NCAA tourney games hit or miss

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 2, 2009


The NCAA tournament games were really hit or miss over the weekend, with some great games and some snoozers. I got to pretty much take in all of them — the weather around here wasn’t exactly conducive to covering (non-existent) prep action, no?

I came away really impressed by North Carolina (duh) and Connecticut. I didn’t expect Carolina to have too much trouble advancing out that region — there weren’t many standout defensive teams in that draw, and few can hope to simply outscore the Tar Heels — but you can’t help but shake your head at how easily those guys tore through Oklahoma and Gonzaga.

Actually, I need to revise my previous statement — I thought Gonzaga was the one team in that bracket that could give Carolina a scare, because they seemed to me to be the most balanced team — good frontcourt, good backcourt, tough defensively. UNC won by 21. LSU was the only team that stood toe to toe with them, at least until the late stages.

The Huskies, meanwhile, made some bad decisions against the Missouri press, strung together turnovers, and gave the Tigers ample time to establish a lead.

But Missouri just couldn’t. Connecticut’s defense was just too good, even when the offense was giving the ball up in bunches. Offensively, UConn was frustrated and ripe for an upset, but they just went back to old reliable — great defense, backed by a 7’3 monster shotblocker in Hasheem Thabeet.

I thought losing Jerome Dyson late into the season would hinder their offense too much for them to live up to that top seed, but I was wrong. Missouri made them look a little ragged — they do that to many — but in the half court they looked as good as they had all season.

If anyone beats Carolina, it will be those guys. Form y money, though, the Tar Heels are on a serious mission and won’t be denied.

But I’ll be rooting hard for a Carolina/Connecticut matchup, to see it all play out.

Major League Baseball kicks off next week, and unless Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez rise from the ashes to once again become great…er…good…nay…PRODUCTIVE baseball players, my Cleveland Indians probably don’t have a ton to look forward to. Though if Cliff Lee can go from “barely a fifth starter” to “best pitcher in the American League” overnight, then I suppose there is hope.

That, and the AL central isn’t exactly the AL East. Yankee, Red Sox and Ray fans…you guys have fun. One of you is sitting home after that rumble.

That also means fantasy baseball season is about to ramp up. All you need to know is I’ve got Hanley Ramirez. Getting he or Albert Pujols is like hitting the Powerball. The rest of my team reads like a beer league softball lineup — Dunn, Fielder, Pena, Uggla…we’re slowly trotting around all the bases, or back to the dugout.

With those guys, there’s no in-between. It’s either a major hit or a colossal miss, just like those tourney games we watched.

Ryan Arena is sports editor