Originally written on Legend of Cecilio Guante  |  Last updated 3/23/12

Thursday's sloppy mess

I was fairly excited. Home relatively early on a Thursday evening. A full slate of meaningful tourney games. Spread out nicely. Forget what I said about college basketball. It’s on, right? Unfortunately, it was on. And it was awful to watch.

One of the interesting side effects of having a young child at home is that I find myself increasingly watching things on television on mute for fear of waking our sleeping beauty. Try it sometime. It makes good basketball look like a breathtaking ballet dancing across the plasma screen. The opposite holds true, if not moreso. Sound could be the only thing that could distract fans from realizing the full magnitude of suckiness taking place on the regional semifinals floors in Phoenix and Boston.

I would break down all of the ugliness in some sort of clever, structured way but, frankly, it doesn’t deserve that kind of attention. Here were a few of the things I noticed that were tough to watch:

Free Throws: Specifically, in the Ohio State game. Cincy couldn’t hit a basket down the stretch, but they valiantly tried to extend the game with a barrage of fouls. It was painful. Not only because of the nauseating stop and go, but just as much for the Buckeyes shooting from the line. Fundamentals, gentlemen. Drink in the beauty of this final three minutes and change. It was as brutal as it looks to watch.

3:22 Official TV Timeout. 3:22 56-68 Aaron Craft made Free Throw. 3:22 56-68 Aaron Craft missed Free Throw. 3:22 Justin Jackson Defensive Rebound. 56-68 3:12 Cashmere Wright Turnover. 56-68 3:12 56-68 Lenzelle Smith, Jr. Steal. 2:50 Foul on Justin Jackson 56-68 2:50 56-69 Aaron Craft made Free Throw. 2:50 56-69 Aaron Craft missed Free Throw. 2:50 Yancy Gates Defensive Rebound. 56-69 2:43 Cashmere Wright made Three Point Jumper. 59-69 2:27 Foul on Justin Jackson 59-69 2:27 59-69 Shannon Scott missed Free Throw. 2:27 Yancy Gates Defensive Rebound. 59-69 2:10 Dion Dixon missed Three Point Jumper. 59-69 2:09 Foul on Yancy Gates 59-69 2:09 59-69 Aaron Craft missed Free Throw. 2:09 59-70 Aaron Craft made Free Throw. 2:04 Cashmere Wright Turnover. 59-70 2:04 59-70 William Buford Steal. 1:59 Foul on Dion Dixon 59-70 1:59 59-70 William Buford missed Free Throw. 1:59 59-71 William Buford made Free Throw. 1:46 Jaquon Parker missed Layup. 59-71 1:45 59-71 Deshaun Thomas Defensive Rebound. 1:38 Foul on Cashmere Wright 59-71 1:38 59-71 Aaron Craft missed Free Throw. 1:38 59-72 Aaron Craft made Free Throw. 1:33 Yancy Gates Defensive Rebound. 59-72 1:33 Dion Dixon missed Layup. 59-72 1:33 59-72 Jared Sullinger Defensive Rebound. 1:33 Foul on Jaquon Parker 59-72 1:33 59-73 Jared Sullinger made Free Throw. 1:33 59-74 Jared Sullinger made Free Throw. 1:17 Jaquon Parker made Jumper. 61-74 1:14 Cincinnati Full Timeout. 1:05 Foul on Justin Jackson 61-74 1:05 61-75 Aaron Craft made Free Throw. 1:05 61-76 Aaron Craft made Free Throw. 1:00 Dion Dixon made Three Point Jumper. 64-76 0:55 Foul on Dion Dixon 64-76 0:55 64-77 Deshaun Thomas made Free Throw. 0:55 64-78 Deshaun Thomas made Free Throw. 0:49 Dion Dixon missed Three Point Jumper. 64-78 0:47 64-78 Lenzelle Smith, Jr. Defensive Rebound. 0:15 64-81 Lenzelle Smith, Jr. made Three Point Jumper. 0:03 Sean Kilpatrick missed Three Point Jumper. 64-81 0:02 Dion Dixon Offensive Rebound. 64-81 0:02 Dion Dixon made Jumper. 66-81 0:00 End Game

The Fast Break: Perhaps this is an art form only perfected at the professional level, but oh my goodness. Every sequence I saw where there were numbers and a player accelerated into a higher speed gear, chaos seemed to ensue. I immediately recalled high school weave drills. Full court. Three guys. Ball barely hits the ground. Most teams seemed to have forgotten that drill on Thursday.

Uniforms: OK, this has nothing to do with the product on the floor. But the Adidas tiger stripes for the Bearcats along with Cardinal orange were equally eye-crushing and confounding.

Cardinal Orange?

Shooting: You know, that thing where you put the biscuit in the basket? That was also a problem area for multiple teams on Thursday evening. And don’t give me the defensive argument. The Cuse/Wisco game featured great defense and somehow those squads managed to hit jumpers. It’s a toss-up to see who gets the prize for most woeful shooting exhibition between the Spartans and Golden Eagles. Marquette posted a 30.8% mark from the field and failed to hit 30% from deep. Sparty managed to “beat” those numbers by posting a 28.6% from the floor and 23.8% from deep. A large chunk of these misses were wide open shots.

The Exception: Now, it would be unfair to lump all of Thursday’s game into this crap heap. The Orangemen and Badgers did manage to play basketball. Strong defense. Hitting open shots as a result of good ball movement. A TOTAL of 12 turnovers. In short, the type of game you might expect to see in a regional semifinal match up.

Let’s hope Friday offers a bit more of that type of action. Otherwise, it will be hard to watch, sound or silent.

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