I used to be an amazingly active sports gamer -- then, life interfered (along with my own version of MGD, which had much more to do with a) moving into Euro/Strategy games; and b) wanting to *complete* what I had for every sports game I owned (some 250+).
But, I find myself in Canada, without reliable internet -- and a copy of March Madness (that I wanted to show to my nephew). I decided to do a 64-team tournament, featuring one team per *era* (so, there are two Duke teams, but only because they're totally different player makeup .... from the years 1979-2001 (basically, what I have here).
I think I can finish this
DIV 1: First Round
(16-1) 98 E. Mich- 96 Kentucky
Boykins was mitigated in the first half (scoring just 5 points), as Kentucky roared to a 34-18 lead. Unfortunately, leading scorer, Delk was injured to start the second half (after he’d lit up the first half for 13). Walker picked up the slack though, as Kentucky kept pace with E. Michigan to win 78-60. Boykins poured in 20 in the second half to lead all with 25, while Walker had 18 and McCarty had 15.
(9-8) 93 Mich-96 Mass
An extremely fast game – nearly no cards played and Michigan rolled poorly. UMass led 43-31 at the half and choked down on D in the second half, to win 86-50. Camby led all with 27 while Padilla scored 16, Bright 14 and Travieso 12. Michigan led by Howard with 13, while Webber (9), King (8) and Rose (8) all scored fewer than 10, each
(12-5) 87 Wyoming-98 NC
Wyoming was in this game heading into the second half – trailing only 50-45. Dembo had 14 in the first half to offset Jamison’s 24. In the second half, Wyoming picked up the D, holding Jamison to only 8 (his 32 still led all first-round scorers). But, Sommers was injured for Wyoming which reduced the effectiveness of its bench (it’s best weapon) and it decreased from 10 points in the first half to only 3. Dembo – with two huge offensive cards on him – was nullified by the box-in-one; and it came down to the final roll, with UNC winning 80-76. Jamison had 32, Carter had 15 and Williams had 13, while Leckner led Wyoming with 21 and Dembo had 18.
(13-4) 84 Iona-89 Mich
Iona had a chance – trailing 64-51 at the half. Rice led Mich with 20, but Springer chipped in 15 for Iona. On a last ditch effort, Burtt played over aggressively, fouling out with only 13, and Michigan won 97-85. Rice led all with 29, while Robinson and Vaught added 15 each. Springer led with 24.
(15-2) 97 Tex-00 UCONN (women)
Texas was looking for the upset up 55-43 at the half. Freeman had 18 to lead all scorers (and Texas benefited from the Offensive Specialist card, giving Jordan 10 in the first half). The second half was all UCONN women though, and they pulled away to win 101-87. Abrosimova had 23 and Ralph had 17. For Texas, Freeman scored 25 (but a Box-in-One negated his cards in the second half, and Texas’ chances).
(10-7) 86 MichSt-95 UCLA
Before the game, I thought Skiles would need to score 40 for Mich St to have a chance – I wasn’t far off. He had 20 in the first half (and Johnson had 14), but the C and PF scored 2 – total – and the bench added another 1. UCLA was led by Ed O’Bannon’s 14, and Zidek, who benefited from the Offensive Specialist card to score 16, and UCLA was up 57-45 at the half. In the second half, Skiles was destroyed by the Box-in-One (scoring a mere 6) and Charles O’Bannon struggled with the Box-in-One in both halves (ending up with a mere 6, from the potential 20+ he was looking at). Still, UCLA extended its lead, finishing up 20, 86-66. Zidek had 26 (as did Skiles), while E. O’Bannon added only 4 in the second half to end up at 18.
(11-6) 00 Mich St-88 Oklahoma
An amazingly fast game – only 2 cards played by both teams in the first half – and Oklahoma was winning 32-19. The second half, saw Oklahoma’s King stymied by the Box-in-One, and the A-rated scorer ended up with a mere 8. Cleaves was injured for Michigan State in the first half, and he left the game with only 2 points. MSU made a slight comeback in the second half, but the game was never in doubt, and Oklahoma wins in a surprisingly low-scoring affair, 54-46. Grant had 13, Grace had 12 and Sieger had 11. No Spartan scored in double-figures.
