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March 22, 2008
Bracket Breakdown
NCAAs, Day Two

by Ken Pomeroy


Day two was significantly more interesting than day one. Two 12/13 games were spawned in the second round. Here's the breakdown of Friday's games, in order of how each held my interest.

(10) Davidson 82, (7) Gonzaga 76 [70 possessions]

Sometimes we apply labels to teams based on the conference in which they play. Make no mistake, though--Davidson plays hoops like a power-conference team, and a better than average one at that. Stephen Curry posted 40 and made eight of 10 three-point attempts despite being the focus of Steven Gray or Micah Downs for the bulk of the game. I feel sorry for Georgetown in the second round. Davidson may not beat them, but I'd be shocked if the game isn't tight most of the way. They have a point guard with power-conference quickness, a shooting guard whose scoring ability is unmatched, and a couple of guys who can block shots. Curry rested for all of 1:13 in this one. Don't be surprised if that's zero on Sunday.

(12) Western Kentucky 101, (5) Drake 99 [OT, 85]

In the West Region preview, I noted that Drake games will feature a lot of threes. This game set a tourney record for combined makes (30) and attempts (70) from long range. Drake trailed by 15 with nine minutes to go and improbably forced OT. The end-game in the extra period featured an odd sequence in which the Hilltoppers appeared to believe they had to foul Drake with 40 seconds to go, despite the score being tied. This isn't horrible strategy, but it went against coach Darrin Horn's wishes. It all ended happily for the Toppers when Ty Rogers drained a long distance three as time expired.

(13) San Diego 70, (4) Connecticut 69 [OT, 67]

UConn takes away shots in the paint and, to a lesser extent, three-pointers. No defense can take away everything, though, and that's where San Diego center Gyno Pomare comes in. He hit six of eight long-range twos as part of his 22 points in helping lead the Toreros to the upset. That makes for a Western Kentucky/San Diego second round game. Ben Howland is ecstatic.

(12) Villanova 75, (5) Clemson 69 [72]

Clemson built an 18-point lead in the first half on 6-for-13 3-point shooting. They would go 3-for-20 on bombs the rest of the way and Villanova eventually caught up and overtook the Tigers, rolling to a rather comfortable victory.

(8) Mississippi State 76, (9) Oregon 69 [72]

Oregon took 38 of its 64 shots from three-point land and made just nine of them. The Bulldogs' Charles Rhodes scored 34 on 14-of-18 from the free throw line. Apparently, MSU center Jarvis Varnado is the Brett Favre of college hoops. Despite the spelling of his name, every single commentator pronounces his name Vanardo.

(2) Tennessee 72, (15) American 57 [68]

The Vols held a 50-49 lead with six minutes to go before pulling away. AU was able to keep it close thanks to an 18-6 advantage on the offensive boards. UT starter Jordan Howell enters the second round having made three of his last 34 three-pointers.

(9) Arkansas 86, (8) Indiana 72 [66]

Much will be made of Eric Gordon's 3-for-15 shooting, but the Hoosier offense was good enough to win thanks to the irrepressible D.J. White (22 points, nine boards, zero turnovers) and Armon Bassett hitting five of seven three-pointers. The Hogs' 33 free throw attempts and 62.5% (eFG) shooting was the real story. Now begins the sweepstakes for the most high-profile coaching job available in '08.

(6) Oklahoma 72, (11) Saint Joseph's 64 [58]

An ugly and slow methodical win for the Sooners in a game that wasn't as tense as the final score indicates. The Hawks closed a 19-point second half deficit to four with about four minutes to go, but got no closer. OU shot 75% (eFG) from the field and took 26 free throws to fuel their offensive barrage.

(13) Siena 83, (4) Vanderbilt 62 [69]

Another fabulous shooting night for the winners. Siena posted an eFG% of 66.3 in this one and led by at least seven throughout the second half. It was the most lopsided 4/13 game since 1985. This sets up a Siena/Villanova second round game. Bill Self is ecstatic.

(7) Miami FL 78, (10) Saint Mary's 64 [75]

The 'Canes went on a 15-2 run early in the second half to turn a six-point deficit into a seven-point lead. Only two players scored in double figures: the Gaels' Patrick Mills (24) and Miami's Jack McClinton (38, 32 after halftime).

(7) Butler 81, (10) South Alabama 61 [62]

Pete Campbell poured in 26 points in 20 minutes on a Curry-like 8-of-10 from long range. This set up a second round game with Tennessee, a rematch of last year's game in the Preseason NIT. This may be hyped as a contrast of styles, but if that's proposed as a key to victory, politely disregard it. Butler will use clock when they have the ball, and Tennessee will jack up shots. Last season's game was won easily by Butler, but was played in 68 possessions, much closer to Tennessee's average pace.

(3) Louisville 79, (14) Boise State 61 [69]

An easy win for the Cards, aided by 12-of-24 shooting on three-pointers which gave us yet another gaudy eFG performance on day two--67.3%.

(2) Georgetown 66, (15) UMBC 47 [60]

Nothing noteworthy here except Billy Packer commenting on how Georgetown's defense is so much better than its offense. His justification, of course, was points per game data.

(2) Texas 74, (15) Austin Peay 54 [59]

This was not competitive from the start but an interesting take away from this one is that Austin Peay grabbed 18 offensive boards in a slow-paced game. The Longhorns are rather pathetic rebounding out of their zone and this could be their undoing against a team with more skilled big men.

(1) Memphis 87, (16) Texas-Arlington 63 [67]
(1) North Carolina 113, (16) Mount St. Mary's 74 [76]

The one-seeds successfully avoid the 16s for another year. UTA managed to hold a lead three minutes into the game against Memphis, the only time a 16-seed led in the first round.

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

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