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Previewing the Women’s Final Four

Posted by Mike on April 1, 2007

Between Billy Packer, the unceremonious exit of the Tar Heels, the potential for boring games , and the fact that I may lose a bracket challenge to a penny, I’m not paying too much attention to the Men’s Final Four this year. Thankfully, in the Women’s Final Four, none of those factors come into play. There’s no Billy Packer (or Dick Vitale for the matter), my Tar Heels are still alive, all of the game have the potential for excitement, and I don’t have a women’s tournament bracket. I might mention the fact that I will get stare at women for two nights, but I would need professional help if my intimate fantasies involved Rashanda McCants and Sylvia Fowles.

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On to the previews:

LSU vs. Rutgers. Normally I would be at all surprised to see the Tigers in the Final Four. They are one of the most talented teams in the nation, Senior Sylvia Fowles is perhaps the best pure post player remaining in the tournament, and they beat Tennessee to win the SEC Tournament in March. But LSU has had to deal with the resignation of their coach Pokey Chatman, who left due to allegations of her “les-ing out”, as Cartman would say, with one of her former players. Bob Starkey, the interim coach, has done a great job of keeping the Tigers focused, and they crushed UConn to win their regional and get to Cleveland.

Rutgers is the surprise of the Tournament. They managed to beat the heavily favored Duke Blue Devils, 53-52 in the Sweet 16 (although it didn’t hurt that Lindsey Harding absolutely choked at the end) on their way to the Final four, prompting Tar Heels like me to dance in the streets. The Scarlet Knights pride themselves on defense, having allowed no more than 57 points in postseason play (7-0, Big East and NCAA Tournaments). Still, they will need a great defensive effort out of center Kia Vaughn and good perimeter shooting if they want to beat the talent of the Tigers.

Pick: My heart says Rutgers, but my head says LSU. I’ll take the Scarlet Knights in overtime.

North Carolina vs. Tennessee. A lot more attention will be paid to this game. It features perhaps the nation’s two current most prominent women’s programs, coaches (Sylvia Hatchell and Pat Summitt), and players (Ivory Latta and Candace Parker). Ivory may be the emotional leader of the Tar Heels, but make no mistake. UNC is here because of their frontcourt. The Tar heels perform at their best when Camille Little gets offensive touches, Latoya Pringle plays good defense, and Erlana Larkins is able to get UNC’s offensive rebounds, where she is most effective at scoring. Pringle will most likely be assigned to defend Candace Parker, who is by far the best athlete in women’s basketball right now. If the Heels are able to shut down Parker (and that’s a big if), it will be up to underclassman point guard Alexis Hornbuckle to bail the Vols out. Tennessee’s road to the final four was decidedly unimpressive, with wins over a 16 seed, an 8 seed, 13 seeded Marist, and 7 seeded Ole Miss. They haven’t had to play under pressure yet in the tournament.

Pick: The Tar Heels beat Tennessee by 13 in December at Carmichael Auditorium, but this crowd will be decidedly less favorable for UNC. I will still pick North Carolina in a very close game.

Championship: North Carolina over Rutgers.

I’ll be liveblogging game one of tonight’s action here, and game 2 on Tar Heel Mania. Even though we won’t get to see Maryland or Duke like last year, this will be a very exciting end to the Women’s Tournament.

Posted in #1, ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Basketball, Big East, Billy Packer, Bracket, Championship, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Live Blog, LSU, NCAA Tournament, North Carolina, Pat Summitt, Rutgers, SEC, Tar Heels, Tennessee Volunteers, UNC, women's basketball | 1 Comment »

NCAA Final Four: Prepare Yourself for Billy Packer

Posted by Mike on March 30, 2007

It’s that time of year again, the Final Four, the time we finally determine the best team in college basketball. It also means one can no longer avoid listening to Billy Packer. So to help you prepare for the his onslaught upon your eardrums, I have assembled a collection of clips to help you prepare…and survive.

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(Photo: Billy Packer looks into a mirror.)

