NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.27.15 Edition

Posted by Griffin Wong on March 27th, 2015


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.

Midwest Region

These guys absolutely rule the college basketball world at the moment. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

These guys absolutely rule the college basketball world at the moment. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • West Virginia’s Daxter Miles talked the talk but it was Kentucky that walked the walk. After Miles declared that Kentucky would be “36-1” after playing the Mountaineers, the Wildcats proceeded to beat his team into submission by 39 points. The Kentucky players had some responses to share with the world via Twitter.
  • Last night, Kentucky showed what it could do when you make the Wildcats angry. After a historic Sweet Sixteen  beatdown of West Virginia, Ben Cohen asks the question we’ve been asking all year long: Can anyone beat Kentucky?
  • Not only did Daxter Miles‘ team lose the game despite guaranteeing victory, but he finished with no points and just one rebound. Tough day.
  • Notre Dame gained control early and took every punch Wichita State threw at it en route to an 11-point victory last night.
  • Notre Dame could have the offensive firepower to keep up with Kentucky if the Irish are able to hit their threes. But will it be enough to give the Wildcats’ their only loss of the season?
  • Could Gregg Marshall have just coached his last game at Wichita State? Having done wonders for the Shockers’ program over the last several years, will Marshall leave for a bigger job this off-season?

West Region

Some considered Wisconsin a one-man wrecking crew with some nice pieces, but Sam Dekker (#15) proved much more than that Thursday evening.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Sam Dekker (#15) proved his value last night. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Some considered Wisconsin a one-man wrecking crew with some nice side pieces, but Sam Dekker proved last night that the Badgers are so much more than that. Though Nigel Hayes had an off shooting night, Dekker exploded with a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds in leading the Badgers back to the Elite Eight.
  • Nigel Hayes has had some interesting encounters with press conference stenographers, but yesterday he was caught by a “hot mic” giving a female reporter quite a flattering compliment.
  • Lost among North Carolina’s defeat last night was the discovery that late coach Dean Smith left each of his former players $200 in his will for a “dinner out.”
  • Matt Stainbrook did his best to push Arizona to the limit last night, but the Wildcats still came out victorious in the end. However, that didn’t prevent the Wildcats from recognizing his efforts. “He definitely doesn’t look like that superstar kind of player,” [Brandon] Ashley said. “But he plays like one.”
  • With its win last night, Arizona set up a highly anticipated rematch between the Wildcats and Wisconsin on Saturday night. Last year, the Badgers edged the Wildcats in overtime, 64-63.
  • Though T.J. McConnell is the team’s floor general, Myron Medcalf believes that Stanley Johnson will be the “key” player for Arizona going forward.

East Region

Pitino has done another masterful job at Louisville

Rick Pitino and Louisville have a tough challenge ahead of them. (AP)

  • With Trevor LaceyCat Barber and Ralston Turner, NC State has one of the best backcourts remaining in the NCAA Tournament. Could this be the best Wolfpack backcourt since the “Fire and Ice” combo of Chris Corchiani and Rodney Monroe of the early ’90s?
  • NC State won its only meeting against Louisville this season, but tonight’s battle will be worth a whole lot more than your average ACC matchup.
  • When Chris Jones was dismissed from the team, sophomore Terry Rozier was immediately thrust into a more important role for the Cardinals. In the senior’s absence, Rozier has flourished, leading the Cardinals within two games of a Final Four.
  • He may have a different team this year but Rick Pitino has maintained the success that makes Louisville such a great program. The Cardinals started off slowly but seem to be righting the ship at just the right time.
  • Both Bahamian teammates at Sunrise Christian Academy, Buddy Hield and Tum Tum Nairn‘s friendship goes back for years. While they developed their games while playing one-on-one versus each other in open gyms, the Sweet Sixteen will present them with a bigger stage, to say the least.
  • He’s been solid on the hardwood, but Oklahoma big man Ryan Spangler first made a name for himself on the gridiron.
  • Michigan State is no stranger to the Sweet Sixteen but this year’s journey was definitely a bit unorthodox. “We had an up and down season,” Michigan State forward Branden Dawson said. “Honestly, I didn’t think we were going to get this far, especially in the Big Ten and in the Tournament. But it’s just the way we’ve been playing.”
  • In an age where increasing value is given to analytics, having Director of Basketball Operations Kevin Pauga on the sideline has been invaluable to Michigan State.

South Region

Bryce Alford has been spectacular so far in this tournament. Will his stellar play continue Friday evening? (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Bryce Alford has been spectacular so far in this tournament. Will his stellar play continue Friday evening? (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

  • In a game that is now commonly filled with high-flying big men, Jahlil Okafor is somewhat of a throwback big man who employs a refined post game.
  • We know Duke students love both their studies and their basketball, so this program launched by the university’s Fuqua School of Business will be perfect. The program will track all sorts of detailed statistics related to Duke Basketball.
  • Utah may be the underdog in tonight’s game, but Coach K is giving Larry Krystkowiak a lot of praise, describing him as “just a really incredible guy, and I know the kids on the team benefit greatly from having a coach like him.”
  • He may be biased with his brother Delon Wright on the squad, but Trail Blazers forward Dorell Wright thinks Utah could pull off the upset tonight. “I think they’ve got the opportunity, the firepower and the players to get a big upset,” he said. “A lot of people, I’m pretty sure, are counting them out. They have the guys to get it done.”
  • Gonzaga point guard Kevin Pangos has been playing well but yesterday he even garnered a comparison to future Hall of Famer Steve Nash. “Kevin Pangos knocks it down,” [UCLA big man Tony] Parker said. “You have to respect him, you have to respect his ability to run the show. He’s like a baby Steve Nash.”
  • Gonzaga has been to the NCAA Tournament for 17 straight years but they’ve only made it to a single Elite Eight (1999). If the Bulldogs are going to break through to another and eventually a Final Four, there may not be a better opportunity than this weekend.
  • UCLA guard Isaac Hamilton has had a bit of a tumultuous career in college, but he’s starting to play his best ball at the right time.
  • With Four Alfords (and counting) in the high-major basketball world, it’s safe to say that basketball runs in the family blood.
Griffin Wong (51 Posts)

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