NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.31.11Posted by Brian Goodman on March 31st, 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.
- It seems like head coach Brad Stevens is getting as much attention for his glasses as he is for his coaching. Stevens is drawing comparisons to Clark Kent due to this look.
- “The Butler Way” consists of team-first basketball and an emphasis on defense. One columnist argues that it represents all that is right with sports.
- Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters believes that Horizon League foe Butler has a legitimate chance of winning the National Championship. Waters’ Vikings have dropped 11 of 13 meetings to the Bulldogs, including three this season.
- Point guard Shelvin Mack didn’t have the easiest childhood, but the assistance that he received from many people in his life has made reaching back-to-back Final Fours possible. It is tough not to root for a kid like Mack.
- Former Bulldog and current Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward acknowledged that he has never second-guessed his decision to leave Butler early and enter the NBA Draft. Hayward also made sure to note that he is pulling hard for the Bulldogs to cut down the nets on Monday evening.
- Much has been made of Kemba Walker‘s spectacular season and Jeremy Lamb‘s breakout in the tournament, but Jamal Coombs-McDaniel and Alex Oriakhi share a bond that goes back to before Walker even set foot in campus.
- Houston has been good to UConn during Jim Calhoun‘s tenure, as the city was home to Jake Voskuhl, Emeka Okafor and Hasheem Thabeet before the three players made their respective trips up to Storrs. The Huskies are looking for Houston to give them another great memory.
- Youth will dominate Saturday’s semifinal between Connecticut and Kentucky, with a probable six freshmen combined in the two teams’ starting lineups.
- If UConn is the last team standing in Houston, one question sure to be asked surrounds Jim Calhoun’s future with the university. And if the end of his coaching career is nigh, who might succeed him? Former Husky player and current assistant Kevin Ollie might lead that list.
- More hardware rolls in for Kemba Walker, who was named the recipient of the Bob Cousy Award as college basketball’s top point guard, beating out Nolan Smith, Norris Cole, Jordan Taylor and Jimmer Fredette.
- Head coach John Calipari has a well-deserved controversial reputation, but he also has a reputation of being very successful. Kentucky is hoping that Calipari can put the controversy behind him and be the successful leader of the Wildcats for many years.
- It really is too bad that Calipari’s two vacated Final Fours are even being mentioned this week. Much more attention should be paid to the outstanding job he did leading Kentucky to its first Final Four since 1998.
- The Kentucky faithful are hoping that freshman forward Terrence Jones will return for his sophomore season. We are not sure how likely that is, as Jones is being pegged as a definite lottery pick.
- He has already made clutch plays versus Princeton and Ohio State, so it would be unreasonable to believe that Brandon Knight doesn’t have the ability to make a game-changing shot at some point this weekend.
- Once seen as an afterthought and a nuisance, junior guard DeAndre Liggins now finds himself in the good graces of his coaches and his teammates.
- Virginia’s governor, Bob McDonnell, is encouraging state employees to dress down on Friday – provided their casual clothing displays VCU gear. More than 1,000 Richmond residents gathered to see the Rams off to Houston on Wednesday.
- On campus, VCU spirit is at fever pitch. The campus bookstore reports over 20,000 t-shirts sold since the Rams sent Kansas packing from San Antonio on Sunday and 2,000 students attended a pep rally before the team departed to the Final Four.
- Tommy Tonelli, whose high school team faced Joey Rodriguez‘s prior to his arrival in Richmond, states that his scouting report remains the same as it was in 2006: “He controls the game, takes the open shot and gets people the ball when he needs to.” Tonelli has some elite company as a coach who has fallen to the Rams.
- The Rams are hoping for a chance to practice their new victory dance brought in by freshman Heath Houston. Will Shaka Smart bust a move?
- No one can blame VCU for getting excited, but Smart’s motivational acumen will be tested as he looks to keep his team focused on the prize.