ARTICLE OF THE DAY

How Sweet It Is
by Kevin Monroe

3/20/06

The Tar Heels and Wolfpack are out, but the Blue Devils are still alive.  This year’s tournament has been deemed the craziest and most exciting ever.  Top seeds from all regions are dropping like flies.  All four number 1 seeds have advanced but not without scares.  This year’s tournament has shown a parity never before seen in the big dance.  There is no such thing as mid majors in this tournament, because those lower seeds are playing as well or better than the top dogs.  Bradley, George Mason, and Wichita State are all Mid-Majors that made the Sweet 16.  You can also throw Gonzaga into that mix, because they still play a Mid Major schedule, they just happen to be a brand name school because of their recent success.

 

The Atlanta region featured upsets of the number 3, 5, & 7 seeds.  Iowa’s lost to the number 14 seed Northwestern state was probably the most shocking upset from the first round of the tournament.  Senior forward Clifton Lee led Northwestern st. with 18 points to carry them to victory.  Texas A&M knocked off Syracuse in the first round.  Syracuse had just come off a four day whirlwind in the Big East tournament where they were crowned champions.  Jerry McNamara who orchestrated each of those Big East tournament victories only managed two points in the game, which ended his brilliant career.  The Wolfpack pulled off their upset victory over 7 seeded California by the clutch play of guard Cameron Bennerman, who scored 18 points.

 

The Oakland region went a little more according to plan, with the 1, 2, & 3 seeds all advancing to the sweet sixteen.  The story of the region was 13 seed Bradley knocking off Kansas in round one and then two days later taking down Pittsburgh.  Marcellus Somerville and Patrick O’Brien have taken the team on their shoulders and Bradley is the talk of the tournament thus far.

 

The D.C. region was another one full of excitement.  Seeds 2, 3, 4, & 6 were all upset.  The talk of the region was 7th seeded Wichita State and 11th seeded George Mason.  Wichita State is one of the better offensive teams in the tournament scoring better than 80 points in each of its first two games.  George Mason is the exact opposite; they boast one of the best defenses in the tourney holding each of their first two opponents under 70 points.

 

The Minneapolis region, like Oakland, didn’t have many surprises.  The number 1, 3, & 4 seeds advanced to the sweet sixteen and only number 2 seeded Ohio st. was left out.  Ohio State was beaten by a very talented Georgetown squad that beat number 1 Duke in the regular season. 

 

The tournament has been one of the best thus far and I doubt next week’s games will disappoint.  My upset specials last week both fell flat, but I am going to give it one more shot.  Expect to see Texas, UCONN, Boston College, and Memphis in the Final Four.  We will see next week if my predictions pan out.

Kevin Monroe
kevin@downeastsports.com