NCAA Tournament Tidbits 03.19.12 EditionPosted by Brian Goodman on March 19th, 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.
- After an atrocious opening game where they nearly became the first #1 seed to a #16 seed, Syracuse rebounded with a solid performance that helped remind some people why they were a #1 seed in the first place.
- One of the keys to Wisconsin‘s consistent play in the postseason has been there tendency to never be satisfied. The Badgers should not have much difficulty finding motivation on Thursday against what should be a pro-Syracuse crowd in Boston.
- John Gasser was feeling the effects of a gastrointestinal illness on Saturday, but that did not prevent him giving the Badgers what they needed to beat Vanderbilt despite playing limited minutes.
- With their win on Sunday night Cincinnati advanced to the Sweet Sixteen and set up one of the more intriguing match-ups with an in-state showdown against Ohio State. The Buckeyes hold a 5-4 series edge, but outside of a game in 2006 the last game between the two schools was in 1962 when they played for the second year in a row in the National Championship Game.
- Hardcore college basketball fans have known about the importance of Aaron Craft all season, but that point was driven home with his actions on and off the court over the weekend.
- Of course, glossing over the play of Jared Sullinger in the team’s win over Gonzaga would be a major oversight. When the Buckeyes needed big plays it was their big man who came up with exactly what the team needed.
- The marquee matchup in the Sweet Sixteen occurs Friday night in Atlanta between Kentucky and Indiana. IU head coach Tom Crean gave Dan Patrick a few insights into his early scouting of the Wildcats, while Brian Rickerd of the The [Frankfort, KY] State Journal dissects quotes from the Wildcat players for clues as to how they’re really feeling about the rematch (hint: they’re lying).
- In 2o10, Baylor went to its first Sweet Sixteen under Scott Drew, where it laid waste to an upstart #10 seeded mid-major (St. Mary’s) in that round. Chuck Carlton from the Dallas Morning News writes that, despite the similarities, Baylor fans shouldn’t expect the same thing this time around because #10 Xavier is no joke.
- Kentucky will play next weekend with its best player, Anthony Davis, carrying at least one NPOY award with him, as the USBWA announced that the 6’10″, 220-pound freshman is its choice for the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Surprisingly, Davis is the first Wildcat to win this award.
- Kentucky and Indiana are quite obviously two of the blue bloods in the realm of college basketball history, but Friday’s game will be only the fourth time that the two programs have squared off in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats and Hoosiers played twice in the span of three seasons in the mid-70s, splitting the two matchups (and with UK ending IU’s unbeaten season in 1974-75). They also played in the regional semifinals in 1983, with Kentucky winning the rubber match.
- Xavier‘s trip to the Sweet Sixteen is its fourth in five seasons. The only other schools that can claim such consistent excellence in the postseason are North Carolina, Michigan State, and Kansas.
- Despite playing from behind for most of the game, Kansas ultimately denied its fanbase early heartbreak for the third straight season and sent Purdue packing.
- In taking down Georgetown Sunday afternoon, NC State head coach Mark Gottfried continued to make skeptics look silly.
- All eyes turn to Kendall Marshall‘s broken right wrist, suffered during the Tar Heels’ win over Creighton. Marshall is scheduled to undergo surgery today, and the North Carolina point guard will try to patch things together with a dry backcourt this week against Ohio.
- The Bobcats are just one of four teams from Ohio to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The buzz this week should be exciting, with Ohio joining Cincinnati, Xavier and Ohio State in the second weekend.
- CBS broadcasting personality Clark Kellogg is excited for his son Nick’s success with Ohio, but requested that his employer assign him a different game later this week.
- Louisville head coach Rick Pitino and guard Russ Smith have a unique relationship as they guide the Cardinals into the second weekend.
- Michigan State’s Keith Appling took advantage of the space given to him by St. Louis defenders in the Spartans’ win on Sunday afternoon, though it took some encouragement from head coach Tom Izzo.
- The magnetic and quirky Buzz Williams leads Marquette into a Sweet Sixteen battle with Florida later this week.
- The Gators routed Norfolk State on Sunday, drawing curtains on the Spartans’ Cinderella run. Norfolk State ensured a clip or three in the annual “One Shining Moment” video in taking down two-seed Missouri Friday afternoon.
- Florida guard Mike Rosario is happy to be participating in the postseason. As a transfer last season, Rosario had to stay home while the Gators played in March, and in his time with Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights failed to make the dance.