Now that your bracket has been busted all to hell, let’s relive some of the moments that caused such wreckage. It was perhaps one of the best opening weekends of tournament basketball I’ve witnessed, especially with the Thursday/Saturday games. The Big Dance started out with a bang as BYU and Florida needed double overtime to decide things, all while Old Dominion and Notre Dame game was being decided by one point. This was followed by two more great games, one also needing extra time with the other finishing with a last second, game-winning shot, courtesy of Danero Thomas.
And that, folks, was just the first four games of the tournament.
The rest of the weekend gave us more of the same: Great games, surprising upsets, game-winning “Onions” shots, and perhaps one of the best basketball names ever, Ali Farokhmanesh. Overall, it wast the kind of chaos one hopes for when the tournament starts.
Coming up, I’m featuring some of the weekend’s most outstanding plays, including the uncontainable onions of the aforementioned Farokhmanesh. Continue reading >>
Buzzer beaters. Game winners. Prayers. Call them what you will, but there’s something indescribably enjoyable about seeing these acts; unless, of course, your team is on the receiving end of such a thing. When they happen in March, it’s even bigger and in some cases, much more painful. Just ask Mike Cronin, Dion Dixon, Lance Stephenson and anyone else affiliated with the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Da’Sean Butler delivered such a (gifted?) gem in the Garden last night, and while he needed some good fortune to even get a chance at the shot, when the opportunity came, Butler simply gave the fans the best “Onions!!!!!!” play he could.
That there is Byron Reaves, a sophomore for Albertus Magnus, a Division III school, hitting a half-court buzzer-beater to give his team the win over William Patterson in the first round of the DIII basketball tournament. While the particulars will be forgotten rather quickly, if not already, these are the types of plays that get me completely in the mood for March Madness and all it has to offer.
Will there be something that dramatic in next week’s tournament? Who knows? It’s the possibility of one that so motivates me, however.
Unfortunately, Albertus Magnus’ good fortune didn’t carry over to the second round. The Falcons were ousted by DeSales University, 82-49. Judging by the score, that buzzer beater was the last of the Falcons’ good fortune for the current basketball season.
One last note, is it just me, or do DIII schools have the best names in the world? Who wouldn’t want to see a hard fought contest between two combatants named “Albertus Magnus” and “William Patterson?” It sounds more like a duel to the death instead of a basketball game.
The story of Sundiata Gaines is a good one. The ex-Georgia Bulldog came to light thanks to an improbable run to the SEC Tournament title back in 2008. After toiling in the NBA’s development league, Gaines received a call-up to the big stage, one that resulted in a much-blogged-about heartfelt moment with his mother. However, thanks to a nifty buzzer-beater against the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, one that negated a LeBron James-led comeback, has put Gaines directly in the spotlight, something the kid deserves after the work he’s put in and the road he’s traveled.
In fact, if you do a quick YouTube search of his name, you’ll see about three pages worth of video dedicated to this very play. Now that’s the way you take the stage: With a dramatic flair that’s impossible to ignore.
Not only was Gaines’ shot a nice way to continue his feel-good story, it, as mentioned, negated a furious comeback from the Cavaliers; one that had James scoring 20 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter alone. Unfortunately for LeBron, he needed to add at least one more point to his total in order to prevent any game-winning shenanigans from taking place.
As it turned out, Gaines and his 3-point daggers had different ideas about how the game should end.
When you hit a 70-something foot shot to give your team the overtime win over North Carolina State, you deserve whatever accolades you get. Just ask Chandler Parsons of the Florida Gators. In fact, some are saying Parsons is up for Stud of the Week in the Florida area, although, it doesn’t look like he’ll catch one Tim Tebow.
You might have heard of that guy, too.
If Sidney Lowe and his Wolfpack players had a vote, I think I know where it would go.
Busy weekend for the NBA. At least two of the four playoff battles currently underway will go to a Game 6, if not further. Granted, Denver and Cleveland look like they are in a class by themselves; although, one could argue Cleveland is by themselves — we’ll call it the LeBron class — while the Denver Nuggets look like the best team in the West. Does this mean you should pencil the Nuggets versus the Cavaliers as your NBA Finals series? In regards to Cleveland, the answer is a definite “probably,” and it’s moving quickly to the “I guarantee it” department. As for the Nuggets, they are, in all likelihood, still going to have to go through Kobe and the gang to advance; although, Houston — even without Yao — is doing their best to alter that storyline.
His game is so good, it can make a grown man go off in a tangent of hyperbole; although, in this case, you can believe the hype. LeBron has elevated his team to such a high level of play, the Cavaliers are playing more like steamrollers (Hey! The Cleveland Steam…, uh, no. I’m going to stop there.).