Office Hours: Sweet 16 Edition

By David Scott - March 23, 2008


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- The Professor is re-opening the Grade Book once again with an eye towards the first weekend of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Our trip to the land of Clinton (and, as it turned out for one day, Jack McClinton), afforded us an up-close look at the Top 2 seeds in the South region, Memphis and Texas. Our TV viewing of CBS's unparalleled coverage allowed us to assess the other three regions from afar.

Herewith, the grades after 49 games:

A-Plus: Stephen Curry, Bob McKillop and Davidson
If you've been with us all year you know that the coveted A-Plus grade doesn't get thrown around liberally. However, if you've been with us you also know how enamored we were all season with Curry - based largely on our in-person viewing of him during last year's Buffalo sub-regional. Curry had 70 points in two games against Gonzaga and Georgetown, McKillop managed his troops masterfully and there are at least two proud Davidson alums that The Professor can't stop thinking about. (Not to mention the fabulous writer of that fabulous piece, Michael Kruse.)

It will be repeated throughout the next four days, but Davidson is THE story of this tournament. And we're happy to have it.

A: Double-digit seeds
For the first time since 2002 there are three (Davidson, Villanova and Western Kentucky) that have reached the Sweet 16. The latter two are 12s, thus re-establishing the 12 as a dangerous seed after a one-year hiatus from the first-round upset festivities.

C-Minus: UCLA
When will the Bruins' luck run out? Perhaps never now that their path to San Antonio has the Hilltoppers and either 7-seed West Virginia or 3-seed Xavier. It is the easiest - according to seeding - path that remains to the Final Four. But the Bruins have become escape artists and Saturday's win over texas A&M was another Houdini for Kevin Love and Co. The Aggies went ice cold in the second part of the second half when just a couple of well-timed buckets woulod have done in the Bruins.

Are the Sons of Wooden good? Of course. But have they been quite fortunate this past month? No doubt.

F: Trent Johnson, Stanford
You just can't lose your compsure the way Johnson did in Stanford's eventual overtime win over Marquette on Saturday. It'd be one thing if it was a regular season game, but when it's the post-season and when you are on display (representing you university) to an entire nation, you just have to be smarter than Johnson was.

The Cardinal persevered and won, but Johnson took away a lot of the glow of what should have been a shining moment.

A: Louisville
What a turnaround Rick Pitino performed with his Cardinals. After sturggling through all sorts of turmoil early on, the Pitino People have righted the ship and become the team that many predicted they would be in the pre-season.

C: Little Rock Sub-regional
Le Petite Roche put its best foot forward for the sub-regional at Alltel Arena and on most levels they succeeded. However, one of the drawbacks to the NCAA's approach of bringing the tournament to every nook and cranny of America is that some nooks and crannies aren't quite major cities. Because of that, bars closed early on Saturday night to stay in line with antiquated Blue Laws and on Sunday, after the games were over, much of Little Rock and North Little Rock felt like ghost towns. Food options were limited and frustrated souls like The Professor were forced in fast food alternatives that have made us quite queasy at this very moment.

A: Tampa Sub-regional
Wow. The greatest sub-regional site ever. It's not even up for argument.

A: Joey Dorsey, Memphis
Described as "burly" in one account and "The Bear" in another (ours, in fact) Dorsey did what he had to on Sunday and came out like a man possessed for the Tigers. He blocked, he dunked, he boarded and when it was all over he even talked to the media for a while. Dorsey will need to bottle what he had on Sunday if the Tigers are to advance to their third straight Sweet 16, but for one night the Burly Bear delivered beyond expectations.

Posted by David Scott at 11:48 PM on March 23, 2008
Comments (1)

Comments

Le Petite Roche put its best foot forward for the sub-regional at Alltel Arena and on most levels they succeeded. However, one of the drawbacks to the NCAA's approach of bringing the tournament to every nook and cranny of America is that some nooks and crannies aren't quite major cities. Because of that, bars closed early on Saturday night to stay in line with antiquated Blue Laws and on Sunday, after the games were over, much of Little Rock and North Little Rock felt like ghost towns. Food options were limited and frustrated souls like The Professor were forced in fast food alternatives that have made us quite queasy at this very moment.
________________

You obviously were left out of the loop on things in LR.

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