Happy Easter everyone. The Stack is here today with another special edition talking March Madness and the Elite 8. Of course, all of my brackets are shot now with Ohio State losing yesterday to Wichita State 70-66. I said don't be shocked when it happens. The Shockers are a good team. Ohio State just didn't play very well yesterday. They couldn't make a shot in the first half to save their lives. They didn't try to drive inside and penetrate in hopes of getting Wichita State in foul trouble until late. It was not Ohio State's best performance. Only when they were down by 20 in the second half, did they make a late rally. There is one play that stands out though in my mind that could have changed the outcome of the game. With Ohio State trailing 62-59, they put pressure on Wichita State and it looked as though the Shockers didn't get the ball across half-court before the ten seconds ran off. The refs didn't call anything and Wichita State knocked down a three to double the lead to six. Completely changed the momentum and effectively killed any chance Ohio State had at coming back and winning the game. It was a close play, but I believe that the refs missed that one....There wasn't anything close to be missed in the Syracuse-Marquette game. The Orange whooped Marquette. Their defense was intense and they made life miserable for Marquette. Syracuse is looking awfully good right now. Have to think that they could thwart either Michigan or Florida in the Final Four and make their way to the NCAA championship game. Maybe a rematch with Louisville? Speaking of which, they're in action today so let's get right to it and preview Sunday's Elite 8 games in "the stack" for today, Sunday, March 31:
#4 Michigan vs. #3 Florida 2:20 PM ET CBS (Arlington, TX) South Region
Michigan's comeback against Kansas was something else Friday night. Trey Burke was phenominal in the second half and overtime. His game-tying shot is still incredible. Florida was able to get by Florida Gulf Coast thanks to some terrific defense. They'll need that against Michigan. Michigan's offense, particularly their three point shooting, has been top notch in the tournament. Mitch McGary has become something of a cult hero in the tournament as well with his hustle and rebounding and terrific play inside. Florida has the bigs to slow McGary. This game could come down to free throws and that edge goes to Michigan. Florida was terrible at the line against FGCU. Why would it change two days later. Michigan seems somewhat like a team of destiny. Should be a good game. Hopefully it's a good game.
#2 Duke vs. #1 Louisville 5:05 PM ET CBS (Indianapolis) Midwest Region
The best game of the Elite 8 is the last one. Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals versus Mike Krzyzewski. The two have met before. Their two of the best coaches in college basketball. Duke's ability to handle Louisville's full court pressure is the key. They have the players that can handle that pressure. If Duke's three point shooting doesn't go though, they're in big trouble. Russ Smith is the key for Louisville. Not only must he have a good defensive performance, but he must be solid on the offensive end as well. Louisville will go as far as their guards can take them. If they play good and make baskets, Louisville wins pretty easily. This game truly is a toss up. You can see either team winning. Both coaches will make the necessary adjustments. The stage won't be too big for either team. The players will handle it just fine. Wouldn't be surprised if this game turns out to be a classic.
Coming up Monday: Reaction to top sports stories from the weekend. Tuesday: Baseball preview