ATB: Sweet Sixteen Set – #1 Seeds Roll, Cinderellas Emerge, and It’s Good to be From Ohio

Posted by EJacoby on March 19th, 2012

Tonight’s Lede. After one of the craziest nights in recent Big Dance history on Friday, perhaps we all needed a bit of a break from the chaos this weekend. Fortunately, that didn’t exactly happen. Most of the higher seeds advanced in the round of 32, but the Midwest Region led the way with some crazy results. Almost every season, we see a double-digit seed reach the Sweet Sixteen; this year, we have three, and it easily could have been five. Of the 16 teams remaining, four come from the Big East, four are of the Big Ten, and four represent the state of Ohio, including both of the guilty parties from the Crosstown Shootout Brawl back in December. It’s the first time ever that one single state sends four teams to the Sweet Sixteen. Let’s go over the great moments from the weekend…

Your Watercooler Moment. #13 Ohio University is This Year’s Cinderella Story

D.J. Cooper Hasn't Allowed #13 Ohio to Lose (AP Photo/B. Rucker)

What would the NCAA Tournament be without a mid-major, double-digit seed in the Sweet Sixteen? This year it’s Ohio, the #13 seed of the Midwest Region that had a fairly favorable draw in terms of matchups but still had to defeat two power conference teams on the way. A victory over #12 seed South Florida on Sunday sent the Bobcats to the second weekend of the Big Dance, pretty amazing considering they finished third in the MAC conference this season. But Ohio is no joke, as D.J. Cooper continues to prove himself as one of the best lead guards in the entire tourney. Cooper outplayed USF’s Anthony Collins in the round of 32 and tallied 19 points, six rebounds, and seven assists with several big shots late in the game to help his team advance. The other recognizable name from this squad is Nick Kellogg, the sophomore guard who is the son of CBS analyst and former collegiate star Clark Kellogg. Clark’s son is a terrific shooter at 41.8% from three and 89.2% from the foul line, giving the Bobcats a nice one-two punch from the perimeter. Interestingly enough, Ohio now draws #1 North Carolina in the Regional Semifinal in what most would expect to be a blowout, but the Tar Heels just lost their indispensible point guard to a wrist injury, which will make things interesting next weekend. Could Ohio’s perimeter attack lead to a truly incredible Cinderella story with a win over UNC? Stay tuned.

Also Worth Chatting About. Kendall Marshall Suffers Broken Wrist for #1 Seed North Carolina

The single biggest storyline from the past weekend was not anything that happened in the box score or even in between the lines on the court. But when North Carolina’s star point guard and the nation’s leader in assists, Kendall Marshall, got fouled and pushed on a layup and landed on his right wrist in the out-of-bounds baseline, the entire dynamic of this NCAA Tournament changed. Marshall suffered a fractured wrist on this play with 10:55 remaining in the second half of Carolina’s game against #8 seed Creighton. Marshall continued to play in this game for a few minutes and wasn’t immediately in so much pain that he had to leave. It’s also an injury to his non-shooting hand, so it could have been worse. In addition, the sophomore is set for surgery on Monday which will leave him in a position to play shortly thereafter if he is able to tolerate the pain. Unfortunately, it’s a huge long shot to think that Marshall will be back and effective going forward. The injury he suffered usually requires three-plus weeks of a cast and rest, and even bracing the hand and tolerating pain to play will make for a huge liability on the floor. Already a weak defender, Marshall would be even less effective on that end and he would surely be forced to his right hand on offense by opposing teams. There’s just as strong of a chance that he’d be a detriment to UNC by being on the court than he would be a benefit, depending on the true impact of the injury. As things stand, Carolina needs to start preparing for a Championship run without its point guard, leaving that position to be filled by either unused backup Stilman White (4.2 minutes per game) or by a player like P.J. Hairston or Harrison Barnes in some sort of point-forward role. One of the most irreplaceable players in the country, Marshall’s injury leaves a giant question mark surrounding the Tar Heels’ title hopes.

