before I even dive into what was said by both parties, I want to start out by saying LaVar Ball has flat out dominated the sports world headlines for the last two weeks. Every other day I hear some sports show, scratch that, every sports show, talking about whatever outrageous comment LaVar Ball said earlier that day. If you're sick of hearing what he's saying, stop paying any mind to it, but instead everyone responds, giving him exactly what he wants. This was his plan all along and it could've been avoided by just ignoring the crazy old man who yells outrageous opinions, instead everyone ate right into the palm of his hands, sound familiar to someone else in pop culture right now? Him and his kids are going to make a shit ton of cash, he'll probably have his own TV show, and he'll get the billion dollar shoe deal, and y'all were calling him an idiot for saying he's better than Jordan. He doesn't actually care, he just wants attention, and you idiots that are calling him an idiot are just making him rich. He's laughing straight to the bank. End rant.
Sorry, got a little carried away there, but a point had to be made. As for the LeBron comments, he's got every right to say what he did to LaVar. Say whatever you want to your own kids, but to talk about another man's yute like that, saying they'll never fill their father shoes, are words that should be expected to come with some sort of blow back. Lebron doesn't always have the best comebacks, fortunately this was not one of those times, it was short, sweet, and will amount to nothing.Pretty sure LeBron took his quote from a movie, nevertheless it's unimportant. Lebron approached it as a man, said this is father to father beef, it's a problem now, and I don't doubt that it'll leave serious repercussions on the Ball's path to success. More like this whole thing will blow over in a week, I just like to think LeBron secretly part of the NBA elites that controls the league.
What LaVar said is pretty true, LeBron's kid won't be as good as him, the hype is too much, the pressure is too much, and the probability of them both being just as good or better than LeBron is impossible. Fact of the matter is you just can't go around talking about people's kids like that, well you can when it's someone in the public eye that can't actually kick your ass without everyone knowing. That's exactly what LaVar Ball knows, he can say whatever he wants and get away with it, if anyone decides to step up with a response he gains a ton of publicity, and then spin zones the entire discussion to make himself look reasonable. This is textbook PR people, textbook, and you're all choosing to feed into it. LeBron you played yourself, ultimately LaVar Ball comes out the winner in this dispute, nonetheless I do respect LeBron for defending his family's honor by doing absolutely nothing except making a very subtle and vague threat.
tMost valuable player, not most entertaining player, not best offensive player, not most ball centric player on a bad team, most valuable player is the award, so why do people never agree with giving the award to the man that deserves it most. As an NBA fan, every year for the past 7 years you were able to look at the eastern conference knowing Lebron's team would be the conference champions before any games had even been played. It's a foregone conclusion before every season, that's something that's never been done besides for the Bill Russell Celtics, and back then their was only like 8 teams. Lebron James is by far the best player on planet earth and this season in particular has been one his best, so why can't we give him the award that should just be named after him at this point.
Sure Westbrook might be averaging a triple double and James Harden accounts for half of his teams scoring, but what they do doesn't even compare to Lebron's greatness. Harden and Westbrook are both on pace to shatter the record for most turnovers ever, how can you win MVP not only leading the league in that stat, but leading everyone else who has ever played an NBA season. Lebron has very similar stats to the two of them, he's more than capable of putting up those numbers too if he didn't have two other stars on his team. Obviously Lebron doesn't need to put up triple doubles when there's players around him that he makes better that can produce at a much higher rate than they normally would. Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, and J.R. smith were all becoming afterthoughts in the league before Lebron, and now they're all contributing on a championship team.
Lebron is also playing far more efficient than Westbrook and Harden. Lebron's field goal percentage is 10 points higher than Harden and 12 points higher than Westbrook. Also, Lebron has a higher 3pt percentage than both of them, so clearly Lebron is the more efficient scorer. He's just the all around more efficient player, gets a ton of assists and doesn't turn the ball over at a record breaking clip like Harden and Westbrook. Cavaliers also have a better record than the Thunder, not saying that's all in part to Lebron, however the last MVP to not win 50 games was Moses Malone in 1982. Harden and James will get to 50, but Westbrook certainly will not. Therefore, in my opinion eliminating him, along with the fact he's a turnover machine. Harden is a turnover machine that barely plays defense and isn't nearly as efficient as Lebron, hence the reason why I think Lebron is the clear choice for MVP.
