Six Pack of Thoughts – First Weekend of NCAA Tournament

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With the initial two rounds of the NCAA Tournament (I refuse to comply with the NCAA calling the 5th through 36th game the “second round”) behind us, here are some of my thoughts : 

1) We saw plenty of sloppy basketball. I’m not gonna get on any one team (except St. Mary’s shooting 4 for 25 from three; DET, UNLV, & WV shooting 32% from the field; and K-ST shooting 31% and turning it over 13 times–many of which were unforced). Instead, I’ll call out a couple of boneheads:  

Luke Loucks (FSU) & Sean Kilpatrick (CIN) – I know, they both had good overall games. But Loucks threw a really lazy pass in the frontcourt that turned into two with 1:33 left in a tie game; and then, 45 seconds later, inexplicably traveled on purpose after he didn’t get a call. Brutal.

Kilpatrick tried to one-up him with 15 seconds left when he was inbounding the ball and took steps on the baseline and got called for travelling. This also happened late in another game, but I can’t remember the player or team (thanks, guy named Doug next to me at the bar who was feeding me shots). You have to know the rule. There is no excuse for that (the travelling, not the shots).

Da’Quan Cook (St Bona.) – took a  2-point jumper in the lane with five seconds left v FSU….down THREE. Again, no excuse.

I don’t even expect this kind of mental breakdowns in the regular season. It’s March.

2) Why is Jim Boeheim not playing his best player 32+ minutes? If you have watched more than a few SU games this year, you know Dion Waiters is one of the best players in the country. Yet he plays 24 minutes a game, fifth most on the team.

Midway through the first half of the K-St game, Waiters was on fire. He had scored nine points in about four minutes to give SU a 10-point lead. Out of a TV timeout, he was pulled for Scoop Jardine and Jardine immediately turned it over. Momentum gone. K-St went on a run and it was a one-point game at half.

I don’t like their chances to win the tourney as it his, but Waiters has to play more. 24 minutes a game is criminal for that kind of talent.

3) The two teams that have to play the #14 and #12 seeds after they win their “First Four” games are at a disadvantage. Unlike the other #3 and #5 seeds, they only get two days to scout their opponent. And that opponent just came off a confidence and momentum-building win.

This needs to be re-worked somehow. If I’m a #12 or #14 seed, I would rather play on Tuesday or Wednesday. You get more exposure for your team, and you get a chance to hit the ground running.

4) If they both win on Friday, why does Carolina have to play Kansas in St. Louis? I realize it is across the entire state of Missouri from the Kansas campus, but that is still a decided advantage for the #2 seed vs the #1.

KU should have been the #2 in the South or the East instead. Not that hard, NCAA tournament selection committee.

5) How much more of our time are the talking heads going to waste by hyping up “potential matchups“? Stop it with that. Break down the Thursday & Friday games before we have to hear about A might play B, and the historical implications/excitement/ratings that it may generate.

Greg Anthony drooled over a Duke-UNLV rematch–neither team showed up in their first game.

Every other ESPN yo-yo picked Vanderbilt over SU, and forgot Vandy has quite the tourney-choking reputation to kick before they get to a Sweet 16.

The Selection Show wasn’t 90 minutes old last Sunday before at least two “experts” were warning Kentucky to be wary of UConn. Got a feeling that got back to Iowa St.

Give us analysis of the matchups from the Tuesday to Friday games. The rest is speculation.

6) Sweet 16 stats of note:

– There are no # 5 seeds for the first time since time since 1992

– Ohio is the first MAC team in the Sweet 16 since Kent St in 2002. Back then, the Golden Flashes were coached by Stan Heath…current coach of recent Ohio victim USF.

– Traditional powers UK, Indiana, and Louisville are in the Sweet 16 together for the first time since 1993

– Bad year for hoops in the West: Baylor is the westernmost Sweet 16 team, and they are in east Texas.

– The opening weekend saw no overtime games for the first time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. No buzzer beaters last weekend either.

– This is Xavier’s fourth Sweet 16 in five years.

– Before Sunday, it had been 27 years since NC St had advanced farther in the NCAA tourney than Duke.

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4 Responses to “Six Pack of Thoughts – First Weekend of NCAA Tournament”

  1. Scott Johnson Says:

    I also found it interesting that a quater of the sweet sixteen is from the state of Ohio.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    It is. But they were beatin the shit outta that for two days. Wanted somethin a little less talked about. Like guys drawing the tourney bracket on their apartment wall

  3. Jeff Gehring Says:

    I also felt there was more mental errors than we have seen in the past. Is it because coaches are letting talent and physically gifted athletes play more than those with a strong fundamental game?

  4. Trev Says:

    I think it is that Jeff, and also a lot of the more talented guys are younger…and more prone to do stupid things

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