A hoops filled weekend; Coaches predictions update

Published 4:30 pm Monday, March 21, 2022

I haven’t watched as much basketball in three years as I did over the weekend and I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

In a stroke of magnificent timing, I tweaked my back during Friday’s workout, so I needed to rest on the couch most of the weekend to recover in time for the start of the work week.

While seemingly a third of Beaufort County was participating in at least one local 5K run, I, as promised, was surrounded by snacks with the remote at the ready.

It all started Friday night with the 15th-seeded St. Peter’s Peacocks takedown of #2 Kentucky. So many brackets busted, but not mine because I don’t have one. I gave those up a long time ago and have lowered my stress level by a ton. It worked out well this weekend, as the upsets rolled in.

Two great performances from the Peacocks, a good enough effort from Duke and nail-biter after nail-biter, including Gonzaga-Memphis and several others.

I was bitterly disappointed to see Carolina up by 25 when I checked in, then shocked to see overtime a while later. Too bad they are still dancing, but you can’t have everything. Let’s take stock of the carnage: Three of the four top seeds are in the Sweet Sixteen, with Baylor the only one out. Duke and Villanova are the only second seeds left, while Purdue and Texas Tech are the remaining three seeds. Arkansas, UCLA and Providence are the fourth seeds still left, so 10 of the top 16 advanced.

St. Peter’s is only the third 15th seed to get this far, following Oral Roberts last year under totally different circumstances in the bubble with no fans and Florida Gulf Coast in 2013.

The Big 10 had the most teams make and only two, Michigan and Purdue, are left out of nine.

Duke, Carolina and Miami, who dismantled number 2 Auburn, represent the ACC. The Big 12 is the other conference with three teams left.

On we go to Thursday’s games. I’m pulling for the Peacocks and the Zags, even though Gonzaga looked very beatable Sunday. I think the title is anyone’s for the taking, which should be good news for Carolina fans. The Tar Heels, to me anyway, have the easiest path to the Final Four, while Duke, in a region where the top four seeds advanced, has the toughest.

It’s possible the two Tobacco Road rivals could meet in the national semi-finals. It’s not as good as meeting for all the marbles, but it’s never happened at all, so maybe this is the year.

Let’s check in to see how the local high school basketball coaches did with their predictions of last week.

All five who participated have one of their final four already out. Kentucky’s loss to St. Peter’s tripped up Washington boys coach David Allewalt and Southside girls coach Milton Ruffin.

Northside boys coach Jared Adams had Michigan St. beating Duke, while Auburn’s lost cost Pam Pack girls coach Will Tyson.

Pungo Christian Academy’s Logan Van Staalduinen has two of his four left after Kentucky and Auburn fell, but Allewalt picked Kentucky to win it all.

All five picked a different school to claim the title. Adams chose Kansas, Ruffin went with Duke, Tyson took Arizona and Van Staalduinen claimed Gonzaga.  Carolina is one of Adams’ remaining teams, while Tyson has UCLA. Something has to give there.

I hope you enjoyed the first four days as much as I did and there were plenty of upsets and entertaining games on the women’s side as well.

We’re in for a couple of late nights when play resumes Thursday, so rest up and keep the snacks handy.