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Rushed Reaction: #1 Michigan State 65, #9 Saint Louis 61

Posted by WCarey on March 18th, 2012

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Draymond Green is still the man. The senior do-everything man for Michigan State put up another terrific performance with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six steals. In such a close game, the Spartans needed every one of those contributions from Green. Green was in such control for Michigan State that there were times late in the game during Saint Louis’ furious comeback that he was running the point for the Spartans. He is one of those special talents who can lead Michigan State all the way to the Final Four and beyond.
  2. Keith Appling is capable of making huge plays from the guard position. Amidst the furious Saint Louis rally with Michigan State’s lead cut to just four, Appling nailed a huge three-pointer from the corner with just 1:37 remaining on the clock. After that three, Saint Louis realistically only had a fighter’s chance of getting back into this one. The sophomore guard finished with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
  3. This is not the last we will hear from Saint Louis. Saint Louis is a very well-coached team who returns every contributor but leading scorer Brian Conklin. Starters Kwamain Mitchell, Mike McCall, Jr., Dwayne Evans, and Rob Loe return next season for the Billikens. Key bench guys Cody Ellis, Jordair Jett, and Cory Remekun also return to build on this year’s 26-8 campaign. Rick Majerus‘ squad plays a tough-nosed style of play and will definitely be a major player in the Atlantic 10 next season.

Star of the Game. Draymond Green, Michigan State. The senior had another impressive performance here, accumulating 16 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists. Throughout the game it was more than clear that Green was the best player on the floor. Green really is a do-everything guy for Michigan State and that was more than evident again today.

Quotable. “We had to work today.” – Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. Saint Louis gave the Spartans a very tough fight all afternoon and the outcome was in question until the final minutes.

Sights & Sounds. Seeing a Saint Louis fan play a trumpet in the stands was really a sight to be had. I have never seen something like that at a basketball game before and I really wonder how he got that trumpet into the arena. Nevertheless, it was definitely a fun sight.

Wild Card. It was definitely tough seeing how emotional both Rick Majerus and Brian Conklin were at the postgame press conference. It was obvious to everyone in the room just how much those two care for each other. Conklin seems like a first-class kid and definitely someone the Billikens will miss next season.

What’s Next. Michigan State moves on to the Sweet Sixteen where it will face Louisville in a matchup of two legendary coaches in Phoenix. Expect a hard-fought, gritty, sometimes-ugly style of basketball to be played with the deserving winner one step from the Final Four.

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NCAA Tournament Tidbits 03.18.12 Edition

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 18th, 2012

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.

West Region

South Region

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ATB: Absolute MADNESS – Chaos Ensues As Round of 64 Concludes…

Posted by EJacoby on March 17th, 2012

Tonight’s Lede – Thursday was a fairly slow first day of NCAA Tournament action, producing just two total upsets and leaving much to be desired in terms of thrilling finishes. Friday was a completely different story – two #15 seeds won on the same day for the first time ever, with the results coming just a couple of hours apart. We also saw a #13, #12, #11, and two #10 seeds come out victorious in one of the craziest days in Big Dance history. Half of the games on the schedule resulted in upsets, including seven of the final nine contests on this freaky Friday night. Without further ado, we provide everything you need to know in this installment of After The Buzzer…

Your Watercooler Moment. #15 Norfolk State Stuns #2 Missouri.

