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No. 1 Duke Gets Shocked; Jimmer Fredette Withdrawal Kicks In

By 03.25.11
Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette

Let that boy cook! You know if we didn’t consider ourselves semi-smart, we would say the NCAA did us dirty. Scheduling the two most exciting players in the country at the same time was just a low blow. It didn’t help that both of them had the kitchen burning up and the remotes wearing out … When you think about it, UConn’s seven-point win over San Diego State and Florida’s nine-point overtime win over BYU were really only watchable because of two guys: Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette. Everything else was sloppy, filled with turnovers, ugly jumpers, failed final possessions and technicals. The games were close, but take away those two players and we are talking mid-major excitement. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Walker got help from Jeremy Lamb (24 points), who actually had the biggest play of the game. With the Huskies up four in the final minute, San Diego State had an opening for a layup, but Lamb stole the alley-oop right out of the air, threw the ball ahead and then got it back for a tomahawk. Game over … The Aztecs’ Kawhi Leonard had a relatively quiet game (12 points, nine rebounds) … The Gators had a balanced attack, led by Alex Tyus (19 points, 17 rebounds) who dominated inside with maybe the best game of his career, but the only real storylines were the one-name stars. They had mirroring games, almost like someone was in their ear giving them updates on each other from across the country. Walker started out 0-for-5, while Fredette didn’t score until 14 minutes had passed. It’s always fun watching struggling stars in these games. Will they force anything? Will they freak out? Neither one of these guys did. Walker had 14 straight points at one point for UConn during the second half, scoring in virtually every way possible. That put him up over 30 points for the 11th time this year (he finished with 36). At the time, Fredette only had 20 or so. Immediately after that, we turned the channel and there was Fredette, getting a steal and finishing with a nice finger roll before pulling up from about 35 feet. If this was NBA JAM, the nets would’ve been on fire. It took just a few minutes before Jimmer (32 points) had caught back up. In the end, Walker advanced because other guys on his team, like Lamb, stepped up. Fredette was playing a one-on-five game of streetball against the Gators, and in overtime he ran out of gas … Our first thoughts upon turning on the Florida-BYU game? Yes! It’s Gus Johnson. No! It’s Reggie Miller. It’s like TBS felt they had to dim Johnson’s sun by sprinkling in some clouds … As great as those two future pros were, Derrick Williams was probably better as Arizona took Duke’s soul during the second half of their 16-point win, ending Duke’s run towards a repeat national title. No one expected the Blue Devils to go that quietly, but ‘Zona was just too aggressive and too agitated in the final frame, turning a halftime deficit into a blowout – despite 28 points from Kyrie Irving. One sequence perfectly defined how bad they punk’d Duke. Midway through the second half, isolated at the top of the key, Williams (32 points, 13 rebounds) took one dribble down the lane and nearly ripped the rim off. Then just a possession or two later, Arizona played volleyball on the offensive glass before Jamelle Horne finally secured a rebound and dunked on Kyle Singler (18 points) so hard that they might as well have shut the lights off and told everyone to go home … While Singler and Nolan Smith officially played their last game in a Duke uniform, can we say the same for Irving? Despite being hurt the majority of the season, chances are we’ll see him shaking David Stern’s hand this June … The final tourney game had Butler advancing past Wisconsin by seven behind Matt Howard (20 points, 12 rebounds). Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor finished with 22 in the loss … Is your bracket busted up yet? Kenny Powers’ is … Oh yeah, there were some NBA games too. In the first quarter of Dallas’ eight-point win over Minnesota, Rodrigue Beaubois had one of the nicest passes we’ve seen this year. In traffic, he wrapped it around his back to a cutting Tyson Chandler for the dunk. Anthony Randolph (31 points, 11 rebounds) had a big night in the loss, starting in place of Kevin Love, who might be done for the year with a strained left groin, while Dirk Nowitzki paced the Mavs with 30 and 11 of his own … In the other game, the Hornets rode an off-balance runner from Emeka Okafor at the regulation buzzer into overtime against the Jazz where they went on to win by four. David West had 29 points before being carted off late when his knee buckled on a dunk. Paul Millsap had 33 and 11 in the loss … We’re out like Jimmer.


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