Big East Tourney Daily Diary: 2d Round

Posted by rtmsf on March 11th, 2010

Rob Dauster of Ballin is a Habit is spending the week as the RTC correspondent at the Big East Tournament.  In addition to live-blogging select games throughout the tournament, he will post a nightly diary with his thoughts on each day’s action.  Here is his submission on the Second Round games.

Georgetown 69, South Florida 49

  • What is there to say about Georgetown that we don’t already know? This team is balanced, this team is poised, this team has size, they have shooting, they execute offensively, they are tough defensively. There is not anything this team cannot do… when they are playing well. The problem with that caveat is that they don’t always play well. So while they looked like a dark horse Final Four contender today, tomorrow they could come out and lose by 30 to Syracuse and I wouldn’t be surprised.
  • The difference in this game, believe it or not, was Georgetown’s transition game. South Florida loves to attack the basket, be it via the post up, the drive,or the offensive rebound. As a result, the Bulls on far too many occasions got caught with too many players in and around the paint. Georgetown took advantage, getting some easy baskets in transition and a number of open looks in secondary break situations.
  • South Florida didn’t hit their first three of the Big East tournament until there were 30 seconds left. And that was made by a walk-on. Tonight’s performance — five points from outside the paint and the foul line, only two prior to that final three — was only marginally better than yesterday. If you’re counting at home, South Florida had three baskets outside the paint in 80 minutes of basketball in MSG. Yeah, that’s not good.
  • USF was playing for a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. Now they are headed to the NIT.

Marquette 57, St. John’s 55

  • You don’t want to play Marquette in the tournament. There is no team in the country that is more battle tested than this group. The most impressive part? Its so obvious how much they have grown. Winning is a learned skill, and Marquette has learned. Marquette is probably going to end up in the #7-#10 range somewhere. Whatever #1 or #2 seed gets them won’t be pleased.
  • Buzz Williams is hilarious. First and foremost, his dances on the sideline are great. The one that left an impression with me today was the one-footed hop step with a leg kick on a three Marquette hit in the first half. In the presser he had some gems.
    • He said that he’d “play with these guys in the street anywhere in America”
    • He compared his trust for Cubillan to his trust of his wife
    • Regarding the overturned free throws at the end of the game, he said “my wife will get mad if I say anything because it would hurt my kid’s college fund.”
  • And do I need to mention this is a short, pudgy man with a big head shaved bald? All around hilarious guy.
  • Personally, I see no way that St. John’s can fire Norm Roberts this year. I touched on it yesterday, but this is a team that returns ten — 10 — seniors next year. Buzz Williams mentioned it in the presser after the game, but its obvious to those who watch St. John’s, no coach in the Big East has his team play harder than Roberts does. St. John’s has been very close in a number of games this year as well. He deserves at least one more season.

Notre Dame 68, Seton Hall 54

  • Its been quite impressive to watch Notre Dame’s transformation from a run and gun, let’s-see-if-we-can-score-100 team to a group that wants to work the clock and grind out tough possessions. The Irish won their fifth straight game as Slow-tre Dame, and in not one of those games have the Irish allowed over 64 points and just once have they scored more than 68.
  • I really like Notre Dame bringing Luke Harangody off the bench. For starters, he was sucking wind for much of the second half, clearly far from the condition he was in before the injury. But more to the point, Notre Dame has a nice system working without him. Coming off the bench, he serves as a sparkplug, a guy that can come in once the tempo has been established and score points in a hurry. I don’t necessarily believe the Irish are better without Harangody as much as I believe they are better with him in a different role.
  • Seton Hall is now playing the dreaded waiting game. Let’s be honest — in most year’s, the Pirates wouldn’t sniff the tournament with their resume, but given the lack of depth to this year’s bubble they still have a chance. A slim one. The Pirates are going to need a lot of other bubble teams to lose.

Cincinnati 66, Louisville 63

  • Cincinnati showed how good they can be when they play their brand of basketball. They thrive off their toughness and physicality, and that may not have been more evident in any game this season. You can see it on the stat sheet — 28 offensive rebounds is unheard of, leading to 17 second chance points and 40 points in the paint — but the numbers that won’t show up in the box score is how many loose balls the Bearcats came up with. And if there was a stat, then my guess would be that the Bearcats pitched a shutout.
  • Louisville should be thanking whatever lucky stars they thank that this year’s bubble crop is so weak. Or maybe they should just thank Rick Pitino’s ability to coach against a 2-3 zone, because if it wasn’t for their two wins against Syracuse, this team would not sniff the NCAA Tournament. What else have they done? Lose by 20 to St. John’s and Charlotte? Beat Notre Dame post-Harangody but pre-Slow-tre Dame? Beat UConn? Does that sound tournament worthy?
  • This is the second time this week that we have heard a coach say in the post game press conference that their team wanted to foul up three late. Bobby Gonzalez mentioned it in Seton Hall’s win over Providence, and Mick Cronin mentioned it tonight. He said that he wanted Vaughn to foul at half court, and that Vaughn said he was trying to foul the entire way up the court. When he finally did reach, it came as Edgar Sosa was trying to shoot the tying three. Luckily, Vaughn stripped Sosa instead of fouling, which was admittedly a dangerous play. “I was worried I was going to become the laughingstock of the nation,” Cronin said after the game.
rtmsf (3998 Posts)

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One response to “Big East Tourney Daily Diary: 2d Round”

  1. pico says:

    Re: Norm Roberts, I don’t know how they CAN’T fire him after this year. The team returns 9 scholarship seniors (the 10th junior is a walkon) from a team that had a strong negative efficiency margin. Another year and the team could possibly be around .500 in the league. And then what? All the good talent has committed to other schools, the team won’t go far in the tournament without a schematic change… playing “hard” isn’t playing smart. hence the lackluster first half. And I don’t think they played hard against Seton Hall or Providence; they played sloppy, I like the energy the team has when they’re on, mistakes and all, but they’re not always on, and he’s had the core of this team for 3 years.

    It’s time.

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