VCU shocks #1-seed Kansas, 71-61

Virginia Commonwealth Rams’ forward Juvonte Reddic (5) celebrates defeating the Kansas Jayhawks with teammates Ed Nixon (50), Rob Brandenberg (23) and Toby Veal (31) during their NCAA Southwest Regional college basketball game in San Antonio, Texas, March 27, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

As I was watching the end of the Kansas/VCU game, I thought of the scene in “Ghostbusters” when the gang is trying to explain the situation to the mayor of New York.

Venkman: This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
Mayor: What do you mean, “biblical”?
Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.
Venkman: Exactly.
Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston: The dead rising from the grave!
Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

That’s how I feel about the 2011 NCAA Tournament. Heading in, I really liked three of the #1 seeds (Ohio State, Kansas and Duke, in that order) and felt good enough about Pitt to put all four #1 seeds through to the Final Four in my bracket. Fast forward two weeks and all four #1 seeds are gone, thanks to the VCU Rams, who upended the Jayhawks on Sunday.

How did they do it? What else…three-point shooting, the great equalizer. The Rams were 12-of-25 (48%) from 3PT, while the Jayhawks went a brutal 2-for-22 (9%) from behind the stripe. It wasn’t just one guy, but senior Tyrel Reed, a 39% 3PT shooter, was especially brutal, making just 1-for-8 from long range. The Jayhawks were also awful from the free throw line, hitting just 15-of-28 from the charity stripe.

Kansas outrebounded VCU 42-to-31, had four more steals, five more blocks and one fewer turnover, but it doesn’t matter if you are going to attempt 22 threes and only make two of them.

Jamie Skeen was big for the Rams, scoring 26 points, nailing 4-of-7 threes and hitting 10-of-12 from the free throw line. He also led VCU in rebounds with nine. Considering the competition, it was his best game of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The VCU Rams are in the Final Four. Not bad for a team that many thought didn’t even deserve a bid in the first place.

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Bracket Update: Saturday

He’s dead, Jim.

Even though I had lost two Final Four picks (Pitt and Duke) earlier in the tournament, my bracket still had monetary potential — all I needed was Ohio State to beat Kansas in the title game and I would have finished second in my pool of 20. Thanks to the Buckeyes, that deal’s dead, and so is my bracket.

My bread and butter, Sagarin and Pomeroy ratings, did not perform well in the Sweet 16. Teams with at least a 2-point Sagarin advantage were just 2-6, while 65% Pomeroy favorites were just 2-4. Both Sagarin and Pomeroy were 39-13 (75%) in predicting winners heading into the Sweet 16.

It’s all right if you lose a couple of Final Four teams early in the tournament, but if you go with the #1 seeds and lose your overall winner, there will be blood in the water.

It appears that anyone who has the Jayhawks is sitting pretty.

It’s a good day to be a college basketball fan

Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski (L) talks with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill head coach Roy Williams prior to the teams’ NCAA basketball game in Durham, North Carolina February 9, 2011. REUTERS/Ellen Ozier (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Check out this lineup of college hoops today (all times ET):

12 PM: #2 Kansas @ #24 Missouri (CBS)
The Jayhawks need a victory in Columbia to win the Big 12 outright. They have a one-game lead over Texas with one game to play and are hoping to secure a #1 seed in the Big 12 Tournament as well. Meanwhile, Missouri is hoping to complete an unbeaten season at home.

2 PM: #7 Notre Dame @ #16 UConn (ESPN)
It’s senior night for the Huskies, who have beaten the Irish seven straight times at Gampel Pavilion. Notre Dame can earn the #1 seed in the Big East tournament with a win today and a Pittsburgh loss to Villanova.

4 PM: #19 Villanova @ #5 Pittsburgh (CBS)
Villanova has faded after a strong start to the season, but could still spoil the Panthers’ bid to be the top seed in the Big East Championship if they’re able to upset Pitt on their home floor. The Panthers need a win to solidify their bid to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

6 PM: #14 Florida @ #20 Vanderbilt (ESPN)
These two teams went into overtime the first time they met this season and the Gators can clinch the outright SEC title with a win against the Commodores in Nashville.

