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March 20, 2010
Return to Reality
Mostly

by John Gasaway

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(12) Cornell 78, (5) Temple 65 [59 possessions]
Day 2 of the NCAA tournament began with a mystery. How could Cornell shred one of the best defenses in the country to ribbons before our very eyes? Keep in mind this season Temple allowed A-10 opponents to make just 42 percent of their twos. Yesterday the Big Red made 72 percent of their twos against the Owls, scoring 78 points in just 59 possessions. Louis Dale led Cornell with 21 points on 13 shots, while Ryan Wittman added 20 on 7-of-10 shooting. The win marks the first time the Ivy League has been to the second round for 12 years. It also marked an abrupt and highly uncharacteristic end to a very impressive season for Temple.

(4) Wisconsin 53, (13) Wofford 49 [56]
Congratulations to the Terriers, who opened the second half with a 14-6 run and pushed Wisconsin from there all the way to the final buzzer. As for the winning team, I won't pretend to understand why the Badgers allow Trevon Hughes to dribble a hole in the floor in crunch time. It is anti-swing. Time and time again in the last minutes of this game, Hughes would dribble away the shot clock and then launch another tough shot. Be that as it may, Wisconsin lives to see Cornell tomorrow. People are down on the Badgers right now, much like they're down on Villanova. (And by down I mean I'm hearing more than a little talk about a Cornell-Kentucky game in the Sweet 16.) I say if Bo Ryan's team can win a game where they made 11 percent of their threes and 42 percent of their twos, they're to be feared. Hughes and Jon Leuer combined for 39 of their team's 53 points.

(6) Xavier 65, (11) Minnesota 54 [61]
There were 129 shots attempted from the field in this game, and only 42 of them went in. It wasn't a thing of beauty, but the Musketeers will take it. Jordan Crawford was very Devan Downey to Minnesota's Kentucky, scoring 28 points but needing 21 shots to get there. (In fairness Crawford also had five assists, and in a game featuring this kind of shooting that's probably equivalent to ten assists in a normal game.) Meantime Jamel McLean got it done on the boards, with six offensive and eight defensive rebounds in 30 minutes. As for the Gophers, they return to Minneapolis having shown improbable late-season resilience just to get a bid.

(3) Pitt 89, (14) Oakland 66 [79]
When your team is credited with 17 layups and six dunks, I'd say you won the game in the paint.

(2) West Virginia 77, (7) Morgan State 50 [69]
Though they actually didn't shoot all that well, Bob Huggins' men attacked the paint often enough to get to the line 31 times, where they made 25 of their attempts.

(10) Missouri 86, (7) Clemson 78 [72]
The ACC-variety Tigers haven't won an NCAA tournament game since 1997, having now dropped four consecutive first-round games where they held the higher seed. I don't want to say that Oliver Purnell's team allowed some points but they made 12-of-24 threes (take a bow Andre Young and Demontez Stitt)--and lost by eight. Granted, Missouri helped that along. Credit Keith Ramsey with what may have been the line of the day: 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting with eight boards, four assists, no turnovers, and three steals.

(4) Purdue 72, (13) Siena 64 [77]
The Boilermakers may not have Robbie Hummel, but they do still have defense. The Saints were held to 35 percent shooting on their twos while making just 3-of-12 from outside. The absence of Siena's Clarence Jackson, who was sidelined with a sprained ankle, may have helped that along as well. For Purdue JaJuan Johnson romped about unchecked, recording a 23-15 double-double.

(5) Texas A&M 69, (12) Utah State 53 [62]
The Aggies of College Station entered this game as a somewhat misunderstood Big 12 team that displayed an excellent defense and an average offense during the conference season. Meanwhile the Aggies of Logan had acquired a reputation as an efficient scoring offense to be feared. This time the excellent defense from the major conference prevailed. USU's Jared Quayle and Nate Bendall were a combined 8-of-28 from the field.

(8) Gonzaga 67, (9) Florida St 60 [65]
What a great comeback by the Seminoles. Leonard Hamilton's team, which is not known for its explosiveness, erased an 18-point deficit and cut the Zags' lead to 59-55 with a little more than two minutes remaining. A lot of that work was done by Deividas Dulkys, who scored 14 points. From that point forward, however, FSU could manage only a Michael Snaer three and a couple free throws. Gonzaga built its lead in the first half by attacking the formidable Seminole D on the interior. Robert Sacre and Elias Harris combined for 26 points, to go along with 17 from Matt Bouldin and 15 from Steven Gray.

(1) Syracuse 79, (16) Vermont 56 [66]
The Orangemen didn't have to worry about offensive rebounding in the absence of Arinze Onuaku, because in this game almost all of their shots went in. Jim Boeheim's team made 45 percent of their threes and 61 percent of their twos. (And, anyway, their offensive rebounding was very good as well.)

(10) Georgia Tech 64, (7) Oklahoma St. 59 [59]
If this was indeed James Anderson's last game as a Cowboy it was not at all indicative of the superb year that preceded it. Anderson went 3-of-12 from the field and scored just 11 points. Meanwhile the Yellow Jackets are seeking to become the first negative efficiency-margin team from a major conference to make the second weekend in five years. Paul Hewitt's team was outscored in ACC play this season, but they're still alive.

(2) Ohio St. 68, (15) UC Santa Barbara 51 [62]
Not many two-seeds shoot just 37 percent on their twos and win this easily. Evan Turner and David Lighty were a combined 5-of-24 from the field. The Buckeyes will need to step up their game against Georgia Tech.

(5) Michigan St. 70, (12) New Mexico St. 67 [64]
Everyone is right about the lane violation. There are people who say it seemed like an odd call in real time. Well, it did. If that starts being whistled every time it occurs from now on, heaven help us. Then again there are Spartan fans who say there was indeed a lane violation? Well, there was. Of more lasting concern to Tom Izzo, however, is whether or not his team can do better than a three-point win over a team that was overseeded as a 12.

(4) Maryland 89, (13) Houston 77 [72]
The Terrapins didn't shoot much better than their opponent but they got a lot of offensive rebounds. I can't help feeling Jordan Williams' importance to this team is being somewhat overlooked. (He needs to be more Fiery and Emotional, then he will get coverage.) Fun fact: Houston didn't commit its first turnover until 2:47 remained in the first half.

(8) Cal 77, (9) Louisville 62 [66]
If I sound like a broken record after a season's worth of Tuesday Truths it's because no one who didn't already know has come back to me and said, "OK, we get it. Cal has a great offense." So: Cal has a great offense. Theo Robertson, Jerome Randle, and Patrick Christopher were all on top of their game. On Sunday Duke better be on top of theirs. Speaking of which....

(1) Duke 73, (16) Arkansas-Pine Bluff 44 [62]
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John doesn't have space for 16 game recaps on Twitter: @JohnGasaway. College Basketball Prospectus 2009-10 is now available on Amazon.

John Gasaway is an author of Basketball Prospectus. You can contact John by clicking here or click here to see John's other articles.

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