Rushed Reactions: #6 Memphis 54, #11 Saint Mary’s 52

Posted by Will Tucker on March 21st, 2013


Will Tucker is a RTC correspondent. Will is covering the Auburn Hills pod of the Midwest Region. You can also find him on Twitter @blrdswag.

Three Key Takeaways.

  1. Memphis is always a threat to get out and run. Even against the fifth-most efficient offense in the country, the Tigers found ways to capitalize on missed shots by getting out in transition and exploiting their athleticism. Outlet passes to a streaking Joe Jackson on blocks and defensive boards routinely led to points, as the shifty point guard would set up easy baskets for Tarik Black, D.J. Stephens and others. That advantage became less apparent as the Gaels’ cold shooting subsided, making fewer defensive rebounds available in the second half. But as St. Mary’s clawed back into the game, Memphis responded by turning up the defensive intensity, creating 19 points off turnovers with dunks and transition threes.

    It wasn't easy, but Joe Jackson and Memphis advanced to the third round. (Getty)

    It wasn’t easy, but Joe Jackson and Memphis advanced to the third round. (Getty)

  2. Simply put, Shaq Goodwin needs to foul less. Goodwin sat for most of the first half after accumulating two fouls in the first three minutes, in yet another installment of his well-documented issues with personals. His 3.3 fouls per game ranks top 40 in the country, despite only playing 21 points per game. Which is exactly the issue, because Josh Pastner needs the powerful 6’9″ freshman on the court if the Tigers are going to take down Michigan State’s frontcourt. The abusive tandem of Derrick Nix (6’9″, 270) and Adreian Payne (6’10″, 240) already demonstrated earlier in the day how productive they can be when they get anywhere near the offensive glass. Memphis has a plethora of athletes, but outside of Goodwin and Tarik Black, they don’t have the bulk to contain Michigan State’s big men in the style of play Tom Izzo will try to dictate on Saturday.
  3. Defensive rebounding and free throw shooting remain question marks for this club. Josh Pastner prioritized both after the Tigers shot 33% from the line and gave up an absurd number of second-chance opportunities in a loss to Xavier. The Tigers seemed to have reformed themselves since giving up 41.5% of available offensive boards to the Musketeers, but they allowed the Gaels to grab 15 offensive boards and score 17 second chance points today. They also shot 50% from the charity stripe, and made only 4-of-10 in the final three minutes, which left the door open for the Gaels to attempt a game-winning three at the buzzer that missed long.

Star of the GameJoe Jackson, who posted team-highs of 14 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds, as well as orchestrating a beautiful transition offense that never let its foot off the gas. Discounting a crucial turnover at the end of the game, Jackson generally had a good awareness of time and situation, and helped hold Steve Holt and Matthew Dellavedova to a combined 4-of-23 from the field. (Co-star: Josh Pastner, who won his first NCAA Tournament game as a head coach.)

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St. Mary’s Is in a Familiar Mid-January Position: Will It Hold Up?

Posted by rtmsf on January 18th, 2012

WCC fans: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. It’s mid-January, and St. Mary’s is surging. Coming off a pair of weekend victories that included a blowout over bitter rival Gonzaga and a tough-but-expected win over pesky Portland, the Gaels currently sit at 17-2 overall and a pristine 6-0 in the WCC. The national media has taken notice, serving up Randy Bennett‘s team as the #24 team this week in the AP poll and #23 in the Coaches Poll. (Incidentally, SMC is #17 in this week’s RTC rankings.) Once again, things are looking up in Moraga as fans of the tiny East Bay school dream of an elusive WCC championship and, harking back to 2010, perhaps another deep run in the NCAA Tournament. The question on everyone’s minds around the WCC, though, is whether this year’s SMC team is for real or another mirage in a basketball desert full of them. Consider the table below, showing St. Mary’s fortunes both before and after this point in the season over the last five years.

It’s not difficult to discern from the table that St. Mary’s tends to get off to a hot start each and every year. Somewhat peculiarly, the Gaels’ best team — the 2009-10 Sweet Sixteen bunch led by Omar Samhan — had the most losses of any team during this five-year window at this point in the season (three). But unlike that team, Randy Bennett’s other squads have largely faded down the stretch. The 2007-08 team lost four of its last six games to finish the season, while the 2008-09 squad crashed so badly after Patty Mills broke his hand that the Gaels were left out of what seemed to be a surefire NCAA Tournament bid that year. Last year’s squad was also nationally ranked at this mid-January juncture, having gotten off to yet another sizzling start. Three straight late February losses, though, allowed Gonzaga to keep its stranglehold on a share of the WCC regular season title, while a confounding road defeat to a horrible San Diego team likely relegated the Gaels to the NIT for the second time in three seasons.

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Morning Five: 12.07.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 7th, 2010

  1. For those of you who, like us, are into such things, Ken Pomeroy added the player ratings to his website late last night.  Some of the more interesting findings after one month of the season?  Arizona’s Derrick Williams and UConn’s Kemba Walker have the two highest offensive ratings in the nation, Miami’s Reggie Johnson has been the best offensive rebounder in the country, and St. Mary’s guard Steve Holt is the nation’s best pickpocket.  Steve Holt! You can spend hours fiddling around on there learning the hidden secrets of the game, secure in the knowledge that Pomeroy’s work has made the college basketball world a slightly better place.
  2. From the you-don’t-see-this-every-day department, College of Charleston announced on Monday that the school had signed top-50 recruit Adjehi Baru, a 6’9 forward who spurned offers from several ACC schools including North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia Tech.  Needless to say, Baru represents the highest-rated recruit ever signed by the school.  The SoCon occasionally puts players into the NBA (most notably, Stephen Curry), but rarely are those players considered elite recruits coming out of high school.  Tremendous get for CofC head coach Bobby Cremins.
  3. Seth Davis takes a look at some of the intricacies of calling a foul when a player swings his elbows around, and even though he warned us, we came out of it more confused that we were before we started.  One of the more interesting nuggets of the article, though, is that it appears that the use of the block/charge semi-circle underneath the basket in select preseason tournaments was a rousing success.  We’ve been asking for that thing for years (familiarly called the “Battier zone”), and with that sort of a commendation it may be well on its way.
  4. Some injury news…  Duke’s Kyrie Irving will likely not play in Wednesday’s game at home against Bradley as a result of a toe injury that they’re hopeful will not become a serious problem.  They clearly want to be careful with him, but with games against the Braves, St. Louis, Elon and UNC-Greensboro between now and the new year, they can afford to take their time with him.  In less important-to-his-team news, Baylor will lose freshman guard Stargell Love for up to two months as a result of a stress fracture in his left foot.  He was playing about sixteen minutes per game, but with AJ Walton and LaceDarius Dunn manning most of the backcourt minutes, the Bears should be alright in his absence (assuming no further injuries).
  5. We hate doing these, but long-time Marquette Warrior Hank Raymonds passed away on Monday after a battle with cancer.  Raymonds was not nearly as well-known nationally as his boss Al McGuire, but he was an integral part of the Marquette program as the masterful x & o tactician/assistant behind the charismatic McGuire.  After the 1977 national title and McGuire’s retirement, Raymonds took over the program as head coach and athletic director, and led the Warriors to a 126-50 (.716) record in six seasons, including five NCAA Tournament appearances and a Sweet Sixteen in 1979.  In reading through the comments in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s story on Raymonds, it’s easy to see just how beloved this man was in the Marquette community.  RIP, Hank.
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