(14-3) 92 St. Johns-90 Arkansas
When Arkansas’ Day went down in the first half, with only 6 points, St. Johns almost thought it had a chance – then it looked at the scoreboard. Heading into the break, they trailed 57-32, and leading scorer Sealy had only 9. The second half was more Razorbacks, while Mayberry picked up the slack for Day, ending with 19 for the game. Sealy got stronger in the second half – scoring 23, and Sproling added 17; but the real story was the Arkansas bench, which poured in 53 points.
DIV 2: First Round
91 New Mexico-91 UNLV
When Larry Johnson is the lowest scorer on the team, you know you’re in trouble. Every starter in double-figures and UNLV withstood Longley’s 21 points, en route to an easy 104-65 win. It was semi-close at the half (56-42); but UNLV’s defense (!!!) clamped down in the second half to solidify the win.
79 MSU-90 Ga Tech
When you’re a C defense in March Madness, with a lot of scoring power, you *need* offensive cards to offset the defensive cards played by A defenses. That didn’t happen here. Scott scores 11 (11! as a AA scorer!). Oliver gets 17 and Anderson gets 16. Magic gets 22 and the Spartans withstand the loss of leading scorer Kelser, and get a fairly painless win 74-57.
87 UNLV-89 Seton Hall
Unlike the 91 version, the 87 Rebels didn’t have a fantastic defense, although the scoring power was a bit more potent. However, Seton Hall’s defense (and bench!) was phenomenal. Gilliam had 20 in the losing effort and Banks added 17, but Paddio was nullified, getting only 8. Morton led SH with 26, and the bench added 28. The first half was big for the Hall, and the Rebels came back in the second, but still lost, 98-79.
85 Memphis St-86 Kansas
Memphis State had a great defense, but only one scorer (Keith Lee). He got his 21, but the rest of the team was D and E scorers, and only one other player (Holmes) was in double figures). For Kansas, Manning and Kellogg led the way with 19 each. Although the Tigers took the second half 30-26, the 14 point lead the Jayhawks had built in the first half was enough to get them the 72-62 win.
84 Washington-94 Arkansas
Three of the five starters for the Huskies were in foul trouble – and only one (Schrempf) cracked double figures (and most had 5 or fewer points). While the Arkansas defense isn’s as potent as the earlier version, it’s still harrowing. Williamson had 18 and the bench chimed in with 29. Robinson (an E scorer) was the beneficiary of the Offensive Specialist card, which ended up being superfluous, as Arkansas bashed Washington 95-53.
Tight at the half – 35-32 in favor of UConn – it looked like they were in cruise control, until the last roll of the game revealed that Iowa had come back – sending the game into OT, tied at 64. In OT, Marble reeled off 5 points, but he was basically it for Iowa, while UConn got 10 points from a variety of sources. UConn escapes with a 74-72 win. El-Amin had 17, and Hamilton had 12, while Marble ended as the only starter in double figures with 13. The bench had half of Iowa’s points (36).
99 Ohio St-79 Indiana State
Redd fouled out in the first half, and it was up to Penn to try and lead the Buckeyes home. He got 18 and the bench got 26, but the 3 front-court players (admittedly, rated F, F and E) chipped in 10. It was no match for Indiana State which got 38 from Bird (the high for the region) and 14 from Nicks. ISU wins 75-54.
87 Notre Dame-91 Indiana
Indiana’s balanced scoring (four of five starters with 12-15 points each, plus 28 from the bench) proved more than the Irish could handle. Rivers had 18 and Royal had 12, but help was sparse otherwise. Indiana comes up with an easy 86-55 win, holding Notre Dame to a mere 19 points in the second half.
