Smack / Mar 22, 2009 / 4:19 am

The real contenders step up, and LeBron can’t lose at home

UConn's Hasheem Thabeet

UConn's Hasheem Thabeet

Duke, Gonzaga and Purdue gave us the “Madness” part of March yesterday, but UConn, Memphis and Villanova made the biggest statements when it comes to what really matters: winning the ‘chip. In its 20-piecing of UCLA (which to be fair, was basically a home game in Philly), ‘Nova looked as good as any team in the East region has looked in the Tournament, putting them right there with Duke and Pitt as Final Four favorites out of that bracket. Meanwhile, UConn destroyed Texas A&M to maintain its status as the most dominant team in the field to date, and Memphis’ blowout over Maryland reminded everyone they can’t be written off in the national title discussion, either … On the flip side, Gonzaga, Duke and Purdue survived and advanced in nail-biting fashion. After Western Kentucky tied the Zags on Steffphon Pettigrew‘s tip-in with seven seconds left, freshman PG Demetri Goodson pulled a Deron Williams move, taking the inbounds immediately and going end-to-end to bank in a runner to win it. Crazy that Goodson was even the one taking that shot, considering he’s a backup who finished with all of four points, and that the Zags had Matt Bouldin (20 pts, 6 asts), Jeremy Pargo (18 pts), Austin Daye and Micah Downs on the court. Sticking with the Utah Jazz analogy, it’d be like C.J. Miles getting the clear-out on a game-ending possession and delivering … Duke kept trying to give its game away to Texas in the last couple minutes, but the Longhorns responded by missing layups, committing unnecessary fouls and getting out-hustled for loose balls, while the Blue Devils made their free throws at the end and got lucky here and there. Then again, maybe if UT had thought about guarding the three-point line at all, it never would have come to that; Jon Scheyer (13 pts) and Kyle Singler (17 pts) were getting wide-open looks all day … Maybe the biggest play came with 15 seconds left, when Duke was up by three and Texas’ A.J. Abrams and Damion James had just missed a pair of close shots. Chasing down the rebound, Scheyer not only saved it, but flipped it behind his back about 30 feet in the air and over to Duke’s side of the court. That led to free throws by Elliott Williams and took time off the clock that Texas needed … Purdue almost blew a 14-point lead against Washington, but made some key defensive stops down the stretch and hung on for a two-point win. Even in the loss, though, the player of the game had to be Jon “Matrix” Brockman (20 pts, 18 rebs). In the second half he completely dominated the paint on both ends of the floor; guys were bouncing off him left and right, but on a couple critical possessions late in the game, his teammates didn’t look for him down low and forced up bad shots that cost them … In the other Big Dance games, Blake Griffin posted 33 points and 17 boards in Oklahoma’s win over Michigan, and Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington scored 23 apiece to lead UNC over LSU … Does anyone else think UCLA’s Josh Shipp looks like a young Rick Fox? … LeBron James

In the first quarter of Cavs/Hawks, LeBron got out on a one-man break, split Josh Smith and Joe Johnson like Devin Hester bursting through the seam on a kick return, and after J-Smoove tried to wrap him up, scored anyway and flexed to the bench. Just another one of those displays that reminds you ‘Bron might be the best athlete pound-for-pound in sports … The Cavs jumped on Atlanta early and cruised to another home win. LeBron had 22 points and seven boards, Mo Williams scored 24, and Big Z went for 16 points, becoming the fourth Cleveland player to crack 10,000 points in his career along with LeBron, Brad Daugherty and Austin CarrKG is slowly working his way back to form, but in the meantime, you have to like what Boston is getting from its other bigs. Kendrick Perkins has been showing some actual post moves lately (he likes that little fadeaway in the middle of the paint), and Big Baby is knocking down mid-range J’s with regularity (most notably the dagger in San Antonio the other night). Baby scored 24 points in Saturday’s win at Memphis — including a man-sized dunk on Darko — while KG (10 pts, 4 rebs, 2 blks) was kept under 20 minutes by Doc Rivers … Other big stat lines from last night: Kobe put up 28 points, seven dimes and five steals in a fourth-quarter comeback win at Chicago; Brandon Roy posted 30 points, eight boards and seven assists in a win at Milwaukee; Q-Rich scored 33 in a loss to Orlando; Jarrett Jack scored 31 in a win at Charlotte; and J-Rich dropped 35 in a win over the Wizards … During that Phoenix/Washington game, Shaq passed Moses Malone for fifth all-time on the NBA’s career scoring list. But this will be the game remembered for Shaq breaking out the “human bowling” routine; in the locker room and again on the court before tip-off, Shaq rolled the imaginary ball while Lou Amundson, Alando Tucker, Jared Dudley and the rest of the DNP crew played the pins. Kinda hilarious … We’ll know the whole Sweet 16 field at the end of today’s Big Dance schedule: Kansas/Dayton, Arizona/Cleveland State, Louisville/Siena, Michigan State/USC, Missouri/Marquette, Xavier/Wisconsin, Pitt/Oklahoma State, and Syracuse/Arizona State. Are you on college basketball OD yet? … We’re out like Texas …