It was supposed to be the late afternoon game to fill the only quiet block of the evening. #15-seed Norfolk State against #2 Missouri, the exciting up-tempo team that produced the most efficient offense in the country this season with its four-guard attack. Mizzou was a very popular Final Four pick, considered the team with the greatest upside in the West Region. But then things got interesting; pesky Norfolk State was hanging around and had the game tied at halftime. Every time you looked up at the scoreboard in the second half, Norfolk was ahead or behind by a couple of points and that’s when it was time to tell all your friends that we might have a serious bracket-buster taking place. Sure enough, it happened. The Spartans of the MEAC conference became the first #15-seed to win an NCAA Tournament game in 11 years since a fellow MEAC school did it in the form of Hampton University over Iowa State in 2001. This year, it was dominant big man Kyle O’Quinn who paced the way with a monster double-double for a team that shot 54.2% from the field and went 10-19 from three. Missouri played fine offensively, shooting 52.7% itself, but the Tigers allowed the tournament’s least-efficient offense to hit shots from everywhere on the floor as well as out-hustle them to loose balls and open rebounds. Little did we know, the madness was only beginning on this night.

Also Worth Chatting About. Hours Later, #15 Lehigh Makes History

Most brackets were busted from Missouri’s loss alone, but those who happened to have the Tigers falling early in their pools surely didn’t survive the rest of the night, either. The 7:00 PM ET block of games blew the roof off of this tournament, beginning with the little guys from the Patriot League. #15 Lehigh had a terrific year led by mid-major star guard C.J. McCollum, but nobody thought this team had a chance against Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils, the most successful NCAA Tournament team of the past 20 years. #2-seed Duke, though, was vulnerable because of an injury to starting forward Ryan Kelly and an overall trend of weak recent play thanks to a porous defense. The Mountain Hawks took advantage early and often, leading this game early in the first half and continuing to put the pressure on Duke’s ‘D’. McCollum was the star of the show, Duke wasn’t hitting from the perimeter, and Lehigh really had a chance to win this game. Late in the second half it was anyone’s game, but McCollum made big play after big play while no Duke guard could counter. Seth Curry, Austin Rivers, and Andre Dawkins combined to shoot 4-19 from three. Gabe Knutson matched Mason Plumlee inside going for 17 points on 5-5 shooting. And when the buzzer sounded, the Lehigh Mountain Hawks were winners in a thorough victory that made history. For the first time ever, two #15 seeds won in the same year of the NCAA Tournament. And it all happened on the same evening, just two-and-a-half hours apart.

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Four Tournament Thoughts: Wolverines Lose While Michigan State & Purdue Win

Posted by jnowak on March 17th, 2012

The Big Ten’s unblemished record took a hit on Friday night, as #4 Michigan was bitten by the upset bug in #13 Ohio in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Top-seeded Michigan State dispensed of LIU-Brooklyn and Purdue snuck by St. Mary’s, bringing the Big Ten’s record to 5-1 after the second full round of games. Here are a few thoughts on the night’s action:

Draymond Green Did It All For The Spartans On Friday. (Greg Bartram/US Presswire)

  1. Draymond Green is not slowing down — Well, it’s safe to say that Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson are some pretty fine company. The Michigan State senior recorded the second NCAA Tournament triple-double of his career — he finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists — to join Robertson (four triple-doubles) and Johnson (two) as the only players to accomplish the feat twice in the Big Dance. LIU-Brooklyn had no answer for Green and, for that, the Spartans advance to face St. Louis.
  2. One and done for the Wolverines — It was a wild day of upsets across the board, and Michigan was one of the high-profile victims. OhioBrady Hoke won’t get such a laugh out of this one — controlled pretty much the entire 40 minutes on Friday, shutting down Zack Novak (two points) and Matt Vogrich (zero) while holding Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to just 30 points combined. That’s a pretty good blueprint for beating these Wolverines, who put together one of the best regular seasons in program history but flopped under the bright lights.
  3. Purdue is riding high — There was a time during the season that the Boilermakers could have been left for dead — Kelsey Barlow had been kicked off the team, D.J. Byrd was suspended, and Purdue had lost three of five — but Matt Painter‘s crew battled through it and seems to be better for it. Purdue was solid through 40 minutes against a super-talented St. Mary‘s squad, and continues to demonstrate the focus it has shown over the last couple of weeks. This team is playing some of its best basketball and its balanced skill set can give Kansas a tough game on a neutral floor Saturday.
  4. The best in all the land? — As mentioned earlier, the Big Ten went 5-1 in the second full round of games, with Michigan as the only squad falling to defeat. How does that stack up against the power conferences and does the Big Ten maintain its reputation this season as the best in America? No major conference has gone winless, and the only major conferences with as few losses as the Big Ten — the SEC and the Pac-12 — had only four and two teams participating, respectively. The Big East has seven conference victories (USF has played twice, and won both games, thanks to a play-in), but also has three losses. The third round this weekend will be telling.
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Five Bold Big Ten Predictions For the NCAA Tournament