DIV 3: First Round
96 Miss. St-98 Tenn (Women)
A shellacking. It’s as simple as that. Guard Bullard fouled out for Miss St, with 1 point. Dampier was held to 6. The other two scorers (B and C rated) got 29, but Tennessee’s defense held Miss St to 22 in the first half and 24 in the second. Meanwhile, the porous defense by Miss St allowed Tennessee to score 116 points (!!!) led by Holdsclaw’s 40. Catchings and Randall chipped in 20 each. If there was a mercy rule in basketball, it would’ve been enacted.
80 Purdue-98 Utah
The shooting guard for Utah was injured in the first half – and, while he wasn’t an important cog, the injury depleted Utah’s bench. Miller got 17 and Doleac got 12; but Carroll got 20 and Edmonson, playing opposite the injured guard, got 24. Purdue with the easy upset, 73-62.
87 Providence-85 St Johns
A real barn burner. St Johns focused almost exclusively on stopping Billy Donovan, and they largely did – holding him to 6 first-half points (but letting SG Brooks and C Wright (an E-rated player), score 13 and 14 respectively. Still, Providence went into the half up 10, 60-50, and had to feel pretty good, since they’d done a great job nullifying Mullin (4pts). The second half was quite a different story. Donovan and Mullin rebounded fine – although, while Donovan had 10 (to finish with 16), Mullin poured in 22 second-half points. Coupled with Berry’s 23, St Johns survived the scare, winning 104-101.
97 Providence-94 Arizona
Providence put up 50 in the first half … and still trailed by 20! All the players for Arizona scored in double-figures, led by Reeves’ 32 and Stoudamire’s 19. For Providence, the guard-play was lacking, but all three front-court players had 21+ points. Didn’t much matter, as Arizona was able to keep things moving in the second half, winning 120-92.
84 Auburn-93 North Carolina
Carolina was fortunate to get the Offensive Specialist card on PF Lynch, who then promptly fouled out! Auburn kept things interesting, with Person (24) and Barkley (20) leading all scorers. Carolina got 15 from Montross and 12+ from all other starters (besides Lynch), and managed to weather Auburn’s push, winning 84-78.
79 DePaul – 84 Georgetown
Georgetown decided to not let Aguirre beat them, and they accomplished that, holding him to 13 total points. In fact, Aguirre was only the fourth leading scorer on the team (and the bench contributed a whopping 2 points in total). Georgetown was led by Jackson with 17 and Ewing with 14. And, while there was a scare, the 73-70 G’Town win sounds closer than it actually was.
84 Virginia-00 Florida
Neither of these teams is known as a great defensive team, but they put on a great show. Florida got 26 from its bench and 12 from Dupay (and 10 from Wright). Meanwhile, not a single Cavalier scored double-figures – Miller led with way with 9 (and that was including the Offensive Specialist). Florida wins 62-42.
87 Alabama-93 Kansas
Walters fouled out early in the game, and Bama thought it had a chance. Still, this was a case of rich-getting-richer, so, with a AA bench, PF Scott for Kansas was the recipient (and ended up leading the team with 24). The bench contributed 40 in Walters’ absence. All 5 Alabama starters had double figures (led by Farmer and Coner with 17 each), but the Kansas bench was dominant, and KU wins 98-85.
DIV 4: First Round
84 Maryland-92 Duke
Duke brought a fairly balanced team to the table (everyone rated between B-D), and the scoring attack was balanced. Laettner led with 20, but Thomas Hill had 19, Hurley had 18 and Grant Hill had 13. Bias was locked up in the second half (after he and center Coleman combined for 20 in the first half), and Bias ended with a mere 11 points, as Duke rolled 92-65.
84 UNC-88 Purdue
Todd Mitchell fouled out in the second half, and the entire Purdue front line only contributed 19 points in total. Stephens led Purdue with 18, but UNC flexed its muscles (and warned Duke to not rule them out). Perkins led the way with 30, while all other starters had double-figures (Daugherty had 17, and Smith had 14). Jordan was a non-factor with only 11 – but UNC didn’t need him, as they coasted 98-81.