First, the clip of Gerald Henderson’s elbow to Tyler Hansbrough. Who can forget this call by Packer?

By Comparison, here’s a call he made in a Duke-Kentucky NCAA Tournament game.

Here are some lesser known Billy Packer moments, many of his outbursts that never make it to television. I think this is what you’re most likely to see beginning tomorrow night.

I hope that you are now immune to whatever Billy is going to say on Saturday and Monday. Lord help us if he’s in a Taco Bell commercial.

UPDATE: I saw this after I posted and uhh…wow.

That’s it. I’m going to avoid him for the sake of my sanity and watch the Women’s Final Four. At least the Tar Heels are participating.

Posted in #1, ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Basketball, Big East, Big Ten, Billy Packer, Bracket, Buckeyes, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Final Four, Florida Gators, Funny Videos, Georgetown, Hoyas, NCAA Tournament, Ohio State, Pac 10, UCLA | 3 Comments »

This Is All I’m Going To Say About UNC’s Loss To Georgetown

Posted by Mike on March 28, 2007

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We’ll be back in 2008. Lawson and Ellington are going to be more experienced, Hansbrough will be the undeniable leader of the team (if he stays), and the only non-senior whom UNC is expecting to lose is Brandan Wright. I think Deon Thompson should play extremely well in his place. We’ll be kickin’ ass, takin’ names, and running away with the ACC crown next year. To the Alamo!

(photo via Today’s ACC Headlines)

The game felt like this video, with the exception being that you realize, way too late, that the product doesn’t work. You then scream in agony, scaring your neighbors so much that they call a SWAT team.

It was actually more like this:

Posted in #1, ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Basketball, Big East, Bracket, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Georgetown, Hoyas, NCAA Tournament, North Carolina, Tar Heels, Tyler Hansbrough, UNC | 1 Comment »

Oregon vs. Florida Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament Elite 8

Posted by Mike on March 25, 2007

Today Oregon plays Florida for the Midwest Regional championship and the right to play UCLA in the Final Four. Oregon will need a big day out of their guards, Aaron Brooks, Tajuan Porter and Bryce Taylor, while Florida will rely on the frontcourt of Brewer, Horford and Noah.

2:42 pm: 3-3. Taurean Green hits a three for the first basket of the game. Aaron Brooks responds in kind before the shot clock expires.

2:43 pm: Damn. Tajuan Porter is 5-6? Really?

Brooks and Brewer each drive in for nice layups. 5-5. Corey’s basket was especially tough.

2:45 pm: 8-5, Florida. Oregon played good defense, forcing a turnover on the inbound pass, but Porter makes a bad decision by taking a three in transition. Florida quickly rebounds, and on the Humphrey hits an open three on the other end.

Official timeout.

2:50 pm: 8-7, Florida. A nice shot in the post by Malik Hairston cuts the lead to one. Florida turns it over on the next possession, and the have a chance to take the lead.

2:51 pm: 10-9, Florida. The Gators rebound a bad shot and Corey Brewer drives inside for a sweet layup across the lane. Bryce Taylor posterizes Al Horford on the other end.

If Florida has a weakness today, it’s that they haven’t been taking care of the ball. The Ducks are making it tough on them.

2:53 pm: 11-10, Oregon. Hairston hits a jumper in the lane to give Oregon the lead.

Walter Hodge is in for the Gators. Man, he is ugly, and the facial hair isn’t helping.

2:56 pm: 11-11. The Ducks have done a good job of neutralizing Noah and Horford so far, but they seem to be taking a few too many ill-advised shots. Just as I say that, Hairston scores inside again. I did not expect him to be so successful in the paint. 13-11, Oregon.

Official timeout.

3:01 pm: 16-13, Oregon. Taylor hits a three off a great pass from the inside.

Aaron brooks commits his second foul nine minutes in. Let’s hope Porter and Hairston can pick up the slack.

3:02 pm: 18-13, Oregon. Porter extends the lead at the line after Florida commits their 8th turnover.

