NCAA Tournament Tidbits: 03.30.14 EditionPosted by Griffin Wong on March 30th, 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.
- Dayton’s Cinderella run ended on last night, as the Flyers fell to the top-seeded Florida Gators.
- With Dayton hanging around well into the first half, Florida senior Scottie Wilbekin led the Gators to victory yet again.
- Florida center Patric Young bounced back from a rough outing against UCLA to give the Gators a huge boost in its win over Dayton. Young added 12 points and 6 rebounds, but his presence was felt mostly on the defensive end, where he had 4 blocks.
- Florida has been a mainstay in the Elite Eight for the past four years, but the Gators finally got over the hump and into the Final Four last night.
- Florida coach Billy Donovan has built a great team from top to bottom. Though the Gators don’t have anyone who is a surefire first round draft pick, they remain favorites to win it all.
- Florida and its players insist that this team is different than the other the Gator teams of the past three season that fell short of the Final Four. As we found out last night, they were right.
- Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan’s first Final Four berth was bittersweet, as it happened on his late father’s birthday. Last night, Ryan honored his father in with a victory in dramatic fashion.
- Wisconsin advanced to the Final Four last night after Arizona’s Nick Johnson was unable to get a last-second shot off in overtime.
- With last night’s win, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan was able to shed the label of (arguably) the best coach in college basketball without a Final Four.
- Arizona’s hopes were almost completely dashed after Nick Johnson was called for a charge, giving Wisconsin the ball back. According to Sean Miller, it was just a “really, really tough call.”
- Yet again, Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky pushed the Badgers to victory. Kaminsky finished the night with 28 points and 11 rebounds, and was the only Wisconsin player who Arizona could not find a way to stop.
- Arizona had been anchored by its defense all season, but it was that same defense that let the Wildcats down last night.
- Michigan State hasn’t been at full strength for much of this season, but the Spartans are beginning to find their groove just in time for a potential title run.
- Michigan State sophomore Gary Harris isn’t budging on whether tonight’s game could be his last in a Spartans uniform. Either way, he’s saying that it doesn’t matter. “It’s just any game could be my last game, whether it’s the last game of season, or it’s an injury, you never know,” Harris said. “So you have to go out there and play every game like it’s your last, no matter what, because nothing is ever promised.”
- Michigan State wasn’t getting much respect during the middle of the season, but after winning the Big Ten tournament in convincing favorites, the Spartans remain a popular pick to go the distance.
- The last time Michigan State and UConn played, they began a tradition by playing at a United States Air Base in Germany. Though UConn didn’t have much to play for with its NCAA Tournament ban, the Huskies have something to play for this time: a Final Four berth.
- Everyone loves to talk about the All-American Shabazz Napier, and rightfully so. However, it’s easy to forget his dynamic backcourt mate, Ryan Boatright.
- UConn’s Shabazz Napier knows exactly what he’s in for tonight against Michigan State. The All-American described tonight’s game with two words: Dog fight.
- Kentucky advanced to the Elite Eight on Friday, but center Willey Cauley-Stein is doubtful for tonight’s game against Michigan.
- It may be cliche, but Kentucky is really playing its best basketball at the right time. With wins over previously undefeated Wichita State and arch rival Louisville, the Wildcats could just make a title run.
- Michigan native James Young will be crucial to Kentucky’s success tonight against a perimeter-oriented Michigan team.
- Michigan super sophomore Glenn Robinson III knows he’s in for a battle against Kentucky diaper dandy Julius Randle.
- Two of the game’s best coaches, Kentucky’s John Calipari and Michigan’s John Beilein, have a combined 44 years of coaching experience, but will meet for the first time tonight with a Final Four berth on the line.
- Big Ten Player of the Year Nik Stauskas may be looking more and more like a pro, but for now, he’s only focused on the task at hand: beating Kentucky.