Yesterdays full slate gave us four games with varying degrees of stupidity, entertainment and/or competence, and there are still THREE DAYS LEFT!
LSU 68 Alabama 56
Not much to say about this one, other than we are what we thought we were. LSU doubled up Alabama in assists, won the paint, won the bench, and Releford didn't have a great night. Alabama's season-long offensive impotence was particularly #Grantsketball last night, as the Tide shot 36% from the floor, 28% from long range and a mind-blowingly awful 53% from the charity stripe. This was never a game, despite single-digit leads LSU nursed in the second half. LSU advances to face the inconsistent 2-seed Kentucky Wildcats in the 6 p.m. CDT game -a team that the 19-12 Bayou Bengals swept in the regular season.
The Tide went 13-19 this season; scored under 60 eight times (including four games under 50); and for the first time in 54 years did not win an away or neutral game. Trevor Releford deserved so much better than this. Bill Battle, you are on the clock.
Ole Miss 78 Mississippi State 66
Ole Miss fell down early to the feisty Bulldogs, who continued their hot-shooting from Wednesday's Slate o' Shame. For a half, it looked to be another March Cinderella. Then, reality kicked in, as Clanga posted a very Grant-esque 22 points in the second half. The larger issue is that I'm not sure how Rebel fans watch this kind of crap. Ole Miss had 60 FG attempts: 30 of those were from three-point range, with Marshall Henderson jacking up 19 attempts (and 21 of Ole Miss' 60 attempts). If this kid were on your pick-up team, you'd have already punched him. Ole Miss' march to a high NIT seed continues, as the Rebelbears move to 19-13. They will face 3-seed Georgia in tonight's late game (approximately 8:30 or so CDT). Mississippi State ends the season at 14-19.
Missouri 91 Texas A&M 83 (2OT)
This was your derp game of the day, although highly entertaining for fans of end-game shenanigans. The last time these teams met, Missouri eked out a 1-point home win with the assistance of some iffy late officiating. For the Aggies, it had to feel like déjà vu, as Mizzou -who failed to get last second shots off twice, were bailed out with 1. an NBA continuation call and 2. an out of control drive to the paint, where the Tigers STEP on a defender, and then it's ruled a "kick." And eligible players? Whoa boy; four key starters were missing from both teams by the team the second overtime began. The shot selection was questionable all game for the Tigers, as the scrappy Aggies did what they normally do -grind and be a pain in the ass. Jabari Brown for Missouri and Alex Caruso for Aggie, particularly had nice games. Texas A&M finishes at a perfectly mediocre 17-15, and may be at play for the NIT (or certainly the CBI). Missouri keeps it's razor-thin NCAA hopes alive, as they move to 22-10. Probably going to be the NIT for the Tigers though, as they get the exquisite pleasure of being destroyed by 1-seed Florida at Noon CDT.
South Carolina 71 Arkansas 69
Here was your upset of the day. Arkansas' patented "Forty Minutes of Fail" did not disappoint; the Hogs played high energy, uptempo basketball, while only committing 9 turnovers -and lost. The story in this one was pretty much the same thing in every Arkansas loss this season: baffling shot selection, way too many fouls and lack of discipline (South Carolina went to the line 41 times), inopportune turnovers, inability to corral rebounds (the Gamecocks dominated on the glass with 40 rebounds), and missed free throws. Mike Anderson...man, remember when that guy was a commodity? Arkansas ends its season at 21-11, and may have just played themselves off the bubble. South Carolina is a team clearly on the upswing: they can shoot from the outside, play nasty down low, and are peaking at the right time. If Frank Martin gets talent, they will be lethal going forward. For the nonce, though, 14-19 South Carolina moves on to face 4-seed Tennessee in the 2:30(ish) game on ESP3/SEC Network. I may have Stockholm Syndrome, because I'm actually kind of looking forward to that one.