NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.27.13 EditionPosted by WCarey on March 27th, 2013
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.
- Kansas standout freshman Ben McLemore only went a combined 2-of-14 in the Jayhawks’ wins over Western Kentucky and North Carolina, but Kansas coach Bill Self is not worried about his guard’s scoring slump entering Friday’s game against Michigan.
- Upon arriving in Lawrence, Kansas senior center Jeff Withey promised Jayhawks coach Bill Self that he would not be a failure. It seems like Withey has done a very good job of fulfilling that promise.
- Michigan could potentially face of mass exodus of its star underclassmen to the NBA Draft this June, but Wolverines coach John Beilein believes that having players viewed as pro prospects is “a good problem to have.”
- Michigan freshman forward Mitch McGary believes that the Wolverines have found their swagger in the NCAA Tournament and that has resulted in the team just wanting it more.
- Florida coach Billy Donovan is not viewing Florida Gulf Coast as a Cinderella as the Gators prepare for Friday’s match-up with the Eagles. Donovan said the only thing that has been surprising to him is that “they are a 15-seed.”
- Florida is going to have many things going for it in Friday’s game against Florida Gulf Coast; however, one of those things will probably not be the crowd, as the third-seeded Gators will likely be seen as the villains against the 15th-seeded Eagles.
- Florida Gulf Coast seniors Sherwood Brown and Eddie Murray have a combined nine years in the program and both players have been instrumental in helping the school and team grow.
- Florida Gulf Coast point guard Brett Comer was always in the background in high school as he was a teammate of New Orleans Hornets rookie guard Austin Rivers, but with the Eagles’ improbable run to the Sweet Sixteen, Comer is finally having his turn in the spotlight.
- Indiana has always been seen as a mecca of basketball and that is not any different this year, as the state is buzzing as its Hoosiers look to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
- Indiana was ranked number one entering the season and had a plethora of expectations entering the postseason, thus the question emerges: Can the Hoosiers’ season be viewed as a success without a Final Four appearance?
- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim is a master of the art of focus, as he has led the Orange to its fourth Sweet Sixteen appearance in the last five seasons amid a number of controversy and negative headlines surrounding the program.
- The play of Syracuse guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams will be critical to the Orange’s success in Thursday’s matchup against Indiana.
- Mike Woods of the Appleton Post-Crecsent believes Marquette has surpassed Wisconsin as the state of Wisconsin’s top collegiate basketball program.
- Marquette junior swingman Vander Blue has played with a great deal of intensity during his third season in Milwaukee and this fire has fueled the Golden Eagles’ run all season.
- Miami will be without reserve big man Reggie Johnson for Thursday’s game against Marquette. According to two sources, Johnson suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s win over Illinois and underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday.
- Jim Larranaga left the Washington area when he departed George Mason for Miami. Now, the veteran coach must take his Hurricanes back to familiar D.C. territory for Thursday’s game against Marquette, as the Hurricanes continue their journey to a potential Final Four berth.
- Eccentric Louisville guard Russ Smith has earned the nickname, “Russdiculous” for his sometimes erratic play, but the junior has adapted to coach Rick Pitino’s system and is now thriving in it.
- Legendary Louisville coach Denny Crum on this year’s Cardinals: “If they have a weakness, they’re not a great shooting team.”
- Dana Altman was far from Oregon’s top choice during a lengthy coaching search in the spring of 2010, but in his time in Eugene, he has proven the Ducks are lucky to have him.
- Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi was the first Iranian to get a Division I scholarship, then he was the first Iranian to win a Pac-12 championship, and now, he is the first Iranian to go to the Sweet Sixteen.
- Michigan State freshman guard Gary Harris is a native of Fishers, Indiana, which makes this weekend’s trip to the Midwest Regional in Indianapolis a homecoming for him. While such a homecoming could be a distraction, Harris is sure he is ready for it.
- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo knows that defeating Duke on Friday night is going to be a tough task, but he and the Spartans are embracing the challenge the Blue Devils present.
- When Duke senior forward Ryan Kelly missed 13 games in the middle of the season due to a foot injury, reserves Amile Jefferson and Josh Hairston were forced to play bigger roles for the Blue Devils. This experience is paying off as both are ready to fully contribute when called upon.
- According to sources close to the situation, Duke associate head coach Chris Collins is on the verge of landing the head coaching position at Northwestern. Collins, a native of Northbrook, Illinois, has been on the Duke coaching staff since 2000.
- Kansas and Kansas State’s refusal to play Wichita State certainly irks Shockers’ head coach Gregg Marshall, who said of the situation, “Our success or failure doesn’t have anything to do with Kansas or K-State. They won’t play us. That’s their business.”
- Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early is in his first season as a Shocker after spending two seasons at the junior college level. While this season has not always been easy for Early, he has reached his peak in the team’s biggest moments.
- La Salle sophomore center Steve Zack, who has not played since March 2 due to a foot injury, is improving but he is still doubtful for Thursday’s game against Wichita State.
- Philadelphia has long been a proud basketball city, and this postseason the city is rallying around La Salle‘s impressive resurgence.
- Here’s an interesting argument by Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times, who posits that if Arizona guard Mark Lyons is on his game, he could get the Wildcats the national title.
- An in-depth look at the lengthy relationship between Arizona coach Sean Miller and Ohio State coach Thad Matta.
- The Lantern, the Ohio State student newspaper, took a lengthy look inside what makes Buckeyes point guard Aaron Craft such a polarizing player.
- Ohio State coach Thad Matta has taken the Buckeyes to four consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearances, thus backing up the popular assertion that Matta’s teams win when it matters most.