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Like It, Love It, Gotta Have It: 2012 NCAA Tournament Second Weekend Edition

March 26, 2012

The second weekend of the NCAA tournament has come to a close and only four teams remain in the title hunt, so without further ado, here is your Like It, Love It, Gotta Have It for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds.

Like It: Double digit seeds fighting hard

Although 10 seed Xavier, 11 seed NC State, and 13 seed Ohio were all unable to come up with victories against 3 seed Baylor, 2 seed Kansas, and 1 seed UNC, respectfully, they all gave those teams as much as they could handle during the Sweet 16 round.  Xavier ended up falling to Baylor 75-70 in the South regional; NC State lost to Kansas 60-57 in the Midwest regional, and also in the Midwest regional, Ohio took UNC to overtime before falling 73-65.  These teams all played with a lot of heart and gave those top teams all they could handle.  They have nothing to be ashamed of, and their seasons ended up being more successful than I’m sure any of them imagined they would end up being.

Love It: The West Region Elite 8 game

This was the one Elite 8 matchup that didn’t have a “chalk” team playing in it.  Both Louisville and Florida had to upset a top seed in the Sweet 16 (Louisville beat Michigan St, Florida beat Marquette)  to make it this far.  Florida certainly got a break when Norfolk St took out Missouri in the opening round, but fought hard in a game that pitted Gator coach Billy Donovan against his mentor, Rick Pitino.  In the end, Pitino ending up punching a ticket to New Orleans where the Cardinals will take on their in-state rival Kentucky Wildcats, coached by John Calipari.  To sweeten the storyline, Pitino used to coach Kentucky and led them to one of their seven NCAA tournament championships.  It should make for an exciting game next weekend.

Gotta Have It: UNC fighting hard despite the injuries

I’ll admit my own personal biases here, as I am a senior at the University of North Carolina, but I can’t help but be proud of the way the Tar Heels fought despite being without possibly the best point guard in the country in Kendall Marshall.  Marshall was injured during the game against Creighton and did not play in the games against Ohio and Kansas.  However, Stilman White, a freshman who started the season as the third string point guard played admirably in those two games, contributing 13 assists and no turnovers.  UNC did win in overtime against Ohio in the Sweet 16 thanks to double-doubles from John Henson, Reggie Bullock, and Tyler Zeller who became the first player since Tim Duncan to record a 20 point, 20 rebound game in the NCAA tournament.  They fought the Kansas Jayhawks very tough, but Bill Self’s team ended up being too strong down the stretch without Kendall Marshall in uniform.  While UNC fans wait to see if Marshall, Henson, and Harrison Barnes will go pro, they are also wondering what could have been if this season hadn’t been as injury bitten for the Tar Heels as it was.

Before we go, I would like to say congratulations to Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio St and Kansas for making the Final Four.  It should be an exiting conclusion to an exciting season of college basketball.

Also on a side note, because this really was focused on the men’s tournament, I didn’t really have a place to talk about Brittney Griner, the 6-8 junior center from Baylor.  However, Griner became just the second woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament game when she dunked against Florida, and this weekend, she added one more to her resume after dunking against Georgia Tech.  Griner is a major talent, and with a few more wins, she will add a national championship to her resume.

Hope you liked this post, and I hope you like what else I have to say.

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