After that thriller of the NCAA championship game, the TV Show Sweet 16 had to take a breather. Hats off to Kris Jenkins and the Villanova Wildcats for a remarkable run!
But back to the REAL tournament where action was fast and furious on the right side of the bracket.
The day tipped off with what seemed a back and forth upset in the making with (2) Homeland taking on (15) Younger. Younger’s youth was spent by the half when they kept it within 4 but the wily Homeland vets proved too much to handle in the 2nd half. Saul Berenson recovered from a sleepy first half to record a triple double (13/11/10). The game took a turn for the worse for Younger when star forward Liza Miller was deemed ineligible for lying about her age.
The biggest upset of the day belonged to (11) American Horror Story and their bracket-busting performance over heavily favored (6) Shameless. This one went down the wire where it was evident the last team with the ball stood the best chance to grab the ‘W’. Shameless’ Frank Gallagher blew a chance to pull ahead by 3, missing both free throws with 6.2 seconds to go. Inexplicably, he ran to the bench after missing the second free throw to receive comforting from Sheila Jackson while his assignment, The Countess, slipped behind the defense and laid in an easy layup from a masterful outlet from her trans-gendered bartender Donovan to seal the victory. They’ll need all the dark magic they can conjure to continue their success vs. Homeland.
Equaling that drama was (8) The Americans vs. (9) Vinyl. This ‘pick-em’ at the tip was all it was cracked up to be. The stars did not disappoint: Americans’ Philip Jennings led all scorers with 29 but was nearly matched bucket by bucket by Vinyl’s Richie Finestra (27 points). But a late turnover Paige Jennings – hearkening memories of Freddy Brown’s infamous UNC gaffe – allowed Zac Yankovich to dribble out the clock securing the 4 point victory. *Post-game note: Sources reveal that Paige’s turnover was intentional as proof of her secret training and devotion to Vinyl.
The nightcap pitted (4) Ray Donovan vs. (13) Better Call Saul. A sloppy affair at best, caused by ‘Saul’s strategy to slow down the fast breaking ‘Donovan’, resulted in a relatively easy win by the favorite. A paltry 40% shooting percentage doomed Saul’s strategy with only one starter – Mike Ehrmantraut – scoring in double digits (15 pts.). Donovan’s waves of offensive fire-power was too much for Saul’s aging cast. Bunchy Donovan led all scorers with 18, but shared the spotlight with brother Terry (17 pts.). Mickey Donovan was conspicuously absent in the first half. We later learned that Coach Ezra Goldman was disciplining the veteran for “conduct unbecoming” when he left son Terry locked in a security room as Mickey fled the police. Team Captain Ray Donovan was notably disgusted as his post-game presser when asked about Mickey, abruptly exiting the dais dressed in an Armani warm-up. NOT a good vibe with upstart Vinyl waiting in the wings.
This weekend’s Great 8 is sure to see even better story lines!