3:04 pm: 18-16, Oregon. At the midway point of the second half, Humphrey hits another three. Still, Florida has 9 turnovers and only 5 field goals.

3:06 pm: 20-18, Oregon. Who would have thought that the best post player for Florida today would be Chris Richard?

3:07 pm: 22-19, Oregon. Malik Hairston is having a very good game in the post. I should point out that he’s 6-6.

Florida is keeping it close because what the frontcourt has done well so far is offensive rebounding. Oregon is simply outmatched in that regard.

3:11 pm: Len Elmore points out that the problem for Oregon is bad technique in boxing out. I’ll need to keep my eye out for that.

3:13 pm: 25-22, Florida. Good screening by Noah gives Green an open three to take the lead. The Gators steal the ball on the next play, and Humphrey lays it in easily. Ernie Kent calls a timeout during the Gators’ 7-0 run.

3:18 pm: 28-24, Florida. Hairston continues to have his way in the offensive paint, but Joakim Noah gets three the hard way against Joevan Catron, his third foul.

3:19 pm: 30-26, Florida. A great post move by Horford, and Florida really seems to have woken up from their early slumber.

3:20 pm: Oregon coach Ernie Kent says that center Adam Zahn is the team’s best leaper. I guess white men can jump.

3:23 pm: 33-27, Florida. Wow. What a shot by Lee Humphrey. The spin on that ball was so pure, and the shot was so on target, that the ball tore apart the net swishing through it. Unbelievable. A description cannot do justice to that shot. Again…wow.

There now a delay as the officials need to replace the net Humphrey just ruined.

3:35 pm: 39-38, Florida. I’ve missed a lot. I stepped away a little too long. I rejoined the game at 39-34, after which Brooks has hit a nice jumper, Porter stole a Gator pass, and delivered a great pass to Taylor, who slammed it in. Oregon has the momentum now. Brooks has 14 on 6 of 8 shooting.

3:37 pm: Oregon has a chance to tie before the halftime buzzer, but Florida does a great job of clamping down on Brooks, and The Gators are hanging on to a 40-38 halftime lead. Florida looks poised to take over this game, as their offense has finally found a rhythm and they’re winning the rebounding battle. But they need to cut down on turnovers and find a way to stop Aaron Brooks and Malik Hairston. For Oregon to win, they need to stay out of foul trouble, clamp down on the defensive perimeter, rebound, and hope that they continue to shoot the ball well.

4:00 pm: 44-40, Florida. The second half begins, and Florida is having some early success in the paint. They’re also doing a good job of slowing the tempo down so far in the second half.

4:04 pm: 45-43, Florida. Porter makes a great pass as Brooks hits a three, but Hairston picks up his third. The Oregon frontcourt is now in deep foul trouble, with three players and three fouls each.

4:06 pm: 50-45, Florida. Porter is really struggling on defense. Taurean Green and lee Humphrey are tearing him apart.

Official timeout.

4:09 pm: 50-47, Florida. Marty Leunen, who averages 11 points a game, only has 4, all from the stripe.

4:10 pm: 53-47, Florida. Humphrey hits another three to put the Gators up 6. He has 17 points.

4:12 pm: 55-51, Florida. Even Walter Hodge is getting in the act to abusing Porter, driving in for an easy coast-to-coast layup.

Brroks gets a nice basket inside to give him 21 for the day.

4:13 pm: 59-53, Florida. Taking advantage of the foul trouble, Florida is now attacking inside without much resistance.

4:21 pm: 61-55, Florida. Oregon is still in this game because they’re finally rebounding the ball well. In particular, Hairston continues to overachieve in the post.

4:26 pm: 61-57, Florida. Oregon is still playing well on defense, but it simply isn;t Tajuan Porter’s day. He can;t score, and he’s a defensive liability. Ernie Kent needs to bench him.

4:28 pm: 64-57, Florida. Lee Humphrey cannot be stopped.

Oregon isn’t forcing turnovers anymore. This could mean doom for the Ducks.