8 PM: #4 Duke @ #13 North Carolina (CBS)
The ACC regular season championship is on the line as the Blue Devils face the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. In the first meeting at Cameron, UNC had a 16-point lead before Duke came back to win 79-73. Duke is hoping to be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and needs a win tonight to round out its resume.

It’s not often that there are five Top 25 matchups lined up every two hours like there are today. And don’t forget, #10 Wisconsin plays #1 Ohio State at 4 PM (on CBS) on Sunday.

Kansas loss should be last straw for Dan Hawkins in Colorado

University of Colorado Buffaloes head football coach Dan Hawkins ponders a question as he begins his fifth season at the annual media day at the Dal Ward Athletic Center in Boulder, Colorado on August 7, 2010. Colorado was the first BCS school to bolt its conference leaving the Big 12 for the Pac 10. Colorado is expected to begin Pac 10 play next season.   UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

You know how sometimes you’re about to make a major life move, but you’re dating someone and you’re not really sure that they’re the person you want to take with you on the move? You’ve already decided that there’s no way the two of you can spend the rest of your lives together, but you made such a financial commitment to her (say, bought a house together) that you don’t want to break it off for a silly reason, even though there have been plenty of red flags.

That’s the situation Colorado is in with its football coach Dan Hawkins. The Buffaloes are moving to the Pac-12 next year, and barring something amazing this season (like, say, surprising you with a new PS3 and a stripper for your birthday — or a BCS bowl berth), were going to leave Hawkins in their wake as they left the Big 12. Well, today, Hawkins set the house on fire.

Colorado blew a 45-17 lead today against Kansas in a 52-45 loss. In the fourth quarter. Against Kansas. Not Todd Reesing Kansas, but this year’s version, which is led by Turner Gill and scored three points in a loss to North Dakota State.

Hawkins is now 19-38 in his fifth year at Colorado, helping turn a once-proud program into the joke of the Big 12. How Hawkins didn’t get the boot following last year’s 3-9 mark is still a mystery, but there’s no way in hell he survives another losing mark with Colorado about to start a new chapter in its program history.

At 3-6, Colorado still has a shot at bowl eligibility, but with Iowa State, Kansas State and Nebraska still on the schedule, that doesn’t look likely. Even if Colorado somehow finds a way to pull that out, I can’t see why it would keep Hawkins on board. He’s in Year 5, he’s had plenty of time to get something started.

His tenure in Colorado has been an absolute joke on the field, and it’s probably really close to being over. But hey, at least he gave us this.

Apparently Turner Gill spent two weeks preparing for Georgia Tech

DETROIT - DECEMBER 5:  Head Coach Turner Gill of the Buffalo Bulls looks on against the Ball State Cardinals during the MAC Championship game on December 5, 2008 at Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Lost among the major Week 1 storylines in college football was Kansas’ loss to FCS (I-AA) opponent North Dakota State in coach Turner Gill’s debut.

The Jayhawks not only lost to NDSU, but looked absolutely awful doing it, scoring just three points and getting held below 100 yards rushing. But today, Gill went a long way toward erasing a lot of the early doubt Kansas fans might have had after that loss, as the Jayhawks knocked off No. 15 Georgia Tech, 28-25.

It’s another reminder that we shouldn’t pay too much attention to what we see in Week 1, or at least not do too much prognosticating based off of it. Many teams hold a lot back when playing lesser opponents, as basic plays, along with a higher talent level is usually enough. That obviously didn’t work for Kansas a week ago, and Gill deserves a lot of the blame for not having his team ready for its opener. But it looks like the Jayhawks aren’t going to be the pushover Week 1 seemed to have shown us.

In other early-game news, Marcus Lattimore is the kind of running back that can make even Steve Spurrier a run-first kind of coach. The South Carolina true freshman carried the ball nearly 40 times today against Georgia, and each one was more punishing for the Bulldog defenders. If Stephen Garcia can get things figured out, South Carolina could contend in the SEC this season.

– Virginia Tech clearly has a little bit of a Boise State hangover, as it struggled with James Madison through the first half, leading 13-7 (that’s since gone to 16-7). The Hokies run game, which was supposed to be its strong point, is struggling again, as super sophomore Ryan Williams is being held under four yards a carry. This, of course, is bad news for Boise State, as some will use any poor outing by the Hokies as a reason to punish the Broncos.

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