*Dime’s NCAA Tournament Day 2 coverage*
Most likely because Trevon Hughes was the hero for Wisconsin last year — when his game-winner got them past Florida State in the first round — it was like he tried too hard to be the hero this time around.
As the 4th-seeded Badgers were getting everything they could handle from 13-seed Wofford today, Hughes went into Allen Iverson mode down the stretch, primarily looking for his own shot and jacking up some that were pretty terrible. Not that you can’t see the motivation: Hughes is Wisconsin’s top scorer at 15 ppg and is one of the few guys who can create his own offense.
On the other hand, he probably should have been looking more often for teammate John Leuer. The 6-10 junior looks like your classic Big Ten “scrappy” big man who is solid fundamentally, can shoot a little bit and plays D, but don’t get him mistaken for Brian Butch. With under a minute to go, Hughes (19 pts) missed a tough fadeaway in the lane, but when Wisconsin got the offensive rebound, he re-set the offense drove and kicked it out to Leuer (20 pts), who hit a baseline jumper for the lead with 17 seconds left. Then on Wofford’s next possession, Leuer found himself on an island trying to stick 6-1 point guard Cameron Rundles. Leuer moved his feet, stayed in front, and poked the ball out of Rundles’ hand, forcing a Wofford turnover. He then hit the free throws to ice the win.
* So that Clemson/Missouri game didn’t end quite like I’d predicted. It was close the entire first half and well into the second, but then Mizzou began pulling away with about 10 minutes to go. They led by double-digits at one point and won by eight.
* While Clemson committed 20 turnovers, Andre Young kept them in the game. The 5-9 point guard dropped 19 points on five threes and I swear he never hit the rim on any of his makes. Even his layups were swishes. Demontez Stitt (best name in the tournament) scored 21 with four treys for Clemson. Kim English and Keith Ramsey led Mizzou with 20 apiece.
* My girl asked me why I like college ball more than the NBA. On top of the standard answers — the crowds are more into it, there’s a greater diversity of styles, etc. — the one I never really thought about before today is that I like how the players aren’t as good as NBA players. In other words, because not everybody in college is a polished pro, there’s more room for mistakes that make the games more exciting. Did you see when Villanova’s Reggie Redding had a breakaway dunk opportunity when his team was up three in the final seconds and decided to pass it up and let Robert Morris foul him, even though he’s only a 62% free-throw shooter? Guys in the NBA don’t make mistakes like that. Redding’s amateur decision made the game more unpredictable and exciting.
* Purdue beat Siena behind JaJuan Johnson‘s 23 points and 15 boards in a game that was close into the final minute; and six Pitt players scored in double figures as they blew out Oakland, led by Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon‘s 17 points.