4:29 pm: 67-57, Florida. And Humphrey hits ANOTHER three! He’s hit 7 of those, and now has 23 points. Why hasn’t Porter been pulled?

4:31 pm: 67-60, Florida. Leunen hits his first shot of the game, a three pointer. The Ducks will really need him to step up late in the game.

7:52 left.

4:34 pm: Wow. That defensive set was just bad. Mismatches across the board. Brroks on Richard, Hairston on Humphrey, Porter on Green-Ugh.

4:36 pm: You don’t know the definition of awkward until you’ve heard a sports announcer plug his network’s newest sitcom.

4:41 pm: 70-64, Florida, 4:55 left. Oregon is finally getting some nice opportunities in the second half. Taylor dunks in transition off a steal, and then Brooks drives in for another layup. I think that gives him 27 for the day.

4:43 pm: 3:54 left. Hairston fouls out. That’s bull! There wasn’t enough contact to call that a foul.

4:48 pm: 72-64, Florida, 3:15 left. Porter throws up an airball, continuing his struggles today. But that’s not the important part. I just saw that something is very, very wrong with his right ear. The bottom of it curves out and up. Things that make you go…..Brrrbrbbrbbrbr.

UPDATE (3/26): Apparently I’m not the only person who noticed Tajuan Porter’s left ear. 21 people have found my site via a search term pertaining to this subject. Here’s a good picture of it below.

tajuan-porter.jpg

According to several threads in Yahoo! Answers, it’s a keloid scar, possibly from a piercing gone wrong. However, I cannot confirm this.

4:52 pm: 72-66, Florida, 1:50 left. Marty Leunen shows great patience, letting Horford and Noah leap past him before making the easy layup.

Florida has done a good job of cutting down on turnovers. I think they’ve only had 4 TOs compared to 13 in the first half. Humphrey’s shooting helps, but I think that’s the biggest reason Florida is winning this game.

4:56 pm: 75-66, Florida, 1:12 left. Leunen fouls out, Florida hits their free throws, and the Gators are putting the game out of reach.

4:57 pm: 75-69, Florida, 1:01 left. Chamberlain Oguchi comes off the bench, hits a three, and the Ducks are back within 6.

5:00 pm: 78-72, Florida, :40 left. Tajuan Porter finally hits a three, and then Florida travels. This game may not be over yet.

5:02 pm: 78-74, Florida, :31 left. Brroks is fouled and hits two free throws. Green is sent to the line but only hits one.

5:03 pm: 81-74, Florida, :24 left. When Oregon absolutely needed a shot, Brooks’ layup was rejected by Brewer. He goes to the line and hits two free throws. It looks like this game has finally been put away.

5:04 pm: 81-77, Florida, :17 left. Just as I say that, Porter hits another three to bring it within 4.

5:06 pm: 82-77, Florida, :08.4 left. Porter travels, and this game is officially over.

5:08 pm: Oregon’s desperation shot goes begging, and Florida wins, 85-77. With this win, they return to the final four, and will play UCLA in the National Semifinals. Aaron Brooks and the Oregon defense played well for the most part, but Florida’s guards, Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey, really stepped up today.

I’ll be at Tar Heel Mania to cover UNC vs. Georgetown.

Posted in Basketball, Bracket, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Florida Gators, Live Blog, NCAA Tournament, Oregon, Pac 10, SEC | 3 Comments »

Kansas-UCLA Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament Elite 8

Posted by Mike on March 24, 2007

Tonight Kansas plays UCLA in the West Regional final in San Jose for the right to play in the Final Four. Kansas will look to keep a fast pace against the Bruin’s stifling defense.

7:06 pm: 2-0, UCLA. Aaron Afflalo rebounds his own miss, and his shot rattles in for the first basket of the game.

7:09 pm: 4-4. Collison gets a tough layup off a Kansas turnover, but on the next possession Sasha Kaun scores for the Jayhawks’ first field goal.

7:10 pm: 6-6. Let’s just admit it. I like saying “a great shot by Luc Richard Mbah A Moute” rather than “a great shot by Julian Wright.”

