Monday, March 29, 2010

Final/Frozen Four

Duke won. Miami won. If you don't care about sports then this post isn't for you, since all I really care about at this point is that both Duke and Miami are one of the final four teams left in their respective sports. First Duke beat Baylor and then Miami beat Michigan. Over a course of a 7 hour time period I was ranged from all different types of emotions as both games were toss-ups. The fact that both 50/50 games broke the correct way was very fortunate. Here are some thoughts on both games.

  • What a great game and incredible tournament so far for Nolan Smith. He has elevated his game this year and then took another big step over the tournament. It wasn't just the tear drops or 3 pointers on offense, but also the tough man-to-man defense he played that really made the difference for Duke.

  • Jon Scheyer has hit some big shots (Duke at UNC this year, Georgia Tech in the ACC title game, etc) in his career at Duke, but none were bigger than the two he hit at the end of this game. The shot he hit with that put Duke up 6 with 2:37 left in the game was the biggest shot of his life and something that took major onions.

  • Calm down everyone about the refs. The block/charge call on Zoubek was a tough 50/50 call that went against Baylor. There were a few of those that went against Duke. It was an evenly called game (before Baylor had to foul at the end free throws were even at 19 attempts each) that Duke won because they made more plays. To say that Duke got all the calls is inaccurate and lazy.

  • One call that I didn't see replayed on Sportscenter was when Lance Thomas was shoved into a Baylor player and Thomas sideswiped the Baylor player and got called from a foul. I wondered why Thomas was diving at a Baylor player, so I rewinded the DVR and saw the Baylor player give a two handed push that sent Thomas diving.

  • One great thing about this Duke team is that they all know their roles. Smith, Scheyer and Singler are going to do the scoring and the post players are going to set picks, play defense and get massive amount of offensive rebounds. The fact that everyone on this team is willing to accept their roles makes this a well-rounded team that could win the National Title. Sometimes it isn't just about having the best or most talented players.

  • Andre Dawkins is the one player who gets the most support compared to actual production from me. I love watching him as a player and always find myself cheering for him to do well. Ever since the Wisconsin game where he nearly single handily brought Duke back I have thought that he has a chance to be one of the best pure 3 point shooters in Duke history. That being written I was extremely happy to see Dawkins knock down two big 3 pointers in the 1st half of the game. His 2nd three right before the end of the half cut a 6 point Baylor lead in half and was a huge, probably forgotten shot of the game.

  • Lance Thomas really redeemed himself after a terrible 1st half, where he tried to do too much scoring. In the 2nd half he really stuck to his role and got some huge offensive rebounds and kick outs. In addition to that his follow up dunk of Singler's last shot put the game on ice.

  • Congrats Duke. These players have gone through a lot (personally and basketball related) and deserve all the accolades that they get.

Miami 3 - Michigan 2: Double OT

  • Hockey is a boring, confusing sport that can be painfully frustrating to watch. It moves quickly and there is always something going on, but the lack of consistent scoring can be tiring. Also, the fact that some goals seem to be based solely on luck seems to make it the most luck based sport out of football, basketball or baseball.
  • Michigan should have won that game. Besides a 5-10 minute stretch in the 3rd period they looked like a better team.
  • That 5-10 minute stretch was described as "the best Miami has played all year" by the announcer. The score at the beginning of that stretch was 2-2 and the score at the end of the stretch was 2-2. Can you see why I find the sport incredibly frustrating? In no other sport could you dominate without gaining an advantage on the scoreboard.
  • Both Miami and Michigan had shots at the end of the game that clanked against the goal post. That has to be the worst feeling for a hockey player. To know that 1 inch to the left you score a goal that wins the game and send your team to the Frozen Four.
  • Michigan had one goal disallowed because of an early whistle. In a game with only 5 overall goals to have one goal not counted because of a bad call is like having the refs give 30 more free throws to a basketball team. I would feel bad for them except they are Michigan and I like to think this karmic payback for the way their fans acted when I went up to Ann Arbor to see Miami play Michigan in 2004.
  • M and I went to go see the game at Joe Senser's. After 4 hours and the end of 3 periods and an overtime there was no chance I was convincing M to stay any longer. The good thing is that I made it home in time to see the winning goal by watching ESPN-U online.
  • My love of Miami can best be expressed by the fact that I spent 4+ hours watching a hockey game. I think that overall 80% of my hockey watching history has been spent watching the Redhawks.
  • Now Miami has a week and a half to rest before facing BC in Detroit in the Frozen Four. That will give me a week and a half to get ready for another hockey game.
  • Congrats Miami. I hope you are able to continue to the redemption all the way to a title.

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