90 Loyola-Marymount-00 Cincinnati
LMU lost Hank Gathers in the 1st half, as he fouled out, and – apart from Kimble’s 36, no one else really showed up (the other starters had 0, 2, 5 and 10 points). Cincy was led by Martin with 26, and everyone else scored in double-figure, as they walloped LMU 101-58. For the game, LMU had almost 10 fouls – an unheard-of amount in March Madness.
91 Temple-86 Louisville
Louisville lost two starters (Ellison and Crook) to foul-outs, and was hit with 3 technical fouls. The upset of the 1st round was Temple over Louisivlle, but not only because it was a 13 over a 4, but because of the final score! Louisville got 1 pt each from Ellison and Crook and the backcourt contributed another 14. Temple got 22 from Kilgore and an eye-opening 49 from Mark Macon, and trampled all over the Cardinals 98-29.
92 Florida State-01 Duke
Duke eyed a regional final against its earlier incarnation, as they got 28 from Williams, 21 from Dunleavy and 20 from Battier. Florida State got 21 from Cassell, and precious little as the Blue Devils emerged victorious 109-70.
95 Virginia-87 Georgetown
10th seed Virginia secured the second upset in the region, on the back of Junior Burrough, who scored 27. The backcourt of Staples and Deane scored another 27. Georgetown was led by Regge Williams with 23, but no one else had more than 12. Interestingly, Georgetown only got to play approximately 4 cards the entire game (ended the game with more than 10 in hand), since every roll was a scoring roll. Final score was 94-76, but it was much closer (the first ‘final’ score was 86-83 Virgina, but Georgetown called a timeout, hoping to get a miracle).
84 Kentucky-87 DePaul
Strickland scored 24, Edwards got 18 and Comegys got 13, while Kentucky just fouled and fouled and fouled. No one scored more than 9 (which was E-rated Dickie Beal), and DePaul had an easy time of it, winning 71-35.
87 Syracuse-83 Houston
Syracuse had designs on the win, especially when Olajuwon showed up injured and couldn’t play. But, Michaeux carried the load (26 points) and Drexler and Anders got another 10 each. Seikaly and Douglas had 19 each, but the rest of the team (including the bench) only scored 20 combined. Final score: 79-58.
DIV 1: Second Round
96 Kentucky-96 UMass
UMass played UK tough in the first half, trailing only 48-41, with Camby pumping in 18 points. But, UK cranked the game up in the second half. Walker went down with an injury, and the Cats rallied behind him, led by Delk who poured in 20 (finishing the game with 27). While Camby had a great game (32); Kentucky’s bench – which outscored UMass 46-5 – was the difference, as Kentucky routed UMass 110-87.
98 UNC-89 Michigan
UNC saw Jamison vs. Rice and swore they’d win the matchup. Well, Jamison did outscore Rice 17-15; but whereas Jamison was the leading scorer for the Heels, Michigan found another option with Rice out of the picture. Robinson scored 13 in each half to finish with 26, and Michigan romped to a fairly easy 78-65 win.
00 UConn(W)-95 UCLA
If the women’s teams – rated very high – thought they were unbeatable, this game gave them pause. Edney scored 22 to pace UCLA, and 3 other starters topped 13, while UConn was led by Abrosimova with 22. The UConn bench outscored the Bruins 28-10, but it took everything to ensure they ended up on top, as UConn prevailed 90-83. Many teams get pushed in the first half and then squash the opponent in the second; that didn’t happen here.
88 Oklahoma-90 Arkansas
Oklahoma grinded its way to a victory in the first round, but the same miracle wouldn’t happen again. While the Sooners kept pace with their first game (all players between 8-14 points), they had no answer for the fast and furious pace of the Razorbacks – led by Day with 18 and Mayberry with 17. If there was any consolation for Oklahoma, it’s that they nearly halved the bench scoring (from 53 in the first game for Arkansas to “only” 27). But Arkansas still won easily 89-65.