Posted by Ryan Terpstra on March 14th, 2012

It’s my favorite sports time of year!  The NCAA Tournament is here!!!  While we all feverishly try and figure out with first round upset to pick, I have some thoughts on how the Big Ten will perform.  Will the best conference in the country find success in the Big Dance?  Here are Five Bold Predictions

Will Draymond Green have a chance to cut down the nets in another Final Four? (photo: Reuters)

#1 – Hello, Big Ten.  Allow me to embrace you:  The Big Ten was the best conference in college basketball this year, and while the league only got six teams into the Tournament, it has five teams seeded as a #4 seed or higher.  Purdue is the only seed not “favored” in their game, but don’t be surprised if Purdue is favored in Vegas against St. Mary’s.  If you are participating in a pool in Big Ten country, don’t listen to those who call you a homer.  All six Big Ten teams will win in their opening game matchups, and I believe that two of them are headed to the Final Four.

#2 – Don’t buy all this Memphis stuff when it comes to MSU:  Michigan State earned its #1 seed with a great Big Ten tournament performance, and now everyone’s feathers are all ruffled because they think Memphis could upset the Spartans early.  I watched Memphis play earlier this year when they lost to Michigan, and did not come away impressed.  They have great athletes, but I have no faith in Josh Pastner as a big-time coach.  When it comes to quick turnarounds, no one can scout and adjust like Tom Izzo.  It’s almost an art form how well Izzo and his staff prepares MSU for their next NCAA game in less than 48 hours.  Finally, Conference USA is no Big Ten, and when Memphis played outside of their conference they lost to Georgetown (twice), Murray State, Louisville, and Michigan.  Their best win over a tournament team is against Xavier. Michigan State, meanwhile, just won the Big Ten tournament by beating Wisconsin and Ohio State, two wins much more impressive than anything the Tigers have on their resume.  Why should the Spartans be scared again???

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Morning Five: 03.13.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on March 13th, 2012

  1. Less than a month after getting kicked off the Georgia Tech team, Glen Rice Jr. has found himself in trouble again, but this time it is with the law. As the article notes, Rice’s involvement in the matter appears to be limited to being in the vehicle with others who were committing more serious crimes (like driving under the influence and discharging a firearm under the influence), but his decision to get involved in a situation like that should raise concern for the Georgia Tech staff, who probably would want to bring back their leading scorer and rebounder.
  2. Over the next few months you are going to be reading countless articles encouraging talented underclassmen to stay an extra year (or two or three) and in the case of Draymond Green it has made a huge difference. As Roger Groves of Forbes notes, Green’s decision to stay in school has proven to be the right one for him and one that Groves believes should be followed by more young players. While we appreciate Groves’ sentiment and Green’s growth, it is worth noting that Green was not even close to a legitimate pro prospect early in his career at East Lansing while many of the players he references in the article are. It is a lot easier to stay in school when you don’t have people waving million-dollar contracts in front of you.
  3. If you are a fan of advanced metrics (and we know some people are not like the author of the article we link to next), Columbus may be the place to be on opening weekend. Several teams at that site appear to be severely underseeded if you believe in the rankings of Ken Pomeroy, which is something that Pomeroy expounds upon in a post on his blog using a log5 analysis (warning for the Luddites, your head may explode when you see that). If you are looking for a more manageable analysis using advanced metrics then Luke Winn should be your go to source (as always).
  4. We already discussed this briefly yesterday, but if you missed Mike Decourcy’s interview with John Calipari it is certainly worth a read. Outside of his rather direct shot at the NCAA, Calipari is refreshingly open about the perception of his program and how he runs his program. For those of us who have had a chance to talk to him before most of this stuff is not new, but for those people who reflexively recoil at the mention of his name based on two of his Final Four appearances being vacated it might shine a light on why recruits, players, and Kentucky fans have fallen for him outside of the impressive record.
  5. South Carolina may not be dancing, but their fans have reason to celebrate with the announcement that their two-sport star Bruce Ellington plans to become “just” a basketball star after deciding to stop playing football. Ellington, who made the SEC All-Freshman team in football after gaining 707 all-purpose yards, actually saw a decline in his output last season on the court going from 12.8 points per game down to 10.6 points per game although his efficiency numbers were up across the board. With his renewed focus on basketball, don’t be surprised if Ellington comes back next November as a significantly improved player.
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Bracket Prep: West Region Analysis

