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 he’s struggled thus far in the NCAA Tournament, John Calipari’s message to Devin Booker is simple. “We told him after the game, ‘Hey, you’ve got to keep shooting,’ because there’s going to be a game we need him to make shots or we can’t win,” Calipari said. “You can miss all these. It doesn’t matter. The next one’s coming up and we may need you to make some shots.”
- Bob Huggins has had John Calipari’s number historically, but Kentucky certainly has the advantage by the numbers this time. Here’s what Kentucky blog A Sea of Blue has to say about Thursday’s battle.
- West Virginia is fast and physical, but Huggins is concerned about Kentucky’s defense, particularly inside the three-point line. “Probably the closest one was Kentucky in 2010. We led by one [actually two, 28-26] at halftime and did not have a two-point field goal (eight three-pointers and four foul shots). I think every time we took it inside the three [point line] we got our shots blocked. I can’t remember anybody who would be as close to this team other than that team,” he said.
- The odds are against him, but Bob Huggins has a chance to improve on his 8-2 record against his buddy John Calipari on Thursday.
- The public seems to be praising Wichita State after its upset over Kansas, but don’t sleep on Notre Dame just yet.
- Pat Connaughton has been huge for Notre Dame on the court, but his leadership away from it is what sets him apart.
- Alabama is reportedly looking to make a run at Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall. Here‘s why Matt Bonesteel thinks Marshall should stick around in Wichita.
- Wichita State is the lowest-seeded team left in the Midwest Region, but the Shockers have several qualities that previous Final Four teams have possessed.
- It’s no accident that Bo Ryan’s Wisconsin teams rarely foul. Averaging around 12 fouls per game, the Badgers rank among the lowest in the country in that metric. Much of this is due to the emphasis put on it by the head coach. “There are a few pillars of the program or things that have been consistent through the years and helped us be successful,” associate head coach Greg Gard says. “And that’s one of them. They understand if they want to get on the floor and play, they’re going to have to be able to play without fouling.”
- Despite having a reputation as a very well-respected academic institution, Wisconsin hasn’t exactly wowed people with its recent graduation rates.
- Though he was reportedly doubtful to play earlier this week, Kennedy Meeks worked out briefly on Tuesday and he is still a possibility to play on Thursday night.
- For Marcus Paige, North Carolina’s Sweet Sixteen game on Thursday will be a bit of a family affair. His sister, Morgan, played at Wisconsin, and now plays professionally in Europe.
- Xavier big man Jalen Reynolds is being investigated by the school for a recent incident outside of a Xavier dorm. However, Reynolds is still scheduled to play for the time being.
- Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen battle will be special for Xavier coach Chris Mack. Mack served as Arizona coach Sean Miller’s top assistant for five years before he left Xavier for the desert. “The fact is that it’s hard to play against someone who gave me such an opportunity. We spent so much time in the trenches and he trusted me so much as an assistant coach. I enjoyed my time with him,” Mack said.
- Both Arizona freshman Stanley Johnson and others surrounding the program seem open about Johnson only being in Tucson for one year, but that isn’t stopping both parties from making the best of the situation.
- For Sean Miller, coaching against his former team, Xavier, will be tough. “It’s kind of one of those things that when you’re watching the selection show, you’re kind of watching and cheering for them [Xavier coach Chris Mack and former Xavier coach Thad Matta] to go off your board,” [Arizona Director of Basketball Operations Ryan] Reynolds said. Reynolds came with Miller from Xavier to Arizona six years ago.