After a little time just soaking in life and enjoying what I have around me I decided to soak up a little sports and enjoy what was playing out in front of me on my television. So without further ado here is a Monday Morning Hangover recap of Easter weekend.
#5 Trey Burke- For anyone that had the opportunity to see Friday nights game between Michigan and Kansas one thing became clear, Trey Burke can dial it up from long distance. The shot he took to tie the game late in the 2nd half was so far out it would have counted for 3 in the NBA or heck maybe even as a long field goal in the NFL. Burke managed to score 23 points on Friday night and the crazy thing is they all came in the 2nd half. He also managed to join a list of only 4 other men that managed 20 points and 10 assists in a Sweet 16 game. Luckily Sunday’s game did not require such heroics however Burke managed 15 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds helping to lead Michigan back to the Final 4 for the first time since 1993 when the Fab 5 took the Wolverines to the title game.
#4 Russ Smith- Russ Smith has been on a roll throughout this tournament and this weekend was no different. Friday night the star Junior scorched the Ducks for 31 points and then on Easter Sunday with the team discouraged by the awful injury to sophomore Kevin Ware and the Mighty Duke Blue Devils standing in their way Smith came up big again knocking down 23 points. Smith is playing so well that he should nail down the honor of the tournaments best player. All that stands in his way is 2 more games and if he can keep rolling the way he has he will lead Coach Pitino to his second National Championship.
#3 Skylar Diggins- In a sports world where many fill the headlines for doing things the wrong way, this girl fills the headlines doing things the right way. Skylar is on the verge of leading her Fighting Irish to their third straight Final 4 and hopefully their third straight final. Her Irish have a record of 129-19 in her four-year career and 3 more wins is all that she needs to become a champion. For a warm up to hoisting a trophy Skylar climbed to the top of the Notre Dame scoring ranks passing one of her coaches, Beth Cunningham with 7:48 to go in Sundays game with Kansas. That shot, a 12 foot jumper put her at 2,322 points just 1 point ahead of Cunningham, who held the record for 16 years. More big moments await Skylar with a possibility of three games remaining and she may have received a present from fellow Big East soon to be ACC team Louisville who took down Baylor.
#2 Pittsburgh Penguins- Anytime a team can finish an entire month unbeaten they deserve to make lists such as this. The Penguins who own the best record in the NHL along with the most points at 56, just won their 15th straight game on Saturday night. The team who throughout the week made trades for NHL stars such as Brendan Morrow, Doug Murray and Jarome Iginla completely owned March! This team has just caught fire and as
impressive as the point streak was by the Blackhawks to begin the season, winning 15 in a row is just two behind the all time mark of 17 held by these same Penguins from 1992-93. Of course in their 2-0 win Saturday there was a cost involved as captain Sydney Crosby took a puck to the mouth and required surgery for some missing teeth and a broken jaw. Crosby will be out indefinitely but his Penguins go for win number 16 Wednesday night against the Rangers. Go Pens!
#1 Wichita State- The last time a team from the Missouri Valley Conference played in a Final 4 a guy by the name of Bird was their star. Although no one on Wichita State’s roster hails from French Lick, Indiana, the Shockers are on their way to Atlanta after taking down Ohio State on Saturday night. This team has done exactly what their name implies and Shocked the entire NCAA fan base and they have done so by taking down the 1 and 2 seeds in the West Regional. In the game Saturday the Shockers dominated most of the night holding a 13 point lead at the half and then at one point in the second half they held a 20 point lead with about 11 minutes to go. The Buckeyes would fight back and look to take control when they got within three but Fred Van Vleet found teammate Tekele Cotton who drained a 3 and then followed that up with his own lay up to put the lead at 6 with a minute to play. The Buckeyes who had shot 50 percent from behind the arc went cold against the Shockers, going just 5-25 in the game. It seemed throughout that the firepower of Cleanthony Early, Malcolm Armstead, Cotton and Van Vleet were just too much for the Buckeyes. The next challenge for the Shockers will be a tough one as they meet number 1 overall seed Louisville. The Cardinals have not lost since a 5 overtime battle with Notre Dame. If Wichita State can pull this off they will really Shock the world.