I watched the Villanova-Pittsburgh game yesterday and was rewarded with one of the best contests I have seen all year long. This game mattered to both teams and both played to their best. Villanova's home floor 'upset' of Pitt is not a huge surprise as 'Nova has knocked off some fine teams this year despite inconsistency that has kept them out of the top ranks. But they must be a tournament team and I would not really want to play them in the first couple of rounds. Very much like George Washington. GW started strong and have had some weak games over the course of the season but they have the talent, when on their game, to beat anyone outside of, oh, the top five I'd say.
This year, Illinois being unbeaten aside, has been the year of the pumped team. Maryland did beat Duke twice which it really had no right to do except that the Terrapins just sky when the Blue Devils are on the court against them. PoW has looked at that before. But after beating Duke, U Md. has had some really atrocious losses. Clemson. NC State - though State should be a better team then they've been this year. Similarly, Duke was pumped for the Carolina game at Cameron and pulled off the one point upset. Last night the same thing happened - Duke was prepped and pumped for Wake to whom they'd lost the away game but then beat by 10 with their highest point total for the season and a career night (38 points) from J.J. Reddick.
The trouble is that this excellent win comes on the heels of a bad loss - by two at Virginia Tech. Clearly, Duke left its game on the floor of the Caroilina win and didn't "have it" for either Maryland or the Hokies. Wake, top of the ACC, was a different story.
I think, with the exception of Illinois, any team in roughly the top thiry have a very good chance against any of the top ten if the lower-ranked team is primed and pumped for that game while the "better" team is looking past the game. This could be the most interesting March Madness in years. It just keeps getting better.
Sports I care about, since I slagged several in a previous post: college basketball, Australian Rule Football (Go Magpies!) and the Tour de France even if Lance isn't riding it.