Unfortunately the NBA doesn't base the award off the facts, they base it off whose numbers look the prettiest, and essentially whoever is having the best year besides Lebron James. How is it fair that we punish Lebron for being consistently unbelievable, so he just can't win the award because he's too good. Makes a lot of sense NBA writers, keep up the horrible work!
Lonzo Ball is more than just a talented basketball player, he's a tremendous teammate, and has an extremely high basketball IQ. When it comes to college basketball you'll see a lot of good players and great performances throughout the tournament, however what Lonzo Ball has done throughout the entire season is next level shit. Rarely do you see a true freshman come in and turn around the entire culture of a basketball team, and that's exactly what Lonzo Ball has done.
UCLA was 15-17 last year, obviously didn't make the tournament, and Steve Alford was on the hot seat. Along comes Lonzo Ball all the problems they had on the floor vanish and now Steve Alford is probably going to get the coveted Indiana head coaching job because of Ball saving his career. Everyone on this team that's playing serious minutes was on the team last year, who the hell do you think helped them increase their production. T.J. Leaf is an exception to that, he's also another good freshman, but he's also been a benefactor of Ball, now he'll be a first round pick because of the way the UCLA offense looked this year. Lonzo Ball has that Lebron factor, that make everyone around you better factor, and that's what separates him from the pack.
Last night, Cincinnati put up a helluva fight against UCLA for about 34 minutes, then Lonzo Ball kicked it into high gear. Lonzo hit back to back 3's, which begin a nice run for the Bruins that created the separation they needed to secure the win. Once Ball got rolling the rest of the team did. In the first half Ball had no assists and the team scored 30 points. In the second half he had 9 assists and the team scored 49, now tell me he's not making a huge difference. I guess the point I'm trying to make is Lonzo Ball is the best player in college basketball, he's going to lead his team to Natty championship, and then go onto win multiple rings in the NBA. The kid is seriously special. I just feel bad for whatever GM passes on him come draft day.
Despite the Lakers underachieving this year by some peoples unrealistic expectations, Luke Walton, still is beloved by everyone involved with the Lakers. Whether you're a player, fan, or even member of the media Luke Walton usually is appreciated by all. Last night, he continued his good standing in the eyes of Lakers nation when he went full savage mode ripping the referees, and trying to bring back real basket in a totally new way.
Walton was upset that a member of the Bucks coaching staff shoved Brandon Ingram on the court during a scuffle that took place , when their were no consequences handed out by the referees, Walton figured it was time to solve the problem himself. Walton is going to hire enforcers to sit on the bench, so when a fight breaks out they can go out their tossing bodies and cracking skulls, while the players just back away avoiding ejection. Sounds like a sound proof plan by Coach Walton, if can bring in some former UFC fighters, or even WWE wrestlers to be the bodyguards of LakeShow 2.0, I'd be 100% on board.
In all seriousness, Walton is right, what happened last night was ridiculous and he had every right to be furious. If the players want to get physical with each other that's one thing, they know consequences will be coming their way. When members of the staff do it and face absolutely no repercussions it's truly embarrassing. These NBA referees need to work on their riot control because if they don't, Luke won't be standing for it, and will have absolutely no problem taking matters into his own hands.
Qualifications for being a Cinderella:
Below an 8 seed
Not a typical college basketball powerhouse
USC just snuck into the tournament being right on the bubble, actually having to play a play in game against Providence in the somewhat new first four format just to get in. Many thought USC was unworthy of a spot in the big dance, yet here they are leaving their mark. USC beat SMU in a nail bitter that came down to the final shot. SMU was heavily favored as 80% of people who filled out brackets had SMU winning that game. SMU coming out of the American conference in my opinion wasn't nearly as strong as their record, so I certainly wasn't surprised when USC, who plays in the PAC 12 aka the conference of champions, pulled off an upset to advance to the round of 32. The Trojans will take on Baylor on Sunday for a chance to punch their ticket to the sweet sixteen. A lot of people consider Baylor to be a very overrated team, so USC will definitley show up with a good shot at continuing their Cinderella run.
