NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.12.12 EditionPosted by Brian Goodman on March 12th, 2012
The NCAA Tournament is here and there’s more news, commentary and analysis than any of us can possibly keep up with. To make things a little easier, we’ll bring you a list of daily links gathered about teams in each of the four regions all the way through the Final Four.
- Is top-seeded Syracuse primed for a “flop?” Dan Wolken of The National believes so, although most other national analysts seem to still believe in the Orange’s prospects.
- Leonard Hamilton’s Florida State Seminoles “just flicked its cigarette ashes on the carpet of Tobacco Road,” according to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Mike Bianchi, who tries to put FSU’s ACC championship in perspective.
- Vanderbilt won its first SEC championship in 61 years on Sunday, beating Kentucky in a game that ended with head coach Kevin Stallings sitting on the sideline in tears. The Commodores are getting some talk as a Final Four dark horse, and it’s all because of the vision that Stallings had for his program.
- Despite being the #7 seed, Gonzaga is viewing its trip to Pittsburgh to play regional favorite West Virginia, to be a “road game,” and with good reason — the Morgantown campus is roughly 90 minutes from the Steel City.
- When players such as Kyle Casey and Keith Wright were recruited to Harvard, they bought into what head coach Tommy Amaker was selling about building a successful program in Cambridge. Now, with the Crimson heading to its first NCAA Tournament since 1946, all that belief and hard work has paid off.
- Three months ago, Xavier and Cincinnati squared off in the darkest moment of the entire season. Today, both teams are flying high after receiving at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.
- North Carolina expects to have center John Henson healthy for the opening round later this week. Henson missed the ACC Tournament final, a Tar Heel loss to Florida State, with a sprained left wrist.
- A three-game losing streak by Creighton in early February caused its seed to fall, and the Bluejays could be vulnerable to an early exit when it faces defensive-minded Alabama.
- The Temple Owls will play the waiting game, as its opponent won’t be decided until Wednesday when South Florida faces California in the first round.
- South Florida has faced an uphill battle to make the tournament every season since joining the Big East in 2005, but the Bulls are back in the Big Dance for the first time in 20 years.
- After taking care of business throughout the regular season, Michigan could rest easy knowing it wouldn’t be on the bubble this time around.
- Two years after Mickey McConnell and Omar Samhan made Saint Mary’s the darlings of the 2010 Big Dance, the Gaels return to the Tournament where a Friday date with Purdue awaits.
- Kansas head coach Bill Self is all business as his Jayhawks prepare to face Detroit. In an unusual twist, the 15-seed Titans have a 1-0 advantage over the storied Kansas program in active McDonald’s All-Americans (Ray McCallum, Jr.).
- The Lexington Herald-Leader‘s John Clay asks whether the much-hashed theory that Kentucky needed a loss in order to re-focus to win the national title is true. He then goes on to answer his own question by picking the hometown Cats to win it all in New Orleans.
- The defending national champion Connecticut Huskies did no celebrating when brackets were released Sunday night. Instead, the mantra was ‘business as usual,’ as the talented but enigmatic team received its lowest NCAA Tournament seed since 1992.
- Seth Davis’ on-air announcement that South Dakota State would upset Baylor in the opening round was met with disdain and chagrin from the Jackrabbits’ head coach, Scott Nagy.
- After leading Colorado to the Pac-12 Tournament title on Saturday night, Buffs’ fans have reason to be excited about Tad Boyle and their bright future. In a tip of the hat to CU’s fan support, the school even let a student climb the ladder and cut down a piece of the Staples Center nets.
- With Indiana‘s return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008, Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star writes that the Hoosiers are back where they belong. The “dumpster fire of epic proportions” is in the past now.
- Michigan State is the only one-seed in this season’s tournament to have won its conference tournament.
- The scorching Memphis Tigers are firing on all cylinders, having won their last seven games by an average margin of 22 points.
- Following a disappointing losing season in 2011, Rick Majerus orchestrated one of the nation’s best turnarounds at St. Louis University.
- Long Beach State head coach Dan Monson and Steve Alford of New Mexico used to coach in the Big Ten. This week, they’ll meet as opposing coaches of mid-major programs.
- Davidson owns one of the most hard-earned bids in the tournament. The Wildcats won the SoCon final in double-overtime and will face Louisville in Portland.
- Despite being a six-seed, Murray State received a potentially huge break from the selection committee in getting sent to nearby Louisville for the second round where the Racers will square off against Colorado State.
- Did the NCAA slight Missouri by giving them the overall eighth spot in the S-curve even though the Tigers won the Big 12 Tournament?