NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.28.13 EditionPosted by WCarey on March 28th, 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.
- Louisville coach Rick Pitino received a little scouting help at practice Wednesday. Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford stopped by the Cardinals’ practice to give some advice to his former coach. Ford’s Cowboys lost to Oregon, Louisville’s Sweet Sixteen opponent, in the Round of 64.
- The game of basketball has unquestionably evolved and changed over the course of Louisville coach Rick Pitino‘s career, but one thing has remained constant for the veteran coach, and that is his great appreciation for defensive deflections.
- Oregon shot just 31.9% on three-pointers during the regular season, but the Ducks have really turned it on in the postseason, shooting 47.4% from three-point range in five tournament games this month.
- Louisville is well known for its intense defensive pressure and that has caused Oregon to expend a great deal of time and energy to prepare for that pressure.
- Legendary Michigan State coach Jud Heathcote is planning on attending the Final Four if Michigan State is able to advance to Atlanta.
- After watching forward Branden Dawson‘s passion pick up in last week’s wins over Valparaiso and Memphis, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo identifies the sophomore as the key player in Friday night’s game against Duke.
- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and center Mason Plumlee were highly complimentary of Blue Devils’ freshman swingman Rasheed Sulaimon for his performance in Sunday’s victory over Creighton.
- Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com reported Wednesday morning that Duke associate head coach Chris Collins has verbally agreed to become the next head coach at Northwestern. While Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski remarked Wednesday that it was not yet a done deal, he did acknowledge that Northwestern would be getting a “great coach” in Collins.
- ESPN analyst Jay Bilas thinks highly of Wichita State and its Sweet Sixteen berth, saying, “Wichita State is not a Cinderella team. You can’t label a team that is consistently excellent like that.”
- Wichita State forward Carl Hall arrived to the program as a slightly out-of-shape junior college transfer before the 2011-12 season and that is among the reasons why the hard-nosed rebounder is never satisfied.
- La Salle coach John Giannini sees as many similarities as differences between the Explorers’ current run with the run he had to a national title as the coach of Division III Rowan University in 1996.
- After originally being listed as doubtful, La Salle sophomore center Steve Zack has been cleared to play Thursday against Wichita State. The Explorers’ big man has not played since March 2 due to a foot injury.
- Arizona senior forward Solomon Hill donned a gold practice jersey to a press conference at the Staples Center on Wednesday. He wore the gold jersey because it symbolized that he was the Wildcat who performed best in practice this week. Hill is going to need to bring the same effort into Thursday’s game with Ohio State as he faces a tough match-up against standout Buckeyes forward Deshaun Thomas.
- Arizona freshman center Kaleb Tarczewski has matured a lot over the course of his first season and his ability to hit his stride at the right time has been crucial for the Wildcats.
- Ohio State forward Deshaun Thomas‘ ability to score around the basket and step out to hit a long-range jumper makes him a unique player. The match-up issues he presents are certainly going to challenge Arizona on Thursday.
- Ohio State sophomore LaQuinton Ross‘ late-season emergence might be a key factor for the Buckeyes in Thursday’s game with Arizona.
- Kansas standout freshman Ben McLemore has really struggled over the last four games, but the explosive guard is confident that he can regain his shooting touch this weekend.
- Michigan is being picked by many national outlets to pull the upset over Kansas on Friday night, and Jayhawks coach Bill Self is just fine with the attention on the Wolverines.
- Michigan has five freshmen contributors, and thus far, those five have all been able to find their footing in the NCAA Tournament.
- Michigan star point guard Trey Burke says if the Wolverines win the national title, his decision on whether to leave for the NBA would be “much easier.”
- Even when things are going well for Florida senior guard Mike Rosario, Gators coach Billy Donovan is not going to cut him an inch of slack due to the high standard he holds for the senior.
- Florida has a well-earned reputation for being strong on the perimeter, but the Gators’ most important player might very well be forward Patric Young.
- Long before he was a star in the coaching ranks, Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield was a star player himself at Johns Hopkins University from 1987-91.
- Hundreds of fans showed up to send off Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday before the Eagles departed for the South Regional in Dallas.
- Indiana saw a lot of things during the Big Ten regular season gauntlet, but the Hoosiers did not see anything quite like Syracuse’s long and athletic 2-3 zone.
- Indiana sixth-man Will Sheehey has definitely established a reputation as being a pain in the rear for the opposition.
- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim shot down retirement rumors Wednesday when he acknowledged that he will return to the Orange sidelines next season. We’ll have to wait to see on that claim.
- When Keith Smart nailed the shot to beat Syracuse in the 1987 National Championship, he was being guarded by Syracuse forward Howard Triche. Some 26 years later, Triche’s nephew, Brandon is looking to lead the Orange to an upset victory over the Hoosiers in the Sweet Sixteen.
- Marquette coach Buzz Williams has led the Golden Eagles to three consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearances, thus showing that he has found a successful method to March Madness.
- A major reason why Marquette has had such a great season is because the team has amazingly avoided any significant injuries.
- Miami senior guard Durand Scott does a little bit of everything for the Hurricanes. For example, Scott is a solid scorer and was also the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
- Miami is familiar with the fact that it does not have an illustrious basketball history, but the Hurricanes do not see themselves as a Cinderella story.