Rhode Island 11:
Another 11 seed that has begun their journey into the making of a Cinderella story. Creighton has been very good team all season, I was certain they'd win this game with ease, and get blown out by Oregon in the next game. Instead URI decided to punch them in the mouth early and never looked back. Everyone of the starters for URI scored in double digits, meanwhile Creighton only had two starters in double digits. The final score was 84-72 and now URI will face Oregon in the round of 32. Hate to piss on their parade, but their won't be a fairy tale ending in this Cinderella story, as a matter of fact it'll end tomorrow when Oregon smokes them. Still nice to walk away with one win though, a tip of the cap to you Rhode Island.
Wichita State 10:
Dayton couldn't hit a shot if their lives depended on it, they couldn't rebound for shit, inside the paint they were manhandled, and they still barely lost the game. That speaks volumes about this Wichita State team. The Shockers are always a team that comes alive in the tournament every year and makes some noise, although they just happened to run into the world's coldest team last night. This team is no where close to the final four team of 2013, however Wichita State is usually a shoe in to win their first game of tournament since they've now done it 5 straight seasons. They haven't made it to the sweet 16 in 2 seasons, so I'm sure the Shockers will be hungry for that. Too bad Kentucky isn't ready to go home yet. Kentucky will end Wichita States annual attempt at completing the Cinderella run come Sunday.
Seems like the 11 seed is the hot upset seed this year, three out of four advancing to the round of 32, and the one I'm most confident in is Xavier. Xavier kept it close in the first half and then came out guns blazing in the second while Maryland rolled over like they have all season. Xavier's road only gets harder from here though, with FSU later today, however I think they'll be able to win and secure their spot in the sweet 16. Between them and USC I think we'll have 2 11 seeds in the sweet sixteen this year, and who knows, maybe Rhode Island will be able to pull off a miracle too.
Middle Tennessee 12:
For some reason MTSU was favored by Vegas to win going into their matchup with Minnesota, that's not something you see everyday since MTSU was a 12 seed playing a 5 seed. Doesn't make much sense why they'd do the seeding like that then, but nothing the committee does makes sense, so why question it now. Middle Tennessee is electric, any college team that has a cardinal direction followed by their state name is a team I want to make a deep run in the tournament. Of all the Cinderellas that have advanced this is the team I'm pulling for the most. Since I don't have a dog in the dance, I'm making the executive decision right now to back this team 1000%. I love Butler, but this is the year of the Cinderella story, and Middle Tennessee ain't being stopped.
Not even I, the biggest Warriors hater of them all, thought the demise of the Golden State Warriors would occur this quickly. In just one season, not even a full season actually, the Warriors have went from "the greatest team ever" to a team that is showing a new flaw each an every night. Since KD has gone down the Warriors have gone down with him. Many probably thought the Warriors would be just fine without their best player, but what team doesn't get worse when the best player on the team goes down. Curry is no longer the top 5 player in the world that everyone claimed him to be, most of you were calling him top 2 to be honest, however things have changed for Curry ever since he stepped aside for Durant to take over. Without Durant the Warriors are now 2-4, the worst stretch the team has gone through in the past 3 seasons. That speaks volumes to how good they've been, although it also speaks to that they're likely in trouble.
As I write this the Warriors are currently losing to the Spurs by 20 in the second quarter, if the Spurs hold on to win this game they'll only be a half game behind the Warriors for the 1 seed. That could end up playing a bigger role than one might expect. The Spurs are much better team at home than on the road, so to have home court advantage against the Warriors in a best of 7 series would be the Spurs only shot at winning the series, so they really need to take advantage of Durant being done the rest of regular season. Spurs should be able to snag the 1 seed while the Warriors continue to collapse.
