With less than 10 minutes gone in the game last night, Carolina held a 33-11 lead over Arkansas. Think about that for a minute - if you extrapolate that out for an entire game, that would mean a 132-44 final score. That's pretty darned impressive. I was reminded in the first few minutes of the semi-final game against Houston in 1982 when I think we scored the first 14 points of the game before the Cougars woke up and caught up by half-time (I'm not sure they didn't even have a lead by then). I kept waiting for the Razorbacks to do the same but by the end of the half it seemed pretty clear that they were not going to be able to. Certainly they started hitting their shots in the second half but they were unable to make UNC miss, so at best they kept it within 25 points for awhile and avoided an even more embarassing final score.
Ty Lawson looked closer to 90% of his healthy speed and 90% of Lawson is 110% faster than just about anyone else out there. Wayne Ellington's playing with the kind of drive and confidence that was crucial to the ACC Tournament win. They're certainly capable of letting up and letting another team beat them, but there's frankly no reason this team shouldn't win the whole enchilada.
The Real Suprise
In doing a quick comparison between the results of the first weekend of the tournament and the last couple of years (I haven't had time to go back any further), I would suggest that the real surprise of the tournament so far is not Davidson and not Western Kentucky - it's Villanova.
There are 11 of the top 16 seeds left after the first two rounds, plus a 5th seed. Last year 11 of the top seeds made it plus 3 5's - many fewer upsets and no double-digit seeds remained. But the year before, 11 (again) top seeds made it plus (again) 1 5th seed along with 11th seed George Mason and 13th seed Bradley. The only real difference at this point of the tournament from 2006 is the inclusion of a lower-seeded power conference school. It shouldn't be surprising that lower-seeded mid-majors have fared better than similarly-seeded big conference schools. The mids are usually more mature players that have won their conference, or won the regular season and lost out in the conference tournament. On the other hand, the lower-seeded big conference schools are usually either mired in the middle of the pack year after year or they're a young team on their way up but still young. I haven't had a chance to read up on 'Nova this year and haven't had a chance to see any of their games, but I understand they fall into the second category.
I'd love to see Davidson crush Kansas for at least three reasons - 1) it'll give Lex a happy, 2) it'll give me something more to hold over the guys in Kansas City that work for me and 3) it'll keep Ol' Roy from having to spend all his time talking about how he feels about playing Kansas (assuming of course that we make it to the Final Four - in the only region where the top seeds are intact). But Villanova might just knock the Jayhawks off before Davidson has a shot - there's something going on with THOSE 'Cats as well.