Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/15/2008 01:42:00 AM
Day 4: Pitt's Big Jump; Storms in the ATL
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
NEW YORK -- Another morning post at the end of the night. It's easier to get sleep this way. The Pittsburgh Panthers have already left the building by now, and have most likely passed out from the exhaustion of winning three games in three days. Blogging three straight days of this Big East tournament, I would contend, is equally tiring. But I expect no sympathy.
These are the four things I care about most heading into Saturday:
1. If Pitt can knock off Georgetown tonight -- a scenario that seems entirely plausible -- the Panthers have a legitimate case for a No. 5 seed. They were considered an 8 or a 9 heading into this week, but they're making a push based on these facts:
• Momentum. Winning seven of its final eight regular-season games, with two of those victories coming over Louisville and Georgetown, would make Pitt look rather attractive in the eyes of the selection committee.
• The Negative Momentum of Current Fives. Vanderbilt (with its opening-round loss to Arkansas in the SEC tournament) and Indiana (which lost a stunner to Minnesota on Saturday) are slumping into the dance, and neither team has much of a non-conference resume. Whereas Pitt has a win over Duke.
• The Levance Fields Argument. The Panthers only have two bad losses on their resume -- at Cincinnati on Jan. 19 and against Rutgers on Jan. 26. Both of those happened while Fields was hurt. There's no doubt the selection committee will take this into consideration.
"When it hit, at first it sounded like people were stomping their feet all at once. Then it got so loud it sounded like a train running through the place -- and we realized it was something a lot worse than that. We got up from their media seats, and the players ran off the court. All of this insulation that had come down from the roof was flying everywhere, and it looked like feathers. [Blue Ribbon Yearbook editor] Chris Dortch told me he almost got hit by a falling washer."
3. There are still three weeks of this tourney business left, but I'm not sure if I'm going to get two better answers on my tape recorder than the ones from this locker-room interview with West Virginia's Joe Alexander on Thursday:
Reporter (not me): You grew up in China. What was that like? Alexander: There were a lot of Chinese people.
Different reporter (also not me), after making a statement about how it seems like the Mountaineers are peaking at the right time: Do you feel like you're peaking? Alexander, starting to answer, then realizing the potential other meaning of this, and breaking into laughter: "Ye-- Yeah." (The reporter, oblivious to this, nods.)
4. Darren Collison said earlier this week that "Luc [Richard Mbah a Moute] is the real reason" why UCLA pulled out miracle wins over Stanford and Cal to close the Pac-10 regular season. (The junior forward, who's viewed as somewhat of a glue guy, had double-doubles in both of those games.) Now, can the Bruins manage to win NCAA tournament games without him? Mbah a Moute was on crutches after injuring an ankle in the Bruins' Pac-10 tourney win over USC on Friday. I'm far less inclined to pick UCLA as my national champ if the Prince is even hobbled; he's far too valuable to their lockdown defense to not be missed.
• Pool business: See those images in the right-hand rail? Those are your three-step instructions for joining the third annual Tourney Blog Pool, now on Facebook. Or you can just click here to begin the process, and then find the invitation to the pool on the application's home page.
As of Saturday at 12:33 a.m., we have 400 members of the Blog Pool. Ninety-two of those folks have been kind enough to friend my SI profile on Facebook; the rest -- as well as any new entrants -- are invited to do the same. • The tourney playlist, curated by the folks at Gorilla vs. Bear, rolls on, one free mp3 at a time:
Day 4's track is Beach House's Gila. Relaxing shoegaze for the calm before the Sunday storm. Download and enjoy.