Div 2: Second Round
91 UNLV-79 Michigan St
Michigan St was leading at the half 30-27, led by Magic’s 13 points (to lead all scorers); but, when the second half started, Magic left the game with an injury. The front court tried to pick up the slack, but nearly every position was outscored. LJ had 16 and Augmon and Hunt had 15, and MSU never recovered from the absence, falling 75-57.
89 Seton Hall-86 Kansas
The Hall is for real! No one has an answer for John Morton who scored 31 against the Jayhawks. Only one other player for Seton Hall had even 10 points, but the defense clamped down, holding KU to only 55 points, led by Thompson with 18 and Manning with 13. Seton Hall advances, 64-55.
94 Arkansas-99 UConn
Arkansas scored a little less than its first game, but led by Williamson’s 24 (and 32 from the bench), UConn had no chance. Hamilton scored 24 and El-Amin had 13, but the Huskies had no answer, and fell 85-71.
79 Indiana St-91 Indiana
Indiana was favored – it didn’t matter. The Indiana State defense clamped down, holding all starters to fewer than 10 (except Bailey, who had 13). The bench scored 38, but it was small consolation. Bird scored 30 (24 in the first half) and Nicks had 25 (20 in the first half). Indiana St had a 62-51 lead at the half, and held on in the second half enough to win 94-83.
Div 3: Second Round
98 Tenn(W)-80 Purdue
Whereas the women of UConn got a scare, there was no real scare here. Carroll had 30 (21 in the second half) and Purdue was still outscored by 13 in the second half. Holdsclaw scored 27 and Catchings added 18, while the bench supported the team with another 26 points.
85 St Johns-94 Arizona
Perhaps the game of the tournament (so far). Arizona had a lead 63-45 at the half, as Mullin was semi-nullified (for 10 points) in the first half; while Reeves scored 18 and Stoudamire added 11 for the Wildcats. Geary had gone down with an injury in the first half and Glass capitalized, scoring 13 points. In the second half, though, Stoudamire fouled out, Mullin got hot and Reeves scored 13 of Arizona’s total 25 for the half. The teams were tied at 88 at the end of regulation; and – at the end of the 1st OT, the score was still tied. Finally, St. Johns exerted some pressure and squeaked out a 125-122 victory, led by Mullin with 38 and Berry with 30. Reeves scored 44 in a losing effort.
93 UNC-84 Georgetown
Georgetown isn’t built for high-scoring games and 93 UNC can score. The bench scored 29, Montross had 20 and Williams had 18. Wingate had 16 and Ewing had 11 for the losers, who scored as though they were in a low-scoring defensive struggle; unfortunately, the Heels didn’t get the memo, winning 99-57.
00 Florida-93 Kansas
Miller had 24 and Dupay had 17, while Florida rolled off 70 first-half points. Kansas lost Pauley to fouls, but Walters rebounded from his first-round injury, to lead the Jayhawks with 21. It wasn’t enough, as Florida’s bench chipped in 44, and Florida won 112-87.
Div 4: Second Round
92 Duke-84 UNC
Duke will be tough to beat. Laettner led the team with 37 (22 in the first half) and Hurley added 20 (while all starters scored in double figures). Jordan has 22, but only 5 in the second half and no one really picked up the slack. UNC scored, but Duke scored more, winning 119-92.
00 Cincy-91 Temple
Temple had the upset of the tourney in the first round, led by Macon’s 49. That wouldn’t repeat. Two of Temple’s starters fouled out and Martin led Cincy with 23, with Mickeal adding 20. Macon had 10 total, and was only the third leading scorer on the team. Cincy applied pressure from the get-go and never let up, winning 81-43.
