Posted 03/20/2008 at 03:54 PM
The games have begun. Georgia got such a raw deal from the committee. If you go through the circumstances UGA did last weekend (an unprecedented doubleheader!) and win your conference tournament, you deserve to be rewarded. In other words, the Dawgs should've been playing on Friday rather than Thursday.
At the very least, UGA should've been able to play on Thursday night rather than the 12:20 Eastern tip-off.
Nevertheless, Dennis Felton's team jumped all over third-seeded Xavier, leading by a 35-26 count at halftime. The Muskateers closed as 8 1/2-point favorites at most books, while UGA was plus 320 on the money line.
Trailing by nine at intermission, Xavier was marked as a seven-point 'chalk' in the second half, equating to Sean Miller's team becoming a two-point underdog (in terms of the final score).
Not only did Xavier cash second-half wagers for its backers, but the Muskateers pulled out the outright cover by burying their free throws down the stretch of a 73-61 victory.
Speaking of free throws, would you believe Xavier shot 33 and Georgia went to the charity stripe just five times? That's no misprint. One team -- the winner, Xavier -- shot 33 free throws, while the other -- Georgia, the loser -- shot just five.
That's absolutely unfathomable. Felton should be irate. The Dawgs were getting whistled for "nickle-dimers," while Xavier was playing football on the defensive end. I'm not making excuses for the Dawgs; I'm merely stating facts.
5:10 p.m. ET.: 'Chalk' Eaters are enjoying a field day. With the exception of UNLV thumping Kent St. as a 1 1/2-point underdog, every favorite has cashed in the tourney's first seven games. Furthermore, every game except for Marquette-Kentucky has been won (or lost) by a double-digit margin. The Golden Eagles' 74-66 triumph as six-point favorites is the closest game to be played so far.
Gutty effort from UK's Joe Crawford in his last college game for the 'Cats. He finished with a game-high 35 points.
For those of you that didn't missed it, my Final Four picks are Georgetown, Tennessee, Texas and UCLA. I have Bruce Pearl and the Vols cutting the nets down. My two second-round upset predictions are Mississippi St. over Memphis and West Virginina over Duke.
We'll see. I'm gone to do the Power Hours. Please tune in if you wish.