NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.13.12 EditionPosted by Brian Goodman on March 13th, 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.
- One thing the Big 12 is missing in the NCAA Tournament is a #1 seed. Coming into the Big 12 Tournament, Kansas and Missouri had their chances, but the Jayhawks dropped their semifinal to Baylor and despite winning the regular season crown, the selection committee frowned on the Tigers’ non-conference schedule in dropping them to a #2 seed.
- Kentucky head coach John Calipari was irked by the omission of Drexel from the field of 68. While the Dragons certainly had an argument for inclusion, we’ll also point out that Calipari’s comments also serve as a defense of his former assistant, Drexel head coach Bruiser Flint.
- Indiana sophomore swingman Victor Oladipo has done a little bit of everything for the resurgent Hoosiers. He’s a key cog in the Hoosier offense, averaging 10.9 points per game and helps out on the glass with 5.5 rebouns per contest.
- Notre Dame turned what was supposed to be a rebuilding year into an NCAA Tournament bid. The silver lining to losing Tim Abromaitis early in the season is that it gave the Irish plenty of time to adapt.
- Wichita State has exceeded all expectations this season. Would you be surprised to see the Shockers advance further than either of their high-major in-state brethren, Kansas or Kansas State?
- Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg and Connecticut assistant Kevin Ollie were once teammates with the Chicago Bulls. Now, their teams will meet in the Second Round.
- Notre Dame’s strong defense could pose a problem for Xavier. The Irish have made life miserable for a number of opponents this season (just ask Syracuse), and without a star player on offense, they’ll have to rely on their disciplined defense.
- Louisville head coach Rick Pitino looks to avoid an exit at the hands of a mid-major team for the second straight season when his Cardinals take on Davidson. The Wildcats enjoy an uptempo pace, which could play right into Louisville’s hands, but it could be curtains if the Cards’ offense continues to sputter.
- A close bond ties Long Beach State seniors Larry Anderson, T.J. Robinson and Casper Ware together, as do their struggles with ailing relatives. The 49ers are a popular Cinderella pick due to their experience and a non-conference schedule that saw them travel to some of the game’s most intense venues.
- After sweating out Selection Sunday, Colorado State breathed a sigh of relief but now must get to work as it prepares to face Murray State in Louisville. Donte Poole, once a CSU signee, is one of the Racers’ top contributors this season.
- Brigham Young and Iona may not be very familiar to casual fans (especially with BYU going back under the radar in life after Jimmer), but their uptempo styles could result in a thriller when they lock up tonight in Dayton.
- Everyone knows about Florida‘s talented backcourt, but the X-factor may come in the form of big man Patric Young. Young has endured an up-and-down season, but his upside remains high.
- Virginia forward and tempo-free man-crush Mike Scott hopes to make his last chance at Tournament success count as he and fellow senior Sammy Zeglinski lead the Cavaliers against the Gators.
- While Missouri is expected to trounce Norfolk State, the Tigers aren’t overlooking Kyle O’Quinn, the Spartans’ 6’10″ center. O’Quinn will carry per-game averages of 15.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks into Friday’s matchup.
- Can Wisconsin get over the hump? In the Bo Ryan era, the Badgers are 13-6 in their first two NCAA Tournament games, but haven’t been to the Elite Eight since 2005.
- Max Mandel of The Slipper Still Fits discusses Gonzaga‘s chances in the Bulldogs’ first matchup, where they face West Virginia. Kevin Jones may get his points for the Mountaineers, but the difference could be Gonzaga’s ability to contain Deniz Kilicli on the offensive glass.
- UNC Asheville is brimming with confidence entering Thursday’s game against Syracuse. This will be the Bulldogs’ second consecutive season facing the Big East regular season champion in the tournament, as Pittsburgh topped them 74-51 last year. While Eddie Biedenbach is taking the right approach, his team faces long odds as a #16 seed.
- After they beat the Orange in the Big East Tournament, the Cincinnati Bearcats are confident they can beat anyone in the field. Like Vanderbilt, UC is carrying momentum into the Big Dance, but some suspect losses on its resume are likely to stump bracket pool contestants nationwide.
- Having been out of action since Thursday’s Big 12 Tournament loss to Baylor, Kansas State‘s players and staff have been tasked with finding effective ways to fill their time. The Wildcats face Southern Mississippi Thursday.
- Vermont‘s season comes down to tonight’s showdown with Lamar in the First Round. Junior guard Branden Bald and Ben Crenca are the Catamounts’ only players on the current roster who were around for Vermont’s last NCAA appearance two years ago, which resulted in a loss to Syracuse. Will Lamar’s experience win out over the young Catamounts?
- On Selection Sunday, one of the hot topics was Lamar‘s presence in the brackets only a few short weeks following a viral excoriation of its seniors by head coach Pat Knight. Lamar and Western Kentucky are two programs that made the field despite darker moments earlier in the season, but the Cardinals appear to have set the criticism aside and are ready to play.
- Alabama weathered some rocky patches as well to land in the field. The Crimson Tide’s first tournament berth since 2006 came as a result of competitive non-conference scheduling and perseverance through late-season suspensions.
- The seemingly-endless supply of Pac-12 criticism probably won’t wane even if California bests South Florida, but seasoned Golden Bears head coach Mike Montgomery remains proud of his conference.
- A reasonable expectation for the Michigan Wolverines, writes Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp, is a spot in the Sweet Sixteen. Michigan isn’t quite back to where they were in the early ’90s as a perennial Final Four threat, but they’re getting there.
- The Georgetown Hoyas have some history with Belmont, its opponent for Friday’s Second Round game. The Hoyas bounced Belmont on their first step to the 2007 Final Four behind a 20-point game from Jesse Sapp.