Curry clearly is no longer the unreal player he was last year. All his percentages are down from last season, and just watching him play you can clearly see there isn't that same confidence in his game anymore. Last year, whenever Curry shot you figured it was money, this year I don't feel that way whatsoever, especially lately while he's been in one of the worst shooting droughts of his career. Klay Thompson has also regressed in my opinion, if his shot isn't on you can't count on him on the offensive end of the court, which happens more often than the Warriors would like. Draymond Green can't seem to not be a problem on and off the court. Collecting technical after technical and then going on his podcast making controversial headlines and ending up in the media all week for comments he made. He needs to stop being a distraction to his team, he needs to control his actions on the court, and he probably needs to fix his relationship with Steve Kerr. The cherry on top to all this was when Andre Iguodala made a comment towards Steve Kerr referring to him as "Master." He says it wasn't meant to be a racial comment, just funny how that'd be his choice of words since Draymond said James Dolan had a slave master mentality. I believe that's the same dig Andre Iguodala was taking at Kerr, he's just too scared to own it.
The Warriors have a shit ton of problems on and off the court, a lot of drama circling their franchise right now, and I believe it's the beginning of the end in Golden State. Draymond Green is going to tear that whole place apart, Durant ruined Curry, and the Warriors gave up too much for one player to replace. There's a reason the Warriors are going to lose twice the amount of games that they did last year, they just aren't as good as they were. Which is totally unfortunate for them as well because the Cavaliers got much better recently with the moves they made around the trade deadline. Cavaliers improving while the Warriors are collapsing is not a good sign for the Golden State bandwagoners, who may have to just jump ship soon. Until then, keep enjoying the process of Golden State falling apart, this will be such a happy ending if the team completely falls apart without getting another ring, then life would really be perfect.
Normally when a player is out due to injury it's because of a self inflicted injury that occurred on the basketball court. Unfortunately, LaMarcus Aldridge did nothing to remove himself from the court, however his internal organs did. LaMarcus Aldridge was diagnosed with heart arrhythmia, I'm no doctor but it's something to do with the heart not beating the right way, and that's good for nobody. Hopefully it's nothing serious, although anytime you hear heart it immediately sounds very life threatening, so prayers out to LA.
What does this mean for the Spurs playoff push, though? If LA is out for the rest of the season while they try to figure out his condition and how to manage or fix it, the Spurs could be without their second best player for the entirety of the playoffs. Without LA I give the Spurs about a 0% shot at winning the western conference, and if they were to have him I'd give them about a 15% shot, doesn't seem like much but that's a big difference. LaMarcus Aldridge isn't quite the player he was in Portland, yet he still produces enough to the point I'd call him a superstar. A declining superstar for sure, but a superstar at that.
Spurs may have no hope this season with or without Aldridge, so the basketball aspect of things is on the back burner right now. Hate to see players get hit with serious life altering health issues like this, it's always extremely sad. I'd hate to see Aldridge end up in Chris Bosh's shoes waiting around to see if you come back just to never play again. Hopefully this isn't all that serious and LA is back on the court in no time, in the meantime we just have to hope this man gets better.
Russell Westbrook went off again last night, scoring a career-high 58 points in the Thunder's fourth straight loss, falling 126-121 to the Trail Blazers, but instead of talking about his 58 point, 9 assist game, the focus once again falls on where Russ came up short. In the final minutes of the game, RussBrook missed 3 big shots, all of which were potential game-tying or go ahead shots.
Now, lets not get it twisted in any way, no blame for any shortcomings for the Thunder can fall on the shoulders of Russell Westbrook this season. The Thunder have holes all over their depth chart, and with only two other players scoring in double-digits and Russell accounting for 9 of the teams 16 assists, there is clearly a lack of support for the Thunder's MVP candidate. But do games like this hurt Russell's MVP argument? I mean, in one sense he dropped 58 points on just under 55% from the field, with 9 assists - that's about as strong of a stat line as you can have. But yet, when the game came down to the line, Russell struggled, as he has at points this season. The Thunder have played in more close games than they want to, and the ball is always in Russell's hands, as they would want it, and he has been the hero more than a few times, but he has come up short as well.
If you ask me, Russell has to be the MVP as long as the Thunder make the playoffs, no if's, and's or but's, but I also think Russell has been snubbed the last two season for the NBA's most annoying and over-hyped player, Steph Curry, but that's neither here nor there. This Thunder team is bad. They are not good, and any other superstar would be struggling to win each and every night just as Russell is, but not many could come out each and every single night and still bring it like Russ does, putting the team on your back and lighting up the stat sheet while he's at it.
Russ for MVP.
Russ for 46th President.
KD is a cupcake.
PS - GET OUT OF HIS WAY