7:11 pm: 9-6, UCLA. Afflalo hits a three to put the Bruins back on top.

7:13 pm: 12-9, Kansas. The Jayhawks storm back to take the lead. they score three straight baskets thanks to a combination of great passing and defensive hustle. They force the Bruins into bad situations, and then their offensive passing gives players like Julian Wright great shot opportunities. The latest basket was a great putback by Russel Robinson, who had to leap over a teammate that had fallen over.

Official timeout.

7:21 pm: Oh shoot. I think I spaced out for a while there. Good thing nothing’s happened.

7:23 pm: 12-11, Kansas. How does Sherron Collins miss that open shot? More importantly, how did Collison hit that shot with three Jayhawks around him?

7:24 pm: 14-11, Kansas. Both teams are playing solid defense so far, forcing turnovers, and challenging shots. Kansas is winning because their offensive passing puts shooters in better position to score.

7:28 pm: 18-16, Kansas. UCLA ties the game as Luc Richard Mbah A Moute is becoming a big factor inside. Kansas take the lead back with a great alley-oop to Darnell Jackson. Kansas is really passing the ball well tonight.

7:31 pm: 20-16, Kansas. Julian Wright plays the point on a fast break, and makes a great pass to Robinson for the layup. I should point out that Wright is 6-9.

The Jayhawks are getting a lot of steals tonight. Either Kansas is being really aggressive defensively or UCLA is telegraphing their passes. Or both.

7:33 pm: 21-20, UCLA. The Bruins take the lead in 10 seconds, as Afflalo hits a three followed by a steal, breakaway and dunk by Russell Westbrook. That was an insanely fast change in momentum.

7:35 pm: 22-21, Kansas. As we reach another official timeout, Sasha Kaun hits a basket inside, coming back in from the bench.

7:39 pm: 24-21, Kansas. Brandon Rush’s baseline shot bounces in off the rim.

You know whom I haven’t heard from at all tonight? Mario Chalmers. This should be his time to step up, but He has seemed to be a non-factor so far.

7:40 pm: 27-21, Kansas. Rush hits a three, the first one I think the Jayhawks have hit tonight.

Has anyone else noticed that Bill Self’s face looks like wax about to melt?

7:43 pm: Brandon Rush’s hairdo looks like something out of 1992.

7:46 pm: 29-23, Kansas. Rush misses a floater inside, but Jackson gets the put back with AUTHORITY!

7:47 pm: 29-28, Kansas. Michael roll hits a three for UCLA, and Aboya gets a tough basket inside to cut the lead to 1.

3:23 left in the first half.

7:52 pm: 30-29, UCLA. Afflalo hits the midrange jumper, and the Bruins take back the lead.

7:53 pm: 32-29, UCLA. Dick Enberg and Jay Bilas may not realize this yet, but UCLA doesn’t seem to have much of a problem playing Kansas’ uptempo style.

7:55 pm: Did you see that shot CBs had of Kansas’ band? The funniest thing I’ve seen all day.

7:56 pm: 32-31, UCLA. While they have no problem with it on offense, the Bruins seem to have issues with Kansas’ transition offense. Brandon Rush slams it in to cut the lead back to 1.

7:57 pm: Afflalo holds the ball until three seconds left, then passes it to Josh Shipp, who drains the three from the baseline at the buzzer. UCLA leads, 35-31 at halftime. Both teams have played very good defense in spite of the fast pace of the game. For either team to win, they will need to display ball control and cut down on the turnovers they had in the first half. Whoever is able to control the ball will control the game from this point on. If the second half pans out like the first half, then I have no f—— idea who will win.

8:19 pm: As we enter the second half, an interesting stat: Kansas has only attempted one 3-pointer. That will likely have to change.

8:20 pm: Lorenzo Mata is having a really bad game. He has no points and just picked up his third foul.

8:22 pm: 37-31, UCLA. A great block at the top of the key leads to an easy layup by Afflalo in transition.

