RTC Region by Region Tidbits: 03.24.10Posted by rtmsf on March 24th, 2010
Each day this week during the regional rounds of the NCAA Tournament we’re asking some of our top correspondents to put together a collection of notes and interesting tidbits about each region. If you know of something that we should include in tomorrow’s submission, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Midwest Region (Tom Hager)
- Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson was rewarded today with a 10-year deal worth $450,000 a year. He is currently making $289,000 a year. Speaking of Jacobson, apparently the university has more trust in Jacobson than his own son, who originally picked Kansas to beat the Panthers.
- Michigan State’s focus is going to be on defense. The Panthers are 21-0 this season when they scored at least 60 points, and MSU head coach Tom Izzo is concerned about stopping a team that shoots such a high percentage from the field and free throw line.
- According to David Gilsan, Tennessee’s key to keeping the game close will be utilizing their depth, something the Buckeyes did not do when they had no bench points against Georgia Tech.
- For all the fans who were surprised by the strength of Ali Farokhmanesh on the cover of Sports Illustrated. We’ve done some investigating and wonder if SI is doctoring its photos. Inconclusive, but interesting nonetheless.
West Region (Andrew Murawa)
- The top-seeded Orange have been without their senior center Arinze Onuaku since he injured his right quadriceps on March 11, and to this point they haven’t really needed him. But as the competition gets a bit stiffer this week, the Orange will continue on without him on Thursday and likely throughout the weekend, as he hasn’t yet taken part in practice. The Final Four is starting to look like a more realistic goal for his return.
- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim knows that regardless of who plays for his Orange, Butler is a talented team that will give his team problems.
- One of the themes of the West Region is the strength of Xavier and Butler, two teams that come from non-BCS conferences but who have become national powers. Just don’t use the term “mid-major” around Xavier head coach Chris Mack.
- And while Kansas State vs. Xavier may not seem like a matchup with a lot of history, they did have a matchup on New Year’s Eve a couple years back, and senior guard Jacob Pullen is still holding a grudge. He’ll have to play under control though, as it may be the battle of All-American-type guards that will decide the outcome.
South Region (Patrick Sellars)
- Why not go to the Final Four? Asks Purdue head coach Matt Painter. No one thinks the Boilermakers can beat Duke, but Painter still has his team ready for their Sweet 16 matchup and believes his team can win their next game.
- Basketball Prospectus and Ken Pomeroy give Duke a 61.8% chance of coming out of the South bracket and moving onto Indianapolis. You can see the rest of his projections here.
- If you ask most fans who the leader of Saint Mary’s basketball team is, they would probably say star forward Omar Samhan. However, the team runs around sharpshooting guard Mickey McConnell. Head coach Randy Bennett said about McConnell, “he’s absolutely our leader and balances us out.”
- ESPN columnist Diamond Leung looks at one of the reasons the NCAA tournament is such a great sporting event. When a community rallies behind their team, nothing is more special.
- In case you haven’t read enough stories about Scott Drew saving the Baylor program from the depths of college basketball hell (aka NCAA sanctions), here is another look at his amazing story and why we think he should be a candidate for coach of the year.
- Here’s an article highlighting the matchup between Omar Samhan of Saint Mary’s and Ekpe Udoh of Baylor. Both players will play an enormous role in which team moves onto the Elite Eight. Omar Samhan said about the matchup “ He can jump. I can’t. He’s fast and I’m not. He’s strong and I’m not.”
- Interesting story here about how Jon Scheyer, Duke’s star player, used to root against the Blue Devils.
- The Winston-Salem Journal takes a look at how Coach K gets ready for the Sweet 16. Recently the Blue Devils have not had success as a top seed in the tournament, most recently falling to LSU in 2006 in the Sweet 16.