Washington, Holiday won’t be observed in Elite Eight, as Pac-10’s furthest travelers get re-routed back to Seattle
A Husky Cinderella would never do — The glass slipper would never fit. But the label of hothead may fit UW Coach Lorenzo Romar to a T (or not). Romar picked up a Technical Foul after Referees screwed up a foul call in West Virginia’s favor, and the ensuing 4 Free Throws gave the Mountaineers a 13-point lead with 8:11 to go, their largest lead of the game.
Romar insists that he did it to fire up his lethargic team, who led for most of the 1st Half and by 2 at Halftime, but had gone cold in the 2nd. The Huskies even had one possession where they missed 5 consecutive put-backs. And even with all those Rebounds, they still got out-Boarded for the game by 20. Obviously, Romar’s strategy and prayer failed, because even with WVU missing its Starting Point Guard due to injury, and even with UW’s 3rd-option Justin Holiday tallying 14 points and 8 Rebounds, the Mountaineers cruised to a 69-56 victory, and a date with Kentucky.
#1 UK had just a little trouble with #12 Cornell, who closed the gap to 6 with 5 minutes to go, but Kentucky pulled away again, mostly at the Line, 62-45. The other #1 seed in action wasn’t so lucky. Syracuse lost a see-saw battle with Butler, 63-59. But the best game of the day, and maybe of the year, was #6 Xavier going down in Double-Overtime to #2 Kansas State. Three times Xavier came back from being 3 down in the closing seconds of regulation and the OT’s, before failing to do it one more time with 17 seconds left in the second O.T., as K-State finally held on, 101-96.
This game showed why it is risky to try to foul a guy before he tries to hit a game-tying Three. When KSU tried this game-protecting Defensive strategy at the end of regulation, the Musketeer ballhandler managed to get a 3-point shot up right after the foul was committed, and the Refs called it a shooting foul. He made all three, sending the game into its first O.T.
I don’t like Intentional fouls at all, and think it’s kind of Bush League when you don’t really HAVE to commit one. Just play good Defense — Don’t foul, so that a guy can heave one up right after the foul and put it in the hands of the Officials. Even though they won, fouling to avoid a 3 burned KSU — Maybe other Coaches will now avoid the same tactic, knowing that every shooter is now definitely going to fire up a shot the first microsecond that he hears a whistle start to blow. Of course, all the Pac-10 Coaches will have plenty of time to think about it, since they are now, all on Spring Break.