8:23 pm: 37-33, UCLA. Chalmers finally scores tonight, getting a basket inside.

8:24 pm: 40-33, UCLA. Afflalo hits another three to extend the lead to seven. As we hit the first official timeout of the second half, UCLA has been able to gain control the game in spite of already committing more turnovers (14) than their season average (12).

8:28 pm: 42-35, UCLA. What the hell is Mata doing in the game with three fouls and sixteen minutes left?

Wright needs to keep getting the ball inside. He’s their driving force in the paint. Chaka Khan is more useful for Kansas tonight than Sasha Kaun.

8:35 pm: 46-35, UCLA. Afflalo continues to hit his shots, while Kansas has gone completely cold on offense. They’re 12 of 26 on layups and dunks, which is unacceptable. Then again, the fact that the Jayhawks haven’t shot any threes means that the Bruins defense doesn’t need to stay honest. They can just clamp down in the paint.

8:37 pm: 46-38, UCLA. Brandon Rush finally hits a three for the Jayhawks.

8:39 pm: Official timeout. “Luc Richard Mbah a Moute” should not be attempting threes like that.

8:43 pm: 46-40, UCLA. I think I’ve figured out why Kansas is struggling right now. In the first half they were succeeding on offense because of great passing. I haven’t seen great passing on their part in the last 8 minutes or so. No good passes means UCLA can get in better defensive position, and the Bruins can affect more shots.

8:45 pm: 49-43, UCLA. Afflalo beats the shot clock to put the Bruins up 9, but Robinson responds immediately with a three of his own.

8:46 pm: 51-43, UCLA. Aaron Afflalo is on fire.

8:48 pm: 51-45, UCLA. Kansas hits two free throws, but what a play by Mario Chalmers! he forces the ball loose, retrieves it before going out of bounds, throws it off of a Bruin, and manages to avoid hitting the ball himself. That’s just great awareness.

8:52 pm: 53-45, UCLA. Wow. There have been 24 steals in 33 minutes. That’s either really good defense, really bad passing, or both. Kansas has 14 steals, and UCLA has 10.

8:56 pm: 53-47, UCLA, 6:00 left. Darrell Arthur hits a tough basket inside.

For all the great defense in this game, it’s remarkable that neither team has had to foul very much.

8:58 pm: 55-50, UCLA, 5:10 left. Chalmers makes a great pass to Robinson, who drills a three for the left wing. You see what happens when Kansas passes the ball well.

8:59 pm: 58-50, UCLA, 4:30 left. Darren Collison shoots a desperate three, at the shot clock buzzer, while double teamed. And he drains it. Unbelievable.

Final TV timeout. 3:11 left.

9:07 pm: The Bruins have really clamped down on defense. In particular, “Luc Richard Mbah A Moute” has shut the door completely on the Jayhawks who have only scored 20 points in the second half. For such a low scoring game, this is extremely exciting.

9:10 pm: 60-53, UCLA, 1:26 left. Brandon Rush finally scores for the Jayhawks. He has 18. Bill Self quickly calls a timeout.

9:14 pm: 63-55, UCLA, :45 left. Russell Robinson gets inside and has an opportunity to score from point blank range, but UCLA does enough to make him miss. Wright scores on the next possession, but this game appears sealed.

9:18 pm: “Luc Richard Mbah A Moute” delivers the exclamation dunk, the clock runs out, and UCLA wins 68-55. With this win the Bruins return to the Final Four, and whomever they face, Oregon or Florida would be a familiar opponent. As Kansas loses, My bracket officially has no chance of winning. Still, this has been some very exciting basketball this week.

I’m returning tomorrow for live blogs of Florida-Oregon here and UNC-Georgetown on Tar Heel Mania.

