For the first time since 2003 the ACC did not have a team advance past the Sweet Sixteen as Duke was upset by LSU and Boston College lost in an overtime thriller to Villanova. It caps a fairly unimpressive year for ACC basketball in what was clearly a down year for the conference. The Big Ten and Big East didn't fair much better as most of their teams flamed out early and neither number 1 seed from the Big East made the Final Four. A look at the four teams left reveals two from the SEC, a Pac-10 team and a mid-major school. It certainly doesn't validate the feelings of some ACC and Big East aficionados who feel that their conferences are clearly superior.
As for the games:
Duke's loss to LSU wasn't all that surprising. As I wrote earlier the Blue Devils were entirely too dependent on JJ Redick's scoring and the rest of the backcourt for Duke wasn't able to produce much of anything. Sean Dockery, Lee Melchionni and DeMarcus Nelson combined to score 4 points in the loss. No one will cry much for Duke but the officiating was fairly poor for much of the game as they allowed the interior play to turn into a Kung Fu match.
Boston College gave Villanova all they could handle before finally falling on a goal tending call by Sean Williams in the waning seconds. The lack of any dynamic backcourt players hampered BC all year and required them to play in many close games during the season.
The quality of the basketball in this years tournament is some of the worst in recent memory. The 50-45 win by UCLA over Memphis and the 62-54 win by LSU over Duke were poorly played monstrosities. In both those games no team shot better than 39% from the floor. It is true that UCLA, Duke and LSU are fairly good defensive teams, but Duke and Memphis were both top 30 offenses in efficiency in the nation. It was just atrocious basketball. Each team degenerated into a futile series of one-on-one NBA clearouts for their scorers. Only the large number of offensive rebounds in both games kept the score from looking like something from the pre shot clock era. The games may be exciting but let's hope the Final Four can showcase some good fundamental basketball.
UCLA and Florida are the two best teams among the Final Four and a title game between these two should be entertaining.