UCONN 72, Purdue 60
They got Thabeet, they got Thabeet, they got Thabeet, yeah they got him. Hasheem has been oft criticized for a variety of deficiencies in his game; he is too soft, he has bad hands, no touch around the goal, does not make himself available for entry passes. The 7'3" center from Tanzania who has only been playing basketball for about 5 years put together a 15 point, 15 rebound effort against a feisty Boilermaker team, including 8 points in a row to begin the second half and a thunderous dunk that made it look like he was playing on a Fischer-Price goal. The Huskies jumped ahead early, but their shooting was not all that impressive and a lot of that had to do with Purdue. Jeff Adrien looked nothing like the confident jump-shooter we saw in the early rounds, going 1 for 9. Stanley Robinson's double double should also not be lost in the shuffle, although his jump shot was weak as he airballed one 18 footer. UCONN will have to play better if they want to survive Missouri, but it was a big win for everyone involved at UCONN after the events of the last couple days.
Pitt 60, Xavier 55
Xavier just seems to be the hard luck kids of the tournament. I feel bad for these players, but shooting 32.8% will not get it done. It almost did and if it were not for the jeuvos of Levance Fields, Pitt was looking at another dissapointing tournament. This has been the script we have seen out of the Panthers in recent years but Field, Blair and Young refuse to let this team go down, scoring 71.6% of the team's points. They will have to bring forth their best effort against Villanova though, who may be the hottest team in the country.
Missouri 102, Memphis 91
"They beat us at our own game." That is all you need to know about Mizzou's impressive effort. It was given by Memphis coach John Calipari after the game. If you went strictly by eyeball test, Missouri would be 1-A to Nova's 1 in terms of teams playing well. Missouri came out and basically did the things Memphis does well and beat them over the head with it. Mizzou was the sexy pick to come out of this region and they have not dissapointed. There were not that many turnovers (14 for Memphis, 12 for Missouri) and both teams shot over 50%. Memphis's glaring bad spot was their 3-15 effort behind the arc, and the fact that their defense had no answer for Missouri's shooting or J.T. Tiller. If the Tigers can keep things this chaotic and high-paced against UCONN, they will probably move on to Detroit.
Villanova 77, Duke 54
Duke has fallen before in the Sweet 16 in recent history, but they have not been dominated the way they were last night. It seemed as if the teams were operating on two different planes; Nova the powerhouse from the power conference playing suffocating defense and penetrating at will and Duke the less athletic team from some mid-major conference who was outgunned from the start. Even people who pretend to think they know about college basketball were saying "Duke needs to knock down the outside shots to be effective, if not they have no chance." No chance, that's what they had. 26.7% shooting and just 5-27 from deep. It is hard for me to say any other team is playing as well as the Wildcats are right now on both ends of the court. If Blue Devil fans are looking for a bright spot, they did get one more free-throw attempt than Villanova.