Posted by AMurawa on March 12th, 2012

Throughout Monday, we will roll out our region-by-region analysis on the following schedule: East (9 AM), South (11 AM), Midwest (2 PM), West (4 PM). Here, Andrew Murawa (@amurawa) breaks down the West Region from top to bottom. Also, be sure to follow our RTC West Region handle on Twitter for continuous updates the next two weeks (@RTCwestregion).

You can also check out our RTC Podblast with Andrew breaking down the West Region here.

West Region

Favorite: Michigan State, #1, 27-7. This is the fourth time in the Tom Izzo era that Michigan State has earned a #1 seed. The previous three times (1999, 2000, and 2001), they advanced at least to the Final Four, winning the national title in 2000. Led by likely All-American senior forward Draymond Green, this is, almost without question, the best Spartan team since those teams at the turn of the century. They do have to go forward without injured freshman Branden Dawson, out for the year with a torn ACL, but senior Brandon Wood stepped into his starting spot and he shot the ball well in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend. You can say that there are more talented teams in this region (Missouri and Marquette come to mind), but beating Izzo in March is always easier said than done.

Draymond Green And Michigan State Are The Team To Beat In The West Region (AP)

Should They Falter: Missouri, #2, 30-4. While the Spartans are the favorite, the Tigers are a solid 1-A. The Selection Committee had Mizzou as the #8 overall seed, but they have been excellent all season long behind the most efficient offense in the nation. The Tigers are undersized (only two players taller than 6’6” are in the rotation) and lack depth (they only play seven guys), but head coach Frank Haith gets every last drop out of the guys who do play. And with guards like Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Phil Pressey, and Michael Dixon, they have enough talent on the perimeter to cause plenty of trouble.

Grossly Overseeded: BYU, #14 (First Four), 26-8. I don’t have a whole lot of problems with any of the seeding this year; I think the Selection Committee by and large did a pretty good job. But I’m not sure why BYU is in the tournament. Their lone quality win of the season is over Gonzaga, a team who doesn’t have much in the way of quality wins itself. I would rather have seen a team like Drexel or Oral Roberts (teams admittedly without a ton of big wins either) get the Cougars’ spot. The Dragons and Golden Eagles both had better records against top 50 RPI teams, and both excelled in their conference regular season. I will even take Iona, their First Four opponent, over the Cougs despite a complete lack of quality wins on the Gaels’ resume. The committee gave Iona credit for scheduling a tough non-conference slate, and their strength of schedule out of conference even exceeds BYU’s.

Grossly Underseeded: Missouri, #2, 30-4. I’m having trouble working up a whole lot of outrage about anything in the bracket, but Missouri should not have dropped to the #8 overall seed. To me, they were right in the conversation with Kansas for the #5 overall seed (and I might have given Missouri the edge, although the committee docked them for a relatively tame non-conference schedule). The only difference for the Tigers in terms of their placement in the bracket is that had they earned the #5 overall seed, they would have been dropped in the St. Louis regional instead of being shipped West. But the good news is that they still are in the bracket with the lowest #1 seed. It all works out.