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  • stanaeciouz

    hell yeah!keep it coming dime!

  • Flying_Aussie_Dutchman

    If for some really strange crazy way, if The Knicks won the Chip next year with the pathetic roster they got. Would you still think they’d get rid of most of their team to sign Bron, Wade, Bosh etc etc

  • http://www.niketalk,yuku.com NTstateOFmind

    all the supposed ‘2010’ free agent will sign extensions this summer because of the probable lower salary cap after the CBA
    …greedy players FTW

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BROGDEN

    The Villanova vs Duke game gon’ be KRAY ZAY!

    And the bol TY LAWSON cut game is VISCIOUS! ILLL.

    JJ Hickson and Mo Williams have been playing some good basketball. Enough can’t be said about the consistency of Andy, although he’s not the defender Ben is, he’s doing a helluva job of providing the same services as him and as a bonus, he possesses an offensive competency unseen in Ben. Joe Smith. All around, Cavs have been playing some good ball.

    Baby got BUNNIES!
    He keep YAMMIN’ like dat…OH BOI!
    Boston’s gotta be proud of the young bigs they have.

    I hope Marbuy finds his rhythm soon…

    Is it safe to say Memphis rooks have hit the WALL even though it’s kinda late in the season?
    Or, is it, they just can’t finish games?? Or withstand runs??? Or answer runs with runs???? Which one????? All of them??????

    I LOVE their lineup right now. Shhh, on the low, I wish FARMAR was startin’.

    I think JOHNNY BOY should stay startin’.

    This was a mismatch. I’m not surprised Lakers D’ took a nosedive. It always does, especially against inferior opponents. But I aint surprised they ran away with it.

    The height of the Knick’s talent ceiling continues to be exposed as lower than the other Eastern contenders.

    Jack bustin azz. Took 14 shots. Only missed a three. He dropped 31. Nice!

    30 points
    8 boards
    7 dimes
    2 steals
    1 block
    1 backpack filled with Blazers
    BRANDON ROY to be exact.
    And STEVE BLAKE was his hiking partner.

    Suns are LOVIN LIFE right now with their schedule. Props to Suns, performing in a game the DALLAS would’ve found a way to lose. I hope you get in.

  • http://www.kingsfans.com Willis

    max is an idiot. go kings.

  • Blah aka me

    don’t you mean demetri goodson pulled a tyus edney move?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqqooHcKZ-8 DBehle

    Check out the Blake Griffin windmill from last night, come on guys, no mention?


  • doc

    Nova and Duke aint gonna be THAT crazy,unless Nova winning by 20 is that.The 2009 Hoosiers aint got Jimmy chitwood next week.And Nova been a favorite to get to the final 4,yall just aint been watching,Pitt already got that ass kicked and its gonna happen again.Lets go NOVA Clap,clap,clap clap clap.And watch next year when my little cuz come in wrecking shop.He playing in the McDicks game too check him out.

  • patrick

    I know I am only complaining because they are busting up my bracket, but the refs have been pretty active in some close games. There were calls in the last 10 seconds of Duke/Texas and Washington/Purdue that determined the outcome of the game. In the first round there were even more games with calls later than that. UT/OK St, Siena/OSU, UW/FSU was brutal. I just don’t like seeing the game ended with a weak push off call or a close charge.

