Friday, March 28, 2008

Live Blog: Davidson 73 Wisconsin 56

Welcome to the Live Blog of the Sweet Sixteen in Detroit, MI. I came up here virtue of Davidson's trustees who payed for over four hundred students to come Detroit for a free weekend. As I mentioned in that previous post, this city has embraced Davidson and if the Wildcats pull out a win tonight, it will be a fun weekend of revelry with tons of new friends and Wildcat fans.

That being said, we all need to pay attention to the platforms of our major political candidates because the poor economy has really hit Detroit hard. Over half of all the buildings in the middle of downtown seemed to be boarded up. This city needs some life back.

But on to basketball. Ford Field is as huge as advertised and they added a couple of feet of soft padding on the edge of the court all the way around so we still hope that no one goes flying off the three foot drop. It will be interesting to watch substitutions on the fly as bench players have to climb onto the court to run over to the scorers table. I also feel like the noise won't be much of a factor either way here. The band sound is hooked up to the complex's speaker system and the crowd seems very faint way back behind me.

Alright Davidson taking the court now. No nerves here, Ms. Biggers from View from Press Row says she's nervous, but I don't see any reason to be. The players are relaxed, the coaching staff is prepared and the stage is set for something special tonight.

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Curry with a steal and feed to Lovedale for the game's first basket. Wisconsin doesn't look scary but they aren't bad. Lovedale picks up his first foul just a minute in, which isn't good. It looked like a clean block.

Long rebound that Lovedale chases but has to let go. If that is in Raleigh he flies out of bounds to save it.

Butch with a three and Curry answers. It is so quiet on the court. I am floored by this. How can you have such a big event and have it sound like a funeral.

Bad possession for Davidson as Richards takes too long to get things going, but Max gets a steal and then gets points underneath. Wisconsin answers by hitting the side of the backboard. Wow.

Davidson's defense is the story right now with two steals while Wisconsin hasn't been able to deny open shots for the Wildcats.

15:34 D 7 W 5

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Davidson comes out of the media with the same lineup. Five minutes in and no subs yet.

Outside shooting is sketchy and it's no mystery why. They shouldn't be playing basketball in this place.

Offensive foul on Lovedale and the Wildcats are in trouble. That's two for him just like against Georgetown. Meno will have to play very confidently to sky for some rebounds. Rossiter and Archambault see their first looks...Curry has only hit one shot so far.

Make that two. Flowers got through the first screen but the second one tripped him up.

Flowers goes after a loose one and is the first to leave the court right in front of me.

Richards with a huge three with an expiring shot clock and Davidson takes the lead back. The Wildcats have nine of their thirteen from three point range and they will probably keep shooting out there because of what happened on Archambault's last drive to the hoop. He got packed.

11:56 D 13 W 10

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Badger guard Trevon Hughes is getting some wrapping on his right ankle right in front of me.

The Badgers continue to swing the ball well and are getting their three-point looks. Archambault with a huge three-pointer from the corner and then Sander gets a basket before Wisconsin can set up.

Refs are calling hand checks on Davidson's big men on the perimeter. That isn't good, especially because they haven't been called on Davidson at all before in this tournament.

Wisconsin is using their rebounding to some advantage now as they get some second-chance looks and knock down threes only because of their height advantage.

But Curry is having an explosive half himself with three threes...and then Flowers hits a three. The outside shooting has come alive.

They just showed a replay of Curry's last j and he definitely picked up his pivot foot. The Wisconsin fans are trying to show disapproval but you just can't hear them. It's almost boring down here.

6:02 D 25 W 28

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Richards for three. Barr for three. I remember this team now. And then Lovedale with a huge baseline J and Wisconsin burns a timeout. Davidson with a five point lead.

And Jason Richards has just tied Ali Ton's mark for most career assists in a Wildcat uniform.

Word on the street is that Lebron James is sitting behind Davidson's Joey Beeler. Maybe Joey will get on TV. Again.

Wisconsin's big men are much "bigger" than either Georgetown's or Gonzaga's. They use their height to block shots, sky for rebounds and hit easy layups. This was what was supposed to happen to Davidson last weekend.

Brian Butch got poked in the eye on that last play where Meno interfered with the ball in the cylinder. We will see if it affects him.

2:43 D 33 W 33

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Offensive rebounds are the story of this game right now. Wisconsin has an 8-2 edge. But then Davidson has shot 8-14 from three point land so that's why we're so even.

Oooh...tough foul call with no time left on the shot clock and four second left in the half. Davidson has played very tough defensively, but Wisconsin has a real big size advantage (15-5 on second chance points, 17-7 on rebounds).

But Davidson has not turned the ball over much and have a 4:1 assist ratio. They have pretty much played the best offensive half in a long time and yet they still had a few shots rim out that could have dropped. Nearly sixty percent from three does not happen every day. Jason Richards' six first-half assists are enough to pass Ali Ton for tops all-time. Davidson's all-time assist leader is Jason Richards with 647 and counting.