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Big Ten Morning Five: 03.12.12 Edition

Posted by jnowak on March 12th, 2012

  1. Michigan State is the Big Ten Tournament champion and Draymond Green is the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. And with that, the Spartans are also the #1 seed in the West region of the NCAA Tournament. But to get there, a multitude of things needed to go right. Michigan State got important help down low from Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne, as well as crucial contributions from senior wings Brandon Wood and Austin Thornton. Without Branden Dawson, there were questions about how far this team could go. What about now? And how about this great photo of Green hoisting the Big Ten Tournament trophy via The State News photographer Justin Wan?
  2. On the other end of that championship game spectrum falls Ohio State, which got a #2 seed in the East region of the tournament. The Buckeyes, who were shooting for an unprecedented third straight Big Ten tournament championship in their fourth consecutive title game, were hindered by foul trouble to Jared Sullinger in the first half and Aaron Craft in the second. The Buckeyes stumbled in conference play, but certainly showed they are capable of playing in New Orleans in a few weeks.
  3. Michigan State and Ohio State aren’t the only two teams dancing. Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Purdue also made the tournament field. BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart takes a look at those Big Ten teams in the field — who’s hot, who’s not, who has the easiest road, who’s likely to be upset, and more.
  4. Notice that none of those teams mentioned above was Northwestern? Once again, the Wildcats are on the outside looking in on the Big Dance, missing out on yet another golden opportunity to break through into the tournament field. The Big Ten Network‘s Tim Doyle chats here with Northwestern coach Bill Carmody about his squad being left out of the NCAA Tournament.
  5. As the Indianapolis Star‘s Bob Kravitz points out, the state of Indiana is full of good stories as it relates to the NCAA Tournament. (The fact that there’s basketball-related excitement coming out of Indiana should come as a shock to no one). From Purdue‘s successes and the determination of Robbie Hummel to the rejuvenation of the Hoosiers under Tom Crean, there is plenty to cheer for at this time of year in the Hoosier State.
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Bracket Prep: Michigan State, Florida State, Vanderbilt, St. Bonaventure, Long Beach State, & New Mexico State

Posted by EJacoby on March 11th, 2012

Selection Sunday is here! We’ve been providing you with summaries of every automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and this post concludes all of the conference tourney winners. Big Ten, SEC, ACC, A-10, Big West, and WAC were the last ones to complete their championships. Here’s everything you need to know.

Michigan State

Draymond Green is the Force Behind the Spartans' Strong Attack (AP Photo/A. Goldis)

  • Big Ten Champion (27-7, 16-5)
  • RPI/Pomeroy/Sagarin = #4/#3/#3
  • Adjusted Scoring Margin = +17.3
  • Likely NCAA Seed: #1

Three Bruce Pearls of Wisdom.

