It was a tough weekend for higher seeds in the NCAA tournament. Well, at least Friday was a tougher day for higher seeds. It saw two #15 seeds knock off heavily favored #2 seeds, with Norfolk State beating Missouri and Lehigh besting Duke.
The Lehigh win was especially pleasing for me – as a UNC alumnus there is an unwritten code that we have to pull against Duke at every opportunity. (Heck, it may actually even be written down somewhere in the code of conduct.)
Sadly, neither Norfolk nor Lehigh were able to push into the Sweet 16.
In more sad news, the point guard for my alma mater broke his wrist in a rough (thuggish?) foul by Creighton’s Ethan Wragge. Replay of the foul clearly shows Wragge’s forearm under Marshall’s arm delivering a quite intentional shove that hurdled Marshall through the air.
The incident reminded me of the foul that got John Chaney fired from Temple. Upset about officiating, Chaney sent reserve Nehemiah Ingram to “thug it up” for the last few minutes. Ingram did – and ended the career of St. Joseph forward John Bryant with a broken arm.
Even when he was “thugging it up” I’m sure Ingram had no intention of actually breaking Bryant’s arm. He was just playing rough in an on-court temper-tantrum that was an extension of his coach.
I’m sure Wragge had no intention of breaking Marshall’s wrist – and had he known that the hard foul would result in a broken wrist I’m sure he would not have done it. These things happen though, and the foul (which obviously should have been flagrant, but the “three blind mice” missed the call) may have ended Marshall’s season. (I say “may” because even Marshall is holding out a glimmer of hope that he’ll be able to go again on Friday when the Tar Heels take on Ohio University.)
Now off to work (whether you’re working in the house or out of the house) – where we all have bigger things to think about than basketball.