Posted in Basketball, Big 12, Bracket, College Basketball, Digital Headbutt, Jayhawks, Kansas, Live Blog, NCAA, NCAA Tournament, Pac 10, UCLA | 5 Comments »

Memphis vs. Ohio State Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament Elite 8

Posted by Mike on March 24, 2007

Today Memphis plays Ohio State in the South Regional Final in San Antonio. Memphis will try to use their deep bench and fast game pace to run the Buckeyes Ragged. Ohio State cannot allow the Tigers to get far ahead in the game like in their previous two contests. They will need a big day from Greg Oden, especially on defense, and guards like Mike Conley, Ron Lewis and Jamar Butler need to hit the three. Winner plays North Carolina…hopefully.

4:41 pm: 2-0, OSU. Off the tipoff, Greg Oden gets the ball inside and his shot rolls in for the first points of the game.

4:43 pm: 4-0, OSU. The Big Ten this year has seemed to be a slow, halfcourt, defense oriented league. However, Ohio State seems very comfortable with a fast-paced game. Memphis may not have expected this.

4:47 pm: 8-2, OSU. It takes nearly five minutes for the Tigers to get their first basket, a drive in layup by Antonio Anderson.

Memphis seems very uncomfortable with Ohio State’s defense.

4:51 pm: Andre Allen of the Tigers has two personal fouls. The last one was questionable; it looks like he took the ball clean from Oden.

4:52 pm: 9-5, OSU. Jeremy Hunt hits a three for the Tigers.

The Tigers are starting to play more aggressively on offense.

4:55 pm: 9-8, OSU. Memphis is coming back, as Hunt has been sent twice to the free throw line. Memphis had by far the worst free throw shooting of anyone in the field of 65, but they’ve shot well in this tournament.

Oden has been out for the last few minutes, and the Tigers have really attacked the rim in his absence.

4:57 pm: 10-9, Memphis. The Tigers take the lead after Hunt hits two free throws.

4:59 pm: 13-11, Memphis. Hunt penetrates the lane, and he kicks out to an open Willie Kemp for three.

Conley drives in 10 seconds later and gets a layup to tie the game.

5:00 pm: 17-15, OSU. It looks like Oden tipped in a basket for Memphis there. He definitely makes up for it on the next possession.

It seems to me that the effectiveness of the Buckeyes’ gameplan depends on whether or not they can force turnovers. During the stretch when they couldn’t get any TOs, Memphis dominated.

5:06 pm: 20-17, Memphis. Joey Dorsey and Oden are both on the bench with 2 fouls.

5:09 pm: 23-21, Memphis. Doneal Mack hits another three for Memphis to take the lead back.

5:10 pm: 23-23. 6:23 left in the first half.

Conley keeps driving inside. He hasn’t even looked to kick it out to another guard for a three.

5:13 pm: CBS, who the hell is MEMP? That abbreviation makes no sense.

5:14 pm: 26-24, Memphis. Hunt hits a three from outerspace basketball range. He has 16 today.

5:15 pm: 29-26, OSU. The Buckeyes finally kick out a pass from the inside to a guard for an open three. Butler hits it and give them back the lead.

5:17 pm: Chris Douglas-Roberts joins Dorsey in foul trouble for Memphis.

5:18 pm: 30-26, OSU. Ironically, it’s the Buckeyes who are struggling from the stripe.

Dozier dunks it in to cut the lead to two. 30-28, OSU.

5:19 pm: 32-28, OSU. Antonio Anderson is down, having been hit in the forehead. He’s bleeding badly.

5:23 pm: Anderson is going to the locker room. Let’s hope he’s okay.

5:24 pm: 37-30, OSU. Ron Lewis hits a three. The guards have really stepped up while Oden has been on the bench.

5:27 pm: 39-33, OSU. If Memphis is going to stay in this game, it’s going to be from the bonusphere. They’re 6 for 9 for three.

What a play by Douglas-Roberts! CDR catches the ball at the baseline, and he drives inside past two players, and then dunks one handed over another. Again, what a play.

5:29 pm: UPDATE: The Dook women have been eliminated! Rutgers beats Duke, 53-52 in the Sweet 16! WHOOOOOOOO!!!