01 Duke-95 Virginia
A close game at the half – Duke was up 34-33 – and then, Virginia lost starting guard Staples in the second half to an injury. Burrough paced Virginia with 17, but Duke got contributions from a lot of players, led by Dunleavy with 23 and Boozer with 16, and won 77-62.
87 DePaul-83 Houston
Houston thought Phi Slamma Jamma would reign supreme, but the Blue Demons had other ideas. Comegys had 26 and Strickland had 24 for the second straight game. Young had 16 for the Cougars and Drexler had 15 in a losing effort, as Houston came up short 99-72.
Since I do want to finish this *before* the real March Madness ....
THIRD ROUND GAMES
89 Michigan-96 Kentucky
Michigan had ridden Rice in the first game and Robinson in the second; but when both were semi-nullified in this game (13 and 15 points, respectively), the Wolverines realized they didn’t have the diversified offense to face off against a powerhouse like Kentucky. Delk poured in 28 and McCarty added 16, but the real key was the Kentucky defense, that took a 42-38 lead at the half and held Michigan to only 28 second half points. Kentucky triumphs, 88-66.
90 Arkansas-00 UConn-W
Arkansas had the firepower, but not the defense (at least, not *this* year’s edition). Day was injured in the second half after scoring only 11, and UConn held the entire Arkansas front line scoreless for the second half. Mayberry scored 18 in the second half (31 for the game), but even the bench didn’t reach the elite status it had in the first game (53 points). UConn was led by Ralph with 35 and Bird with 20 (and 46 from its own bench), while Abrosimova, who’d topped 20 in both other games was held to 13. Didn’t matter, and UConn routed 127-94.
89 Seton Hall-91 UNLV
Seton Hall had overachieved, led by Morton; but as UNLV keyed on him, the offense spread out, and four Pirates scored in double figures (led by Gaze, with 20). The problem was, Johnson, Hunt and Augmon on UNLV all scored more than Gaze, and UNLV ran away with an easy one, 113-82.
79 Indiana St-94 Arkansas
Indiana State had no business being here. They easily should’ve lost each of their first two games. And, this Arkansas team played great defense. Still, the team desperately needed an Offensive Specialist card. Williamson got his 15, and Thurman added 10, but the bench paced the team with 41. For Indiana State, Bird had 21 (after back-to-back 30+ games); and it looked like Arkansas might run away with it. Then, Nicks, held to just 2 points in the first half, exploded for an unexpected 19 in the second half. Indiana State wins 80-74 (and gets to face UNLV as a reward).
85 St Johns-98 Tennessee-W
St Johns had lived the charmed life – two games, three overtime periods, two wins. But Tennessee had blown out opponents (by 70 and 19). Tennessee let Berry and Mullin get their points (19 for Berry and 25 for Mullin), and at the half, Tennessee had a slight lead (42-35). In the second half, Holdsclaw fouled out (held to only 8 points) and St Johns saw an upset looming. But, the problem was, outside of Berry and Mullin, no one else could put the ball in the hoop (the other three starters contributed a whopping 10 points in total. For Tennessee, Catchings stepped up with 24, and Randall added 18. There would be no miracle for the Redmen (Red Storm) this time, as Tennessee wins 94-65.
00 Florida-93 North Carolina
Florida was a tough team to bet on. No one was a reliable scorer (through two games, only two players had even topped 15 points even once) – and none would do it this game. Miller led with 14, while DuPay, the second leading scorer was held to 8. Reese was injured in the first half, and the UNC point guard doesn’t score, which meant the three remaining starters had to carry the team … and they did. Montross and Lynch had 21 each and Williams chipped in 13. Florida won the bench war 32-29; but fell short in the game, falling 84-81
00 Cincinnati-91 Duke
Duke is a tough team – all five starters can score and the bench is serviceable. In this game, all five starters had 13+ (led by Hurley with 17), while Cincy was led by Martin with 15. No other starter scored more than 8 for Cincy though; who lost Johnson to injury in the second half. With a comfortable 46-30 lead at the half, Duke turned on the defense, holding Cincy to 10 total second-half points (2 for Martin),and rode the defense to a dominating 77-40 victory.
