College Hoops has “Big Monday.” They have “Super Tuesday.” And they have the “Thursday Night Showcase.” Well I am proclaiming yesterday’s first day of NCAA tournament play, “Terrific Thursday.” I mean, what a day of games yesterday. You got a little bit of everything. Game after game went down to the wire. Players left their hearts out there and I really do not think there is anything more a fan could ask for after yesterday’s set of miraculous games..by the way, we get 16 more games today!
There is really only one way to describe Thursday’s games. In the words of Dickie V, “It’s totally awesome baby, with a capital A!” I mean regardless if you had teams that you traditionally root for playing, these games had to of caught your eye. It was just teams going to battle game after game leaving it all on the court. Down to the wire finishes. Buzzer beaters. Overtimes. Very few blowouts. I mean what else can you really ask for?
Sure, most people’s brackets are already shred to pieces after day 1. But would you really want it any other way? Today’s slate of games will be very entertaining. So strap in for an amazing weekend of College Hoops.
Day 1’s biggest surprise: Most would say Georgetown losing to Ohio University by 14. I will take it a step farther. How about Big East teams going 1 and 3 on the day, and almost 0 and 4 if not for a Villanova comeback? I still believe that this is the best conference in the land. But the results yesterday were very surprising for the big dawgs from the Big East. Maybe today will be different?
In other basketball news. The Regional Final for Southwest Ohio high school hoops is set to be played tonight. And what a surprise, it is a GCL rumble between the mighty Moeller Crusaders, and the Sir Lancelot Lancers of Lasalle. Before the season I predicted on this blog that the Regional Final would be the boys from Princeton taking on the Lancers in a rematch of last year’s epic Regional Final. I was nearly right until the Vikings relinquished a 16 point 2nd half lead against Moeller on Wednesday evening. It was a great year for the Vikings though and they should be very proud. Not many public schools from Cincinnati can say that they won 3 straight district championships in basketball in recent memory. Best of luck to Jordan “J Smooth” Sibert at the next level. He had an outstanding high school career. Very much deserving of being named Gatorade Ohio boy’s basketball player of the year.
So a quick breakdown of the Regional Finals. Lasalle and Moeller are two teams that are very familiar with each other. They split in 2 regular season meetings. Coach Kremer and Coach Fleming each have a plethora of big game coaching experience and know that tonight’s GCL battle for all the marbles will come down to the wire. Cintas Center will be rocking to a crowd at least double the size of the UC Bearcats first round NIT game (2200 people there on Wednesday).
On paper, you would think Lasalle would win this one. They are a very well-rounded team led by junior Brandon Neel. This team, though lacking seniors, is very experienced from last year’s deep tourney run. But for some reason, I am picking Coach Kremer and the Moeller Crusaders. It has been a few years since this basketball powerhouse has booked a trip to state and for some reason I feel like destiny is on their side. They pulled off an unthinkable comeback against Princeton on Wednesday, and will thrive in the underdog role again tonight. Moeller senior star Griffin McKenzie would love to help the Crusader’s return to state tonight while playing in his future home. McKenzie will be playing for Coach Mack and the Muskies next season. The Lancers will be back next year though with nearly the entire team returning and will be the heavy favorite to represent Southwest Ohio at state next year.
Look for Moeller to be booking a trip to state tonight in a very hard-fought game. I will be watching College Basketball while this showdown takes place at the Cintas Center.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Sportskraze.