It is really hard to judge momentum right now. Wisconsin has shown that they can score in an easier fashion (layups being easier than threes), but they have also demonstrated that they can't shut down Davidson's outside game. In a smaller arena, I'd give the Wildcats the edge since they should have the crowd on their side in the second half, but that really doesn't seem to matter here.

Half D 36 W 36

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We open the half with a very ugly Curry three-pointer followed by another miss on the next possession. But two defensive stops turning into transition opps renders four points and two Wisconsin fouls.

Three Curry defensive stops now. And this is how Davidson does it. You have to hit your shots or Davidson will run you to death.

Wow...five fouls on Wisconsin now just three minutes into this half. No individual is in trouble but Davidson will be shooting free throws soon.

Andrew Lovedale with a huge dunk! And Davidson has a six-point lead.

And Curry is fouled going into the media. Round 1 of the second half goes unequivocally to Davidson. Everyone, including myself, repeatedly overlooks Davidson's defense and that has been the driving force behind this little run.

But the Wildcats now have to do what they did last weekend and not last year. You don't win the game with 16 minutes remaining. They have to keep winning the rounds.

15:57 D 44 W 38

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So the media get food service here on press court at Ford Field. They have some ladies that go around with snack trays and I have been killing some Skittles.

Wisconsin picks up their seventh foul blocking out on free throws and Davidson is going to the line from here on out.

Wow...whistles are going nuts. Two quick ones on Davidson that possession off the ball. Lovedale, Sander and Richards have two.

And a third on that possession and Sander has three. Bo Ryan has been in their ear. Four fouls. Same possession. This is freaking ridiculous.

Sander and Lovedale both have three fouls and are still in the game.

And Curry pumps...sends a Badger flying...and hits his second straight three. The crowd is mesmerized by this kid. Twenty three points for Curry and twelve in the second half. Lebron is on his feet.

13:01 D 54 W 45

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Lebron James makes the big screen and the Detroit Pistons fan boo.

Flowers and Curry go up for an inbound and Flowers comes down hard. Instead of going for the loose ball, Curry stands next to Flowers to see if he's alright. Wow.

Richards for three! And the barrage continues. Meno with a steal. Davidson misses on two shots and a Wildcat three that is launched a second after the shot clock isn't counted as it banks in. Fans go nuts...what is happening in front of us? Davidson up 12 with 11 minutes remaining. Wisconsin is shell-shocked.

Curry with a crossover and a three. Lebron goes nuts (I love how we are measuring this by his reactions now). Curry has 26.

Flop action by Wisconsin and Curry picks up a charge on the perimeter. Fans didn't like that one. The Badgers have a hard time scoring.

Flowers gets fouled underneath and Curry goes to help him out...Flowers will have none of it as he jumps straight to his feet. Don't diss Stephen Curry.

What'd I tell you. All the way to the hoop and the foul on the reverse layup. Don't mess with Stephen Curry.

A huge minute for Davidson. If they can get another basket into the Sweet Caroline...this place will burst. Dangit as Sander misses underneath.

But Lovedale does get a punctuation mark with a dunk and a foul and the students want Sweet Caroline.

7:57 D 65 W 48

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Davidson has to keep pushing their advantage right now. Thankfully Wisconsin is still missing threes...but Davidson can't just try to run out the clock. That's not what got them here. They have to keep scoring.

Andrew Lovedale to the line and the arena burts out with boos...but it's not because of Andrew. Lebron James just exited through the media tunnel and the fans rained down their hate.

Wisconsin is ice-cold from three right now. The Davidson fans can feel it as Curry gives Davidson a 21-point lead.

Wisconsin gets an easy layup, and calls a quick timeout to try to refocus. But I don't think that it is lack of focus that is giving Stephen Curry 31 points...

The Badgers cannot hit shots. I'm starting to do the math now...four minutes, 35 second possessions, 18 point lead.

Four minutes...cmon Cats. Pull off another miracle.

The students are going nuts up in their section. You can't hear them down here, but it looks like they are having fun.

3:49 D 69 W 51

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Davidson has been slack offensively, but the defense is keeping the pressure on. Tick tick tick.

Wisconsin getting to the line through some cheap calls but they aren't converting. If the Badgers had been trying this banger thing about 10 minutes ago, I would have been scared. But they shot themselves out of it by missing threes.

Tick tick tick.

From the student writers for Kansas: "I mean why would he have wanted to go to Virginia Tech. Davidson has a better basketball tradition now."

Cmon Cats. Put this one away with substance, don't walk to the finish.

I don't even feel all that giddy. Davidson is a better team. This isn't miraculous at all anymore. Davidson is in the Elite 8. There. I said it. Wow, that felt good.

1:15 D 73 W 56

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Never thought we would see Civi Time in the NCAA Tournament. What planet is this? And Mike Schmitt checks in. He didn't get PT against Furman! Now it's sinking in...Davidson is one of the best eight teams in the country in my book. Now miracles...pure talent.

Let's keep the dream alive, Cats! This is a statement to the rest of college basketball. 2008 is the year of the Cat!

Final Davidson 73 Wisconsin 56

1 comment:

Austin said...

is lefty in the house?
btw-- 4000 hits in 16 hours on TDS5