87 DePaul-01 Duke
With one Blue Devils team in the regional finals already, the 2001 edition was chomping at the bit. Unfortunately, leading scorer (!) Dunleavy pulled up lame in the first half, and that loss was crushing for Duke. Duke went into the half down by 5 (42-37) as Williams had 14 and Boozer had 11 (but Battier was held scoreless). DePaul got 13 from Comegys and 11 from Greene (and their leading scorer – Strickland – had only 3. The second half was far more robust, as DePaul spread it around a bit more – getting 6+ points from everyone, and Comegys (20) and Greene (19) leading the way. Meanwhile, Boozer fell to 4 points, while Battier and James scored 11 each. Williams poured it on, with 23 in the second half; but ultimately, his game-high 37 were not enough, as DePaul gets a huge upset, 96-90.
And so, our elite 8 is set:
Div 1 (2) UCONN-W vs. (1) Kentucky
Div 2 (6) Indiana State vs. (1) UNLV
Div 3 (2) North Carolina vs. (1) Tennessee-W
Div 4 (6) DePaul vs. (1) Duke
And, apparently, I couldn't go to sleep with the Elite 8 formed -- I had to play it out to the Final 4:
00 UConn-W-96 UK
UConn was the underdog, and played that way in the first half, trailing by 7 at the half (55-48). But, the second half saw UConn get the much valued “Offensive Specialist” card, which converted Schumacher into a deadly offensive threat. Delk continued his torrid pace – with 18, and Ralph cashed in 21 (en route to the Most Outstanding Player award for the region). UConn outplayed Kentucky 46-28 in the second half, gaining the upset 94-83
Region 1 All-Tourney Team
Most Outstanding Player: Ralph, UConn (22.3ppg)
Delk, Kentucky (21.5ppg)
Mayberry, Arkansas (22.3ppg) – 3 games
Rice, Michigan (19.0ppg) – 3 games
Robinson, Michigan (19.0ppg) – 3 games
Camby, UMass (29.5ppg) – 2 games
79 Indiana State-91 UNLV
All the things we’d said about Indiana State manifested in this game. UNLV’s attack was too balanced, while Indiana State relied too heavily on two players only. Those two players were outstanding, again; but UNLV had a 16 point halftime lead and played conservatively the rest of the way, winning 99-91. Bird had 28 and Nicks had 25 in a losing effort, while Hunt had 26 and Johnson had 21.
Region 2 All-Tourney Team
Most Outstanding Player: Hunt, UNLV (22.0ppg)
Bird, Ind State (29.3ppg)
Nicks, Ind State (21.3ppg)
Johnson, UNLV (18.3ppg)
Augmon, UNLV (17.3ppg)
Morton, Seton Hall (24.3ppg) – 3 games
93 North Carolina-98 Tenn-W
Tennessee had a huge surprise, as North Carolina raced to a 10 point halftime lead (48-38), spearheaded by Montross’ 14 points. Holdsclaw was held to 6 first half points. But, the second half saw the ladies balanced attack come into focus as 3 starters scored 10+ points in the second half, while no UNC starter did. The loss of Williams for UNC was a key one – injured in the first half. That loss was further exacerbated by the Offensive Specialist card played on Jolly, who went from 2 points in the first half to 13 in the second. That extra push gave Tennessee enough to get back, and they triumphed 92-84.