    On the positive there are 8 more games today. I f’d up my back this week playing ball so I have watched the entirety of the tournament laying on the floor watching tv. Being laid up is pretty stupid, but the timing at least put me at home on Thursday and Friday.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    C.J. Miles always delivers . . . in 2k with his player stats all maxed out.

  • Skeeter McGee

    Did you guys see Duke celebrating after their W? I coulda sworn someone was gonna start rollin tears down their face like they made it to the national championship game. Someone forgot to tell Duke their only in the Sweet 16…

    Cavaliers being 32-1 at home is absolutely nuts. This team could easily win 65 games on the season, and I think they’ll have homecourt wrapped up in the playoffs. This is the year Bron gets his first ring, and if he did wouldn’t that put him on an “ahead-of-the-MJ-curve” pace? Something for y’all haters to chew on…

    I’m out like Tweeting at NBA halftime games, oh wait…

  • Big Island

    Now Dominic James is gonna play for Marquette!! I want Duke out so badly I can taste it. And I have a man-crush on Blake Griffin.

    @Brogden: I can’t see Farmar NOT starting, they just aren’t as scary with Fish in there.

  • jzsmoove

    I’m surprised that Mark Price didnt crack 10,000 pts for the Cavs…really Daugherty and Carr did?

  • Jeffco

    hey dime can you post an article asking people how theyre brackets are doing?
    like after tonight or something or before the s16 starts

    im just curious to see others are doing lol

  • Jeffco

    * how others are doing

    my mistake

  • Kudabeen

    Maalik is your cuz Doc? That’s what’s up…

    UCLA just looked rattled. Collison came out running his mouth and beating his chest, but he was all alone…He keep saying the play was too rough…Not a good look…Nova isn’t even Pitt, UConn or Louisville…Come ready for what ever or go home…

    Is Josh Shipp getting his PhD on a BBall scholarship? He is 23!

    Nova gotta beat Duke…All the pieces are there…Where the hell did Dwayne Anderson come from with all this game?? The team on whole just looks focused and committed to each other…But if they gamble on Dukes shooters it will not be easy to come back like it was against American.

    Lawson comes back and drops 23 like nothing…I wonder how Dominick James is gonna look…

    Damn man I sitting here watching this piece on Kenneth Hasbrook and his Pop…great story…

  • Kudabeen

    First time I ever heard RIP say Detroit “needs” Iverson during this recent halftime interview…Now I really feel Iverson isn’t coming back…

    In all his career I can’t remember Iverson missing this amount of games…I know age is a beast, but what kind of back injury is this?

    Eye brow up…

  • Celts Fan

    James Harden is useless out there this week. This years draft can’t be THAT bad that he’s still a top 3 pick, right? What a shit show…

  • mosduff

    I got online to post about Harden too.

    What is with this guy? He’s obviously got a good feel for the game but he is way too passive out there. He’s passing up contested shots so the role players can heave em.

    He’s a good passer but I’d stay away from him in the draft.

  • LakeShow84

    Blake Griffin the truth!

  • LakeShow84

    If Dwayne Wade does not win DPOY i will stop watching basketball..

    4 blocks + 2 steals from a 6’4 guard?? come on now..

  • Murdoch

    Hey, I think Lebron is the MVP because he is simply too good. He is like a God among men.

  • BigShotBoB

    Is lil Romeo ever going to get any PT.

  • mosduff

    and Lakeshow84, there’s only one Truth and he wears a green #34 jersey, ya dig?

  • doc

    @Lakeshow-24 blocks Ill give u that but 2 steals come on now dog.@kuda-Yeah U be up on that Philly talent thats whats up,but yup lil cuz coming to keep the nova guard tradition right.He tough man believe me.Yeah Harden put up 2 stinkers.And just to throw this in 28 second half points for the KING.

  • hoopsguru

    for those who feel the need to somehow relate wrestling and the NCAA tournament…….


  • http://GEE2.COM GEE…P.T.I. Pardon the Illness

    Houston Up! For tonight, number 2 in the L! Holla at cha boi!

    Yes. It’s like that!

  • hoopsguru

    Lil Romeo’s stats in 34 games

    6 games
    12 mins
    1-2 fg
    0-1 3pt
    1-3 ft
    2 rebs
    1 ast