NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 04.02.13 EditionPosted by WCarey on April 2nd, 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.
- Many people around the country are very surprised that Wichita State has advanced to the Final Four, but Louisville coach Rick Pitino is not one of them. “I picked Wichita State to go to the Final Four,” Pitino said Monday during a conference call.
- Louisville junior guard Russ Smith was named a third team All-America selection by the Associated Press.
- When Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered his horrific compound fracture Sunday, one teammate rushed to be by his side as he laid on the court writhing in pain; that teammate was swingman Luke Hancock.
- With the injury to guard Kevin Ware, Louisville’s backcourt depth took a bit of a hit. Walk-on Tim Henderson will be called upon to play increased minutes in Ware’s absence and Cardinals coach Rick Pitino expects him to step up in his unexpected role.
- The injury to Ware definitely has caused and will continue to cause some adversity for Louisville, but as Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports explains, this injury is not the worst adversity head coach Rick Pitino has had to handle.
- Wichita State guard Malcolm Armstead‘s road to the Final Four includes stops at a junior college and Oregon before he had to pay his own way at Wichita State. While his road was uncommon, he is now living out a dream by playing in the Final Four.
- When Wichita State capped off a three-game losing streak in early February by losing to lowly Southern Illinois, Shockers coach Gregg Marshall thought there was a chance his team might not make the NCAA Tournament.
- Wichita State’s surprising run to the Final Four has captivated the sports world so much that the Shockers will be featured on one of the three Sports Illustrated regional covers this week.
- In basketball, first impressions do not always turn out to be lasting impressions. This is definitely the case when it comes to head coach Gregg Marshall and Shockers’ forward Cleanthony Early. Marshall initially thought Early was nothing more than a gunner, but Early’s success on the court has definitely changed Marshall’s tune.
- Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who was the Shockers’ head coach from 2000-07, was certainly excited to talk about his old school earning a trip to the Final Four.
- Michigan freshman forward Mitch McGary has exploded onto the national scene during the NCAA Tournament by averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds in the Wolverines’ four games. While McGary is just a freshman, ESPN‘s Chad Ford believes he would be a likely first round pick if he decides to declare for this June’s NBA Draft.
- Michigan point guard Trey Burke received more postseason accolades Monday when he was named a first team All-America by both the Associated Press and the Wooden Award.
- Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and forwards Jon Horford and Glenn Robinson III are all parts of pretty impressive NBA families, proving that the apple does not fall far from the tree.
- While Michigan has been led to the Final Four mostly by its youth, it was lightly-used seniors Eso Akunne, Josh Bartelstein, Blake McLimas, Corey Person, and Matt Vogrich who were on the court as the final seconds ticked away in Sunday’s Elite Eight victory over Florida. Those five played the last minute of the blowout, but it meant so much more to them, proving that their dedication has paid off in their final seasons.
- Michigan coach John Beilein‘s long and winding career finally has him at his first Final Four, but the veteran coach says there is no personal validation from that berth.
- Syracuse earned its Final Four berth largely due to its great defensive performances in wins over Indiana and Marquette, but Orange coach Jim Boeheim is still wary of Michigan’s explosive offense.
- Jim Boeheim on Michigan coach John Beilein: “He’s won every place he’s been. That’s difficult to do, to be able to go to five or six different places and win. John has been able to win at every place along the line, and nothing different now.”
- While Syracuse has an abundance of talent, its stingy 2-3 zone defense has been the catalyst to its Final Four run.
- The Orange’s season hit rock bottom on March 9 with a 22-point loss to archival Georgetown, but since then, the team has rediscovered itself on their way to what was once seen as a highly unlikely Final Four appearance.
- Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams has done an excellent job of multi-tasking. He has been a huge component of a team that has reached the Final Four and he has also been there for his family, whose Boston-area home burned down on March 23.