Saturday, March 28, 2009

BIAH Elite 8 Live Blog

The Elite 8 kicks off this after noon was UConn takes on Missouri followed by a battle of Big East powers as Pitt plays Nova. This well be the second time that Pitt and Nova will be squaring off. The Wildcats knocked off the Panthers 67-57 during the Big East season. Nova was able to capitalize on smaller players, spreading out the Panthers and getting DeJuan Blair into foul trouble.

UConn is going to have their hands full with Missouri. The Tigers run a very good full court press and an effecient offense based on pushing the ball. If Mizzou can turn this into a full court game, then they eliminate to Hasheem Thabeet effect.

As always, follow along after the jump.

- Apologies to anyone that tried to follow along after about the ten minute mark of the second half. We were experiencing technical difficulties. Check back tomorrow for a full recap.

- Pitt has been really vulnerable to the offensive rebound in this tournament - which is not what you would expect from a Pitt team. Nova has 11 so far tonight.

- Villanova is noticeably more aggressive here in the second half, as they have been putting the ball on the floor much more. Scottie Reynolds is able to get to the rim just about any time he pleases.

- Pitt heads into the half leading for the first time since 2-0 despite a five minute scoring drought.

- Pitt ties it up on another Blair dunk-in and a Fields three. How many big shots does he hit?

Nova is actually playing pretty poorly offensively tonight. They are settling for a ton of threes, and they need to start getting to the rim. They have drawn two fouls on Blair already, why not try and get him his third.

- Blair is taking over the paint. He is grabbing every defensive board, scoring on some fantastic post ups, and he even ripped a Nova player and went the distance for a three-point play (running over corey Stokes in the process). It is now 26-21 Nova, who is just 3-13 from deep. They still need to penetrate more.

- Pitt switched to a zone the first possession after Nova ran their first screen and roll 9 minutes into the game. The Wildcats scored on a Redding jumper. This is not a team you can Zone. 22-12 Nova.

- Nova has started the game out on an 18-8 run. They were cold at the start, but they gave hit three straight threes now. Pitt cannot guard them when they spread the floor.

- That shot by Sam Young was so tough. He stopped his drive on a dime, elevated off of one foot, and avoided a charge by banking in an 8 footer over Cunningham.

- Nova takes the early 10-3 lead. While they have scored 10 points in 5 minutes, they have not been good offensively, settling for jumpers too much. They have looked fantastic defensively, as Pitt is struggling to get anything going, especially with Blair on the bench.

- Dixon pulls Blair with his first foul after just 2:30 of game time. Clearly, the Panthers are trying to protect the big fella, but after one foul?

- Nova is settling for too many threes early. Their advantage is going to the basket, not chucking up early triples.

- And we have our first Final Four team. UConn advances with an 82-75 win.

- UConn is hitting their free throws. Austrie and Walker have hit six straight to keep this thing at six. Walker now has a career-high 23 points.

- Waker grabs yet another tough defensive board in traffic, and it looks like UConn will be heading to Detroit. Walker scores his 21st point as he extends the UConn lead to 74-67 with a minute left.

- Mizzou has looked very good offensively the last three or four possessions.

- And that's why you don't throw one handed passes. Seriously, why is Adrien taking the ball out still?

- When Walker plays within himself, he is the best player on the floor right now. He just grabbed a tough board in traffic, taking it end to end and finding Thabeet for a lay-up.

- This game is turning into a defensive struggle as both teams are really defending well. UConn had a possession where Mizzou had numbers, but the Huskies were able to get back. Their defensive rotations kept Mizzou from getting a good look, as it ended with Thabeet running at Tiller shooting a three.

Walker is playing too fast right now. He has dribbled through the press twice for lay-ups, but has also turned it over three times in that manner.

- Missouri has done a great job defensively in this half. They are forcing turnovers and playing much stronger under the rim. They have also forced the Huskies to play a quicker game than they would like.

The issue? UConn is 2-14 this half and it is tied. That's not good for Mizzou.

- UConn is now trailing for the first time since the beginning of their first round game. The Huskies have gone ice cold, starting just 1-13 from the floor.

- Thabeet is not going up string at the rim. He has missed four shots at the rim on two possessions.

- Thabeet has just picked up his third trying to guard Lyons. UConn also has 12 turnovers on the game. Not really sure why they insist on having Adrien take the ball out of bounds.

- Kemba Walker is going to be a star.

- Just saw some stats - UConn is winning the rebounding battle 24-10 and outshooting Mizzou 70%-44%. How is it a six point game?

- Price hits a floater over Carroll and Lyons in the lane, the Huskies end the half up 44-38. UConn tightened up a bit at the end, but the reason that Mizzou was able to climb back in this game was that they were getting to the basket and the backboards. Thabeet did have two fouls, which played a factor, but UConn still is bigger than the Tigers without him.

- UConn's defense is non-existant.

- Lawrence is taking this game over with his shooting. UConn has a tendency to struggle defending the three ball. He has 8.

- Did Thabeet just pick up a charge? That is a great sign for NBA scouts that he can move his feet quick enough the stay in front of Leo Lyons.

- Mizzou has cut the lead to four by locking down defensively. UConn is shooting over 60% from the floor, but has missed three in a row, while Mizzou has hit 9 of 14.

- UConn's half court offense has been sensational thus far. They are able to get penetration, but have been pounding the ball inside and scoring in the paint at will.

- Mizzou is starting to make this game played at their speed. UConn cannot go up and down with the Tigers. But unless Missouri starts getting some stops and turnovers, they are notr going to be able to get into their running game. Their press has been midly effective the two or three times they have been able to get into it.

- UConn is dominating the interior early. 10-2 lead, and all ten have been scored in the paint, while Sticks has pinned two shots already. Mizzou did not come out ready to play.

- This game is going to be decided based on who controls tempo. If UConn can keep this game from being a track meet and utilize their substantial advantage on the interior, they will win. Frist two possessions - Adrien lay-up, and Robinson blpock.


mo said...

Rob I followed your elite 8 picks on Missouri and Michigan State, final four pick UConn, and your original pick on Nova over pitt in the final four, and I'm about to sweep my office brackets as long as Louisville or UNC wins.

Good work man, remember never doubt your original instinct when dukes involved

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly on the Guitar hero commercial.

my mother: is that Coach K?
Me: (not really looking at the screen) no its michael phelps i've seen this commercial before.
My mother: Isnt that Roy Williams?
Me: Dear God
My mother: so this is the guitar hero game?
Me: (in my head) dont be bobby knight, please dont be bobby knight.
my mother: this is just wierd
Me: Indeed it is. I hate this game, and the terrible stretch of same commercials featuring different athletes and celebraties.

A bit of overkill with Knight throwing the chair/drumset