NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 04.01.14 EditionPosted by Griffin Wong on April 1st, 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.
- Though it plays in the Sunshine State, Florida is far from a “glamour basketball school.” The Gators are tough, and much of that toughness has come thanks to a Strongman competition put on by the strength and conditioning program.
- In a season where Florida has broken numerous school records, a National Championship seems like the only proper way to finish things off.
- The stakes will be high this weekend, but this isn’t Florida coach Billy Donovan’s “first rodeo.” Donovan has coached in four Final Fours.
- Florida struggled with injuries to begin the season, but heading into the most important weekend in college basketball, the Gators are just about as healthy as can be.
- Florida’s last loss came against UConn, but with the stakes higher and Scottie Wilbekin most likely on the floor this time, the Gators have a chance to “write a better ending.”
- Yesterday, Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather were named AP All-Americans, on the third team and honorable mention rolls, respectively.
- Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan may have reached his first Final Four, but he’s not ready to go home any time soon.
- Check out Big Ten Network‘s Tom Dienhart feature as he looks back at former three-star recruit and Wisconsin go-to-guy, Frank Kaminsky.
- Though Kaminsky has been Wisconsin’s first option, its three-man backcourt of Ben Brust, Traevon Jackson, and Josh Gasser has been paramount to its success.
- Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan is known for his slow pace and emphasis on fundamentals, and even though it isn’t always pretty basketball, he has proven that it works at every level of college hoops.
- Wisconsin has proven that it can win physical, tough ball games. Against Arizona, the Badgers felt that the Elite Eight dogfight resembled a Big Ten basketball game, of which they’re very familiar.
- Both teams have had great success this season, but Wisconsin and Kentucky are polar opposites in many ways.
- UConn second year coach Kevin Ollie has been fortunate to have legendary coaches Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma there for his support system.
- Even though Kevin Ollie has had his predecessor and former coach Jim Calhoun there for him, and Ollie insists that this is still “his team.” As he states in the article, “[Calhoun] has been a great resource for us. He’s an ambassador. He built this program. So I’d be a fool not to use him. But at the end of the day I have to make my decision on what I think is best.”
- First it was Kemba Walker, and now it is Shabazz Napier who has been the lead guard that carries UConn to the Final Four.
- Florida coach Billy Donovan attributed the Gators’ early season loss to UConn to “luck,” and with a rematch in the Final Four on the horizon, the Huskies hope to get some more of that good fortune.
- Much has changed since 2011, and Kevin Ollie and Shabazz Napier are paving the way for a new era of UConn basketball.
- UConn vs. Florida will be an exciting game, but will it be able to top the one-point thriller that the two teams played back in December?
- Heading into the season’s final weekend, Kentucky is playing about as well as it can offensively.
- Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua landed the head coaching position at South Florida yesterday.
- Sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein appears doubtful for the Final Four. In his place, the ‘Cats hope that freshman Marcus Lee, who was a surprise factor in the Elite Eight, can make an impact down low.
- Even though Kentucky landed one of the best recruiting classes of all-time, coach John Calipari still deserves a lot of credit for taking a team that was disjointed late in the season to the Final Four.
- A Texas native, Kentucky standout freshman Julius Randle will be playing close to his loved ones this weekend. “I’m coming home to my mom,” Randle said.
- Though he’s done so controversially and not without criticism, Kentucky coach John Calipari has built the school to arguably the best it has ever been thanks to his system of recruiting and playing “one-and-dones.”