NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.27.14 EditionPosted by Griffin Wong on March 27th, 2014
March Madness is finally upon us, and we here at RTC are here to make everything a little bit easier for you. From the First Four until One Shining Moment, we’ll be dropping daily tidbits of knowledge regarding the teams in each region.
- Despite a tough non-conference schedule, Florida is calling tonight’s game against UCLA its “toughest test yet.”
- Florida coach Billy Donovan is a proven commodity, and with no real pressure to succeed, he is “enjoying the ride.” However, after those comments, Donovan was sure to offer the disclaimer that he hasn’t lost his drive. Donovan added, “But I think, as I’ve gotten older — we all want to win. But for me, there’s a lot I’ve learned as it relates to life and as it relates to the drama of the NCAA tournament. What are these guys going to take from this experience, and how equipped are these guys to take the next step in their life?”
- With Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams sharing the backcourt, Norman Powell often flies under the radar. Will that mean Florida won’t be ready for the high-flying, high-intensity guard?
- Despite futile history in the NCAA Tournament, UCLA coach Steve Alford is “all business” this year, barely allowing himself to celebrate his team’s berth in the Sweet Sixteen.
- Stanford’s Dwight Powell considered testing the NBA waters last summer, but stayed to fulfill his promise of graduating to his late mother. Stanford now finds itself just one game from the Elite Eight, and Powell has certainly played a significant part in that run.
- Tonight’s match-up between Stanford and Dayton will be tight, but can the Cardinal gain a huge advantage over the Flyers with all of its size?
- Dayton has accomplished a great deal to be playing in the Sweet Sixteen, but with #10 seed Stanford on deck, the Flyers have a legitimate chance to extend their Cinderella story.
- Dayton had the most wins in college basketball during the 1950s and 1960s, and the Flyers look to create even more history for themselves tonight.
- Arizona is hoping big man Kaleb Tarczewski returns to school next season, but he wouldn’t budge when asked. “Zeus,” as they call him in Tucson, commented, “If [they] think I’m ready to go, I’ll go and if not, I’ll come back. Doesn’t matter now.”
- Without Brandon Ashley, Arizona has had to play a bit smaller. However, this has played to its advantage sometimes, particularly when it comes to getting out in transition.
- San Diego State was waiting to see whether it would play Arizona or Gonzaga in the Sweet Sixteen. Upon finding out its next game would be a rematch against Arizona, Aztecs guard Winston Shephard responded, “Gonzaga’s a great team, and no disrespect to them, but we would have much rather played Arizona.”
- San Diego State’s Aqueel Quinn took a huge risk trying to transfer and then walk-on to the team, but it has paid off through his hard work.
- Despite dominating its competition so far, Baylor isn’t getting the respect it deserves. As Dennis Dodd puts it, the Bears are “the best kept secret left in the tournament.”
- Baylor point guard Kenny Chery has been outstanding in his first season with the program, but could his lack of Division I experience end up hurting the Bears as the Tournament moves forward?
- If things get tight on Friday, know that Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson is going to want the ball, especially at the free throw line.
- Bo Ryan has coached Wisconsin into one of the most consistent basketball programs in the country; however, what his resume still lacks is a trip to the Final Four.
- Virginia senior Joe Harris is content that his statistics have gone down in exchange for team success. Just by being around him, one can tell that he’s a perfect match for coach Tony Bennett and his team-first attitude.
- Of course Tony Bennett has done an outstanding job, but much of Virginia’s comeback as a program should be credited to its coaching staff as a whole.
- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has seen incredible success in college, and it doesn’t sound like he’s leaving East Lansing any time soon.
- Madison Square Garden can be an intimidating venue, but don’t expect Michigan State’s veteran team to be intimidated.
- Iowa State has been outstanding during this NCAA Tournament, and expect them to get even better if tomorrow’s game comes down to crunch time. Clutch play is what has gotten the Cylones here.
- Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has serious respect for UConn, and isn’t going to let the #7 seed sneak up on his team.
- UConn’s Shabazz Napier has turned heads all around the basketball world, including that of basketball legend Oscar Robertson.
- Tickets to the Sweet Sixteen are expensive at Madison Square Garden, but UConn has won over the belief of its fans and they are willing to pay the price.
- Kentucky has been playing fantastic basketball of late, but coach John Calipari knows that his team needs to do some “fine tuning” to reach the “high, high level” necessary to win it all.
- Though you wouldn’t think a blue-blood program would take on this mentality, Kentucky is beginning to thrive as an underdog.
- In its quest to repeat as national champs, Louisville must get by its most hated rival: Kentucky.
- Louisville’s Luke Hancock won a national title last year, but with this NCAA Tournament being his last, the 2013 Final Four Most Outstanding Player hopes to make 2014 count even more.
- Tennessee will go up against #2 seed and Big Ten regular season champion Michigan on Friday, but in the words of senior guard Jordan McRae, “We’re definitely not afraid of anyone.”
- Tennessee’s Josh Richardson has had his parents with him every step of the way, and they’ll continue to be there for the biggest game(s) of his life this weekend.
- If the Volunteers are going to have a chance against Michigan, they need to shut down the Wolverines’ three-point shooting, led by Big Ten Player of the Year and notorious sharp shooter, Nik Stauskas.
- In Michigan coach John Beilein’s attempt to “get all of his best players on the court,” he’s put his team at a size disadvantage down low. Will this lack of size haunt the Wolverines against the bigger and stronger Tennessee frontcourt?