  1. After winning the Big Ten Tournament, expect Michigan State to steal the last #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. There’s nothing that this team hasn’t done to deserve the top line. 27-7 against the #1 strength of schedule, co-champion of the best conference in the country, and Big Ten Champions. This is a classic Tom Izzo team that’s ferocious on the boards and executes efficiently on both offense and defense. The Spartans run through their Big Ten Player of the Year, but this is a deep team that relies on many contributors in different areas. A late season ACL injury to blossoming freshman forward Branden Dawson was horrible news and is potentially devastating. But Dawson was still not much of an offensive factor and the team won the Big Ten Tournament without him, showing an ability to adapt.
  2. Draymond Green is the Big Ten Player of the Year who does everything that you want in a senior star leader. 16.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game is what Green provides. The 45% field goal percentage doesn’t look great until you realize that Green does much of his work on the perimeter, including hitting the most three-pointers on the team. The rest of this team is loaded with strong athletes and defenders, from the interior duo of Derrick Nix and Adriean Payne to the perimeter players Keith Appling and Brandon Wood, and beyond to the reserves. Appling is crucial to this team as the playmaking point guard with explosive agility to make plays for his teammates and himself.
  3. Most things in March Madness are unpredictable, but one of the few guarantees is that Tom Izzo’s teams will play their best basketball in the NCAA Tournament. This Izzo team is loaded and ready to dance with as difficult a combination to beat as nearly anyone in the country. A +17.3 adjusted scoring margin is the fourth best in the nation, led my MSU’s elite defense. The Spartans allow just 37.7% defensive field goal shooting, the second best in the land. Their 89.9 defensive efficiency also ranks in the top 10. Throw in their own 47.7% field goal shooting, and this team’s shooting percentage disparity is fantastic, which is always a top formula for success. Their 55.2% rebound percentage is top 10 in the nation, as well. The numbers look great for Michigan State. But this team just lost its best athlete to the ACL injury and it doesn’t have the amount of elite scorers that a usual #1 seed does. Instead, this team is so efficient defensively that it will be difficult to knock off. Teams that gave Michigan State trouble were those that caught fire from the outside while holding their own defensively, like Indiana. Expect an awesome clash of styles between MSU and its opponent in a Sweet Sixteen matchup, if it can avoid an upset from the 8-9 seed, or 10-7 seed if it receives a #2 seed.

Florida State

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Big Ten Tournament Second Round Recaps

Posted by jnowak on March 10th, 2012

Here’s a breakdown of how things went down in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday in Indianapolis:

Wisconsin senior Rob Wilson was practically unstoppable on Friday. (AP)

Wisconsin 79, Indiana 71
  • The Hoosiers were playing this quarterfinal game without the services of senior Verdell Jones III, who tore his ACL in the team’s win on Thursday, but did have a hometown crowd behind them. As it turned out, it wouldn’t be enough to silence the unlikeliest of assassins: Wisconsin’s Rob Wilson. The senior, who came into the game averaging just 3.1 points per game, went off for 30 to give Bo Ryan his school record 266th victory. The win for the Badgers was also significant in that the program avoided its fourth straight one-and-done appearance in the tournament, setting a date with Michigan State on Saturday. Now can Wisconsin avoid losing three times in one season to the Spartans?
Michigan State 92, Iowa 75
  • It was a game many were watching to see how the Spartans would respond without freshman wing Branden Dawson, who was lost for the year with a torn ACL suffered on Sunday against Ohio State. Those questions were answered by a number of Dawson’s teammates. It was a balanced scoring attack for Michigan State — led by Draymond Green‘s 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in just 24 minutes of play — that had 10 players score in the game. If Adreian Payne (16 points, seven rebounds), Travis Trice (nine points) and Brandon Wood (10 points) can all contribute like this, the Spartans are as much a threat as ever. For Iowa, it’s the end of the road for senior Matt Gatens, who averaged 15.7 PPG this year and finishes sixth all-time in career scoring at Iowa.

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Big Ten Tournament Preview & Season Wrap-Up

Posted by Brian Goodman on March 8th, 2012

Bill Hupp is the RTC correspondent for the Big Ten Conference.

Conference Tournament Preview

After a thrilling regular season, it’s on to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Despite being a three-seed, Ohio State has to be considered the favorite given how well they ended the regular season. If either Michigan State or OSU wins the Big Ten Tournament, they will get strong consideration for a one-seed. Teams like Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue can all improve their NCAA Tournament seeds with strong showings this weekend.

Northwestern is the only clear bubble team in the conference, and as such is under the most pressure to string some wins together. If the Wilcats can beat Minnesota in the first round, they’ll face a Michigan team that they only lost to twice this season, though both losses came in overtime. Two wins in the Big Ten tournament should make them a virtual lock for their first-ever tournament birth, but it’s much easier said than done with this level of competition.

A Look Back

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