Office Hours: Mad, Mad, World Edition

By David Scott - March 03, 2008

Why doesn't In-N-Out burger sponsor this entire two-week run up to CBS's Selection Show?

There's so damn much bubble talk that I get indigestion at the mere sight of Digger or Davis (Seth). The Professor himself gets drawn into the bracketry on occasion, but we also try to remember that the best part of this time of year comes once the "ball is tipped" on that first Thursday of competition. All this politicking and posturing that happens at full-throttle between now and the 16th is nothing but hot air and wasted breaths.

Bottom line: win your final four, five or six and the committee will give you a fair shake. Lose games in in the same range and the committee will be forced to look at you with a bit more disdain.

Fortunately, The Professor will always love you. Each and everyone of you. The Grade Book is now open. . .

A: Month of March
Welcome, you Lion of a Month. How great were Saturday's 2 p.m. (EST) window of games in the ACC (Wake Forest at Georgia Tech) and the Big East (Georgetown at Marquette)? Both games went to OT, both had incredible plays down the stretch and for good measure, the Tech-Wake game even had some clock controversy. The Professor's "Previous Channel" button was in full-use. And the same held for the 4 p.m. window when CSTV had Memphis getting a run for its money at Southern Miss and CBS had Texas Tech finishing off Texas. It was a good day to be under The Eye'sd corporate banner and a great day to be a college hoops devotee.

F: Texas A&M
Ten first half points?! Ten!? The lowest one half point total in Big 12 history (league begun in 1996)? (Sadly, the Aggies' inefficiency surpassed a mark set earlier this year by Iowa State of 11). Mark Turgeon was apparently beside himself after the 64-37 loss at Oklahoma:

"I am at a loss," said the first-year A&M mentor, Turgeon. "I can not believe the way we played. We committed one mistake after another and didn't play with much intelligence. Some guys had deer in the headlights look. It is too late in the season for that. This team has worn me down trying to figure them out.

"We didn't do anything today. Some of our decision making - I can't explain it. It is too late in the year for that and I have been coaching them for a year. It blew me away. Give Oklahoma credit. They got after us and guarded the ball pretty well. We had a big-time practice yesterday and I felt really good coming in. Nothing carried over."

A: Terrence Oglesby, Clemson
The freshman from Cleveland, Tennessee is a non-starter for the Tigers, but he was some kind of finisher as he drained a game-winning 3-pointer at Maryland with under three seconds to play to virtually lock up an NCAA bid for Oliver Purnell. The Terps, meanwhile, give up more than just a 20-point lead, they could very well have given up a spot in the Dance. Gary Williams - who we're guessing combusts between now (10 p.m. Sunday) and sun-up - has the Terps headed in the wrong direction (three losses in the last four, four in the last six and 12 losses).

B-minus: The Little Guys
Tyrese Rice (first half in Boston College's loss to North Carolina); Derrick Rose (second half of Memphis's win at Southern Miss) and Derrick Low (First half in Washington State's loss at Stanford).

. . . Rice had 38 points with 15 minutes still to play in the game. He was 8 of 10 from 3-point land to that point. He finished with 46 points but got ZERO help from his fellow Eagles as UNC decided to play in the second half and won easily. Scary how good the Heels can be when they put it together - or how bad BC can be when they don't.

. . . Rose, in a scene that is starting to become familiar as the season winds down, sparked the Tigers back with a 22 point second half that saw him hit three 3-pointers, convert a three-point play and make six of seven free throws to clinch the win. His trey with five minutes left made it 64-56 and Southern Miss would get no closer than three points the rest of the way.

. . . Low had 14 in the first half for the Cougs but none in the second half at Stanford. It was the first time all season that Low did not score in the second half. It was also a loss for Washington State as Stanford overcame its biggest deficit of the season and reminded everyone of their No. 2 seed worthiness.

Inc. Oklahoma
The news of Blake Griffin's surgery is a blow to the Sooners for sure and it will make OU's job down the stretch even tougher. (They are 7-5 in their last 12, have a road game at Oklahoma State and a home finale with Missouri before the Big 12 tournament. RPI, as of Sunday, 28 with an 8 for SOS.)

It's also worth noting that Griffin actually played - and played effectively - with the injury, although it's impossible to say if his continued play in the blowout win did any further damage to the knee. "I felt it pop or twist or something and I knew it wasn't as bad as last time (an earlier left knee injury this season) because I could kind of get up and run. It was pretty scary at first," said Griffin.

Still scary if you're a Sooner backer.

A: Maarty Leunen, Oregon
He put up a career-best 32 points and led the Ducks over the Beavers. . . and through the woods to grand mother's house.

Oregon is alive and Leunen has Bryce Drew written all over him.

F: Syracuse and NC State
Neither the Orange nor the Wolfpack could finish off what would have been a crucial win for SU and a morale-boosting win for the NC State. The Orange were done in by an 18-2 Pitt run over the last four minutes of the game, while the Pack got outscored 25-14 in the final ten minutes. The Orange find themselves in need of a huge strecth run to get in and the Wolfpack just continue to hope the season ends soon, falling to 4-11 in the ACC and 15-14 overall.

The statement that echoes loudest is this, from Jim Boeheim: "The most disappointing game I've ever been involved with."

A: Cornell
F: Harvard

The Big Red and head coach Steve Donahue are dancing for the first time in 20 years. Meanwhile, the little Crimson - who Cornell beat on Friday night to clinch - are circling some wagons after these revelations were brought forth over the weekend by New York Times investigative reporter Pete Thamel.

Material from school and league releases in addition to wire story news were used in compiling this column.

Posted by David Scott at 12:36 AM on March 03, 2008

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