Region 3 All-Tourney Team
Most Outstanding Player: Holdsclaw, Tenn (23.5ppg)
Mullin, St Johns (29.7ppg) – 3 games
Catchings, Tennessee (20.8 ppg)
Berry, St Johns (24.0ppg) – 3 games
Montross, North Carolina (18.5ppg)
Reeves, Arizona (38.0ppg) – 2 games
87 DePaul-92 Duke
This game was played FAST. At the half, each team had played two cards exactly; and by the end of the game, both teams had more than 10 cards remaining. That meant the dice controlled the game entirely. Duke trailed by 3 at the half – as Comegys torched the Blue Devils for 11 first-half points. But, Duke grinded, and even when Edwards scored 10 in the second half, Duke ensured no one else had more than 7 (and three starters had 3 or fewer points. Meanwhile, Duke churned away, getting 5 and 7 from nearly everyone, escaping with a quite-close 67-63 win. T. Hill had 14 and Laettner had 12; while Comegys and Edwards had 18 each for DePaul.
Region 4 All-Tourney Team
Most Outstanding Player: Laettner, Duke (20.3ppg)
Comegys, DePaul (19.3ppg)
Williams, Duke (26.0ppg) – 3 games
Martin, Cincinnati (21.3ppg) – 3 games
Edwards, DePaul (18.3 ppg)
Macon, Temple (29.5ppg) – 2 games
At long last, we had some close games (well, until the Championship, at least).
00 UConn-W-91 UNLV
UConn raced out to an early lead, 55-47 at the half, led by Ralph’s 14 (and 22 from the bench, to 0 for UNLV). Abrosimova added 7, and things looked strong heading into the second half. UNLV was led by Johnson with 15 and Hunt with 14. But, in the second half, Johnson was held in check – only 8, to finish with 23; and the bench got a whopping 7 points. But Ackles got the Offensive Specialist card, and he scored 6. Ultimately, the lions’ share fell to Hunt, who added 15 in the second half (ending with 29) and UNLV outscored UConn 41-28 in the second half, to win 88-83. Ralph led UConn with 21.
92 Duke-98 Tennessee-W
Duke also faced a deficit at the half – trailing Tennessee 48-40. Laettner and G. Hill had 11 each in the half, but the game was moving way too quickly – no cards were able to be played (so everything was mere die rolls). Tenn’s center – Stevens – was the recipient of the Offensive Specialist card, which she used to score 3 points. The biggest break for Duke came when Catchings was lost to injury in the second half. But, the bench for Tennessee poured in 20 and they kept pace with Duke the whole half, with each team scoring 40. Tennessee wins, 88-82 and advances. Holdsclaw had 19, Catchings ended with 13 (all in the first half). Laettner finished with 24 and G. Hill had 20; but Tennessee defense held the other Duke players to fewer than 10 each (a tremendous accomplishment, as Duke was one of only three teams in the Sweet Sixteen to have all five starters average in double figures throughout the tournament.
98 Tennessee-91 UNLV
The Tennessee defense was all it promised, as Holdsclaw and Catchings each scored 10 in the first half and Randall had 14. The defense held Johnson to 5 and Augmon to 8. Ackles had the Offensive Specialist card again (capitalizing with 7), and Hunt torched Tennessee with 14; but the turning point came with the off guard resolution. Anthony had a good roll, but committed a foul (based on the Tennessee player); and – the solitaire rules state that the coach will always call a timeout if a foul is committed. Sadly, the next role resulted in TWO fouls and Anthony was gone – the impact was multi-faceted. Anthony wouldn’t score anything; the bench suffered, and Randall got a perk as well.
In the second half, Holdsclaw came alive, scoring 13 (although no other starter would score more than 5 for Tennessee in the half). However, UNLV was led by Hunt, with 7, and only Johnson and Augmon added any points (5 each). When the dust settled, Tennessee had triumphed, by a convincing 87-69 score.
All-Final Four Team
Most Outstanding Player: Holdsclaw, Tennessee-W (21ppg in Final Four; 22.7ppg overall)
Hunt, UNLV (25.0 / 23.0)
Randall, Tennessee (14.5 / 14.8)
Johnson, UNLV (16.5 / 17.7)
Laettner, Duke (24.0 / 21.0)
Ralph, UConn-W (21.0 / 22.0)
Honorable Mention: Catchings, Tennessee (13.5 / 18.3) – would’ve been on the team had she not lost half of the first game to injury.