Saturday, March 24, 2007

Late Night, but a Great Night

Wow! That's pretty much all I can say about tonight... that was probably some of the best basketball I've ever seen. It all started off with the Vandy Georgetown game that came down to a last second shot by Jeff Green and then followed up by North Carolina's 18-0 run in the 2nd half to beat Southern Cal and advance.

I thought there was a buzz at the arena on Thursday, but nothing compared to the buildup to Friday night's games. There were people from every media outlet you could imagine chowing down on Lasagna and cold cuts at the media buffet. At one table you had Bob Ryan catching up with Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese, then at another ESPN's Andy Katz was chatting away on his phone undoubtedly doing yet another radio interview. You guess it and they were probably's pretty fun as a member of the media to see all these people you watch on a daily basis grouped together in the same setting as you.

Ok enough about my celeb sightings... the real story from Friday was basketball and how two teams that were expected to win had to dig down deep and pull out a win in tough games. Going into the Georgetown locker room you could sense relief as they were able to hold off Vandy for just long enough to pull out the one point win. Jeff Green talked about his last second shot saying there is no way he walked and later on Billy Packer agreed with him on the CBS broadcast. He said he was blocked out and couldn't even see the rim so he shot for the backboard...the only problem, he didn't call glass! This Georgetown team is confident in their style of play which sort of seems like an updated Big East style with a little bit of the Princeton game thrown in for flavor. The Hoyas can run the court when they need to, but they seem most at home in their half court offense making the game run at their own pace.

As for the Tar Heels, what can I say, it was a tale of two halves. There's a rule that you aren't supposed to cheer in the press area, and I didn't do that, but man was it hard to hold back when UNC went on that run. First of all, the families of most of the players were sitting right behind me for most of the game cheering the team on and at the same time, if Carolina lost I was headed back to Charlotte, but if they won I would get to see another tremendous basketball game. So I had a little something invested in this one.

After the game, a number of players referenced Coach Williams words at half time as the motivator to get them going. He supposedly told them they were embarrassing their state, their school and their peers and that it was now or never. It obviously worked because in the 2nd half they blew the doors off the arena. Hansbrough was pretty reserved after the game seeing as he put up a less than stellar performance, but his teammates stepped up in his place which meant his lack of activity didn't end up hurting the team that bad. The most telling stat of the game was that in the 1st half Carolina went 2 for 12 from three point land (16%), but in the 2nd half they only attempted two threes opting instead to go inside and that was the difference.

Anyway, it should be a classic match up on Sunday between Georgetown and Carolina can't wait to see it and keep you updated on all that's happening up here in East Rutherford.

-Tim Baier

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