Monday , Mar , 20 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

NCAA Basketball Tournament: Day 4

The story of the day was Candice Parker throwing down two clean dunks as her Volunteers stormed through the first round. This will probably bring back the nightmares for Josh and J.R. Smith of her beating them in the dunk contest. Oh yeah, the second round of the men’s NCAA tournament finished today too. Two 7s, a 13, and an 11 seed find themselves in the sweet 16 though not many expected them to.

In the first upset of the day, Bradley put an end to Pittsburgh’s season, and Carl Krauser’s extensive collegiate career. A big match up in this game was the two seven footers going at each other, Patrick OBryant and Aaron Gray. Gray had 12 points, to Obryant’s 28 as the Bradley Braves kept control most of the game by causing turnovers and taking care of the ball. The Braves get ready to take on a Memphis team that has looked strong in their first two games.
Memphis cruised to another victory against the Bucknell Bison, who didn’t catch Memphis by surprise by any means. The Tigers were up the majority of the game and had four players in double figures. Memphis remains to be a potent offensive team with a lot of depth that will be a tough out, especially for the severely out matched Bradley Braves.
UNC and all their youth struggled today, and went home because of it. The George Mason Patriots rallied back from a huge first half deficit to send the defending champions home. Tyler Handsbrough wasn’t much of a factor in this one as he was harped by foul trouble in route to a disappointing 10 points and 9 boards performance. The Patriots will find themselves with a great opportunity to play in the elite 8 as they’ll be playing in their back yard against a fellow Cinderella team, Wichita State.
Kentucky had a chance, just like Albany, to shock the world but in the end Connecticut’s size triumphed. Patrick Sparks tied a career high with 28, but it was the lack of rebounding that hurt the Wildcats. Two rebounds off of missed free throws that went to Uconn’s big men put a nail in the coffin of Kentucky’s upset hopes. Had they boxed out and rebounded, they’d be facing Washington instead of Uconn.
It wasn’t a great shooting day for the Mountaineers but it was enough to send home the Northwestern State Demons who were just glad to be there. Pittsnogle struggled despite leading his team with 14 points. West Virginia will be appearing in their 2nd straight sweet 16, but that’s likely as far as they make it as they have to face a tough Texas team.
NC State made a game of it late in the first half, but Texas made a blowout out of it in the second. PJ Tucker and Daniel Gibson had very solid games but it was the 16 points from freshman guard AJ Abrams that made the difference. Lamarcus had rough night, but the Longhorns advance anyway.
When you only get points from four guys on your team, it’s usually tough to win. That wasn’t the case for the Hoyas tonight though as four scorers was all they needed, along with some good defense, to put an 18 point beating on the two seeded Buckeyes. Dials had 19, but it was the 7’2 Hibbart who won the battle down low with 20 points and 12 boards. Ohio State doesn’t move on, but they have the best recruiting class in their history coming in to look forward to. Georgetown goes against a tough Florida team in one of the best games of the sweet 16.
Though an eight seed, Arizona matched up very well with one seeded Villanova and it showed on Sunday. Arizona got 65 points between Marcus Williams, Mustafa Shakur, and Hassan Adams, but it wasn’t enough to out duel the senior lead Villanova squad that will take on a tough Boston College team in the sweet 16. Allan Ray is showing no effects of the eye injury that he received in the big east tournament, as he led his team with 25 points.
It’s been a great first two rounds as the we’ll get our first break in action until Thursday when the games commence. The third round should be a good one as no team has an easy game and the championship is in sight.