5:31 pm: Kemp hits another three before halftime. Memphis is now 7 for 10 beyond the arc. Ohio State leads, 41-38. Ohio State seemed to do a good job of frustrating the Tigers on defense, but it looks like Memphis has figured them out. They certainly have had it easier in Greg Oden’s absence. The Buckeyes will need him to stay out of foul trouble in the second half.

5:53 pm: 43-38, OSU. Oden starts the second half the way he starts the first. He gets a quick basket inside, catching Memphis out of position. On the next possession Butler alley oops it to Lewis. 45-38, OSU.

6:00 pm: 45-42, OSU. CDR gets another nice basket off the drive inside.

6:02 pm: 47-42, OSU. Oden picks up his third foul.

CDR’s layup rolls around the rim three times before falling in. 47-44, OSU.

6:03 pm: 49-44, OSU. Lewis hits a three…or does he? The refs call it a two, but I disagree.

6:04 pm: 49-47, OSU. Wow. Hunt can really run the fast break.

Official timeout.

6:09 pm: 49-48, OSU. Allen and CDR are on the floor with three fouls.

6:12 pm: 52-51, Memphis. CDR puts the Tigers back on top with a great crossover, drive and floater from the left side.

Memphis has been getting all of the rebounds while Oden has been on the bench.

6:15 pm: 56-51, Memphis. Oden comes back in. 12:30 left.

6:16 pm: 56-54, Memphis. Oden’s impact is almost immediate. He kicks out a pass to Butler for a wide open three, and then he gets a block (goaltending?) on the next Memphis possession.

6:17 pm: 58-54, Memphis. Anderson hits an outside shot. It’s good to see that he’s recovered from that elbow to the head.

6:21 pm: 58-56, Memphis. Dorsey is out with foul trouble. He hasn’t seemed to be a factor at all.

6:23 pm: 60-57, Memphis. CDR has taken over the second half.

6:24 pm: 60-60. Just as I say that, CDR commits a stupid foul. Oden is going to make that shot no matter what, but he tries to tackle him. He’s called for the intentional foul, his fourth, and Oden gets the basket and two free throw opportunities. He misses one, preventing the lead.

6:27 pm: 64-64. Oden gets the emphatic dunk to give Ohio State the lead.

Anderson hits a sweet jumper on the next possession.

6:28 pm: 66-64, OSU. With seven and a half minutes left, that layup by Daequan Cook was way too easy.

6:30 pm: Tomorrow on the Amazing Race…we’re going to Zanzibar! To meet the ZanziBarbarians!

6:32 pm: 69-64, OSU. Butler hits a loooooong three. Which reminds me, Memphis hasn’t been hitting their outside shots in the second half.

6:34 pm: 71-64, OSU. Greg Oden has played extremely well since returning with 12 minutes left. We’re down to 5:30 in the game.

6:36 pm: 74-64, OSU. Oden was able to get the ball out of his double team, and Lewis was able to hit a wide open three. The lead is now double digits. 4:30 left.

6:42 pm: 76-69, OSU, 3:15 left. Just as things are looking bleak for the Tigers, Hunt hits another three. He has 26 points in the game.

6:44 pm: 78-72, OSU, 2:30 left. Anderson makes a great pass to Kemp for another three to make it a two possession game, but CDR and Andre Allen have fouled out.

6:47 pm: 82-72, OSU, 2:09 left. Ohio State seems to be salting the game away at the free throw line, but where is that blood-curdling scream coming from? I don’t know what that means, but it sounds bad.

6:48 pm: 82-74, OSU, 1:56 left. A good drive inside by Dozier, but is it too little, too late?

6:51 pm: 86-74, OSU, 1:12 left. Memphis’s shots have stopped falling, and this game is pretty much over.

6:56 pm: The game ends. Ohio State wins, 92-76. The Buckeyes are moving on to the Final Four, and if UNC wins tomorrow, the Bucks will be our opponent, and frankly, I’m not looking forward to facing them. Even when Oden is neutralized, their guards do a really good job of picking up the slack.

There is no rest for the weary. Up next, the UCLA-Kansas live blog.

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