Whew! Made it through yesterday without any women proposing to me! It’s hard to keep up with all of those crazy traditions.
#5 Michigan State 55 – Indiana 70: Chalk up another huge win for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers. His team heads into March with victories over Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan. Only Duke can compare in terms of number of high quality wins (UNC, Kansas, Mich. St) even with all of Indiana’s victories coming at home (all three of Duke’s were neutral or road games).
Indiana came out strong in this game and were the much more aggressive team. They were able to drive to the basket and get to the free throw line. The Spartans played sluggish and allowed the Hoosiers to go on several big runs and at halftime were on the wrong end of a 41-27 score. Tom Izzo’s team played Indiana even in the second half, but were never able to climb out of the hole. Player of the Year candidate Draymond Green was essentially a one man show scoring 29 points. He was the only Spartan in double figures.
Bulls 96 – Spurs 89
I need you guys to do something for me. Please get down on your knees and pray that wasn’t a preview of the Finals this year. I might start watching baseball if it is. Tony Parker is having a great year for San Antonio and Tim Duncan is still surprisingly effective, but this game was boring. Derrick Rose was the only thing I enjoyed about this game, but even watching him gets depressing each time I see Carlos Boozer getting outrebounded by a guy half his size.
The game was close throughout and both teams do play very good defense. Gary Neal led the Spurs with 21 points off the bench and kept them in the game while Parker struggled from the floor. In the end, Rose and the Bulls were just too much. The reigning MVP scored when his team needed it and prevented the Spurs from making a late push.
Georgia at #1 Kentucky (9:00 ESPN): Alright, so this game should be a blowout but if Jumbo can talk about the Saints every day I can preview Kentucky’s senior night. Sue me. Tonight’s game is a big one for Kentucky native Darius Miller. Darius was recruited by the evil scourge Billy Gillispie and could have easily asked for a transfer once Cal came into town, but he didn’t. Many thought he would never develop in the new system and would constantly have to compete with one and done freshmen for playing time. Darius worked hard and has become the steady hand for the talented but young Wildcats. He’s also ice cold at the end of games this season hitting 15-20 field goals and 13-14 free throws when an opponent is within five with ten minutes left. (h/t kentuckysportsradio). We’re going to miss you next year Darius, especially after you bring home banner #8 in April.
Clippers at Suns (10:30 ESPN): Jumbo, I dare you to watch this game and tell me Steve Nash is better than Chris Paul. I friggin dare you. #LobCity
#6 North Carolina at #3 Duke (7:00 ESPN): On Wednesday Duke beat Wake Forest in Winston Salem to finish the year undefeated on the road in the ACC. That’s pretty impressive. UNC destroyed Maryland last night, meaning the winner of this game Saturday wins the ACC outright. As if these guys needed any more motivation. The Tar Heels surely remember what happened the first time these guys played and will be looking for revenge on the Devil’s home court.
Tyler Zeller looks to lock up his case for ACC Player of the Year and a big game Saturday will likely do it for him. He scored 30 against Maryland last night and has been playing well all season. He even had a good game against Duke earlier this year, except for when he scored two points for the Blue Devils and got embarassed by Rivers on the last shot. Hopefully he’s not dwelling on those things though.
Speaking of Rivers, he will need to be good again. In the first game UNC seemed content with letting him take all the shots he wanted, hoping he would take the bake and shoot his team out of the game by deviating from the offense. Hopefully Roy Williams realizes that’s a bad idea and doesn’t let Doc’s boy torch him again.
A #1 Seed in the NCAA tournament is most likely on the line as well. If Duke wins I think they pretty much clinch one, regardless of what happens in the ACC tourney. A UNC win and a strong showing in Atlanta could position the Heels for a 1 seed as well. There’s a whole lot riding on this game. It should be a good one.
Prediction: UNC 77 Duke 74