NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.24.11Posted by Brian Goodman on March 24th, 2011
Throughout the NCAA Tournament, we’ll be providing you with the daily chatter from around the webosphere relating to what’s going on with the teams still playing.
- Often overlooked due to the star power that Ohio State has accumulated during his career, David Lighty has been the heart and soul of this season’s Buckeyes. The fifth-year senior will leave Columbus with three Big Ten championships, an NIT championship, and four trips to the NCAA Tournament.
- Kentucky head coach John Calipari believes that other programs “Want to be us. Not beat us.” While that statement may seem a bit arrogant, it does make sense when thinking about the pageantry and tradition that goes along with the Wildcat basketball program.
- While he does provide Marquette with some scoring, swingman Jimmy Butler prides himself on being a defensive stopper for the Golden Eagles. His coach, Buzz Williams, calls Butler, “the smartest player I’ve ever coached.” High, high praise.
- North Carolina junior center Tyler Zeller has finally been healthy all season after missing significant time during his first two seasons. A healthy Zeller has been beneficial to the Tar Heels, as he has contributed 15.2 points per game along with 7.1 rebounds. Without Zeller’s presence in the post, UNC would probably not be a Sweet 16-caliber team.
- Despite already having a tremendous season, Kentucky freshman guard Brandon Knight believes he is just finally living up to the high expectations that come with playing point guard for John Calipari. Interesting enough is that those expectations are not from Calipari, but from Knight himself.
- Growing up in the shadow of Gene Keady and Bob Knight has not turned Butler head coach Brad Stevens into the same type of loose cannon as the two legendary coaches. Instead, Stevens is known for his calm, steady, and studious approach that he takes to coaching the game of basketball.
- Wisconsin point guard Jordan Taylor has been an elite performer all season for the Badgers. This is not surprising when considering that the junior craves for pressure situations where he can showcase his bravado.
- Florida senior forward Chandler Parsons has gone through quite the maturation process, which has allowed him to fulfill his vast potential. Despite his success, Parsons continues to raise expectations for his team and himself.
- There is not a team in the nation that is held to the strict honor code that Brigham Young is held to. Despite the loss of big man Brandon Davies due to a violation of this code, the rest of the Cougars have learned to live by its precepts and focus primarily on winning basketball games.
- After resting his ankle earlier in the week, Florida sophomore guard Kenny Boynton believes he is “100 percent” for Thursday’s game with Brigham Young. Boynton will be an important player for the Gators in slowing down the BYU guard attack.
- Kansas forward Markieff Morris can be challenging to separate from his twin brother, Marcus, not just from looks but also from their similarly consistent play. Markieff has carved out his own identity, and was actually viewed as the twin with the higher ceiling coming out of high school in Philadelphia.
- Fox Sports’ Dan Bozich points out that six of the 16 coaches remaining in the tournament have won a combined 12 NCAA titles, and that will make it difficult for Cinderellas like VCU and Richmond to advance this weekend.
- Rams point guard Joey Rodriguez leads VCU’s surprising attack this week against Florida State. VCU blew out a Purdue team known for its defensive acumen, but can it do the same to the Seminoles, who are the best in Ken Pomeroy’s defensive efficiency metric?
- David Robinson was known as “The Admiral” for his naval service. We may have to come up with a nickname for FSU center Bernard James, who spent six years in the Air Force with tours of duty in Qatar, Kuwait and Iraq before enrolling in school.
- RTC’s Big 12 correspondent, Owen Kemp, conducted a Q&A at Rock Chalk Talk with Daniel Bonsall, a Richmond Spiders blog. Kansas’ toughest challenge could come in cracking Chris Mooney‘s matchup zone defense.
- Steve Fisher has come a long way since his days leading Michigan. He may not have the star power of Billy Donovan or Mike Krzyzewski, but he’s experienced his share of March success, and that experience will play a big role in the Aztecs’ quest to topple Connecticut.
- Arizona administrators are trying to quell rumors of head coach Sean Miller parlaying his tournament success into a job elsewhere, particularly at NC State, where Miller worked for five seasons as an assistant under Herb Sendek. Considering Arizona’s status in the college basketball world, there aren’t many vacancies for programs that would constitute a step up for Miller, who has done a terrific job reviving basketball in Tucson.
- Despite having a #1-seed, Duke and its fans must travel to Anaheim all the way from Durham. That doesn’t faze many Blue Devil followers, especially those who have a longer trip in store next summer – accompanying Duke on its summer trip to China and Dubai.
- UConn’s run to the Sweet 16 has been anything but typical. From early success in Maui to struggling through a portion of the Big East schedule and its historic run in Madison Square Garden, the Huskies are ready for anything, and more importantly, are peaking again.
- SDSU’s favorable home court advantage lay not just in Anaheim’s proximity to campus, but in it newly devoted fanbase. Viejas Arena was 94% full all season, and many in that devoted group of students plan to make the short trip to Anaheim.
- In case you missed it, Pete Thamel of the New York Times wrote a great article about Ken Pomeroy and his rankings’ standings among the coaches in this week’s Sweet 16. While his system is embraced by many contemporaries, even more accomplished coaches, including Mike Kryzewski, also utilize his findings.