Could Davidson be the next George Mason, or maybe, just maybe, the next Villanova ’85?
As long as Stephen Curry is around, there’s no reason why not. Who’s going to be brave enough to tell the kid who was passed over by every big program in the area in which he grew up that he can’t get the job done now?
Much like he did to lift the Wildcats over Gonzaga in the first round, scoring 30 of his tournament-high 40 points in the second half, Curry hoisted Davidson and legions of underdog fans everywhere onto his slight shoulders and beat Georgetown by scoring 25 of his 30 points in another brilliant scoring binge.
Curry was doing nothing — absolutely nothing — for about the first 30 minutes of the game until he was fouled while shooting a 3 midway through the half. He buried the shot and then the harm that went with it, and the four-point play further trimmed what had been a 17-point deficit to 11. The rally was on.
Curry did everything again, scoring from behind the arc — his ill-advised but perfect bomb from well beyond the top of the key with a hand in his face brought the house down — and his dazzing, silky slices through the lane for tough reverse layups made turned a rally into a lead. The Hoyas were stunned and had no answer, allowing the once-snubbed recruit-turned-second Team All-American to slip between double teams to get the inbounds pass even though Georgetown had to foul, helplessly putting an 89 percent foul shooter on the line.
Yes, a brutish Wisconsin awaits and a track team in Kansas looms ahead. But Mason beat North Carolina and UConn on the way to the Final Four two short years ago.
Don’t say it can’t happen. Especially when it already has.
The most impressive team through two rounds of the tournament?
That would be the North Carolina Tar Heels.
UNC scored on 15 of its first 16 possessions against Arkansas, romping to a 22-point lead by the 11-minute mark of the first half. The Heels scored more than 100 points for the second time in the tournament and were never threatened, getting their scrubs more than 3 minutes of garbage time in the NCAA tournament again. What other team can make that claim?
The thing about UNC is that it’s beginning to look like Ty Lawson is back to full speed. While the opposition hasn’t been great — though the Hogs had been playing pretty well coming in — North Carolina is getting better looks at the basket than it has all season, and a lot that has to do with Lawson breaking defenses down. Tyler Hansbrough continues to be a beast and Deon Thompson showed flashes of what he could be every single night by the time he’s a senior.
A dominating performance.
If Georgetown behemoth Roy Hibbert didn’t do serious damage to his NBA draft status, there’s no hope for the scouting profession. His six-point, five-foul performance in a game he should have dominated from start to finish was embarrassing. Woe the NBA team sucked in by Hibbert.
Butler proved to be the tough out everyone envisioned it would be, taking Tennessee to overtime before faltering down the stretch. What a shame the Bulldogs had to be saddled with a No. 7 seed and a second-round matchup against a team that only a few weeks ago was ranked No. 1 in the country.
Tennessee won another in what is becoming a lengthening line of ugly winning performances. But what guts they showed in turning back Butler, and what cojones Vols coach Bruce Pearl showed on a couple of play calls with under a minute to go in overtime.
Miami again did the ACC proud, playing with a much better Texas team throughout. Frank Haith is definitely building something down there.
Congrats to Western Kentucky. Enjoy Kevin Love, Darren Collison and Co.
Louisville just dusted a solid defensive team in Oklahoma. The Cardinals look like they may well be the Heels’ biggest threat in the East right now, though Washington State could be a potential trap game.
Memphis just keeps finding a way, but it did a poor job of holding onto leads against Mississippi State. Poor foul shooting will doom Memphis.
Villanova looked a lot better against Siena than it did in its win over Clemson in the first round. The Tigers obviously had something to do with that, though I’m sure that’s small consolation to Oliver Purnell, who is a coach to watch over the next few years.