NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.22.12 EditionPosted by rtmsf on March 22nd, 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.
- Ohio University has seen its share of stars come through its program, but that has not translated into postseason success until this year. Cincinnati may be playing in Boston as part of the East Regional, but several individuals from the Cincinnati area have played key roles in the growth of Ohio’s program.
- Meanwhile, Ohio U. has been looking for a way to differentiate itself from their more well-known neighbors in Columbus and this year’s NCAA Tournament run may be doing the trick.
- The big topic for North Carolina is the right wrist of Kendall Marshall. Yesterday, Marshall had his cast removed, but even Roy Williams is unsure of Marshall’s status. The one thing everyone is certain of is that Marshall’s injury highlights the importance of Dexter Strickland‘s injury earlier this season. As a result of Marshall’s injury, the Tar Heels might be forced to rely on unproven guards Stillman White and Justin Watts.
- It has been a rough month for the ACC, but North Carolina State is providing the conference with some unexpected strength. Richard Howell has struggled this season to avoid foul trouble, which could be a major issue against the talented Jayhawk frontline.
- It will never live up to the shot by Mario Chalmers, but Elijah Johnson‘s three-pointer against Purdue might just go down in Kansas lore if Bill Self’s team can continue their run. Johnson’s ability to hit that shot also reflects his growth from a role player to a leader on this Kansas team.
- Buzz Williams may think that he doesn’t ‘belong’ in a regional with Tom Izzo, Rick Pitino, and Billy Donovan (and their 14 Final Four appearances combined), but he’s there regardless, and the colorful (and light-footed) head coach has a pretty good shot to play on with what might be his best team in Milwaukee.
- Florida knows that if it is going to pull off the upset in the regional semifinals tonight, it’ll take a team effort to combat the Golden Eagles’ football-like mentality when it comes to defense.
- The Gators have played better in March in large part because of their elite freshman, Bradley Beal. Billy Donovan sat the basketball prodigy down several weeks ago and instructed him to stop worrying about stepping on the upperclassmen’s toes. It seems to be working.
- Rick Pitino has his Louisville Cardinals staying in an isolated resort a half-hour from downtown Phoenix, locked in and focusing completely on tonight’s game against Michigan State. In a battle of meaningless streaks, Pitino seeks to go 10-0 for his career in Sweet Sixteen games, while Tom Izzo seeks to take his fourth #1 seed to the Final Four (his previous three #1 seeds also went)
- Tom Izzo gets credit for a lot of things, but he probably doesn’t get enough credit for avoiding upsets in the NCAA Tournament. As Michael Rosenberg writes, Izzo has largely beaten the teams that MSU is supposed to beat, which probably doesn’t make Louisville feel very good going into tonight’s contest.
- Syracuse forward CJ Fair has struggled both in the Big East Tournament and through the first two games of the NCAA Tournament. The Baltimore native is looking to regain his Big East form in the Sweet Sixteen. Improved play by Fair would give the top-seeded Orange a brand new dimension.
- Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is in his 36th season at the school and by now, everyone should know that in Boeheim’s world, you’re either with him or against him.
- Wisconsin has had the luxury of having additional scorers emerge in the NCAA Tournament. Forward Mike Bruesewitz and guards Ben Brust and Rob Wilson have seen their scoring outputs rise in the first two games of the Big Dance.
- Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin will not focus on the Bearcats’ NCAA Tournament history with Ohio State, but rather he will lead his team into making its own history.
- Ohio State forward Jared Sullinger is looking to lead his team to some Sweet Sixteen redemption. If you recall, last March the top-seeded Buckeyes were bested by Kentucky in this round.
- When Kentucky lost to Indiana on December 10, Terrence Jones had one of his worst games of the season. The sophomore forward scored only four points, grabbed one rebound, and finished with six turnovers. Entering Friday’s rematch, Jones is seeking a bit of personal redemption.
- Indiana sophomore guard Will Sheehey has been a solid contributor for the Hoosiers all season. What most people do not know is the interesting story of his recruitment to Indiana.
- Indiana swingman Christian Watford still savors the buzzer-beating three-pointer he hit to beat Kentucky. However, the junior noted that, “It’s kind of over now.”
- When Scott Drew arrived at Baylor, the program was coming off perhaps the worst scandal in NCAA history. Now, Drew has led a remarkable turnaround that has culminated in two Sweet Sixteen appearances in the last three years.
- ESPN.com made a list of the most indispensable players for each Sweet Sixteen team. It was interesting that they chose center Kenny Frease for Xavier, but if Frease puts together more performances like his against Lehigh, he deserves to be on this list.