March Madness 2014

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March Madness 2014

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:30 am

There will be no Detroit Titans this year.

On a positive note, this should be a fun tournament, especially once it gets to the second week. I've hardly seen them all, but so far I've seen at least eight teams that look like Final Four teams if they play well.

And if Sparty can't do it, I'm throwing it all behind Wichita State or Creighton.
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Fri Mar 14, 2014 12:06 pm

With Indiana and Purdue bowing out yesterday, this is the first time since 2005 and just the second since the early 70s (when the field was less than 30) that the state of Indiana will not have a team in the NCAA Tournament.
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby Andy » Sun Mar 16, 2014 8:39 am

Western Michigan University all the way.

Cleveland — David Brown pushed his team to the brink of a championship, and as the final seconds ticked off the clock, Western Michigan’s star senior guard reflected on everything he’d been through.

The ups and downs, good times and bad. The serious knee injury that ended one season and threatened his career.

And as he stood near half-court, Brown looked at his celebrating teammates and knew it had all been worth it

He and the Broncos were champions.

“Finally,” he said. “I’ve been here for five long, frustrating years and it’s finally here and I can’t believe that with this group of guys we were able to overcome so many negative things.”

Brown scored 32 points, freshman Tucker Haymond added 21 and Western Michigan earned its first trip to the NCAA tournament in 10 years by beating Toledo 98-77 on Saturday night in the Mid-American Conference championship.

The top-seeded Broncos (23-9) won their first title since 2004, and along with it, the league’s automatic spot inside the NCAA brackets. Shayne Whittington added 20 points and 13 rebounds for WMU, which had to overcome an 18-point deficit in the semifinals to sneak past Akron.

The title game was much easier for the Broncos, who pulled away in the second half, outrebounded the Rockets 46-27 and set the tournament record for points in a final.

Western Michigan had endured several players transferring, and although they weren’t picked to even win the MAC West, the Broncos were the league’s best team from start to finish.

“We stuck together as a family,” Brown said. “We have a special group of guys in that locker room.”

Julius Brown and Rian Pearson scored 22 apiece to pace Toledo (27-6). The Rockets set a school record for wins this season, but their hopes of making the NCAA field for the first time since 1980 hinged on them winning this tourney. That didn’t happen, and Toledo will settle for an NIT berth.

Brown, who made five 3-pointers, nine free throws and delivered a big bucket whenever the Broncos needed one, was the tournament’s MVP.

The senior guard had plenty of help as Western Michigan shot 68 percent (19 of 28) in the second half and showcased its offensive firepower, something that any team it faces in the NCAA tournament had best be prepared to handle.

“That was embarrassing,” Toledo’s Julius Brown said. “We didn’t come out with the intensity we needed.”

With his team comfortably ahead in the final minute, Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins pulled his starters, who embraced in front of the bench as the Broncos fans danced in the aisles behind them.

The bald-headed Hawkins then put his sport coat back on. His work was done.

Later, he stood with his arms folded on the confetti-strewn floor of Quicken Loans Arena and watched his players and assistant coaches take turns cutting down the nets. When it was his moment, someone on the floor yelled, “Yeah, coach Hawk,” and Hawkins slowly climbed the ladder to snip off the final threads.

Ten years between titles was long enough.

“It’s a feeling that’s indescribable right now,” Hawkins said. “To be able go back and do it with this group of kids. I’m so proud of them. They’re very gritty, tough. We call ourselves the dogs from the pound because we’re not always the prettiest looking team out there. But we find a way to do it.”

It wasn’t an easy trip to Cleveland from Kalamazoo.

The Broncos had got caught behind a major accident on the Ohio Turnpike in a severe snowstorm, turning their four-hour bus trip into an 11-hour marathon. But once they got to Quicken Loans Arena, the Broncos made the most of every second and are now back on top in the MAC after a decade-long drought.

Leading by just two at halftime, Western Michigan pushed its advantage to 14 with less than five minutes left and then Whittington put a pair of exclamation points on the title with two alley-oop dunks.

“I’ve been watching basketball since I was six years old and now we’re going to the NCAA tournament,” Whittington said. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

Toledo was simply outplayed in every facet.

The Rockets, making their first appearance in the final since 2006, couldn’t cut deep enough into WMU’s lead. And even when it appeared Toledo was ready to make a run, the Broncos answered back — and usually Brown was the one doing the damage.

“We had no answer for him on the perimeter,” Toledo coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “Rian (Pearson) had a great defensive year, but he had three really bad defensive games against Western Michigan. We didn’t do a good job on the glass. At halftime they had role players kicking our butts on the glass. They wanted it more.”



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2014 ... z2w831cIjs
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:55 pm

Good for them. They've lost several very good transfers in the last couple of years (the goofy looking white center for Xavier might be the best) but they've always stayed competitive in the MAC. They can score in bunches, which might help them sneak up on somebody in the tournament.

I so can't wait for the selection show later today. Sports-wise, this is my favorite time of the year.

And, bracket filler-outers, Louisville looks an awful lot like it looked on the eve of the tourney last year.
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:36 pm

If Michigan makes the Final Four, I'll eat my hat. They're in the toughest regional by far with Wichita State, Duke and Louisville.
And Wichita State got boned by having to play Louisville in the regional semifinals. Louisville looks fucking great right now and it's almost like this was done to keep Wichita State out of the Final Four.

Sparty just needs to beat Cincinnati in the second (or third, if you want to be official about it) and the path to the Final Four looks promising.

I have no obligations Thursday or Friday evening. I'm looking forward to watching the games all by myself when I get home from work.
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:44 pm

Dayton takes out Ohio State, as well as my shot at Warren Buffett's billion dollars.

No. 8 seed Colorado and No. 5 Cincinnati also are on upset alert.
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby Mad Max » Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:44 pm

I don't follow this closely, but I'm elated that Duke lost.
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:58 am

All told, a pretty good weekend of basketball watching.

Like Izzo said, State got what it deserved. It shot the ball for shit and never tried to get the ball inside to Dawson or Payne. Appling's wrist must've been pretty fucked up, if not, he fucked up royally. They'll make the tournament again next season, but this might have been Izzo's last good shot at another Final Four. I don't believe he wants to coach the Pistons (unless Gores throws the kind of money Gilbert was dangling a couple years ago), either.

Michigan lost a hell of a game to a team that's hot as hell and confident as fuck. No shame in that. They needed a big game out of Morgan and didn't get one.
They've got all the tomorrows, though. Robinson probably heads to the NBA but, assuming Stauskas doesn't do the same (and I don't think he will), Levert, McGary, Albrecht, Walton, Horford and Irvin make that a preseason top five team.

This could be a fun Final Four. Connecticut, like Kentucky, is playing fuck you basketball right now and Napier and Boatright could be a handful for Florida's guards. Wisconsin might not be able to slow Kentucky enough, but if it does, that might be a 39-38 game.
Kentucky beats UConn in the title game.
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Re: March Madness 2014

Postby The Suburban Avenger » Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:59 pm

Stauskas and Glen Robinson III are leaving U of M and McGary still is mulling his options. With a healthy McGary back, U of M can contend for the Big Ten title.

Gary Harris, as expected, left MSU but it appears Branden Dawson is sticking around. Unless Denzell Valentine is superman next season, Sparty will be looking at a No. 6 or 7 seed in the tournament.

And Wisconsin should be even stronger next year, provided everyone stays healthy.
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