BRACKET BUSTERS 2012 RECAP
By Amy Parlapiano (@amy_parlapiano)
BracketBusters, rivalries, and buzzer beaters, oh my! On Friday, we gave you the breakdown of the Bracketbuster games to look out for, and why they were important. And now, here’s your brief wrap-up of some of the best moments/finishes/games from this weekend of matchups.
Most Thrilling Finish: Long Beach State at Creighton.
Final Score: Creighton: 81, Long Beach St.: 79
Creighton won their marquee matchup versus Long Beach State thanks to a huge 2nd half comeback, and a buzzer-beater complete with the crowd rushing the court. Ah, the things dreams (and March Madness games) are made of. Battling the hot 49ers, who were on a 12-game-win streak, the struggling Jays won a game that they absolutely needed to have. Antoine Young secured it for the victory for them with three tenths of a second left. Creighton’s crazy finish proved that they deserve a should get an chance to amp up the excitement yet again on the Big Stage in March.
Missed the ending?
Watch Young’s game-winner here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s739nHuyNI
Most Impressive Bracketbuster Win:
TIE!—Murray State over St. Mary’s, & Drexel over Cleveland St.
Final Scores: Murray State: 65, St. Mary’s: 51//Drexel: 69, Cleveland St.: 49
Spoiler Alert: Murray State is really, really, REALLY good. And, Double Spoiler Alert! So is Isaiah Canaan. They showed everyone that their 26-1 record is no fluke with a dominant victory over St. Mary’s in one of the most anticipated games of Bracketbusters weekend. After the game, Canaan said his team was ready to take on anyone in the tournament, whether it be “Duke, North Carolina, whoever.” After this weekend’s performance, I think we should trust his word.
In a matchup that did not have as much fanfare, Drexel completely owned Cleveland State, keeping them in contention at least a shot for an at-large bid, and showing that they should indeed be taken seriously for dominating a quality opponent in Cleveland State. Drexel was looking for respect, and they earned it this weekend.
Best “Forget the Defense!” Game
Nevada at Iona. Final Score-Iona: 90, Nevada: 84.
One of the few offensively-driven BracketBuster games went down in New Rochelle, NY on Saturday between Iona and Nevada. Nevada’s been red hot all season, but Iona ultimately defeated them with their unstoppable offense—thanks to a career-high 17 point performance from guard Randy Dezouvre, and a team-high 18 points for guard Lamont Jones. There’s still some uncertainty surrounding Iona’s tournament chances, but their performance on Saturday makes it clear that if we want to see an exciting, high-scoring, offensive tournament game in March, we best be rooting for the Gaels come Selection Sunday.
Best Non-Bracketbuster Rivalry Game:
Ohio State at Michigan. Final score: Michigan 56-Ohio State 51
In what’s become a theme of Michigan/Ohio State games this year across all sporting platforms, the two rivals faced off and the Wolverines completely stuck it to the No. 6 Buckeyes. As expected, it was a tight game, but Michigan had a strong handle on it from the very beginning—they established a lead from the start, and never let it go. And the award for most impressive performance? Despite Jordan Morgan’s sweet back-to-back dunks, you have to give it to freshman guard Trey Burke, who netted 17 points, and made some key, game-clinching shots with less than 2 minutes in the game as the Buckeyes continued to threaten. The Wolverines made quite a big statement against their biggest rival, and showed us that they’re going to be bringin’ the madness come March—once they get in the tournament, they could go a long way. And I promise I’m not just saying this because I go to the University of Michigan. (Okay, maybe I kind of am.)
In case you missed their impressive performance and are interested in some highlights, check ‘em here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPAYYQZfoMM